Obama Che Guevara Flag ‘Scandal’
The blogosphere is roiled up over the flag issue again. No, not that flag. This one:
That’s the Cuban flag with the image of Ernesto Che Guevara superimposed on it. It’s tacked onto the wall of an office in Barack Obama’s Houston campaign headquarters. An office belonging, apparently, to a low level staffer who’s in charge of setting up the office.
I’m immediately reminded of a line from Charlie Daniels’ breakout hit, Uneasy Rider: “I betchya he’s even got a commie flag tacked up on the wall inside of his garage.” The classic response: “I ain’t even got a garage, you can call home and ask my wife!”
But I digress.
Here are the headlines of some select reactions to the Obama flag flap:
- Ed Morrissey: “A Flag Obama Supporters Salute?”
- Charles Johnson: “Che Guevara Flags in Obama’s Houston Office”
- Matt Bramanti: “Obama office adores psychotic Marxist thug”
- Ed Driscoll: “Sixties Radical Chic, Frozen In Amber”
- Michael Goldfarb: “Che You Can Believe In”
Morrissey is simultaneously fair and not:
Does Obama know his Houston supporters honor a terrorist in his campaign office? I’m sure he doesn’t. However, it would behoove him to ensure that the flag gets taken down and that he renounces any affinity for Che and the Fidel Castro regime.
He’s right that Che is a terrorist who shouldn’t be honored by decent people. Che worship (or, alternatively, the wearing of Che t-shirts as a statement without the slightest clue of who he was) seems to be a phase that certain left-leaning activists go through in their youth; it generally passes. Driscoll’s characterization of it as “juvenilia” is spot on.
But, surely, Obama doesn’t need to publicly weigh in on the decorating choices of every low level staffer? Let alone “renounce” affinities which he’s never shown?
Johnson’s insinuation is simply beyond the pale: “Barack Obama won’t wear an American flag on his lapel, but on the wall of his Houston campaign office: a Cuban flag with a picture of Communist mass murderer Che Guevara.” As I noted when the ridiculous flap over Obama’s calling flag pins “a substitute for true patriotism” emerged,
I don’t mind people wearing pins or putting stickers on their cars as a show of support for their country or their cause. I am, however, irritated by the notion that so doing makes them somehow superior to those who don’t.
The suggestion that Americans need to start swearing loyalty oaths, though, is light years beyond irritating.
CORRECTION: The original contained the sentence “John Cole‘s suggestion that the flag is merely a statement on our Cuba policy strikes me as giving credit where it decidedly isn’t due.” Cole responds in the comments below that the discussion of Cuba policy was merely an aside rather than an attempt to analyze the motivations of the office worker. My apologies for the inference.
UPDATE: Johnson responds here arguing that I’m attributing something to him that he doesn’t believe. It seems to me, though, that the implication of juxtaposing Obama’s refusal to wear an American flag pin with supporters displaying a Che flag is plain enough.
The “loyalty oath” goes to the whole notion — implied by Johnson and others quoted above — that Obama is under some obligation to declare that he’s anti-Communist and pro-American. Neither of those should be in doubt.
As to my “rushing to do damage control for Barack Obama,” regular readers can decide for themselves on that one. New readers can feel free to check through my Barack Obama archives.
UPDATE: Ace disagrees with me but has a reasonable take. I’m sympathetic to the “Lie down with dogs and you get fleas” sentiment. But the nature of Big Tent politics is that both sides are going to attract some yahoos. Ronald Reagan was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, after all. I don’t think it serves anyone’s interest to play the “whose crazies are crazier” game. Ultimately, it’s just guilt by association.
Yes, I’m “interested in rejecting what seems to be easy pandering and hackery.” But not simply out of high-mindedness, drug induced or otherwise. Frankly, there are plenty of good reasons for conservatives to oppose electing Obama president. Making mountains of aspiring molehills weakens our case rather than strengthening it.