After seven years of the Reagan Administration, the bars are apparently completely down, and anyone in public life can hope to get away with saying anything. Is it conceivable that in past years a vice president of the United States and candidate for the presidency would chance an opinion that a Marine officer sitting in the White House would go down in history as a hero after having destroyed government records, repeatedly lied to Congress, and flagrantly broken the laws he had sworn to uphold? And to really pin down his point convincingly, he tells us that was the judgment of "The American people in every bar in Chicago and every bowling alley in Texas" from whence we are to assume, come the final decisions on what constitutes true patriotism and heroism.
At least two other examples of passionate feeling come to mind from recent history--the Martin Luther King Jr. struggles and the Vietnam war protesters. If memory serves correctly, they broke no laws except possibly tying up traffic a few times. But I don't recall that Bush joined their movements or called them patriots or heroes.
The American people, whether in their bars, bowling alleys or small homes, which, to be fair to him, the vice president also included, face important choices about what constitutes patriotism. Hopefully, they'll come down on the side of upholding the Constitution and our country's laws.