Citizens of the World Unite:
The absolute shit fit that conservatives are having over Barack Obama calling himself a "citizen of the world" in his speech/big ass photo-op before 200,000 people in Berlin yesterday is one of those depressing displays that just demonstrates how pools of stomach acid are eating out the guts of the right wing in America as they wait for their November doom. It's so idiotic, the kind of thing you think up when you're taking a dump and wonder how you're gonna criticize something and, really, you've got nothing else to fucking say. For this entire thing is just a cover for despising the very sight of the Democratic candidate for president being treated like the President.
Here's Rush Limbaugh, a man who, while not a citizen of the world, gets a discount on Viagra and rum-colored boys in the Dominican Republic: "This 'citizen of the world stuff,' I know what he means by it, but why isn't it good enough to say, 'I'm a proud United States citizen coming to speak to you today,' about whatever you want to say our challenges are? Why do you have to deemphasize that you are an American? This whole concept of American exceptionalism. We rebuilt that place. I'm not saying you have to go over there and brag, but we're being told that the Europeans hate us; our stock in their eyes has plummeted. When it's not true."
Here's the John McCain campaign, whose candidate was busy yesterday eating sausage next to a place where they pack fudge (no, really): "While Barack Obama took a premature victory lap today in the heart of Berlin, proclaiming himself a 'citizen of the world,' John McCain continued to make his case to the American citizens who will decide this election."
Here's the New York Sun: "So Barack Obama, whose father is from Kenya and who attended school in Indonesia, now appears before a crowd of 200,000 cheering Germans in Berlin to proclaim himself a 'citizen of the world.' It makes you wonder whether he's running for president of America or secretary general of the United Nations, and it is reminiscent of Senator Kerry's ill-fated 2004 debate pledge to subject American policies to a 'global test.'"
You get the idea. While Andrew Sullivan has teed up a few examples of just how goddamned stupid this whole meme is, quoting Thomas Paine calling himself a "citizen of the world," and Olbermann last night quoted Reagan calling himself one, let's turn to William Safire, one of those beloved godfathers of late 20th century conservatism, and what he says in Safire's Political Dictionary on page 125:
"[C]itizen of the world: an internationalist as opposed to an isolationist; more loosely, one concerned with universal issues, whether they apply at home or abroad." Safire goes on to quote Woodrow Wilson, who said in his Second Inaugural: "The tragic events of the thirty months of vital turmoil through which we have just passed have made us citizens of the world. There can be no turning back." He quotes Franklin Roosevelt's final Inaugural, saying "We have learned to be citizens of the world." And JFK, who addressed at his Inauguration, "My fellow citizens of the world."
Yeah, founders, Republicans, and whole buncha Democrats actually thought it was a good idea to think of Americans as members of an entire world. It's a hopeful phrase, not a sinister one. Of course, when you're desperately flailing about like a three-legged cat in a barrel of oil, it's hard to think of anything but what it takes to survive.
Next week: The Rude Pundit's on vacation, and the New Orleans bloggers take over. He might pop in to show off his tan line, but enjoy the Louisiana hospitality while he's gone.