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The Patriotism Dodge
Posted by: Jon Henke on Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Virginia Senate race between George Allen and James Webb looks like it will be a real firework display. Challenging Democratic Senate candidate James Webb, Allen's campaign said that "By announcing his opposition to the Flag Protection Amendment, [Webb] puts himself firmly on the side of John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Charles Schumer". As one might expect of a libertarian, I disagree very much with Virginia Senator George Allen's position on the flag ammendment — the US flag represents the 1st ammendment, it does not trump it. However, the response from the Webb campaign is absolutely nonsensical...
The campaign of U.S. Senate candidate Jim Webb today called the attacks on Webb’s patriotism by Allen’s campaign, “weak-kneed attacks by cowards” and demanded that Allen and his campaign apologize.
Attacks on Webb's patriotism? Look, here are the two releases from the Allen campaign. (1st, 2nd) Allen's campaign said Webb had sided with some liberal Democrats, and that he'd wavered on issues, but not one word about, or even remotely related to, Webb's patriotism.

I realize this is mostly just the kind of inside-baseball back and forth bickering in which campaign staff's participate, but it's transparently disingenuous. If the Webb campaign has even basic literacy skills, they know full well that the Allen campaign said nothing about Webb's patriotism. Being charitable, their response would be best termed a "diversion"; less charitably, but more accurately, the Webb campaign lied.

This is simply a repeat of the Democrats 2004 campaign strategy to accuse the Republicans of "questioning our patriotism". Ironically, in 2004, it was almost invariably the Democrats who questioned the patriotism of their opponents. Since that particular bit of martyrdom seemed to work — and the media simply transcribed those disingenuous attacks — it's back for another run in 2006.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
It’s going to be funny when Allen learns that the Flag Protection Amendment protects the Union flag. He might end up rethinking his position.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Being charitable, their response would be best termed a "diversion"; less charitably, but more accurately, the Webb campaign lied.
To be fair (charitable?), Jon, it could just be that Mr. Webb associates "liberal Democrats" with "un-patriotic" ... where he would get that idea, I have no idea.

In all seriousness, this will be a very interesting race. I’m loathe to vote against Sen. Allen since he tends to be one of the more libertarian/small-government senators (relatively speaking, of course). But Webb is a compelling character. He is certainly very accomplished, and he has dedicated a good deal of time to serving his country, especially the military. I really can’t say who I will vote for at this time, but I’m looking forward to how the race plays out.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
I think you are missing the point. Jim Webb is simply acknowledging that Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer et al are not patriots. After all, if Allen’s campaign had accused Webb of falling in line with Benedict Arnold and Tokyo Rose, then Webb would be perfectly correct in interpretting Allen’s statement as an attack his patriotism, no? So all I can take away from this episode is that Webb seems to think that Ted Kennedy and Chuck Schumer are in the same class as Benedict Arnold and Tokyo Rose.
 
Written By: A.S.
URL: http://
He is certainly very accomplished, and he has dedicated a good deal of time to serving his country, especially the military.
And this makes him qualified to be Senator HOW? Don’t get me wrong, he was a FINE Marine Coy. Commander by all accounts, and he wrote an outstanding novel in Fields of Fire, but all this makes him qualified to vote on Welfare, Iraq, Taxation, Flag-Burning, Gay Marriage, how? It’s like Sen. McCain or Max Cleland, their war service though impressive and meritorious adds NOTHING to thier career, realistically. Eisenhower’s C.V. was diffferent, he’d managed a large coalition and kept it together IN SPITE of the ego’s invovled. But rifle compnay commander, A-7 pilot, really don’t make you good or BAD as a Senator.
I will say, that Webb seems a bit, odd, daft, naive in that he resigned as SecNav because of the failue to produce the 600 ship Navy, AFTER the end of the Cold War-what we needed that fleet to intimidate Jamaica or Haiti?- and opposed the Second Gulf War, supposedly beause "politics" was being played in the decision to go to war, again Uh HELLO it’s DC and there are 536 POLITICIANS involved in the decision to go to war or not, what did he THINK was going to figure, at least in part, in a decision to fight and when, if not politics?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
To be fair, the whole point of saying Webb opposed the flag ammendment WAS to obliquely call his patriotism into question (and to link him with Teddy Kennedy, Schumer and Kerry)

Of course, Webb’s response is idiocy. Once you have to assert your patriotism, you’ve lost that round.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
On the flag issue, I sadly find myself on the same side as Schumer, Kennedy, and Kerry myself. I need a shower . . .

Oh, and Webb was right. The association does call into question his patrotism.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
No it doesn’t call his patriotism into question, it calls his JUDGEMENT into question. ME I oppose the Flag Burning Amendment, I’m not unpatriotic, I LOVE the 1st Amendment, it IS America. You don’t need to be defensive, be outgoing....When you act defensive, "They’re questioning my patriotism" you sound like well mayhap we OUGHT to question your patriotism.

Now some on the Left, not that Webb is on the Left, I don’t question their patriotism, THEY’RE FOR THE OTHER SIDE! It’s not something to be questioned. They aren’t patriotic.

What Webb IS being smeared with is Ted Kennedy and Schumer and the dreaded "L" word....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
And this makes him qualified to be Senator HOW? Don’t get me wrong, he was a FINE Marine Coy. Commander by all accounts, and he wrote an outstanding novel in Fields of Fire, but all this makes him qualified to vote on Welfare, Iraq, Taxation, Flag-Burning, Gay Marriage, how?
I didn’t say it made him qualified. I said he was "accomplished" and highlighted his exemplary service to the Nation thusfar. How would he do as a Senator? I have no idea at this point. I just know that he’s earned a fair hearing from me on the subject, in the very least. I look forward to how he aligns himself on the issues.

As for the flag-burning amendment (please note only 2 "m’s"), I don’t agree with it, and I would have encouraged my state representatives to vote against it, but I find it a bit shrill when such legislative maneuvering is called "an assault on our Constitution!" Since when is employing a Constitutional process an assault on the Constitution? Arguably, the ability to amend the Constitution was the most important provision, at least with respect to its ongoing efficacy as a governing document.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
To be charitable!?

I’m constantly amazed at such close analytical parsing of words causes one to not see the proverbial “forest for the trees”.

Of course it “attacks Webb’s patriotism”.

This silly Flag Desecration Amendment was put forward specifically to question patriotism. The Stars and Stripes is a symbol of patriotism, and to vote “against its desecration” is a political hackery for “Aren’t you a patriot?”

Surely you can see that, Jon.

I don’t know too much about Webb. And perhaps his words were poorly chosen. But isn’t it clear what this Flag Desecration Amendment was designed to do?

Seems to me that Webb’s statement was perfectly reasonable, and I’ll bet the majority of Virginians will see it that way too.

Cheers.

 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
It’s going to be funny when Allen learns that the Flag Protection Amendment protects the Union flag. He might end up rethinking his position.
Is that why Robert "KKK" Byrd voted against it MK?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Well Pogue it DESIGNED to wrong-foot politicians... you know like voting AGAINST minimum wage increases or voting to NOT renew the Clean Air Act and the like... it might be RIGHT to do so, but it sure does make you look bad. And this is from someone WHO OPPOSES THE BAN... nonetheless by voting to allow flag burning yuo ally yourself with the likes of the ACLU and Mike Moore...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Well Pogue it DESIGNED to wrong-foot politicians... you know like voting AGAINST minimum wage increases or voting to NOT renew the Clean Air Act and the like...
I call bullsh*t

Minimum wage increases and the Clean Air Act, rightly or wrongly (and I’m not going to debate that at this time), actually affects people’s lives.

The Flag amendment is purely symbolic.

nonetheless by voting to allow flag burning yuo ally yourself with the likes of the ACLU and Mike Moore...
And apparently… Joe, McQ, Jon, and many, many others.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
BUT I’m not running for office....and McQ Joe and Jon are UNKNOWNS, no one cares about us... sorry guys.
What this comes down to is you:
a) don’t like politicians doing what they do
b) don’t like Republican/Conservative politicians doing what they do.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The Flag amendment is purely symbolic.
Oh, does that mean that you didn’t really care if passed or not? After all, it wouldn’t actually affect anyone’s life if it’s purely symbolic.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
BUT I’m not running for office....and McQ Joe and Jon are UNKNOWNS, no one cares about us... sorry guys.
But.. but… I care about you, Joe ♥♥♥
What this comes down to is you:
Uh. Okay.
I don’t like blindly reaching into the drawer for a spoon and ending up with a fork. But I’ll keep reaching until I get what I want.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Oh, does that mean that you didn’t really care if passed or not? After all, it wouldn’t actually affect anyone’s life if it’s purely symbolic.
Doh!
You got a fork.

What are you fishing for, Mark?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Seems to me that Webb’s statement was perfectly reasonable, and I’ll bet the majority of Virginians will see it that way too.
Doubtful. They’ll see it as an overheated response. It’s like he just answered the old "so when did you stop hitting your wife" question.

Smarter politics would’ve been to mention that a flag burning ammendment ranks kind of low on the priorities list these days, what with Iraq, Hurricane Season, etc etc etc.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I wonder if Webb realizes that he has in fact questioned the Patiotism of Kerry, Kennedy, and Schumer. Now THATS the funny part.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Fun Fact, proper etiquette for disposal of an American flag is to burn it.
 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
Pogue,

I often disagree wuth you, but you are one of my favorite commenters and that little bit above was a perfect example of why. Very well done, LOL, whatever is appropriate.

Radical centrist, you beat me to it!
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Yeah, something about reverence for it in there on that last burning part.

Used to be it was allowed to touch the ground, that the only requirement for the stars in the canton portion were they be the correct number. Used to make for all kinds of interesting variations (circles, stars, stars of David, etc.)

Now we’re more worried about an occasional burning as protest than stopping the influx of millions of people who think waving someone else’s flag on our soil is a great idea.
Boy do we have our priorities straight or what?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Thanks, Lance. And cheers to you, my friend. And here’s to hopefully long, productive, spirited, and cordial debating.

However,
As McQ learned long ago,
You shouldn’t compliment me, for it only encourages me.

Hah!

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Well, add Sens. Sens. Robert F. Bennett of Utah and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to the ever-growing list of raging liberal senators.

Enough said!

Yes, I realize that Sen. George Felix Allen, Jr., aka Sen. Goober would like to label every darn thing under the sun by Webb either as proof he’s a liberal or a flip-flopper.

Kinna hard to be a flip-flopper when you’ve never made a public comment on an issue; or a liberal when you used to be the undersecretary of defense as well secretary of Navy for conservative god, Ronald Reagan.
 
Written By: Mimi Schaeffer
URL: http://howlinglatina.blogspot.com
I wish the Republican party would return to it’s conservative roots. What’s with this amendment mad group in Congress these days? Though I’m a Democrat, I’ve always admired the conservative point of view.

Of course Allen is trying to question Webb’s patriotism. That’s the whole reason the amendment was pushed in the first place. Jim Webb has honored the flag by his service to the country in wartime. Looks to me Allen is working out of the Karl Rove playbook and trying to stick Webb where he appears strongest.

I’m a Democrat, but I’ve felt we Democrats lost our way—especially in our shameful treatment of veterans after Vietnam. I find Jim Webb a refreshing change. He’s certainly not a cookie cutter liberal, and in some ways is probably more conservative than Allen. There’s nothing very conservative about our little nation building experiment in Iraq. Jim Webb, taking a conservative and unpopular stance at time, came out against going to Iraq in 2002. This was at a time when a lot of the country was hot to fight anyone in that part of the world.

Webb is a candidate who will pull some of the Reagan Democrats back home. We lost a lot of rural voters over the years—a lot of Vietnam vets and others who left over one social issue or the other. I’m glad to see guys like Jim Webb come back to the Democratic party. He’s a fine addition and I suspect Allen could face a real fight this fall.

 
Written By: Nick Stump
URL: http://
Well, Pogue, you wrote...
I call bullsh*t

Minimum wage increases and the Clean Air Act, rightly or wrongly (and I’m not going to debate that at this time), actually affects people’s lives.

The Flag amendment is purely symbolic.
...which implies that you believe that symbolic legislation doesn’t actually affect people’s lives.

And if that’s the case, why would you care if the purely symbolic Flag amendment passed or not?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
It’s nonsensically called the Flag Protection Amend. - purely for the political purpose of questioning the patriotism of anyone who opposes it.
Great response from Webb camp. Nice to see.
 
Written By: Stomp Allen
URL: http://
After reading the two adds by Allen I did not see him questioning the patriotism of Webb. I did see him saying Webb won’t take a position on it and two other issues, Iraq withdrawal and immigration.

I thought that that was what campaigning was about, seeing where opponent stands or forcing him to take a stand and then making your stands seem the better of the two.

Webb’s’ reply sounded like something from a grade schooler, whining about something that WAS NOT said and still evading the other issues. At the same time Webb personally attacked Allen by calling him a coward and saying he cut and ran from service. Next Webb will say that Allen is mean spirited. Typical democrat tactics.
 
Written By: DCB
URL: http://
Since I’m one of a small group of people who got Jim Webb to run in the first place .... a couple thoughts for my libertarian friends.

What Webb is mostly is Independent in nature and styles his campaign as a Jacksonian Democrat. His social stances I would define as libertarian in prinicpal ... namely that the Government stops at your door. So no gay bashing, choice regarding abortion, strongly backs 2nd amendment .... and now opposition to the assinine republican flag burning admendment.

He is a strategic thinker on foriegn affairs and visionary regarding the IRAQ debacle (they should have listen to him). I wasn’t sure how he would stand on some issues ...and running as a democrat ... but he has more than exceeded my expectations. His campaign manager (with the over the top patriotism bluster) ... is appearing to be a Hack ... just like DickWad hams.

The Republican party (in control of the executive and congressional branches) have delivered us Careerism, Cronyism, Corruption and Deficits. BIG GOVERNMENT Conservatisms ... and direct thearts to Liberty. George Allen has been with Bush 97% of the time on this. He’s a yes man, careerist politician and along with lobbyist .... HE HAS TO GO!!

Jim Webb for Senate when Integrity matters!!
 
Written By: DraftJimWebb
URL: http://
Allen, who never served, ain’t gonna bring this issue up again. Allen ducked out during the war and a real war hero called him on his crap.
 
Written By: Jet Travis
URL: http://
Business woman, U.S. Air Force officer (ret) Gail Parker is also on the bllot for U.S. Senate.
 
Written By: joe oddo
URL: http://www.votejoinrun.us
Seems to me any observer of the American elections over the past 10 years must have wondered at the endless manipulation of the voter by exaclty such things as the gay marriage amendment and flag burning amendment—- obviously the republicans, who do most of this "have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife-yet" type of maneuvering regard us voters as doofus dumbells. The observer must also have wondered at the weak-kneed Democratic responses. Now that a Democrat has responded appropriately, as Jim Webb’s campaign has done here, I refuse to get all prissy and try to extract some fine reasoning on why he should have done it differently. The Allen attack was classic playground bully ("your mom wears combat boots," or some such taunt) and the reply was appropriate to the stupid attack. Why be shocked, I say shocked, when the worm turns? Suddenly the victim is fighting back after all these years, and it turns out the victim is pretty good at fighting; like any bully, the Allen campaign is startled, doesn’t like it. They have a fight on their hands, and it’s about time. Go Webb!
 
Written By: Uppity Gal
URL: http://

 
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