Bachmann and Palin - McCarthy and Agnew Redux?
I apologize for lying to you. I promise I won't deceive you except in matters of this sort. - Spiro Agnew
Sarah Palin, in extolling the virtues of small towns, has mused about how they are "pro-America," presumably as distinct from the anti-American parts of the nation. Even more baldly, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota told MSNBC that she was "very concerned" that Barack Obama "may have anti-American views." Although Bachmann declined interviewer Chris Matthews' invitation to name other members of Congress who were anti-American, she ventured the opinion that the American people would welcome an expose on those members who fit the bill. She later tried to extricate herself from her own mudslinging, but her previous comments were neither forced nor misconstrued.
Setting aside the amusing spectacle of a member of Congress calling on the media to expose members of Congress (careful what you wish for, congresswoman), it is worth considering the implications of this alleged anti-Americanism. We begin with what we hope is obvious to all: There is a difference between disagreeing about how to improve this country and asserting that one side of the debate is pro-America and the other is anti-America. ...
The veer into who is pro- and who is anti-America, however, is another matter altogether. Does Obama's passing friendship with William Ayers, co-founder of the Weather Underground, constitute an act of bad judgment? Perhaps. Is it evidence of anti-Americanism? That's where a critique becomes a smear. Similarly, Bachmann glibly tossed around her malevolence, lighting upon House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Senate Majority LeaderHarry Reid (D-Nev.), who, in her estimation, are liberal, leftist or anti-American -- or some combination thereof.
Source: Editorial. "Patriotism and the presidency," Los Angeles Times, 10/26/08. (emphasis added)