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The principles of the Know-Nothing Party make a striking comeback

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I'd assumed, if Barack Obama was the Democratic nominee for president, that even unhinged, far-right writers would be cautious about how they'd go about smearing him. Unbridled racism would be considered a political liability, and therefore shunned. Transparent nativism might work for conservatives in certain communities, but might also annoy moderate suburbanites, and would probably be used sparingly.

I didn't expect Kathleen Parker — a columnist syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group — to start drawing a line of patriotism based on "blood equity" and "bloodlines."

As Glenn reminds us, the Financial Times had a dispatch from West Virginia last week, which noted the ignorant, painful bigotry that drove at least some of the anti-Obama vote in the Mountain State. The piece concluded with a quote from West Virginian Josh Fry, who said he was "more comfortable" with John McCain than Obama because, as Fry put it, "I want someone who is a full-blooded American as president."

Most reasonable people probably rolled their eyes at such nonsense. Parker, however, devoted her column this week to defending the notion of judging Americans based on whether they meet the "full-blooded" standard or not.

Full-bloodedness is an old coin that's gaining currency in the new American realm. Meaning: Politics may no longer be so much about race and gender as about heritage, core values, and made-in-America. Just as we once and still have a cultural divide in this country, we now have a patriot divide.

Who "gets" America? And who doesn't?

The answer has nothing to do with a flag lapel pin, which Obama donned for a campaign swing through West Virginia, or even military service, though that helps. It's also not about flagpoles in front yards or magnetic ribbons stuck on tailgates.

It's about blood equity, heritage and commitment to hard-won American values. And roots.

Some run deeper than others and therein lies the truth of Fry's political sense. In a country that is rapidly changing demographically — and where new neighbors may have arrived last year, not last century — there is a very real sense that once-upon-a-time America is getting lost in the dash to diversity.

We love to boast that we are a nation of immigrants. But there's a different sense of America among those who trace their bloodlines back through generations of sacrifice.

Glenn called this one of "the most repellent columns one will ever read." I'm hard pressed to disagree.


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