Former Maryland Governor Bob Erlich steps proudly onto the swirling Cheeto-dust dunes of wingnuttia:

Toward the end of his speech, Obama referred to "the price and the promise of citizenship" -- as though it were a patriotic duty to ante up more of your hard-earned dollars. His infamous exchange with "Joe the Plumber" was no accident; our new president was serious when he said he planned to share the wealth of producers and wage earners. That the top 1 percent of taxpayers shoulder 40 percent of the federal income tax burden appears to no longer be pertinent, or patriotic, enough.

What Obama was referring to when he said "the price and promise of citizenship":

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

Obama was talking about individual people making the choice to sacrifice for others, not government forcing them to do so. But whatever, when firefighters save people, it's socialism. And Obama's just going to let those crazy redcoated freaks run wild, saving anyone they want!

-- A. Serwer

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