Pattern Recognition

The other day, several folks in the comments of an open thread linked to this Rick Moran piece in which he pointed out the sorry state of the current GOP:

For you see, according to my many critics on the hard right, evidently I am not a conservative. I am an atheist, pro-choice, gay loving, liberal weenie – despite the fact I was on the frontlines of conservative activism when most of my critics were still in books or not even born yet. There wouldn’t be a conservative revolution without people like me and it’s time you haughty, holier than thou, insufferably arrogant party destroying numskulls acknowledged it. You have turned a party with which a majority of Americans identified because of its probity, its strong stands on national defense, foreign policy, and fiscal restraint into the party of anti-abortion zealots, gay bashing louts, and obsessed morality nannies.

My response to the comments:

Look- I like Rick Moran, as he seems to be a pretty decent guy (and is always quite polite when we chat via AOL IM), and I know he really tries to be honest with what he is feeling and thinking, but the fact of the matter is this is about the umpteenth time he has posted something like this. While I agree with his assessment that the GOP is nothing now but religious nuts, Bush sycophants, and some other dead-enders, in a week or so, some asshole (take your pick- Ace, Michelle, Hugh Hewitt, Rush Limbaugh) will make up some bullshit lie about a Democrat (take your pick- Harry Reid, Obama, Hillary, Nancy Pelosi) in which their (again, take your pick- integrity, honesty, sexuality, patriotism) is questioned or smeared, and Rick will uncritically swallow it, bash them for a few days, and then offer a meek apology a few weeks later.

At some point you start to recognize a pattern in all of this.

And today, three days later, Rick writes about the Obama “lapel pin” controversy:

The unspoken message here (actually hinted at by Obama) is that those who actually do wear lapel pins are fake patriots. “True patriotism” or “speaking out” is genuine patriotism while those who indulge themselves in flag waving or flag wearing are charlatans. After all, isn’t patriotism “the last refuge of scoundrels?”

Why is it the de facto position on the left that those who reveal outward manifestations of patriotism are, in fact, hypocrites or worse, fakes? What psychic awareness do they possess that the rest of us don’t, allowing them to glean intent and motive whenever the mood hits them to advance the notion that people who love this country and want to wear or wave the flag are, by definition, phonies?

Sure, the Republican party is a bunch of sleazy, slimy, and corrupt hypocrites and liars, but when you can go out there and fictionalize the evil and nefarious “unspoken message” of “THE LEFT” and compare ’em, what is an honest man to do?

/sigh.

For those of you keeping score, I predicted that:

1.) “in a week or so” – It only took three days.

2.) “some asshole (take your pick- Ace, Michelle, Hugh Hewitt, Rush Limbaugh)” – It was Michelle, Fox news, Jonah Goldberg, and assorted others.

3.) “will make up some bullshit lie about a Democrat (take your pick- Harry Reid, Obama, Hillary, Nancy Pelosi)” – It was Obama

4.) “in which their (again, take your pick- integrity, honesty, sexuality, patriotism) is questioned or smeared” – Ding! Patriotism.

5.) “and Rick will uncritically swallow it, bash them for a few days” – Right on cue.

6.) “and then offer a meek apology a few weeks later.” – Stay Tuned!

60 replies
  1. 1
    TenguPhule says:

    Why is it the de facto position on the left that those who reveal outward manifestations of patriotism are, in fact, hypocrites or worse, fakes?

    Uh, because more often then not they *ARE*?

  2. 2
    rawshark says:

    Why is it the de facto position on the left that those who reveal outward manifestations of patriotism are, in fact, hypocrites or worse, fakes? What psychic awareness do they possess that the rest of us don’t,

    Because it’s not patiortism, it’s nationalism and nationalism is irrational country-fan-boy craziness. Maybe when Moran was ‘in books’ he should have read some Orwell.

    Nationalism; My country, right or wrong.

    Patriotism; My country, right or wrong, if right, to be kept right, if wrong, to be put right.

    inarticulately stated as always
    jg

  3. 3
    RSA says:

    The unspoken message here (actually hinted at by Obama) is that those who actually do wear lapel pins are fake patriots.

    Actually, the message is “Pay attention to what I say [and do, presumably], not to whether I take the trivial effort to wear a symbol on my clothing.” I don’t know about anyone else, but to me the parallels between some rightwingers and the familiar New Testament stories about the Pharisees are pretty obvious.

  4. 4
    Pb says:

    How does Barack Obama choosing not to wear a lapel pin (OMG lapelgate!) stack up against, say, choosing to wear purple heart band-aids to mock a Vietnam veteran for political reasons? Did Rick Moran ever deign to cover that one, or was it just too trivial in comparison to lapelgate?

  5. 5

    Could someone point out to me where Obama made this claim that wearing a lapel pin was a sign of fake patriotism?

  6. 6
    John Cole says:

    Could someone point out to me where Obama made this claim that wearing a lapel pin was a sign of fake patriotism?

    No. It was “unspoken.” Which means that Rick just fucking made it up and then beat the living shit out of Obama for daring to not say that.

  7. 7

    No. It was “unspoken.” Which means that Rick just fucking made it up and then beat the living shit out of Obama for daring to not say that.

    That’s kind of what I thought. I can’t find Obama saying it anywhere…

    It seems like Rick is attacking what he most fears. That the lapel pin thing is fake patriotism. Perhaps it’s because there is truth to such a statement?

  8. 8
    Andrew says:

    I demand mandatory American flag tattoos on the foreheads of every right wing blogger, asap. Because they are fake patriots if they don’t get one.

  9. 9
    Wilfred says:

    Just once I’d like to see someone treat this kind of nonsense for what it is. Maybe Obama could come out wearing a giant American flag pendant around his neck, battery powered to blast out the Star Spangled Banner whenever somebody asks him about Jesus or Iraq or Zygote rights. It could set off a Patriotism Race. Uncle Fred could wear an American flag suit made from the used-up socks of American troops, or Guiliani could have Barbara Fraitchie tattooed on his iodine bottle skull. Why stop with some lousy lapel pin?

  10. 10
    Bombadil says:

    For those of you keeping score, I predicted that:

    1.) “in a week or so” – It only took three days.

    2.) “some asshole (take your pick- Ace, Michelle, Hugh Hewitt, Rush Limbaugh)” – It was Michelle, Fox news, Jonah Goldberg, and assorted others.

    3.) “will make up some bullshit lie about a Democrat (take your pick- Harry Reid, Obama, Hillary, Nancy Pelosi)” – It was Obama

    4.) “in which their (again, take your pick- integrity, honesty, sexuality, patriotism) is questioned or smeared” – Ding! Patriotism.

    5.) “and Rick will uncritically swallow it, bash them for a few days” – Right on cue.

    6.) “and then offer a meek apology a few weeks later.” – Stay Tuned!

    John, sometimes you deserve an easy week, and these things just write themselves. But you were scary accurate. Good job!

  11. 11
    Jim Henley says:

    @ rawshark

    I like Jesse Walker’s formulation best:

    Patriotism – I love my dad.

    Nationalism – My dad can beat up your dad.

    Imperialism – Here he comes now!

  12. 12
    Tim F. says:

    Doesn’t the flag code discourage people from wearing flags as apparel?

    Then again it probably discourages people from shredding flags by running them up their car aerial and driving at eighty, so it’s not much of a code.

  13. 13
    Ugh says:

    I thought Obama did say he “saw people wearing the pins that weren’t acting very patriotic”?

    But this is fucking ridiculous.

  14. 14
    Zifnab says:

    Doesn’t the flag code discourage people from wearing flags as apparel?

    Good thing that Flag Amendment never got passed or everyone except Obama would be in seriously deep doo-doo.

    As always, I appreciate how the right wing shines the floodlights on the Democratic candidates. You know you’ve got a winning line-up of Presidential Hopefuls when you need to spend a few hours covering the lapels of the opposition to highlight his deficiencies.

  15. 15
    dingo says:

    Rick Moran is a thin-skinned bully who writes very well technically, but whose content is that of a Goldwater Republican with a raging sense of inferiority. He is best ignored.

  16. 16
    John Cole says:

    “You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin,” Obama said. “Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest.

    “Instead,” he said, “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.”

    Is what Obama said. It doesn’t mean that if you wear a pin you are a fake patriot. It means Obama chooses to demonstrate his patriotism by doing patriotic things.

    So do I- like questioning our torture policy and calling this administration filth.

  17. 17
    Ugh says:

    Ah, according to fox he said (in part):

    After a while, I noticed people wearing a lapel pin and not acting very patriotic….

  18. 18
    JWeidner says:

    Doesn’t the flag code discourage people from wearing flags as apparel?

    Then again it probably discourages people from shredding flags by running them up their car aerial and driving at eighty, so it’s not much of a code.

    In light of the recent “Talk Like A Pirate Day” in September, allow me to quote Captain Barbossa:

    the code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.

    Welcome aboard Tim!

  19. 19
    rawshark says:

    Everything’s wrong when a democrat says or does it. It. Is. That. Simple.

    If you’re wearing a pin or sporting a bumper sticker because you feel, for whatever reason, that not doing so means you hate your country then you are a fake patriot. Sorry. You’re an insecure gullible little loser who is being tricked into supporting people who don’t love you. At all.

    Didn’t ‘Seifeld’ deal with this before? ‘Why don’t you wear ze ribbon?’

  20. 20
    mitch says:

    I’d just like to say that this is fast becoming my favorite blog.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    sidereal says:

    Ding! Patriotism.

    Grats!

  23. 23
    Rick Moran says:

    Could someone point out to me where Obama made this claim that wearing a lapel pin was a sign of fake patriotism?

    Obama:

    …that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues…

    I guess when you have “true patriotism” there’s no such thing as “false patriotism?” And he is clearly referring back to the flag pin being a “substitute” for true patriotism, i.e. “false” patritoism.

    Could the inference be any clearer? Not that anyone on this site has the intellectual honesty to admit it.

  24. 24
    Cyrus says:

    For those of you keeping score, I predicted that:

    in a week or so, some asshole (take your pick- Ace, Michelle, Hugh Hewitt, Rush Limbaugh) will make up some bullshit lie about a Democrat (take your pick- Harry Reid, Obama, Hillary, Nancy Pelosi) in which their (again, take your pick- integrity, honesty, sexuality, patriotism) is questioned or smeared, and Rick will uncritically swallow it, bash them for a few days, and then offer a meek apology a few weeks later.

    Not to burst your bubble, and good for you for knowing Rick well enough to make that prediction, but every part of that until the “and” is a pretty safe bet.

    Uncle Fred could wear an American flag suit made from the used-up socks of American troops,

    I’m offended. Don’t worry, not at the implication that Fred Thompson would do something offensive, or at the idea of making the flag out of socks and/or wearing it as a suit. No, I’m offended because I have an uncle named Fred, and for a split second there I was very worried.

  25. 25
    Tim F. says:

    Given the PC police hysterics over these lapel pins (Hannity is particularly precious), the implication that someone isn’t a patriot if he doesn’t make a cheap gesture is pretty damn overt. I find that highly offensive, and more power to Obama for pointing it out.

  26. 26

    Ah, according to fox he said (in part):

    After a while, I noticed people wearing a lapel pin and not acting very patriotic….

    Again that does not say if you wear a lapel pin you are a fake patriot.

  27. 27

    I guess when you have “true patriotism” there’s no such thing as “false patriotism?” And he is clearly referring back to the flag pin being a “substitute” for true patriotism, i.e. “false” patritoism.

    Could the inference be any clearer? Not that anyone on this site has the intellectual honesty to admit it.

    So you are basically admitting he didn’t say what you claim he said? But are rather putting words in his mouth to fuel your faux outrage.

    Thank you Mr. Moran, for being honest with us all.

    As John noted, tomorrow you’ll issue your apology, I assume?

  28. 28
    JWeidner says:

    I guess when you have “true patriotism” there’s no such thing as “false patriotism?” And he is clearly referring back to the flag pin being a “substitute” for true patriotism, i.e. “false” patritoism.

    So then a substitute teacher is a false teacher? A substitute player in some team sport is a false player?

    Frankly, I read the statement as him simply saying that patriotism is having the courage to speak out on issues affecting this country, and that the lapel pins became a way for people to claim the mantle of patriotism without having to do any of the heavy lifting.

    But I doubt you have the intellectual honesty to consider that.

  29. 29
    HyperIon says:

    obviously Moran deducing that Obama thinks folks who wear flag pins are fake patriots is completely Obama’s fault. just like his believing Code Pink folks would have a sign saying “we support the murder of american troops” was Code Pink’s fault. the guy is suffering from severe kool-aid poisoning. and now he’s responded to this JC post….

    I will respond to John Cole thusly:

    You’re a fucking liar.

  30. 30
    Tim F. says:

    I guess when you have “true patriotism” there’s no such thing as “false patriotism?” And he is clearly referring back to the flag pin being a “substitute” for true patriotism, i.e. “false” patritoism.

    False dichotomy fallacy, compounded by hasty generalization. You’re a bright guy, Rick, but I’ll point this one out for free. If I observe that a set labeled “pin wearers” overlaps with a set labeled “not very patriotic,” I have not argued that the two sets are identical.

  31. 31
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Speak of the Devil. I just read Moran for the first time — and called him out on exactly what John points out — last night. On that particular occasion, his America-hating Debbils were Kerry, Murtha and Sen. Durbin for having to temerity to say that a small fraction of U.S. troops (or military interrogators) have done immoral things — at which point he instantly jumped to the conclusion that they were saying that MOST U.S. troops do such things, which as I pointed out was hogwash (with quotes as to what they actually HAD said). The man is childish — which is a pity, because he does have a decent streak that keeps him from lurching all the way into religious bigotry or support for torture.

  32. 32
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    By the way, Tim, when it comes to silly logical fallacies Moran is the master. So help me God, he could be seen yesterday saying that because Sen. Reid said that the troops “are fighting and dying for us”, this must mean that Reid was saying that he really supports the war. Then he had the nerve to accuse the DEMOCRATS of being childish.

    As for that flag pin being “false patriotism”: it’s not exactly news, Rick, that waving a flag around is very often an easy substitute for actually doing anything concrete to help your country. You may recall Evelyn Waugh’s wartime novel “Put Out More Flags”… Obama could have made his point better, though, by calling it “fake patriotism”.

  33. 33
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    You have GOT to do something about your site’s wiring, John…

  34. 34
    searp says:

    On lapels: whatever happened to letting your actions speak? Assholes run around with flags in their lapels and ribbons on their cars as if… that discharged their responsibility to the country.

    I strongly suggest that everyone who wants to support the troops volunteer for a month at FOB Falcon or FOB Kalsu, taking the place of a soldier so that he/she can visit home.

    You’d have an entirely different perspective, and might stop thinking that inexpensive symbology means, well, anything.

  35. 35
    gypsy howell says:

    Harumph! Next thing you know, that bastard leftist moonbat will be claiming that many people who slap yellow ribbon magnets on their cars don’t in fact do a damn thing to actually support the troops! Harumph! Harumph!

  36. 36
    Bombadil says:

    The old man used to refer to cowboy hats as “hemorrhoids” — sooner or later every asshole has one. Lapel pins and yellow ribbons seem to fall into the same category.

    Someone had posted the lyrics to John Prine’s “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore” (although they seem to have disappeared — too long? copyright infringement? whatever). Great song, and sadly still appropriate to the times.

  37. 37
    dingo says:

    Mr. Moran has bravely closed the comments section on his website. If you can’t stand the heat . . .

  38. 38
    Bombadil says:

    dingo Says:

    Mr. Moran has bravely closed the comments section on his website. If you can’t stand the heat . . .

    It’s not the content of the posts that was a problem. It’s just that he moves his lips when he reads and he couldn’t keep up.

  39. 39
    searp says:

    Most of the flag pin specialists do a lot: they vote for huge sums for contractors and let staff officers with large behinds decide how to economize with the leftovers and fight a war.

    Answer: MRAPS are good (someone builds them and gets most of the money, they do actually provide better protection). Soldiers? Well, they are good when they are deployed, not so useful when they are going to school or in medical treatment. Really, really useless when they are out and we still pay them.

    Matter of fact, most of those lapel pins ought to be replaced by the General Dynamics logo, or pick it, Northrop, Raytheon, etc. Then we’d have some truth in advertising.

  40. 40
    Punchy says:

    After a while, I noticed people wearing a lapel pin and not acting very patriotic….

    Phony patriots.

  41. 41
    RSA says:

    Rick seems to be taking Obama to have said, “Wearing a flag pin has become a substitute for patriotism for everyone who wears a flag pin.” Does anyone honestly believe that this is what Obama meant? I guess so, but I wonder how those people get through their everyday lives.

  42. 42
    whippoorwill says:

    Rick Moran says

    that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues…
    I guess when you have “true patriotism” there’s no such thing as “false patriotism?” And he is clearly referring back to the flag pin being a “substitute” for truepatriotism, i.e. “false” patritoism.

    Could the inference be any clearer? Not that anyone on this site has the intellectual honesty to admit it.

    If you’re fishing for a statement that says most of us on the left believe the wingnuts have used patriotic symbols IE.. excessive flag waving, pins, bumper stickers, flag lapels, flag swaddling, and all other sorts of jingoist garbarge to somehow claim patriotic superiority over liberals, then yeah I’ll admit it and if you give me 65.000 pesos ,or whatever, I’ll run a full page add in the NYT where I will coin a new phrase of “Cotton Candy Patriots” referring to folks like you who practice false patriotism all day every day.

  43. 43

    Not really on the topic of Rick Moran, but when I was in junior high (I dating myself here), I got sent home from school for wearing a shirt that my mom had embroidered an American flag on because it was considered disrespectful back then.

    That experience made a huge impression on me. Since then, I have viewed those who wear American flag shirts, jackets, underwear, bathing suits, what have you, as being disrespectful.

    just my 2 cents . . .

  44. 44
    Soliton says:

    An interesting comment I heard once from a Holocaust survivor was her name for the Nazi reign of terror.

    She called it “flag madness” since there were so many Nazi flags flying everywhere.

    I think of that every time I see a particularly blatant display of flags here in “the land of the free”.

    I wonder what Mr Moran’s response might be?

  45. 45
    Zifnab says:

    I wonder what Mr Moran’s Limbaugh’s response might be?

    She’s clearly a fake Holocaust survivor.

  46. 46
    binzinerator says:

    I was somehow reminded of John Prine’s song about another flag knick-knack from another war:


    But your flag decal won’t get you
    Into Heaven any more.
    They’re already overcrowded
    From your dirty little war.

    The wingers have always loved making sure we sport cheap little trinkets to prove how patriotic we are, haven’t they?

    And did anyone spot the combat metaphor in that quote of yours of Moran’s sentence, “…I was on the frontlines of conservative activism…”)? Frontlines, he says. Sounds dangerous. Lots of chances to test one’s courage. Lots of chances for IED and RPG attacks while riding an unarmored and unescorted keyboard in support of teh Mission.

    That “I’m a warrior too!” fantasy — That’s been a pattern too with the rightwing blognuts.

  47. 47
    binzinerator says:

    You know, I think part of why those flag pins are so precious to the the winger crowd is because they function like a loyalty-oath. It’s a way to control and define who and what a patriot is, and to attack those who disagree or question the motives and sincerity behind it.

    According to the Wiki, “the Republican National Committee (RNC) used both signed Loyalty Oaths and spoken Loyalty Pledges as a requirement to attend certain 2004 re-election campaign speeches, a possible first in U.S. election history.”

    They’ve brought McCarthy’s tools and tricks back to life. So of course they love flag pins.

  48. 48
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Damned if Survey USA hasn’t already done a poll of Ohioans (who usually pretty closely reflect overall American opinion) on this burning issue. Short version: 22% of them think that not wearing a flag pin makes you less patriotic. In short, we have reassuring confirmation that only 22% of the American people have lost their minds.

    Obama has obviously decided to try basing his campaign on the assumption that American voters are adults. This may not be wise; an awful lot of past candidates have come to grief on that assumption — but it’s always an interesting experiment.

  49. 49
    rawshark says:

    binzinerator Says:

    You know, I think part of why those flag pins are so precious to the the winger crowd is because they function like a loyalty-oath. It’s a way to control and define who and what a patriot is, and to attack those who disagree or question the motives and sincerity behind it.

    That’s exactly it. It creates a visible difference between the righteous God fearing and country loving patriots and ‘those people’ who look just like the RGFaCLPs.

  50. 50
    D-Chance. says:

    rawshark Says:

    binzinerator Says:

    You know, I think part of why those flag pins are so precious to the the winger crowd is because they function like a loyalty-oath. It’s a way to control and define who and what a patriot is, and to attack those who disagree or question the motives and sincerity behind it.

    That’s exactly it. It creates a visible difference between the righteous God fearing and country loving patriots and ‘those people’ who look just like the RGFaCLPs.

    Sounds like the biblical “mark of the beast” in reverse.

  51. 51
    CalD says:

    6.) “and then offer a meek apology a few weeks later.” – Stay Tuned!

    Well sure, he was gonna apologize, in a few days, after the bloodlust faded. Now, he probably won’t do it just for spite.

  52. 52
    jcricket says:

    That’s exactly it. It creates a visible difference between the righteous God fearing and country loving patriots and ‘those people’ who look just like the RGFaCLPs.

    Hmmm, reminds me of something:

    “In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face… was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime…” —pg 54

  53. 53
    The Other Steve says:

    You know, I was thinking. Ron Paul represents the radical fringe of the Republican party. What’s that say, when the radical fringe is the most sane?

  54. 54
    whippoorwill says:

    I’m thinking about having a special lapel pin made of this.

    No greater calling.

  55. 55
    TenguPhule says:

    Not that anyone on this site has the intellectual honesty to admit it.

    Rick’s words might have some weight if not for the fact that he has the intellectual capacity of a silverfish.

  56. 56
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Ron Paul is now defending Obama. Speaking for myself, I can hardly wait to see the comments on this issue at the next GOP candidates’ debate.

  57. 57
    Davebo says:

    Someone might ask Rick why his extensive website contains not a single image of Old Glory.

    I served in the color guard for a time while in the military. I’ve had neighbors ask me why I fly the flag on the 4th of July and other holidays but not everyday. I explain that I have to leave for work and wouldn’t be around to take down the flag in the case of inclimate weather.

    They didn’t understand. I’m certain Rick wouldn’t either.

  58. 58
    searp says:

    A better measure of patriotism is whether you did something real hard when asked or when it was needed. Putting a lapel pin on in the morning requires about a quarter calorie of effort. Everyone should judge he importance accordingly.

  59. 59

    […] In the comments to this post at Balloon Juice where my integrity was called into question, some ignorant commenter (who didn’t bother to read what I had written about the Obama flap) said that those on the right who consider themselves patriotic are, in fact, nationalists instead. […]

  60. 60

    […] I’d ask him in the comments where I questioned his integrity in this post, but he doesn’t have any (comments, that is). I guess it must have been right after I said “I like Rick Moran.” […]

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  2. […] In the comments to this post at Balloon Juice where my integrity was called into question, some ignorant commenter (who didn’t bother to read what I had written about the Obama flap) said that those on the right who consider themselves patriotic are, in fact, nationalists instead. […]

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