During the run-up to the Iraq War, it was conventional wisdom among truculent Republicans that anyone who dared to question George W. Bush's logic for invasion was an unpatriotic defeatist who hated America. Anti-war liberals rightly took umbrage at the popular smear, noting in turn that dissent can be a form of patriotism.
Well, except when that dissent is directed at a Democratic president. Last week, conservatives who mocked President Obama's failed Olympics bid were charged with rooting against America. Today, the Democratic National Committee equates RNC chairman Michael Steele with the Taliban because both denounced Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. Here is a small sampling of the many America-hating accusations leveled at critics of the president.
Ann Coulter in 2002: "Liberals hate America, they hate flag-wavers, they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except Islam, post 9/11. Even Islamic terrorists don't hate America like liberals do."
Neil Cavuto in 2005, on Canadians: "Do the Canadian people hate America as much as your politicians seem to?"
Joe Klein in 2006, on Democrats' election prospects: "Well they won't if their message is that they hate America -- which is what has been the message of the liberal wing of the party for the past twenty years."
Glenn Beck in 2007, on California forest fires: "I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today."
Bill O'Reilly in 2007, on immigration: "On the other side, you have people who hate America, and they hate it because it's run primarily by white, Christian men."
Steve Benen last week, on Olympics: "What I find fascinating is the extent to which the far-right was rooting against the country."
Think Progress last week, on Olympics: "Always looking for a way to bring down Obama, conservatives not only criticized the President’s 15-hour trip, but also spent this week denegrating Chicago, downplaying the Olympics, and rooting against America."
Democratic National Committee today, on Obama's Nobel:
The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists — the Taliban and Hamas this morning — in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize. Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace prize — an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride — unless of course you are the Republican Party. The 2009 version of the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn. It’s no wonder only 20 percent of Americans admit to being Republicans anymore – it’s an embarrassing label to claim.
Greg Sargent responds: "It's worth noting that Republicans who fail to find anything good or celebratory to say about the Nobel risk doing at least as much damage to themselves as to Obama, by feeding the GOP-wants-America-to-fail meme." Alex Koppelman agrees: "Here's the DNC getting its rhetoric straight from the Bush playbook circa 2002-2004."