Glenn Greenwald notes that Sen. Obama is not letting this kind of slimy writing get past him, and compared to previous Democratic candidates, he shows both ease and class in responding to these attacks.
Ever since 2002 — at least — most national Democrats have quivered with fear the moment Republicans utter words like “patriotism” and “national security.” Traumatized by the 2002 mid-term elections, George Bush’s 70% approval ratings, and the media’s lock-step adoration of the Commander-in-Chief, to this day they become frozen the moment such attacks are even suggested and desperately and defensively try to comply with whatever demands are made of them. Like many trauma victims, they can never break free of the terror from their past, and still live perpetually in 2002, whereby George Bush’s invocation of the words “patriotism” and “terrorism” can send them into spasms of fear and submission.
Perhaps (in part) because he wasn’t in Washington in 2002, Obama’s response here is the opposite of all of that. He’s not the slightest bit defensive. To the contrary, he went out of his way to raise numerous examples of why it is the flag-waving Republicans whose “patriotism” ought to be in doubt, if anyone’s should be. Without having to do so, Obama even went and raised the issue which Republicans currently think is their big, bad weapon — warrantless spying on Americans — and used it against them, to argue that spying on Americans is a profound violation of core American political principles, a far more substantive test of “patriotism” than what pretty accessories one wears with one’s clothes.
As I previously noted, this is the only way the right wing can win this year because they really have nothing positive to run on. John McCain is promising another 100 years of occupation of Iraq, more wars with other countries who don’t like us, and a continuation of the Bush economic policy. They know they can’t sell that and win, so all they have left, as Aaron Sorkin wrote in The American President, is to make America afraid of something and find someone to blame it on. And to their everlasting credit and our shame, it’s worked. But this time, to further paraphrase Mr. Sorkin, they’d better come after us with more than a flag pin and a father’s middle name, because this time we’re going to show up.