by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Responding to the recent hubbub over former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s statement questioning President Obama’s patriotism, National Review editor Rich Lowry points to data bolstering Giuliani’s original case.
The reaction to Giuliani’s comment was so harsh in part because he referred to Obama’s upbringing. This was taken as a sign that — in the wince-inducing argot of people constantly inventing a new vocabulary for their grievances — he was “othering” Obama, or playing to dark fears about the president’s past. Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
But no “othering” is necessary. To be less patriotic than the average American doesn’t require any elaborate backstory or exotic beliefs — it is, as a matter of fact, a standard characteristic of the typical American liberal. The survey data are clear: There is a patriotism differential between the Right and the Left. Which doesn’t mean that liberals don’t love the country in their own fashion, but their love is not reflected in old-fashioned pride in country.
A Pew Research survey last year found that 46 percent of “steadfast conservatives” believed that the U.S. stands above all other countries; only 11 percent of “solid liberals” believed the same. Seventy-two percent of steadfast conservatives said they often feel proud to be an American; only 40 percent of solid liberals said they do.