It was always quite bizarre to witness the Bush administration and its various Fox News/talk radio appendages equate opposition to the war in Iraq with a lack of patriotism or sympathy for the Terrorists when a large majority of Americans held precisely that view. In general, it's quite noxious when the political party in power accuses those who hold a certain view of being un-American. But when a majority of Americans hold the condemned view, it's not just noxious but also politically stupid. The DNC and certain pro-Obama pundits might want to keep that in mind:
Most Americans do not believe President Obama should have won the Nobel Peace Prize, and are divided on whether the award is a good thing, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.
Sixty-one percent of respondents said Obama did not deserve to win the prize announced on Oct. 9, according to the poll; 34% said he did deserve the honor.
That's consistent with an earlier poll which found that on "either side of the Atlantic, the majority of the voting public believes that Barack Obama was not a deserving candidate for the Nobel Prize." You think they liked hearing from the DNC that anyone who held the view they held was casting their lot with the Terrorists and "putting politics above patriotism"? Does anyone think that was good, hard politics?
The Nobel Peace Prize often prompts debates over whether the recipient is deserving and whether peace is being promoted by the recognized behavior. Discussions of that sort can have real value. Either way, such debates are inevitable when a sitting U.S. President is selected -- especially nine months into his presidency with two ongoing wars, one of which he's already escalated. Whether the award was warranted -- whether Obama has proven himself to be a man of peace or not -- was and is a perfectly legitimate, reasonable and substantive debate to have. Polling data leaves no doubt that many of the people who believe Obama did not deserve the Prize nonetheless find positive aspects to his foreign policy (as I do: see the ongoing progress with Iran as the latest example); and 46% said they were "personally glad" that Obama won, while 47% said they weren't. All sorts of perfectly reasonable people hold the view that the Prize was undeserved.
The accusation that those who criticized the award were being un-American, standing with the Terrorists, and/or breaching common decency wasn't "hard-ball politics." It was bullying and dumb, and if nothing else demonstrates that, this polling data should. The call for Democrats to replicate the tactics of the Right is the height of irrationality given how failed those tactics have proven to be. Why would someone think it's wise to embrace the defining tactics of a political movement that has been stomped, repudiated and crushed? Depicting Democrats as unpatriotic Terrorist-lovers was the central Rovian tactic when the GOP was mauled in the 2006 election. Who would look at those results and want the Democrats to copy those methods? In general, the political faction that controls all levers of government should refrain from trying to de-legitimize the questioning or criticizing of the leader as Terrorist-sympathizing America-hating: both out of principle and political shrewdness.
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Speaking of Terrorism (and aren't we always?), I'll be on MSNBC with Dylan Ratigan this morning, at roughly 9:00 a.m. EST, discussing the spurt of domestic terrorism arrests lately and what it means.