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Obama’s Patriotism Response

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–For several months now, people have pounded the patriotism of presumed Democratic candidate, Sen. Barack Obama. The basis for this has always seemed at least pointless, and at most insulting to the intelligence to the American public. As I’ve written about several times, at the heart of this line of attack is a nation still coming to grips with the idea of service and what public duty really means. For most, rightfully so, Sen. John McCain remains an American hero–a man who served his country in Vietnam and underwent god-awful torture at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors. It is something that should be rightfully admired, but it shouldn’t overshadow Obama’s own choice of service as a community organizer in the South Side of Chicago. Like John Adams and Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson, Obama chose another route to use the educational advantages he’d been given to give back to his country.

Of course it also speaks to our own deeply foolish ideas of how to treat a man as unique as Obama. As a man of mixed heritage, who studied abroad, his patriotic cred simply doesn’t match the traditional lineage of McCain as the son and grandson of admirals and his time in the Naval academy and as a soldier in war.

But since the beginning of the general election, the Obama campaign seemed happy to ignore attacks on Obama’s patriotism, since there is no good response other than, "You’ve got to be kidding me." But today, they may have unveiled the most apt response. Before speaking to more than 1,500 people at a town hall in the gymnasium of Glendale High School, Sen. Claire McCaskill declared that Obama was as "red, white and blue as you can possibly get."

Later, Obama addressed the issue head on, saying: "What they’re going to try and do is make you scared of me. ‘Aw, he’s not patriotic enough, he’s got a funny name. He doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills. He’s risky.’ That’ s essentially the argument they’re going to make. The argument is ‘I know you don’t really like what we’re doing — but he’s risky.’"

Such a line of humor comes at a great time. Having shown us he can be a man of the world, Obama’s returned home tapping into the public’s fear and diffused it. Now, if he could just find a church to attend without a wacky pastor, then he might really be in business.

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