By Klaus Marre
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Monday, in a major speech on patriotism, criticized MoveOn.org for referring to Gen. David Petraeus as General Betray Us last year.
The Illinois senator said politics too often seems “trapped in old, threadbare arguments” that he called “caricatures of left and right.”
This, Obama added, was “most evident during our recent debates about the war in Iraq, when those who opposed administration policy were tagged by some as unpatriotic, and a general providing his best counsel on how to move forward in Iraq was accused of betrayal.”
Obama did not vote last year when the Senate approved a measure condemning the controversial Petraeus ad.
The Democrat argued that “given the enormous challenges that lie before us, we can no longer afford these sorts of divisions.”
MoveOn.org, a powerful left-of-center interest group, endorsed Obama in the Democratic presidential race.
“None of us expect that arguments about patriotism will, or should, vanish entirely; after all, when we argue about patriotism, we are arguing about who we are as a country, and more importantly, who we should be,” Obama stated in his speech from Independence, Mo. “But surely we can agree that no party or political philosophy has a monopoly on patriotism.”
Obama also said that he would “never question the patriotism of others in this campaign.” The senator made clear, however, that he would “not stand idly by when I hear others question mine.”