Surrealistic Patriotism

I remember when the right wing raged against the Dixie Chicks.

Back in 2003, shortly before the Iraq war, the group’s lead singer and Texas native, Natalie Maines, said:

Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.

She made the comments while the Chicks were on tour in England.

Whatever one thought about Ms. Maines’ comments, and whatever one thought of the subsequent blacklisting of the Dixie Chicks by the mostly ultra-conservative country music establishment, the thrust of the criticism over the comments was that they were made on “foreign soil.” Many people believe that it is in bad taste—not to say “unpatriotic”—to criticize your government when abroad.

Now comes the right wing’s near-orgasmic delight in the comments of Daniel Hannan, a British politician and at present a Conservative Party Member of the European Parliament. Mr. Hannan’s caustic remarks toward British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which have been played and replayed on right wing radio and television, were made in France, shortly after Mr. Brown had given a speech to the European Parliament.

One would think that our fiercely consistent conservative commentators here at home would hesitate to embrace Mr. Hannan, since his remarks were made on foreign soil, in front of a mostly foreign legislative body.

But Rush Limbaugh, who has no fear his followers will hold him accountable for consistency, said this:

Yesterday in Strasbourg, France, a member of the European parliament, Daniel Hannan of southeast England spoke during the visit of the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He took it to Gordon Brown and left nothing on the table. This is exactly the kind of thing the opposition party in this country needs to be saying to President Obama.

Obviously, Mr. Limbaugh’s concept of patriotism has changed since 2003 or his concept is a distinctly American one. Just imagine if a Democrat, while overseas, criticized a sitting Republican president in the same way that Hannan, a Conservative Party member, criticized Gordon Brown. The subsequent right wing condemnation would be brutal and endless.

At the end of his attack, Mr. Hannan accused the leader of his homeland of being “the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government.”

To which Limbaugh the Patriot said:

Hear, hear. Republicans in Washington could take a lesson from the bravery of this man.

The standards of the right continue to melt.

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