In the course of poking around on something else (OK, arugula), I found myself back in the Obama lapel-pin "controversy" and was struck by Obama's follow-up amplification of why he stopped wearing a flag pin (emphasis added):
“Somebody noticed I wasn’t wearing a flag lapel pin and I told folks, well you know what? I haven’t probably worn that pin in a very long time. I wore it right after 9/11. But after a while, you start noticing people wearing a lapel pin, but not acting very patriotic. Not voting to provide veterans with resources that they need. Not voting to make sure that disability payments were coming out on time.
“My attitude is that I’m less concerned about what you’re wearing on your lapel than what’s in your heart. And you show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who served. You show your patriotism by being true to our values and our ideals and that’s what we have to lead with is our values and our ideals.”
Apparently it is OK for Obama to pass judgment on other people's patriotism based on his assessment of their policy differences. In a symmetrical world, that would mean that questions about his patriotism based on policy differences would be acceptable.
It's a purely hypothetical issue of course, since I don't recall any questioning of his patriotism [but who could forget this?], but apparently such questioning would in bounds, which is interesting.
MORE: ARUGULA, ANYONE? The "Obama out of touch" balloon was launched last summer in Iowa and revived by MoDo today - here is the Times Caucus blog:
Again, the crowd applauded and laughed. One line that landed a little flat, though, was when Mr. Obama sympathetically noted that farmers have not seen an increase in prices for their crops, despite a rise in prices at the supermarket.
“Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?” the senator said. “I mean, they’re charging a lot of money for this stuff.”
The state of Iowa, for all of its vast food production, does not have a Whole Foods, a leading natural and organic foods market. The closest? Omaha, Minneapolis or Kansas City.
Mr. Obama, perhaps sensing a lack of reaction from the crowd, moved along to the next topic. After all, he never claimed to be a farming expert.
A few days later Obama returned to the topic:
The point the Illinois Democrat and presidential candidate was trying to make then, he said Thursday, was that farm subsidies should not just go to traditional commodities like corn and cotton.
"Eating habits are changing," he said.
Then, he explained that he had been "teased" for previously mentioning arugula.
"All the national press, they said, 'Oh, look at Obama. He's talking about arugula in Iowa. People in Iowa don't know what arugula is,'" he said. "People in Iowa know what arugula is. They may not eat it, but you know what it is."
A highly unscientific survey of three Iowans who listened to Obama's speech suggested at least some in the crowd were a little confused by the leafy green.
"I've heard of it, but I don't know what it is," said Richard Newton, a laborer and volunteer firefighter from Independence. "But I understood what he was talking about."
Kay Hoffman, a hospital clinic assistant from nearby Aurora, Iowa, said she had never heard of it before, suspecting it might have something to do with Obama's Hawaiian upbringing.
"I don't know what it is," she said. "Maybe it's a Hawaiian thing."
James Sink, a retired manufacturing worker from Cedar Falls, Iowa, said he had no clue. "I had no idea what it is," he said.
Obama also mentioned almonds as a growing cash crop. Those come from inside candy bars, right?
So what did MoDo make of this:
What turns off voters is the detached egghead quality that they tend to equate with a wimpiness, wordiness and a lack of action — the same quality that got the professorial and superior Adlai Stevenson mocked by critics as Adelaide. The new attack line for Obama rivals is that he’s gone from J.F.K. to Dukakis. (Just as Dukakis chatted about Belgian endive, Obama chatted about Whole Foods arugula in Iowa.)
And what caught my eye was this imaginative defense of Obama by Digby at Hullabaloo:
Also, see Molly Ivors who gives MoDo the usual thrashing. This whole "Obama talks to Iowans about arugula, heh" meme has come right out of the fever swamps, and nobody bothers to mention that he was talking to arugula farmers, which is just one of the splendid points Molly I. makes...
Right out of the fever swamps of the NY Times, the WaPo, the Chi Trib, Newsweek - got it. And come again - he was talking to arugula farmers? Why would he be talking to arugula farmers about the importance of moving away from basic crops - bit of preaching to the choir, yes? Why did he fail to mention that in his own defense, and why did Media Matters (as well as every other journalist I've read) fail to note that?
Maybe we could lobby for a switch from "Reality-based" to "Google-based".