My good buddies over at Redstate have decided to pull a little switcheroo. A poster going by the intriguing name of AcademicElephant posts a missive on why the Left is so stuck on the idea that they're patriotic. "I have long been amazed by the pique displayed by the left when they feel their patriotism is being called into question. " Because, according to my Pachydermish Pal, the question isn't about patriotism after all, it's about judgment.
So basically, for the last five years, whenever someone (and not just an individual or group on the Left) questioned the wisdom of one of this administration's many questionable decisions, they were automatically and viscerally attacked as being unpatriotic at best, and a traitor at worst. Paul Krugman does an excellent job of chronicling this in an article for Radical Left, noting that "the Bush regime and its supporters still believe that they can win political battles by impugning the patriotism of those who won't go along".
Gary Hart, all the way back in 2003, had this to say:
Whenever someone's patriotism is questioned or judgments rendered about who is and who is not patriotic it always seems to come from the right. It's not entirely clear why that is. Who gave any ideology, right or left, the right to define loyalty and patriotism? I find nothing in the Bill of Rights or the Declaration of Independence or any of the other founding documents giving a license to a particular faction or cabal to decide issues of allegiance to our nation.
Yet, increasingly, the current administration and particularly its rigid, orthodox ideological supporters are defining anyone who disagrees with them out of acceptable political society. It's really a form of fundamentalism, of the very kind we're at war with, that takes upon itself the authority to decree the saved and the damned. Now, really silly people are accusing those they disagree with of treason.
The Right Wing has been ruthless when attacking those who disagree with him. John Kerry went from decorated war hero to a Jane Fonda-humping communist; the Dixie Chicks went from country superstar darlings to members of Osama's harem; hell, Max Cleland lost three limbs in Vietnam and that didn't stop Ann Coulter from unleashing her own personal style of vitriol. And speaking of Coulter, she's referred to those on the left as "Traitors" and "Godless" so I hope AcademicElephant excuses me as a representative for the Left if I'm a little sensitive when it comes to the topic of patriotism.
Of course, now the argument has shifted. Now that the media has started to wake up and not just accept whatever right wing attack they happen to throw out, perhaps he's realizing that maybe the attacks on patriotism just don't have the traction that they once had. So now AE changes it up a bit: "Hey, it was never about your patriotism! Why are guys being such whiners about it?" Wait a sec, let me back it up a bit. When I say that the Elephant guy over at Redstate shifts the argument, what I mean is that this is a new GOP gambit. AE is just doing his duty as member of the Right Wing by disseminating the propaganda. Karl Rove started the campaign this past weekend at a fundraiser when he said, "I don't question the patriotism of our critics." Bush continued today when he said, "I will never question the patriotism of somebody who disagrees with me."
Now obviously, for anyone who's had, I don't know, a pulse(!) over these last five years knows that this is complete and utter malarky. The big dogs over at 1600 Pennsylvania know their cries of Left=Traitor just don't fly anymore, so they've decided to change the tune. To paraphrase, "IT'S THE JUDGMENT, STUPID!" The adminstration begins this new campaign hoping to alter the playing field and catch the Left off-guard. If this is the tack that they wish to take, all that I can say is bring it on. PLEASE!!! Let's make this an argument over the judgment of the Iraq war. Hell, let's make it a debate over the judgment of this administration's every single decision. I guarantee we can and will win that fight.
Since AcademicElephant over at Redstate is only acting as a mouthpiece for the right, it doesn't get Redstate too much of a bump up the list, but they get the bump nonetheless.
1. George W. Bush
2. Hugh Hewitt
3. Joe Lieberman
4. John McCain
5. Orrin Hatch - I almost dropped him below Felix, but his stuff from last weekend still bugs me.
5. Redstate.com (+3)
7. George Felix Allen Jr. (-1)
8. Dick Cheney (-1)
9. Katherine Harris (-1)
10. Rick Santorum