Former advisor to President Obama David Axelrod says he doesn’t understand the confusion over his beliefs.
“You know it is interesting, I always believe that the last president kind of sets the terms of the next election and the last president was a very Manichean kind of guy, black and white, saw the world in those terms,” Axelrod replied. “America wanted someone who saw the gray, who saw the nuances, who understood the complexities of the world and who made decisions, and think about the long-term, and not just the next step and that is what they got in Barack Obama.”
“So I don’t know, you know I don’t know why there is confusion,” he added. “I think that there is nuance and there is an ability to see gray, which is really important in the world in which we live, that is true on foreign policy and national security it is also true on domestic policy. He thinks several steps ahead.”
The White House has pushed back hard on Giuliani’s comments, pointing out that Obama has said numerous times that he loves America.
“The most high-profile example that I can think of was actually the last line of this year’s State of the Union in which the president said, ‘God bless this country we love,'” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Friday.
Earnest also said of Giuliani, “It’s sad to see when somebody who has attained a certain level of public stature and even admiration tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly.”
What a magnificent exposition by Axelrod of the president’s ambivalence about America. Ernst can safely be dismissed as an idiot — Obama loves America because he says he does. The president has said a lot of things that aren’t true at all and some of those lies have been huge. He has also said a lot of things he didn’t mean, like his calls for bi-partisanship. Only 5 year olds and liberals take the president at his word for anything. And that includes whether he’s patriotic or not.
Obama’s “nuance” about patriotism, as well as Bush’s “Manichean” view of the world are both part of the narrative about Obama that has been pushed since he announced for the office in 2008. The implication is that the president is smarter than Bush, because as we all know, smart people are afflicted with the curse of never being able to see people or issues clearly. There’s always an opaqueness to Obama’s view of the world that can only be penetrated by “nuance” — giving equal weight to all viewpoints, no matter how ridiculous or stupid they are.
Bush was no philosopher but Obama is no leader. At least Bush had the ability to act decisively. He wasn’t always right, but ambivalence was not part of his make up. Obama on the other hand, never acts decisively. He allows situations to fester while he leisurely examines an issue from all angles — several times. A classic example was the interminable amount of time it took him to make up his mind about initiating a surge in Afghanistan. Some advisors said at the time they were called back into meetings with the president several times to repeat their positions. It was months before the president finally decided to order the surge — while at the same time setting a timetable for withdrawal.
It does not surprise me that Obama would have a nuanced view of his love of America. Most liberals do. There is absolutely no doubt that the president does not love America in the same way that most people on the right love America. The question is, does that delegitimize his patriotism?
I guess it boils down to if you think there’s only one way to love America. Conservatives see America as a young lover sees his sweetheart. She can do virtually no wrong, you overlook the blemishes and the warts, you are easy to forgive her, and you love her unconditionally. On the other hand, liberals see America as an older married man might see his wife. She sometimes burns dinner so she isn’t perfect, she hasn’t met the expectations of their youth, but you still love her — as long as she doesn’t play around on you or disappoint you in some other way.
Obama’s patriotism is not recognizable to me, but I have no reason to doubt it’s present. The simple minded notion that Obama is out to “destroy” America and therefore, hates our country fails to take into account the enormous historical forces of change at work in the world that have a lot more to do with what’s happening to America than anything Obama’s incompetence has unleashed.
Like most liberals, the president loves America’s potential for greatness, but is angry at our history which shows that we’ve not always lived up to our lofty ideals. Our history is inescapable, as is our destiny, which helps define our exceptional nature.
But left and right have different ideas about what America should be, where we should be going, how we should get there — dissimilar hopes and dreams. The questions being raised about the president’s patriotism reflect those differences, as well as the notion that holding a different view of America disqualifies someone from being considered a patriot.