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April 14, 2010

Obama Laments America's Superpower Status

Topics: Political News and commentaries

Our Apologist-in-Chief at yesterday's nuclear summit: "Whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower":

One of Obama's top advisers - Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said the president was not expressing a reluctance to play the leadership role in the world that the U.S. has held for the last several decades, rather that he was saying we are the global superpower and like it or not that means that we are going to have to play a role.

However, given Obama's flawed idea of the traditional concept of American exceptionalism - the notion that our history, our Constitution, and our national character indeed set us apart from other nations, I seriously doubt Rhodes' excuse actually reflects the real meaning of what Obama said. As Rick Moran poins out at PJM, Obama's history and previous comments suggest that he has substituted a new paradigm embraced by the left that holds America to be a work in progress; it holds that the ideal of America is exceptional, but the reality is not.

It is a view that goes hand in hand with the left's notion of patriotism. Peter Beinart, in a brilliant essay for Time magazine, defined patriotism on the left thusly:
If conservatives tend to see patriotism as an inheritance from a glorious past, liberals often see it as the promise of a future that redeems the past. Consider Obama's original answer about the flag pin:"I won't wear that pin on my chest," he said last fall. "Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism." Will make this country great? It wasn't great in the past? It's not great as it is?

The liberal answer is, Not great enough. For liberals, America is less a common culture than a set of ideals about democracy, equality and the rule of law. American history is a chronicle of the distance between those ideals and reality. And American patriotism is the struggle to narrow the gap. Thus, patriotism isn't about honoring and replicating the past; it's about surpassing it.

What informs President Obama's love of America is the promise of what America can be, not what she is today. Similarly, his idea of exceptionalism is animated by the belief that we can be so much more than what we are, and that in order to achieve that lofty goal, radical surgery is necessary to excise the ghosts of racism, sexism, homophobia, aggressive militarism, evil capitalism - and tens of millions who don't have health insurance. To Obama, there is no difference between the evils of slavery and the fact that so many have no insurance. Each is a hindrance to achieving the American ideal of an "exceptional" society as envisioned by the president.

We don't understand this kind of thinking on the right. To love one's country in the abstract? But it explains why the president is perfectly willing to hack away at the "essential constraints" of the Constitution to achieve what he believes to be an ideal America and be true to his concept of exceptionalism. It's why what he is doing "feels" so wrong, so out of control. Seeing our basic law as an impediment to an ideal America shows the president to be wedded to an exceptionalism that is outside the traditional definition, but connected to the idea of America being "different" because of our history and values. (Emphasis added)

As Lori Ziganto points out, that Obama does not believe in American Exceptionalism is evidenced by the people hHe has surrounded himself with - people who hold his same beliefs. Take for example a speech - to young students - that his Science Czar gave the other day:

Via Brietbart TV (H/t Lori Ziganto):

The Obama administration's top science and technology official, who has argued for the economic de-development of America, warned science students last Friday that the United States cannot expect to be "number one" forever."We can't expect to be number one in everything indefinitely," Dr. John P. Holdren said at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
It's almost as though the Obama administration either wishes for America's decline and/or is actively planning it.

Lori has additional commentary.

Posted by Richard at April 14, 2010 4:23 PM

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