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February 27, 2008

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We should probably add to the list of efforts to impugn others' patriotism the Patriot Corporation Act introduced last year and co-sponsored by Barack Obama and certain other Democrats.

Not only would the Act provide tax subsidies to those corporations that jump through the Act's hoops (including agreeing to forego secret ballots for union representation elections), but it would label those corporations as "Patriot Corporations." By clear implication, those companies that choose not to qualify for the subsidies are somehow unpatriotic.

Perhaps Brendan is as outraged by Senator Obama's misuse of patriotism as he is by Senator Hutchinson's highly emotive metaphor. Or perhaps not.

I think Sen. Hutchinson's comment deserves criticism for focusing on the troops. A better argument would be to claim that withdrawing American troops would bad for the US, bad for Iraqi civilians, bad for the Middle East, etc. We are not fighting in Iraq for the benefit of the troops there.

It is ironic that although Brendan's post is about overstated rhetoric, his own rhetoric is also overstated. To say that some bill would harm our troops doesn't accuse the bill's sponsors of treason. It accuses them of a mistaken policy.

Also, Sen. Hutchinson was not attacking her critics, she was criticizing them (or, more precisely, criticizing their recommended policy.) An attack is a typically a violent military actions. Calling criticism an "attack" is a way to play the victim.

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