Liberals malign the flag, ban the Pledge, and hold cocktail parties for America's enemies, but no one is ever allowed to cast the slightest aspersion on their patriotism. The very same article that attacked Bush for questioning Dukakis's patriotism questioned Bush's sensitivity to civil rights -- for mentioning Dukakis's veto of the Pledge. The writer scoffed: "George Bush will really be a stand-up guy when it comes to civil liberties. You betcha."(19) We could draw no conclusions from Dukakis's veto of the Pledge. It was a "smear" merely to state the implacable fact that Dukakis had vetoed the Pledge of Allegiance. But apparently it was not a smear to attack Bush's stand on "civil liberties for mentioning Dukakis's veto of the pledge."(20)
Only questions about patriotism are disallowed -- unless it is to say that liberals are the "real patriots." Phil Donahue said the "real patriots" were people who aggressively opposed their own country's war plans: "Are the protesters the real patriots?"(21) It is at least counterintuitive to say that it is more patriotic to attack America than to defend it. Even Donahue couldn't continue with such absurd logic, and quickly condemned patriotism as "the last refuge of scoundrels," and warned: "Beware of patriotism."(22)
In addition to opposing any action taken by your own country, "real patriotism" also consists of promoting the liberal agenda. After 9-11, Mario Cuomo said real patriotism consisted of fighting the "war on poverty."(23) Liberal columnist David Broder said "real patriotism" consisted of expanding the Peace Corps and Clinton's worthless Americorp.(24) A writer for the Kansas City Star, Bill Tammeus, said real patriots "support education, especially the public schools."(25) The only "unpatriotic" act he identified was trying to "silence dissident voices."(26) A man protesting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools said, "True Americans separate church and state."(27) A woman opposing the Pledge said, "Real patriotism, and real love for your country, is . . . dissent, or people fighting against the closure of hospitals."(28) Liberals don't mind discussing who is more patriotic if patriotism is defined as redistributing income and vetoing the Pledge of Allegiance. Only if patriotism is defined as supporting America do they get testy and drone on about "McCarthyism."
In June 2002, an American-born Muslim named Abdullah al-Mujahir was arrested on charges of trying to build a dirty bomb. Most Americans were worried about a terrorist taking out Lower Manhattan. But the New York Times was worried about an outbreak of "McCarthyism." According to the Times, the arrest reminded many people of "McCarthyism and of zealous F.B.I. agents defining the limits of political orthodoxy." Al-Mujahir's arrest had "revived a fear that has permeated popular history: that a homegrown fifth column is betraying fellow Americans on behalf of a foreign foe."(29) Historian Richard Hofstadter diagnosed the country's attempts at self-preservation as a form of "political paranoia."(30) Even Benedict Arnold was thrown in to the Times's enumeration of victims of America's "paranoia," raising the question: Is there no traitor liberals won't defend?