The other day I watched a clip of Bill Maher dissing the Pres (and his cronies) for their outing of Plame. His main premise, IMHO, being that Plame is a true patriot (despite apparently not blindly supporting the President or perhaps because of that) and outing her was an inherently unpatriotic act. I think Maher's (or anyone else's) use of free speech to question the Pres and his Administration is a patriotic act. We must have an informed public in order to have a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people (Pres. Lincoln)." Questions are a very good way to find out what is going on, why, and what the right response is. Whether they are direct questions or commentaries, anything that makes someone think about current issues helps our democracy and our country.
This brought up another 'patriotism' argument from a couple years ago. One that still gets me upset. It falls into the category of issues where the wrong aspect of the issue was focused on, at least in most of the media.
"The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth". How did this group manage to smear the reputation of an individual who volunteered for the Army, during a war he wasn't sure about knowing he would go to Vietnam while lending support to an individual who volunteered to protect Texas (from Africanized bees?) and may or may not have shown up for duty and didn't stay in flight readiness status? It may be cliche but it is true - sometimes the difference between a Band-Aid and a body bag is half an inch; whatever else you think of Kerry, he fought. Bush didn't show up for his medical exam and so couldn't fly and there by wasted the tax payer's money that was used to train him.
A current example of this category is the controversy surrounding the firing of the US attorneys. While it is unusual for them to be fired mid-term, they are political appointees and serve at the will of the President. However, the prosecutor's replacements will be confirmed by the Senate (part of that whole checks and balances thing). Or will they. A change in the law, as part of the PATRIOT Act, means that they can serve INDEFINITELY WITHOUT CONFIRMATION. Previously they had to be confirmed within 60 days (I think that's the right time limit). All Bush has to do is prevent confirmation hearings and his guys are in with no check on his power. Bush can appoint someone he likes but is unconfirmable due to extreme politics and the appoint may stand. We have "checks and balances" for a reason.