This much is clear: President Obama’s speech last week in Cairo has Charles Krauthammer really, really steamed. In addition to last Friday’s extraordinarily dishonest (even for Krauthammer, whose respect for fact has always been negotiable) review, and various television appearances in which he recited a version of Middle East history that seemed derived mainly from watching Exodus a bunch of times, this morning he uses his valuable journalistic real estate to raise questions about the President of the United States’ true feelings toward the country that he leads.
Deploying once again the tired and false charge of “moral equivalence” — a term that has done quite a bit of work over the years as a life-raft for sinking conservative foreign policy arguments — Krauthammer writes:
Distorting history is not truth-telling but the telling of soft lies. Creating false equivalencies is not moral leadership but moral abdication. And hovering above it all, above country and history, is a sign not of transcendence but of a disturbing ambivalence toward one’s own country.
Krauthammer may not fall on the ground and foam at the mouth like Frank Gaffney, but the message is the same: President Obama doesn’t quite feel like we do about this country — he may not be one of us.
Questioning a president’s policies, vigorously and even with invective, is fine and appropriate. Questioning a president’s commitment to his country, and thus to his country’s security, is, in my view, something different. Sen. John McCain memorably and admirably shut down this sort of talk when it started cropping up at his campaign rallies. But yanking the mic from some yokel at a town hall meeting is one thing — calling out the most prominent conservative foreign policy columnist in the country is another. Are conservatives up to it?