The “Taking Back America” meme and Richard Cohen

In Reason’s Hit & Run blog, Michael Moynihan eviscerates Richard Cohen’s bizarre column comparing the 1970 Kent State shootings with the Tea Party movement. It’s really delightful.

What caught my attention, though, was Moynihan’s taking on something that’s been bugging me, as well: the Left’s reflexive twitching about conservatives’ use of the phrase “taking back America.”

Cohen bemoans “all this talk about ‘taking back America’ (from whom?)” we hear from conservatives and Tea Party activists. But it’s an entirely appropriate sentiment, one that fails to exercise Richard Cohen, when Howard Dean writes a book called Winning Back America. Or when liberal radio host Thom Hartmann issued his 2004 call to arms, We the People: A Call to Take Back America. Give me a minute to find Cohen’s column lamenting The Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel’s 2004 book Taking Back America: and Taking Down the Radical Right….Or maybe Cohen’s cable was on the fritz when, just this weekend, MSNBC blowhard Ed Schultz gathered on the mall to tell people that “This is a defining moment in America. Are you American? This is no time to back down. This is time to fight for America.” Why do we have to fight for America? Who is attacking America?

Indeed, who is attacking whom?

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