John McCain doesn’t have a problem with it. Peggy Noonan wants to know if the Obamas do.
Are the Obamas, at bottom, snobs? Do they understand America? Are they of it? Did anyone at their Ivy League universities school them in why one should love America? Do they confuse patriotism with nationalism, or nativism? Are they more inspired by abstractions like "international justice" than by old visions of America as the city on a hill, which is how John Winthrop saw it, and Ronald Reagan and JFK spoke of it?
Have they been, throughout their adulthood, so pampered and praised--so raised in the liberal cocoon--that they are essentially unaware of what and how normal Americans think? And are they, in this, like those cosseted yuppies, the Clintons?
And there is a context. So many Americans right now fear they are losing their country, that the old America is slipping away and being replaced by something worse, something formless and hollowed out. They can see we are giving up our sovereignty, that our leaders will not control our borders, that we don’t teach the young the old-fashioned love of America, that the government has taken to itself such power, and made things so complex, and at the end of the day when they count up sales tax, property tax, state tax, federal tax they are paying a lot of money to lose the place they loved.
And if you feel you’re losing America, you really don’t want a couple in the White House whose rope of affection to the country seems lightly held, casual, provisional. America is backing Barack at the moment, so America is good. When it becomes angry with President Barack, will that mean America is bad?
Noonan notes that America did well by Michelle Obama, even if her professors at Princeton and Harvard Law were more interested in telling her of how badly our country has treated its African-American citizens. She also notes that a lot of folks--regardless of race, creed, or color--love their country, even if they don’t have immediate access to the heights she has scaled.
I recognize that pride in one’s country and love of one’s country aren’t the same thing. But how likely is it that Barack and Michelle Obama could utter the words--"My country, right or wrong"? I hope I don’t have to explain to anyone why this statement is unproblematical.