Remember when any expression of disrespect directed at America or it’s leaders was regarded as treasonous and unpatriotic? It was a time when blind and unfaltering loyalty was mandatory and dissent was not tolerated. Dick Cheney famously declared that “You are either with us or you are with the enemy.” And Fox News broadcast a red, white, and blue explosion of patriopathic zeal, castigating anyone who dared to diverge from the approved orthodoxy.
Sean Hannity was prominent among those who draped themselves in the American flag and scorned those who expressed dissenting opinions. Which makes it all the more contemptible that he now says on his radio show that he is “humiliated for my country,” without the slightest bit of irony or acknowledgement of his overt hypocrisy.
Sean Hannity was among the first to bash the Dixie Chicks when they said that they were “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” That remark was hardly as anti-American as Hannity’s since, unlike Hannity, it was only directed at George Bush and not the nation as a whole. Hannity also went off on Michelle Obama for saying that “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.” Obama was merely expressing pride in how far the nation has come. It was pride in a specific category of progress, not an overall impression of her feelings of being an American.
So while Hannity called the Dixie Chicks “disgraceful,” and pledged to never listen to them again, and he called Obama “offensive” and insisted that she “owes America an apology,” he has no such regrets for his own expression of disrespect for the nation. In fact, he defended his comments the next day on his Fox News program. And what was it that caused Hannity to suffer such humiliation? Here is whole commentary on the subject:
“Many Americans, including myself are, humiliated today. Take a look at the photo comparison of our commander in chief. There he is juxtaposed with Vladimir Putin [...] For the first time in my adult life, I am humiliated for my country. Just the picture of Putin swimming the butterfly, which is a real hard stroke. Yeah, big chested – and by the way, it’s in frigid water that he’s swimming across a river … so you got a picture of that juxtaposed next to Obama on a bicycle in Martha’s Vineyard with the goofy helmet on riding his bike.”
That’s it. Hannity is shamed by Russian propaganda showing a virile Putin swimming across a river, and his own comparison of that to a photo of Obama on a bike. Hannity is obviously smitten with Putin’s rugged good looks (and Caucasian features), his big chest and burly arms glistening in the sun, and his outdoorsy manliness. Never mind that he is a brutal autocrat who is presently engaged in an unlawful aggression against a sovereign nation. Or perhaps that just makes him all the more appealing since it is reminiscent of the Bush Doctrine that resulted in the U.S. aggression against Iraq. Hannity loved that too.
I’m not sure what makes swimming across a river more masculine than riding a bike. I suspect the participants in the Tour de France might object to that characterization. What’s more, Hannity might find Obama more alluring if he were ogling the pictures of him shirtless in the Hawaiian surf. But what turns on Sean Hannity most is smearing the President, even if it means feigning a rather disturbing man-crush for a Russian dictator.