America The Exceptional…ish

November 29th, 2010at 08:35pm Posted by Eli

Bad enough that American exceptionalism is like a religion for conservatives, but it creeps me right out when they brag about it like it’s a good thing:

“This reorientation away from a celebration of American exceptionalism is misguided and bankrupt,” former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney writes in his campaign setup book, “No Apology: The Case For American Greatness.”

On Monday, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who is also considering a White House bid, is scheduled to address the Detroit Economic Club on “Restoring American Exceptionalism: A Vision for Economic Growth and Prosperity.”

For former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the concept is a frequent theme in her speeches, Facebook postings, tweets and appearances on Fox News Channel. Her just-published book, “America by Heart,” has a chapter titled “America the Exceptional.”

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, contends in his speeches that Obama’s views on the subject are “truly alarming.”

In an interview in August with Politico, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee went so far as to declare of Obama: “His worldview is dramatically different than any president, Republican or Democrat, we’ve had. . . . To deny American exceptionalism is in essence to deny the heart and soul of this nation.”

And last week, Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, told a group of College Republicans at American University: “Don’t kid yourself with the lie. America is exceptional, and Americans are concerned that there are a group of people in Washington who don’t believe that any more.”

Now just replace the phrase “American exceptionalism” with its synonym, “reflexive, mindless jingoism,” and that should give you some feel for just how off-putting this is.

I understand the desire to have pride in your country, but by what metric is America exceptional right now?  Our economy is in the toilet, we have a massive trade deficit, we’re lagging the developed world in education and healthcare, our government is paralyzed and corrupt, we’re mired in two unwinnable wars, and our public discourse is flooded with rage, fear, hate and reality TV.  Unless you define exceptional in terms of military budget and insane wingnuts per capita, I just don’t see it.

America has become the Norma Desmond of nations.  We’re ready for our close-up, Mr. Gibbon.

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Wankers


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