Barack Obama, who once considered flag pins a shallow symbol, can't surround himself with enough patriotic trappings these days.
Hey, something he and I agree on.
He seldom goes out in public now without a flag pin stuck in his lapel. He devoted an entire speech to patriotism this week in Independence, Mo. Visually reinforcing the message, he stood in front of a quartet of large American flags.
None of this is an accident. Polling shows that on the threshold test any serious presidential candidate must pass, Obama has ground to cover.
A CNN poll released one day after the Illinois senator gave his patriotism speech showed that a quarter of registered voters surveyed questioned Obama's love of country. Nearly 30% of the respondents who described themselves as independents -- a coveted slice of the electorate -- believed he lacks patriotism, according to the survey.
So Obama wants to convince voters that he is every bit as patriotic as his Republican opponent. That's not an easy sell: Arizona Sen. John McCain, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, spent 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.
Obama's biography is more unconventional. He has no military experience, and he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia with his mother and her second husband, an Indonesian. He is asking voters to accept a more nuanced definition of patriotism as he makes the case that the lack of military credentials shouldn't disqualify him from the Oval Office.
When the flag-pin issue arose in October, Obama said he had made a deliberate choice not to wear one shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks because he believed the pins had become a "substitute for, I think, true patriotism."
"You start noticing people wearing a lapel pin but not acting very patriotic," he said then. "Not voting to provide veterans with resources that they need. Not voting to make sure that disability payments were coming out on time."
But now, primarily due to the ignorance of the American electorate, he is wearing the approved state symbol.
The good thing is now we can get on to the really important stuff, like what his wife may or may not have said.
We will continue to ignore, however, his plan to take a significantly higher portion of my stuff and give it to other people, because it simply isn't fair that I worked full time to get through college, went to grad school at nite, and now work my ass off for a big company and earn a good living for it.
No, that just isn't fair to people who chose differing paths. Like having kids at 15, or dropping out of high school. Because I'm rich, and I can afford to pay a higher fair share.
I suggest everyone take an Economics course on why that's a bad idea, alas, Populism is the name of the game. If 95% of the people can vote to take the things of 5%, the 5% don't have a chance, other than to hide their things.