I must admit to almost being floored by what Rudy Giuliani said at a recent Republican fund raiser:
I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.
There are only two things wrong with this: (1) what Giuliani said is factually wrong; (2) the fact that he said it publicly is morally wrong.
What Giuliani said is factually wrong
Rudy Giuliani thinks the President of the United States doesn’t love this country because “He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
First of all, what’s the evidence that Barack Obama doesn’t love his country? What’s the evidence that the leader of the Americans hates Americans? Is there a quote of him saying that he hates America? Perhaps his actions are such that only a person who hates this country could do what he has done.
On any fair reading of the President’s record, whether you agree with him politically or not, the idea that he has spoken, or shaped his policies, based on hatred for America is nonsense.
Mr. Obama has asserted his love for the country many times, and if any record of him expressing hatred for the country existed, you can be sure it would have been blasted all over the media long ago. Unless Americans are the stupidest people on earth, it’s not possible that they would twice elect as their President someone who hates them and their nation. And Americans are not stupid.
But perhaps the President has done things that show that, whatever lies he might tell about loving America, he really hates it. Certainly many people disagree with his foreign and domestic policies.
When Franklin Roosevelt came into the presidency, many Republicans and conservatives vehemently opposed the New Deal. And as conflict raged in Europe, isolationists suspected FDR of secretly steering the country toward involvement in World War Two. But, as far as I’m aware, prominent Republican politicians never publicly accused Mr. Roosevelt of not loving his country.
If those who agree with Rudy Giuliani can point to facts that demonstrate Mr. Obama’s hatred of America, beyond the admittedly serious fault of disagreeing with them, I’d like to see that evidence. So far, I haven’t.
That Giuliani said what he did publicly is morally wrong
In 1950, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy sent out a telegram in which he publicly claimed to have information proving that more than 200 employees of the State Department were card-carrying members of the Communist Party. President Harry Truman replied to McCarthy in a letter that apparently was never sent. In that letter Truman told the Wisconsin Senator:
This is the first time in my experience, and I was ten years in the Senate, that I ever heard of a Senator trying to discredit his own Government before the world. You know that isn’t done by honest public officials. Your telegram is not only not true and an insolent approach to a situation that should have been worked out between man and man but it shows conclusively that you are not even fit to have a hand in the operation of the Government of the United States.
Rudy Giuliani is a former Mayor of New York, and a former Republican presidential candidate. In what way does his statement that President Obama doesn’t love America contribute to raising the esteem with which other countries view the United States? In what way does it reassure foreign governments that America is united in the war against ISIS and other extremist foes? How does it strengthen the international coalition that, led by the Obama Administration, is actively fighting that war?
In my estimation, President Truman’s words to Joseph McCarthy in 1950 apply with equal strength to Rudy Giuliani today. And the American people seem to concur. They too, by their votes, have affirmed that Mr. Giuliani is “not even fit to have a hand in the operation of the Government of the United States.”
Barack Obama is not one of “us”
Rudy Giuliani made his statement behind closed doors with potential Republican donors. To that audience he justified his conclusions about the President’s lack of love for America by saying, “He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
In other words, Barack Obama is not one of “us.” He wasn’t raised like “us” and his values are not “our” values. We are the standard of what a real American is, and Barack Obama doesn’t fit the standard.
How is Barack Obama uniquely different from other Presidents?
Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States. He is the only one of those presidents to have a politician of Mr. Giuliani’s stature make such a claim about him. And no other prominent Republican has stepped forward to disavow what Mr. Giuliani said.
So, what is it about Barack Obama that makes him uniquely vulnerable, in the eyes of some Republicans and Conservatives, to a claim of not loving his country? And what is it about Barack Obama that would lead a Rudy Giuliani to expect that an audience of wealthy Republicans would be receptive to that claim about our current President?
Since FDR proved that opponents can hate a President’s policies without asserting his lack of love for the country, it can’t just be that Republicans deeply disagree with Mr. Obama on policy issues.
And it can’t be because of where Mr. Obama was born: last time I checked, Hawaii was part of the United States. Senator John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, but no Republican held that against him.
Maybe it’s his name, Barack. But if Willard Mitt Romney was acceptable as a presidential candidate, I’m not sure a person’s name can indicate whether or not they love their country.
And yet so many people, like Mr. Giuliani, can take one look at Barack Obama and be sure he is not one of “us” and cannot possibly love America. What possible reason could there be for that? What makes him so different from the 43 Presidents of the United States who went before him?
Sure has me stumped.