An endorsement of exceptionalism

Obama yesterday in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Obama yesterday in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Associated Press

It’s no longer an everyday smear, but for years, Republicans have attacked President Obama for his insufficient celebration of American exceptionalism. As the argument goes, the president isn’t just lacking patriotism, he rejects national greatness altogether.

As Mitt Romney claims, Obama thinks “America’s just another nation with a flag.”

It’s always been an ugly, baseless smear – Obama has emphasized his support for the principles of “American exceptionalism” explicitly, a fact more than a few observers acknowledged, even on the right – but it’s interesting to see the president work this into his stump speech.

“Now, understand, there are no quick fixes or easy solutions to some of these challenges. But here’s the thing that I constantly am reminded of wherever I travel across the country: We have the capacity to meet any challenge, because we’ve still got the best workers in the world. We’ve got the best entrepreneurs in the world. We’ve got the best scientists and researchers in the world, and the best colleges and the best universities in the world. We’re still a young nation, and we’ve got the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity and people who want to come here from every corner of the globe.

“And so no matter what the naysayers tell us, no matter how dark the other side tries to make things look, the fact is there is not another country on Earth that would not gladly trade places with the United States of America.”

Politico called the rhetoric “hyperbolic” – there are countries that would resist trading places with us – but it’s far more interesting to me that the rhetoric is being made in the first place.

Obviously, there need not be a connection between GOP attacks and reality, but it’s a little trickier for Republicans to say Obama doesn’t even like the country when the president is on the stump emphasizing American greatness.