We Speak American Here

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Patrick Ruffini slams the Obama campaign for using a foreign language in its promotional material for an event in Germany. Apparently it's now unpatriotic to so much as concede that they speak foreign languages in foreign countries. Or maybe American politicians should only be allowed to speak in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the UK.

Meanwhile, I understand that as a campaign tactic, contemporary conservatism's reliance on the national security issue and contemporary conservatism's embrace of xenophobia and insularity go together like a horse and carriage. But serious people ought to be able to understand that if you want the United States of America to play a global role, that the leading figures in shaping foreign policy shouldn't be infected by this sort of proud ignorance of the world beyond our borders. There's a coherent strain of conservatism out there that would combine dispositional insularity with advocacy of an actually insular foreign policy (read The American Conservative magazine or Pat Buchanan's books if you want to find it) but that's not where the mainstream GOP is and it's certainly not where John McCain is. But if you have these kind of grand aspirations for America on the world stage, then you need some internationally oriented people at the top. The kind of people who, you know, don't think it's crazy to use the German language in Germany.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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