The Patriotism Problem

Obama's candidacy is a tribute to what's right about America. He needs to start saying so

Ellen Ozier / Reuters

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

When he was really rolling in February, Barack Obama would close every speech with a peroration about the importance of hope. The setup always seemed a bit defensive to me — an attack on the pundits and party elders who thought he was too idealistic, a "hopemonger" who needed to have the "hope boiled out of me." Having knocked down that straw man, he would soar through an American history of hope, from the colonists to civil rights marchers. It was the core of his message: patriotism defined as change, the creation of a more perfect union....

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