We can tell who the Democrat media fears among the GOP 2016 presidential field; it’s tipping its hand.
Fresh off the castigation of Scott Walker for his lack of a college degree and his refusal to be dragged into the question of evolution vs. creationism, Walker is now being dragged through the mud for failing to repudiate statements made by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani assailing the patriotism of President Barack Obama.
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” said the former mayor at a Manhattan fundraiser for Walker a week ago. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
Giuliani didn’t stop there. “I thought the Crown Heights riots were a pogrom because you’re going out trying to kill Jews,” he said. “Why is this man incapable of saying that? You’ve got to be able to criticize Islam for the parts of Islam that are wrong. You criticize Christianity for the part of Christianity that is wrong. I’m not sure how wrong the Crusades are. The Crusades were kind of an equal battle between two groups of barbarians. The Muslims and the crusading barbarians. What the hell? What’s wrong with this man that he can’t stand up and say there’s a part of Islam that’s sick?”
Giuliani has been castigating the president in less-than-polite terms for some time now, and in fact let loose with a broadside against Obama’s poor judgment and insufficient fealty to the American people far more white-hot than his New York remarks in a Phoenix appearance the week before.
But that attack on Obama, which was uploaded to YouTube for all to see, didn’t get much play in the media. It wasn’t until the media could tie Giuliani to Walker because the latter was present at the 21 Club for what was supposed to be an off-the-record conversation that night that Giuliani became outrageous.
Since then, Walker has been subjected to a new round of “Gotcha!” questions and media attacks, this time around Giuliani’s statements. Asked about Giuliani’s comments on CNBC, Walker raised hackles by refusing to dive into the controversy. “The mayor can speak for himself,” he said. “I’m not going to comment on what the president thinks or not. He can speak for himself as well.” Then, on Saturday the Associated Press published a piece with an interview with Walker including more stiff-arm comments. “You should ask the president what he thinks about America,” he said in Washington for a weekend meeting of the National Governors Association. “I’ve never asked him so I don’t know.”
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, hardly an objective analyst, was unhinged. “What Scott Walker did ought to disqualify him as a serious presidential contender,” he scribbled, demanding that Walker distance himself from Giuliani.
Milbank’s column sounded nearly identical to a press release put out by Democrat National Committee spokeswoman Holly Shulman. “After sitting silently by when Rudy Giuliani made an outrageous comment that our President doesn’t love America, today Scott Walker has doubled down on his divisive politics saying he doesn’t know if the President loves our country, and then questioning President Obama’s religion.”
“Scott Walker had a simple test,” Shulman continued. “He could have risen above the fray, but he continues to flatly fail and instead push the same polarizing agenda and politics he has for years in Wisconsin. Today, Walker has proven himself once again to be unfit to lead.”
Thus Giuliani is now subject to Alinsky’s Rule 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. He’s been frozen and polarized, and he’s being used to discredit the Republican Party, and Walker in particular. In an otherwise cagey statement giving passive acceptance to Giuliani’s ostracism, Walker’s potential GOP rival, Sen. Marco Rubio indicted the media’s complicity in the mounting narrative. “Democrats aren’t asked to answer every time Joe Biden says something embarrassing, so I don’t know why I should answer every time a Republican does,” said Rubio. “I’ll suffice it to say that I believe the president loves America; I think his ideas are bad.”
While Rubio’s statement was indeed artful, and calculated to avoid being consumed in the media’s firestorm while still denigrating their performance, it avoids the question: why is Giuliani’s indictment of Obama’s patriotism such an object of derision? What makes his statement so, in Milbank’s words, “beyond the pale”?
What is patriotism? The concept shouldn’t necessarily require an attitude of “My country, right or wrong,” a standard nobody could argue Obama meets based on his words and deeds, but wouldn’t we all agree that a love for one’s country and its people manifested in word, deed and tone is a reasonable definition? Wouldn’t we all say that an American patriot could be expected to at least give his country the benefit of the doubt? Would we not imagine a patriot to take joy in exhibiting pride for his country when the occasion presents itself?
This past month has hardly presented evidence that Obama gives America the benefit of the doubt. Did he not two weeks ago equate ISIS terrorism with slavery and Jim Crow in the United States? Has he not just recently conducted negotiations with Iran in which he allowed, without repercussion, his representative — our representative! — Secretary of State John Kerry to be insulted with screams by his Iranian counterpart to such an extent that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei admonished his man to be more civil? Was he not in India a short time ago decrying the racial hatred extant in the United States?
This piece could go on with countless examples of Obama’s subtle, and not-so-subtle, digs at a country we’re to take it for granted that he loves. Well, it’s entirely reasonable to refuse to comply with such a demand — Republicans, led by their hapless nominee John McCain, refused to vet these questions in 2008 despite obvious evidence of, to put it charitably, questionable influences in Obama’s background and were thus complicit in inflicting the most damaging presidency in modern times on the Republic. It’s about time someone with the respect and credibility of a Giuliani spoke of things which can no longer be papered over as America continues its free fall under this president.
And Walker is under no obligation whatsoever to repudiate Giuliani. As he said, the mayor is entitled to offer what opinions he will. Maybe the media ought to ask Obama why such an esteemed figure as the former mayor of New York City thinks he doesn’t love America.