If you’re like millions of typical Americans, this stuff is pretty important to you:
Sen. Barack Obama’s refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin along with a photo of him not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem led conservatives on Internet and in the media to question his patriotism.
Now Obama’s wife, Michelle, has drawn their ire, too, for saying recently that she’s really proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.
Conservative consultants say that combined, the cases could be an issue for Obama in the general election if he wins the nomination, especially as he runs against Vietnam war hero Sen. John McCain.
Here, we see conservatives releasing trial balloons into the air to see what sorts of innuendo are most likely to turn ignorant, gullible voters against Obama. They’ll try another one every few weeks or so until they get a good combination of 3-4 mutually-reinforcing memes (possible examples: unpatriotic, thinks he’s smarter than you, hates/distrusts the military, spent time studying Islam) that do the most damage to Obama’s reputation.
Then, all summer and fall, dozens of groups will pour billions of dollars into coordinated, massive nationwide ad campaigns on these themes. One pro-Bush group alone reports having collected a quarter-billion dollars to help finance this effort.
This thing is a long way from over.