For eight long years, we heard Democrats bleating continuously about how the Republicans were “questioning their patriotism”. The most infamous example, of course was Hillary Clinton’s cri de coeur:
Video via Weasel Zippers
Hillary was perhaps the loudest and most strident of a whole host of liberal voices.
Fred Barnes wrote in The Weekly Standard in Dec. 2003, after the meme had taken off:
The claim that Democrats are targets of a political low blow by being labeled unpatriotic has become a Democratic refrain. It’s been used by Senate minority leader Tom Daschle, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, and presidential candidates Dick Gephardt, Wesley Clark, and Howard Dean. Kennedy was upbraided by Republicans in September for claiming Bush had concocted the Iraq war for political gain. His response: “There’s no question that this White House sees political advantage in the war. And you can see it in the way they attack the patriotism of those who question them.”
But nobody called Kennedy or any other Democrat unpatriotic. Bush didn’t. Senate Republicans didn’t. House majority leader Tom DeLay denounced Kennedy, but didn’t accuse him of a lack of patriotism. In this and every other case in which Democrats claim to have been smeared as unpatriotic, the facts don’t bear them out. Bush has never used the words “Democrat” and “unpatriotic” in the same sentence or in nearby sentences. In fact, he’s never uttered the word “unpatriotic” in public in any context.
James Taranto noted in a WSJ article from 2004:
After Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia lost his 2002 re-election bid, it became part of Democratic (and journalistic) folklore that he owed his ouster to GOP attacks on his patriotism. And last month in Boston, Mr. Kerry declared: “We have an important message for those who question the patriotism of Americans who offer a better direction for our country. . . . We are here to affirm that when Americans stand up and speak their minds and say America can do better, that is not a challenge to patriotism; it is the heart and soul of patriotism.”
In fact, these men had been criticized by their GOP opponents not over patriotism but over policy: Gov. Dukakis’s veto of a Pledge of Allegiance bill, Sen. Cleland’s vote against creating the Homeland Security Department over the absence of union privileges for workers in the new agency, and Sen. Kerry’s 19-year record on defense, especially his vote last year against funding the military and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Surely it is fair for any politician to take issue with his opponent’s official acts. And if those acts were motivated by something other than antipathy toward America–as any fair-minded observer must presume they were–they could have been defended on their merits. Instead, Democrats themselves raised the issue of patriotism by defensively denying that they lacked it. A cardinal rule of political communication is never to repeat an accusation in the course of denying it (“I am not a crook”). These candidates “repeated” a charge no one had even made.
Democrats repeatedly accused Republicans of questioning their patriotism, (without naming names, or citing examples). I was constantly wondering, who? Which Republican office holder overtly questioned a Democrat’s patriotism? Republicans certainly questioned their policies; they questioned their judgment, but, I never saw any actual examples of what these Dems were complaining about. It always smacked of an orchestrated party strategy, and a case of “thou dost protest too much”, to me. To be sure, many conservatives watching their behavior during the Bush years did indeed privately question their patriotism. I sure did. Commenters on blogs, no doubt, overtly questioned their patriotism, but no one in the party, of note, did. To do so would have been uncouth, and over the top. Even after Harry Reid famously announced that the Iraq War was lost in May of 2007, Republicans held their tongues.
Contrast that to the age of Obama, as Democrat Socialist hypocrisy and dishonesty continues to know no bounds:
9/27/2008: Video: Pelosi calls House GOP “unpatriotic”
Senators from states where the international automakers do considerable business unpatriotically blocked a bill that was supported by the White House, that passed the House with a bipartisan majority, and that had the support of 52 Senators.”
July 5, 2009: Los Angeles Times: Tea Parties are ‘Un-American’
Now the latest thing for the left is to accuse Republicans of treason and sedition:
Daily Kos 10/2/2009: Republicans are UnAmerican Treasonous Bastards
4/19/2009: Joe Klein: Yes, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck ‘seditious’