Times Reporter: OK to Be Proud of America Now

Helene Cooper on the "suddenly hip" D.C.: "It's even cool to wave the Stars and Stripes."

With all eyes on the nation's capital for the inauguration of Barack Obama, the Times devoted Sunday's installment of its Travel section series, "36 Hours in..." on things to do in D.C. But before the national monuments and restaurant reviews, reporter Helene Cooper led off by giving everyone permission to be proud of America again, now that Barack Obama was taking the White House:

Washington is suddenly hip again, infused with the heady double-barreled combination of a new crowd of idealistic young political worker bees, who actually believe they can change the world, and the arrival of America's first black president. It's even cool to wave the Stars and Stripes. And in the honeymoon months of the Barack Obama presidency, before the country's marriage to its new president undergoes the usual souring, a trip to the nation's capital is just the ticket. Why, it would almost be unpatriotic not to visit.

Cooper's use of the word "unpatriotic" is certainly a little facetious but still looks strange in a newspaper so quick to (falsely) criticize Republicans for questioning the patriotism of Democrats.