Rudy Giuliani is developing a productive sideline in rage-baiting. Fresh off a largely incoherent comment about black-on-black crime following the Michael Brown case, America's Mayor said Wednesday night that President Obama doesn't love America. Here's what Giuliani said, according to Politico, during a "private dinner" for Scott Walker "at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan":
I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.
Some liberals find it tempting to read this as nothing more than race-baiting. Isn't this just portraying Obama—who just happens to have a funny name and look different from Rudy—as the Other? (The White House simply replied, "It was a horrible thing to say.") But Giuliani isn't the only person to make this claim, and the others aren't just fringe figures. Erick Erickson, hailed by The Atlantic as America's most powerful conservative, says Obama "hates America." Former presidential candidate Steve Forbes doesn't think Obama loves America, nor does a prominent Tea Party organizer. Once-and-likely-future presidential candidate Rick Perry has doubts. The view is also importantly different from the idea that Obama is a threat to America, a critique that allows for the fact that the president may in fact be doing what he thinks is best for the nation and its citizens, but that is wrong. The Erickson-Giuliani consensus is important in that it requires a measure of malevolence on Obama's part. Therefore it makes sense to look at what evidence they marshal for the view to see what it can tell us about them and about Obama.
Let's start with Giuliani. He also said, “with all our flaws we’re the most exceptional country in the world. I’m looking for a presidential candidate who can express that, do that, and carry it out,” adding: “What country has left so many young men and women dead abroad to save other countries without taking land? This is not the colonial empire that somehow he has in his hand. I’ve never felt that from him. I felt that from [George] W. [Bush]. I felt that from [Bill] Clinton. I felt that from every American president, including ones I disagreed with, including [Jimmy] Carter. I don’t feel that from President Obama.”