Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani openly questioned President Obama’s love of America, by comparing his speeches and talks to those of Reagan and Clinton. He tried to soften the blow by admitting that was a horrible thing to say, according to “Talking Points Memo,” but he does believe that Obama lacks a certain patriotism because he doesn’t speak and act a certain way.
The comments came Wednesday night at a group dinner, replete with conservative media types, right-wing businesspeople, and even potential 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker. Politico reports that Giuliani said, specifically:
I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. 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.
This begs the question, though: Do any Republicans actually love America? They claim to, but they support everything that hurts America, including more wars we can’t pay for, tax cuts for the wealthy that do nothing to create jobs, continuing to allow multi-billion dollar corporations avoid paying their taxes, refusing to prosecute the big banks for activities that sent our economy into the toilet and bring them into line so that doesn’t happen again, and more. The list is endless, and Giuliani has the gall to say Obama doesn’t love us?
Giuliani went on to complain that he hears much more criticism of America from Obama than he does expressions of love. Obviously, that’s a heinous crime. Sometimes, pointing out flaws we want to fix, and trying to find ways to fix them, is a better expression of love, because it’s saying, “I want us to be the absolute best we can be. Right now, we’re not, and we need to fix that.” But Republicans would rather hear blind, even sycophantic, rhetoric, than criticism.
A different article in “Talking Points Memo” says that “Fox & Friends” asked Giuliani to explain himself, and he decided to try and backpedal a bit, saying:
I’m not questioning his patriotism. He’s a patriot, I’m sure. What I’m saying is that in his rhetoric, I very rarely hear him say the things that I used to hear Ronald Reagan say, the things I used to hear Bill Clinton say, about how much he loves America.
He also said:
When it’s not in the context of an overwhelming number of statements about the exceptionalism of America, it sounds like he’s more of a critic than he is a supporter. You can be a patriotic American and be a critic, but then you’re not expressing that kind of love that we’re used to from a President.
If you can be patriotic and a critic, then what’s the problem? He’s contradicting himself here in his desperate attempt to backpedal away from openly questioning Obama’s patriotism.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz shot back at Giuliani for all of this. According to “The Huffington Post,” she denounced Giuliani’s statements, and hit Republicans hard, by saying:
Sure, we have policy differences, and we should talk about them. Sure, we have big differences over the direction we should take the country; we should talk about those too. But for them, it’s more than that. It’s personal, and it’s ugly, and there’s no sign of it getting better.
In all seriousness, I rarely agreed with President Bush, but I never questioned his love for our country. I don’t often agree with my Republican colleagues on the Hill, but I know they love America.
Perhaps if Giuliani wants to question the president, he should question the president’s decisions and policy ideas, and offer better ideas. That’s not disrespectful, that’s disagreement, which always happens. Instead, he decided to attack Obama by attacking his patriotism, which is just low, and wholly unnecessary.