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The Patriotism Litmus Test

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The Patriotism Litmus Test

Conservatives have long smeared their opponents as unpatriotic. Such divisive rhetoric brings out the worst in America

By Brad Friedman, The Guardian
Wednesday October 29 2008 22.00 GMT

For full story see… Brad Friedman: Republicans' divisive rhetoric brings out the worst in America

For years now, ABC Radio and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity has kissed his callers goodbye by telling them: "You're a great American." But he seems to have convinced at least some of his fans that they somehow love their country - and mine - more than those who didn't call or write to say they agreed with whatever nonsense Hannity was spewing on any particular day.

Recently, Sarah Palin spoke at a fundraiser in North Carolina about small towns she believed to be the "real America" as the "very patriotic ... pro-America areas of this great nation."

The next day, Michelle Bachman, Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, may have hit the eject button from her own, otherwise safe US House seat by telling MSNBC's Chris Matthews that she believed Barack Obama was "anti-American" and that she wished "the American media" would do an investigative exposé to determine "the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America."

The day after that, Nancy Pfotenhauer, an adviser to John McCain, told a reporter that only the part of Virginia supporting the Republican presidential nominee was the "real Virginia".

The remarks of all three women came after the McCain campaign, with its poll numbers sinking, spent days calling Obama the equivalent of a terrorist and/or communist.

And that was the polite stuff.

After specious Republican allegations that it was committing voter fraud, offices of the community organising group Acorn were ransacked and burglarised in several states, and its employees were met with death threats. They were deluged with threatening and racist phone messages and email, including: "Hi, I was just calling to let you all know that Barack Obama needs to get hung. He's a fucking nigger, and he's a piece of shit. You guys are fraudulent, and you need to go to hell. All the niggers on oak trees. They're gonna get all hung honeys, they're gonna get assassinated, they're gonna get killed."

For full story see… Brad Friedman: Republicans' divisive rhetoric brings out the worst in America

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