Friday, May 16, 2008

Flag Pin? What Flag Pin?

First of all, I'm back. Sorry for the hiatus in posts.

Let's talk flag pins. They are not important. This questioning of Obama's patriotism because he doesn't wear a flag pin is patently ridiculous. The idea that politicians must wear flag pins to show their dedication to this country is as absurd as the national anthem and "God Bless America" being played at baseball games. Any focus on Obama's lapels is simply an inane story line.

ALL THAT BEING SAID, Obama's choice to start wearing the flag pin is equally ridiculous. Here is what he said about it, from a piece in the New York Times:

“Sometimes I wear it, sometimes I don’t,” Mr. Obama told The Associated Press...

“Over the last several weeks, people have been handing me flag pins,” he said. “I’ve just been leaving it on.”

And, from earlier in the campaign:
“My attitude is that I’m less concerned about what you’re wearing on you lapel than what’s in your heart,” he told audiences in Iowa. “You show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who served. You show your patriotism by being true to our values and our ideals.”
Earlier this week, Southpaw laid out Obama's vulnerabilities going into the general election. In particular, Southpaw wrote this (and I recommend reading the whole post):
He sometimes lacks the courage of his (liberal) convictions...This is beneath Obama's dignity, opens him up to flip-flopping charges, and sacrifices an opportunity to put his rhetorical gifts to use in reframing the issue.
The flag pin issue is exactly what Southpaw is talking about. Yes, Obama has been having a problem with (all together now) lower class working class voters. But is he really worried about losing these voters in the general? And is wearing a flag pin really going to make a difference? Politicians pivot on issues based on the calendar all the time, but to make a point of how unimportant wearing a flag pin is and then putting one on - that just reeks of pandering.

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