Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has gone too far in suggesting in a sly way that President Barack Obama may not be passionate about America.
Obama's political actions and positioning are certainly fair game. It's fair, for instance, to attack Obama on out-of-control government spending. It's also perhaps fair to attack Obama on flaws with his health care plan, while other targets include the nation's persistently high 9.1 unemployment rate.
But questioning if Obama is passionate about America is a cheap shot. Yet that's what Perry did on Monday, just days after he officially entered the race for the Republican party's 2012 presidential nomination.
The Governor of Texas, who was campaigning at the Iowa State Fair, said that he would be the type of president who would be passionate about America.
"I think you want a president who is passionate about America -- that's in love with America," Perry said.
And we do.
And nobody doubts that Perry is passionate about America.
The man does have his attributes, but attacking Obama in this manner isn't becoming. Anyone who submits to the stress and the scrutiny of running for ofice and serving as U.S. president undoubtedly loves this country. Obama is no exception to that rule.
It's not possible.
Just because they come from different political ideologies doesn't mean one cares more for America than the other.
Perry's remarks at the Republican party event included a sharp critique of Obama's jobs record -- and that was a fair and reasonable attack. But suggesting that the Democratic president may not be passionate about America smells of subtle hints at other accusations that have dogged the president -- such as he wasn't born in the U.S., or he's not really a Christian.
Obama is clearly an American. He's a self-professed Christian, too, who is clearly passionate about this country. The questions his political opponents should be posing should include his leadership style.
Anything else is just a cheap shot that demeans everyone who loves this country. It also fails to appreciate how we are at our best when we stand strong amid differences.