To the delight of every crank conspiracy nut on the far right, last week former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani questioned President Obama’s patriotism, sparking a national conversation about the intensity of Republican disrespect. Yesterday on Gloria Borger’s CNN show, Darrell Issa sniffed that Obama “views America differently” — and then offered a telling, if barely coherent, example.
Look, we can find somebody who believes strongly something. Rudy Giuliani said he didn’t ‘believe,’ he didn’t say the president ‘wasn’t,’ he said he ‘didn’t believe.’ Now, the reality is I believe the president believes strongly in America, I just think he views America differently. I was there when he denounced the U.S. Supreme Court in the halls of Congress during the State of the Union for their decision. His beliefs are…should be his policy decisions, and I hope we get back onto it. We have a president who doesn’t believe the Supreme Court is supreme.
Get that? Issa, who has the largest personal fortune in Congress, thinks that opposition to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which opened the floodgates for billionaires to buy elections like never before, is unpatriotic. Since most Americans hate the decision, which has been unpopular since the moment it was promulgated, Issa — not Obama — is the one trying to force a fringe view on the rest of us.
But we should be used to it by now, for that is what Darrell Issa does. Remember the fake Benghazi scandal? Remember the fake IRS scandal? Remember how fraudulent CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson served as Issa’s media outlet while he manufactured those controversies? Remember how Issa’s committee and Attkisson’s reporting encouraged millions of American parents to believe that vaccines were more dangerous than deadly diseases?
Of course, plenty of Americans do believe those scandals are real — that Obama personally held back nonexistent relief forces from rescuing the victims of the Benghazi attack, that he personally ordered Lois Lerner to delay the Wetumpka Tea Party’s nonprofit application, or that measles shots are a conspiracy by pharmaceutical manufacturers to make their children autistic. The most important word here is ‘believe:’ Issa “believes” that the president “believes” differently from what normal, everyday billionaire-Americans like himself “believe.”
The subtext, of course, is that Issa ‘believes’ in lots of imaginary things that he helped make up — and if you don’t share his kooky fictional belief system, then you don’t love America either. Issa is speaking to the highly-activated Fox News viewer who wants to believe Barack Obama is secretly Muslim and/or Kenyan because it absolves them of the responsibility to deal with reality in a rational manner. He doesn’t actually have to say those things out loud because his intended audience hears the dog whistle loud and clear.