It Begins: Swift Boat '08

After sixteen years and untold effort spent transforming Hillary Clinton in the minds of their base from intelligent, moderate, reasonable and rational into the Most Evil Liberal of All Time Who is Out to Destroy All That Makes America Great, the Republican blowhards have got to be kicking themselves. As Obama gains more and more momentum, looking like he's got a real chance to be the nominee, they're scrambling to redirect some of that effort that they put into demonizing Hillary towards Obama.

And y'all, they are grasping at straws, big-time. Here's an AP story on what they've got so far. To sum up: a photo exists of him not holding his hand over his heart during the National Anthem whilst Hillary, Republican Enemy #1, is (see above), and he doesn't wear an American flag pin on his lapel. That's it. That's all the "Obama Hates America" dirt they've got.

I know that to the Fox News-watching portion of the electorate, wearing an American flag pin on your lapel is the height of patriotism. There is no greater expression of love for your country than to pin a tiny replica of the Stars and Stripes to your coat, and because Obama has chosen not to do so, it clearly demonstrates that he HATES AMERICA, and is part of that mysterious, eeeeEEEEEeeeevil cabal known and proven to exist by the Republican party known as the "Blame America First Crowd."

Because Obama didn't put his hand over his heart one time during the National Anthem, he's clearly in league with th' Tararists who Hate Us Because We Have Freedom.

Okay, this isn't quite as absurd as the utterly bizarre e-mail that's been circulating over the last year or so which claims that Obama is a "radical Muslim" and took his oath of office on the Qur'an and refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance and yadda yadda yadda, hoping to capture gullible, racist idiots who hate and fear Muslims on general principle.

Still, it's ludicrous. The American flag lapel pin his been de rigueur in Washington only since 9/11. And Obama's own statement on the matter was perfectly reasonable and summed up my own feelings on the matter perfectly: "I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest. Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great and, hopefully, that will be a testimony to my patriotism." Actions speak louder than words, and words and actions both speak far more loudly than fashion statements.

As for the National Anthem thing...well, that was undoubtedly an odd little gaffe on Obama's part. I'm not sure why it didn't occur to him to put his hand on his heart. I mean, I don't usually put my hand on my heart during the Anthem when I'm at a baseball game, but then, I'm not running for President, am I? Of course, I stopped saying the Pledge of Allegience when I was in 9th grade, too, so I'm clearly horrible, evil, awful, unpatriotic and I must HATE AMERICA. Anyway, it seems odd that neither Obama nor any of his staff said, "Hand on heart during National Anthem as a matter of course," but I don't think it proves anything about his patriotism or lack thereof.

But then, I think that maybe patriotism is something more than who can scream "I LOVE AMERICA!" the loudest.