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Sunday, April 1, 2012

American Exceptionalism and the Campaign

Republican presidential candidates are emphasizing American exceptionalism.

Philip Rucker writes at The Washington Post:
PEWAUKEE, Wis. – Mitt Romney continued his fresh assault on President Obama here Saturday, again accusing Obama of promoting “a government-centered society” and questioning his commitment to American exceptionalism. ...

“President Obama believes in a government-centered society,” Romney said here. “He doesn’t call it that precisely, but you listen to his speeches, there’s no question he believes government guiding our lives will do a better job in doing so than individuals pursuing their own freedoms in their own ways.”
Romney recalled traveling abroad as a business consultant and Bain Capital executive and “standing a little taller, a little straighter, because I knew I had a gift that others didn’t have, and that was I was American.”
“Our president doesn’t have the same feelings about American exceptionalism that we do,” Romney said. “And I think over the last three or four years, some people around the world have begun to question that. On this Tuesday, we have an opportunity — you have an opportunity — to vote, and take the next step in bringing back that special nature of being American.”
The Georgetown Voice reports:
In a speech that seamlessly transitioned from quips about NASA and the laws of physics to history lessons about Abraham Lincoln and the Wright brothers, ex-Speaker of the House and contender for the GOP presidential nomination Newt Gingrich confidently laid out his vision of American exceptionalism based on the country’s religious founding and its people’s capacity for innovation. Gingrich declared:
We’re exceptional because we’ve inherited from the founding fathers an explanation of our rights unlike in any other country in the world—we’re the only society that says power comes from God to each one of you personally, you are personally sovereign. You loan power to the state, the state does not loan power to you. This is very fundamental to the nature of being Americans.
From the Wright brothers to UPS, Gingrich cited examples of innovation in the private sector to criticize intellectually decrepit federal and state governments. In an interview with campus media prior to the speech, he said, “I think we have a much greater lack of ideas than a lack of money or lack of political willpower.”