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We’re Not Wrong About Obama’s American Exceptionalism

We’re Not Wrong About Obama’s American Exceptionalism

We simply reject it

Ron Fournier at National Journal has written an extraordinary article, “Republicans Are Wrong About Obama’s American Exceptionalism,” defending Obama’s vision of America as “modern and honest,” as “Reagan-plus.”

We, of course, are neither modern nor honest; indeed, we’re frightened because the country is “becoming browner and more accepting of gays and lesbians”:

That is a scary thought for some people. I get it: Life is changing so quickly and the future is so uncertain that the past is a pacifier—and so politicians cling to the founding myths of the nation. And yet, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and other GOP presidential candidates critical of Obama’s formulation are making a mistake with their retro pitch to a populace that has always looked to the future.

Setting aside his disdain for and condescension at our (bitter?) clinging, Mr. Fournier misses the fact that we don’t ignore our nation’s past nor do we cringe in fear at the thought of a diverse demographic make up or of some scary future (unless it’s the one Obama has planned for us).  Indeed, as Americans who believe in American exceptionalism (not Obama’s vision of it), we embrace these things as part of the very fabric of our great nation.

I wrote the following (with revisions) back in 2010, but the basic premise remains just as true today as it was then.

What do you think of when you think of America?

I think of American ingenuity, American resourcefulness.  I think of pioneers heading into the unknown, be it to an unknown continent or into the unknown wild west.  I think of American inventions from the cotton gin to refrigeration to the Ford assembly line to the telegraph.  I think of Americans walking on the moon, building skyscrapers, making discoveries in science and technology that have changed the world.  I think of Americans as staunch allies and generous providers of aid, both financial and military, where and when needed.  I think of Americans reaching out a helping hand to each other after tragedies like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and I’ve seen first-hand, having lived for some time in the hurricane-buffetted Florida panhandle, that this willingness to help, this eagerness to aid a neighbor or a stranger, is not reserved for only true catastrophe.  I think of Americans reaching out with equal empathy when tragedies strike other countries (we are always first to respond to tragedies be they tsunamis or earthquakes, and as we have the most to give, we give the most.  Freely.  With compassion.).

What has made all of this possible is that we apply our American ingenuity and resourcefulness to all situations.  We don’t cringe in fear of change or of an uncertain future; we blaze trails.  Where Mr. Fournier and Obama see failure, shame, and regret, we see the changes we have wrought out of and because of our American exceptionalism (not despite it or in creation of it).

When industry needed regulation as revealed in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, we changed it.  When people were being exploited in steel mills, we changed it and improved the working conditions in factories across the country.  When we have seen injustice, we have moved to correct it.  We have abolished slavery, given women the vote, ended segregation, provided opportunity to the poor, created a booming middle class.  We have defended freedom, our own and that of others, around the world.  We have shared our resources with our allies (and too often with our enemies).  We have been a beacon of hope for people the world over.

And we have been able to do all of this because we are a free people.  We have a (somewhat) limited government that instead of micro-managing every aspect of our lives has instead historically provided the protections and opportunities that Americans have needed, have been blessed with, to accomplish so very very much.  We grew from a rag-tag bunch of misfit rebels into the most powerful nation on earth.  And we did it in less than two centuries!

When government steps back and leaves businesses and individuals to flourish, flourish they do.  We’ve proven that.  It’s fact.  When government steps in and oversees, controls, and legislates everything the opposite happens:  businesses, people, countries, entire civilizations wither and die.  We’ve seen that in country after country in our own lifetimes, and it’s been the truth throughout history.  When a people are given hand-outs from the government, they become listless, unmotivated, dependent.  Productivity, innovation, even the will to survive decline to an eventual and inevitable stand-still.  People shrivel up and die rather than shuffle through life on a meager subsistence that offers no hope, no nothing.

When people are given opportunity and freedom, they bound into action, they become independent, prosperous, and successful.  This is truth.  This is fact.  If people have to work, create, invent, and innovate to survive, thrive, and prosper, they will.  We Americans, in my not-so-humble opinion, are blessed to have that certain something, that American spirit, that prevails in all things.  We are proud people, yes, but we are also independent people.  A people who want opportunity, not hand-outs.

We saw this clearly in the fall-out from the Cornhusker Kickback.  In order to secure Senator Ben Nelson’s vote on the (first-step, or “starter home,” of the) government takeover of our healthcare system, Reid granted Nebraska a free-pass on Medicaid, the federal government would pay for all of Nebraska’s Medicaid for all time.  “The federal government” doesn’t have an income beyond our taxes (and some frantic borrowing and money printing that are getting us closer and closer to a true economic collapse), so that means that 49 states’ taxpayers would be footing the bill for Nebraska’s Medicaid–healthcare for the poor.  Forever.  We would be taxed for another state’s services, taxed, of course, without representation because we can’t vote there.  This caused an uproar across the nation.  We were indignant, not only at the idea of footing the bill for Nebraskans while also paying for the Medicaid in our own states, not only at the idea of taxation without representation, but at the idea that a vote on a fundamentally un-American bill can be bought like that.  That the concept of America, what it means to be American, is for sale.

The most important part of this story, though, is that the people of Nebraska themselves rejected it.

Nebraska did America proud by adamantly opposing the Cornhusker Kickback.  They didn’t want the hand-out, they didn’t want the “favor” that would make their lives easier (or at least slightly less expensive than the other 49 states).  They refused to be bought off, to be taken under the government wing and “nurtured.”  They wanted to stand alone.  To thrive and survive, to retain their independence and stand, like the proud Americans they are, on their own two feet.  The people of Nebraska were furious and they were embarrassed.  They booed Ben Nelson out of a pizza parlor, they spoke out against this travesty, and their governor let it be known that Nebraska would not fall, would not hand over their sovereignty, their American spirit.  As a result, Nelson was shamed into asking that the kickback be removed from the bill.

Obama, of course, misread the entire thing, and that’s because he doesn’t get it.  He doesn’t understand–deep-down, intuitively know–what it means to be an American.  He thinks that republicans caused the reversal, he thinks that it was politics.  He doesn’t understand that what he is doing, what he wants, what he is goes against the grain of America, that it grates against the grain of the American spirit, of our most foundational principles and beliefs.  He doesn’t get that we aren’t a people who want the government to provide for us, that we are a people who want the government to provide only what it is constitutionally directed to provide: opportunity, protection, and representation of the people.

The people, those in Nebraska, and those across this land reject Obama’s plan to “fundamentally transform” our country, not because we are stupid or afraid, not because it hasn’t been explained correctly, not because we are political pawns bent on saying “no,” but because we understand very well what is being proposed.  We understand that it is anti-American, that if flies (even spits) in the face of who we are as a people.

We fly free, we forge paths, we protect and defend.  We don’t cower in the shadows awaiting our next hand-out, we don’t slink uninspired and listless through the sewers of life wondering what someone else will do for us.  We stand tall, we innovate, we invent, we succeed, we rush to the aid of others because we have not only the wealth and strength to do so but because we are a good and decent people.  We are Americans, for God’s sake, Americans.


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“That is a scary thought for some people. I get it: Life is changing so quickly and the future is so uncertain that the past is a pacifier—and so politicians cling to the founding myths of the nation. And yet, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and other GOP presidential candidates critical of Obama’s formulation are making a mistake with their retro pitch to a populace that has always looked to the future.”

For Pete’s sake, this is such an unbelievably condescending, infantile, intellectually dishonest distillation of why so many people criticize Obozo’s transparent detachment, vanity, arrogance, sanctimony and naivete in the conduct of his ruinous domestic and foreign policies. Rubbish musings such as this aren’t worthy of the effort of rebuttal.

    Shane in reply to guyjones. | June 7, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Agreed, but really though, no matter how stupid this garbage is it really needs to be rebuted. If it isn’t it will stand unchallenged.

      guyjones in reply to Shane. | June 7, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      I hear you, but, we are talking about intellectual and emotional infants, here. They cannot be reasoned with. Appeals to facts, rationality and common sense will not avail you. They are enamored of histrionics, distortions, emotional appeals, demagoguery and everything except cogent, well-reasoned argument. I guess I am weary from the utter futility of it all. Leftists are inherently unreceptive to viewpoints at variance with their cherished orthodoxies.

      But, if you’re saying, let’s get a rebuttal out there so some opposition appears on the record and history will know that at least some people opposed the statist agenda (if for no other purpose), then, I guess I agree with you on that score.

        Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to guyjones. | June 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm

        Guyjones, you got them!

        They are emotionally stuck forever in their “Terrible Twos.”

        They may have IQ but they are selfish, ignorant blobs!

    Estragon in reply to guyjones. | June 7, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    I knew Fournier would revert to his true leftist colors as full-time apologist for Obama as he was for Clinton in the ’90s. His recent pretense of criticism of some of the blunders is just for show, like Juan Williams he only criticizes Obama’s actions that cannot be defended by any stretch of truth and imagination.

    Fournier is a Potemkin analyst, a deep cover leftist agent. But he can’t keep his secrets long, the inner socialist bursts through like in Alien.

Browner through abortion and displacement. Trans equivalence through selective exclusion. Progress has taken a notably regressive color and tone.

    Radegunda in reply to n.n. | June 7, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Strange, isn’t it, that one can look around the world and easily see that the most advanced and humane and hospitable cultures are those built primarily by people of white European ancestry, often with substantial Jewish contributions (which is proved by the fact that so many people of other ethnicities flock to those places) — yet self-styled “progressives” draw the conclusion that all those places have been much too white and absolutely require an overwhelming infusion of darker skin tones in order to make “progress.”

    My observation will undoubtedly be considered racist by those who call themselves “progressive,” but it’s meant to point out the bizarre racialism of a worldview in which “white culture” as something intrinsically retrograde that is necessarily improved by becoming more heavily pigmented.

One of Barracula’s themes in the last SOTUS I could force myself to watch was, “America does big things”.

That was, of course, a lie. We DON’T do big things. We used to. We used to build dams, bridges, sky-scrapers, and we used to build them in amazingly short spans of time.

Now there’s a much stronger drive to destroy dams than to build them, and building anything takes seemingly forever, and requires overcoming a flood-tide of worthless and costly regulatory crap (which is VERY intentional).

We WERE a space-faring people. Now we have to hitch rides on Russian rockets and pay through the nose for the chance. Soon, from the way things are looking, we will cease even to do that.

I don’t believe the people themselves have changed so much as the overburden of BIG GOVERNMENT has changed. I think that if we could shrug that off, we WOULD do big things. As Mark Steyn and others have noted, when government gets bigger, everything else gets smaller.

The Obamic Decline is a choice, and one made by only a relative handful of people who wield power…at the moment. We can make a different set of choices.

    Shane in reply to Ragspierre. | June 7, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    There are still a few willing to try (and fail). SpaceX comes to mind. I agree though we have become to concerned about safety and that has brought the rise of a strangling government.

      Ragspierre in reply to Shane. | June 7, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Sure. It isn’t an issue of NO innovation. Almost no system can completely stifle that. There were inventors and innovative scientists in the Soviet Era.

      It’s a matter of WHO is ALLOWED to innovate, and how much a system will foster innovation. A free market system innovates as an organic feature. A BIG GOVERNMENT system is hostile to innovation.

Last I checked Cruz is “Brown”, and so is Carson. Seems the bitter clingers aren’t really the ones clinging to guns, but something more awful.

This from the speech ol’ Ron is all ga-ga over…

“We respect the past, but we don’t pine for the past,” he said to cheers. “We don’t fear the future; we grab for it. America is not some fragile thing.”

Well. There’s a problem right there. How does one “respect the past” when they have no concept of what that really was?

There has never been a more thumpingly ignorant man in the Oval Office. What he “knows” from America’s past is lies told by “Critical History” propagandists who have and had a deep abiding hatred for America.

Of course he would not “pine for the past”. Everything he was taught tells him he should hate America…fundamentally transform America. He has no sense of the truth of the past, or the founding principles.

He also has no sense of the Enlightenment, of which America is the greatest fruition. He constantly talks about “science”, and is again one of the most ignorant men ever to be elected to high office in the U.S.

As to the “grabbing for the future” part…really!?!? How cynical can a person be? He didn’t usher in the era of the destruction of the concept of marriage as part of “the future”. It was a crass, obvious, and cynical play for support from a tiny, well-organized, and well-funded militancy. He himself…again…lied about his own standards and beliefs just prior to “grabbing for the future”…votes.

Principles and ideals are not “past” or “future” things. The Greeks knew about republics, and nothing true about a republic has changed. Nor, really, CAN it change.

There is nothing remotely like Reagan in Obama.

    Observer in reply to Ragspierre. | June 7, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Obama respects our past? The same past that his wife told Americans in 2008 that her husband knew he was going to have to change?:

    “Barack knows that we are going to have to make sacrifices; we are going to have to change our conversation; we’re going to have to change our traditions, our history; we’re going to have to move into a different place as a nation.”

    BTW, how exactly does one “change our history”? Does Barry have a time machine, or is he just planning on relying upon leftist revisionist historians to re-write our history books?

      Ragspierre in reply to Observer. | June 7, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      Ah, you fail to keep in mind that post-modernism holds that everything is plastic, nothing means anything you don’t want it to mean, and you can change EVERYTHING to suit.

      History is infinity malleable. Lies are truths from a “different perspective”. Rationality is distrusted and “un-useful” in the pursuit of the Collectivist “good”.

Sammy Finkelman | June 7, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Nebraska did America proud by adamantly opposing the Cornhusker Kickback. They didn’t want the hand-out, they didn’t want the “favor” that would make their lives easier (or at least slightly less expensive than the other 49 states).

And Congress repealed in the budget resolution, but they didn’t correct the “mistake” of not providing tax credits in a health exchange ot established by a state.

That bill was written in Harry Reid’s office and they still needed to keep the CBO deficit score from rising, as it would have had the CBO been forced to attribute any administrative costs at all to the federal exchange(s)

Reid intended to correct it in the next Congress, but the democrats lost control of the House of represenatatives in the 2010 election.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | June 7, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Word left out: “Congress repealed it in the budget resolution.”

    Poople don’t realize but they were not absolutely stuck with the Senate bill.

    Nobody realizes this.

    Obamacare could be, and was, amended short of 60 votes in the Senate, as long as they confined themselves to provisions affecting money.

    Which means that just like they got rid of the Cornhusker kickback – when do you think they did it? After Obama signed Obamacare into law, in a second bill! – they could have gotten rid of the limitation that tax credits were only available for an insurance policy “established by a state.”

    It is my contention that Harry Reid left that in law, because he didn’t want to raise the cost of the bill, and he was confident that that deliberately defective law, which would result in a train wreck if left unchanged could be amended later, at a time when nobody would care that it raised the cost of Obamacare somewhat because that would be passed in a different budget year.

Sammy Finkelman | June 7, 2015 at 3:08 pm

When industry needed regulation as revealed in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, we changed it.

Upton Sinclair fanously intended to shock Americans about the condition of the workers but instead he shocked it about the condition of its mass produced food.

So, he didn’t get exactly what he wanted.

I’m having difficulty seeing the future-oriented aspect of importing millions upon millions of undereducated people who bring a third-world outlook and habits along with them, and who expect immediate handouts and advantages financed by the citizens already here.

Exactly what kind of future does Fournier envision as the nation becomes more and more like Mexico or Guatemala — or Somalia?

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Radegunda. | June 7, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    a third-world outlook and habits along with them,

    Isn’t the third-world outlook that if you don’t work, you don’t eat?

    Handouts is a first-world outlook.

      Valerie in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | June 7, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      Look again.

      The name of the game is “F*ck the System.”

        Radegunda in reply to Valerie. | June 7, 2015 at 4:11 pm

        It’s also called jizya: Whatever is possessed by infidels actually belongs to Allah and his servants, and may righteously be taken by them. Imams have said so quite plainly.

      Radegunda in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | June 7, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      You have a point, but the fact is that a great many of those coming in from the Third World expect to start immediately receiving material benefits funded by First World citizens. That expectation is strongly encouraged by our own government, which is working with the Mexican government to instruct Mexicans on how to started getting free food courtesy of American citizens. (This perverse dynamic is even stronger in Europe.)

      Third World societies aren’t terribly strong in concepts like rule of law or equality before the law or rising on individual merit; they condition people to expect that government agents must be bribed, and to believe that material success is reserved for privileged classes or those with political connections. In that frame of reference, Americans (and particularly white Americans) are one big privileged class whose wealth is being made accessible to those who know how to bribe government agents or political interest groups (viz., by promising loads of Democrat votes, or a constantly renewing source of cheap labor supplemented by welfare from the taxpayers).

Sammy Finkelman | June 7, 2015 at 3:23 pm

You know, the complaint is that other people are taking American jobs, or lowering their pay, not that they are taking American welfare benefits.

Someone has to be introduced to that.

    Valerie in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | June 7, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Are you sure about that?

    Next time you set up a straw man, make sure you can back it up.

      Shane in reply to Valerie. | June 7, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      Post Obamcare jobs i.e. part time no benefits. Because right now these are about the only types of jobs that are created, and have usually been the realm of illegals anyway. Unfortunately for us these jobs are now for everyone.

      Ancedotal story, my neighbor in Phoenix worked for the part of the state government that handled welfare benefits. She said that fraud is rampant from people that had no legal right to be here. She said that having one child that was born here opened up the whole family to benefits regardless of the family’s citizenship status. Kinda makes sense as to why AZ dropped their entitlement period.

    Radegunda in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | June 7, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Those two complaints do not cancel each other out. Both things may be done even by the same people, or the same family group. The head of household may take a job at lower wages than citizens were getting for the same job, and then the household qualifies for supplemental assistance from the taxpayers (some of whom have just been pushed out of their jobs).

    Radegunda in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | June 7, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Obama proposes giving three years of retroactive “tax credits” to illegal aliens he wants to grant legal status by executive fiat. Those “tax credits” go to people who have worked for pay, though they are actually welfare handouts disguised as tax refunds.

Joseph Goebbels used to write similar articles about the sane world being wrong about Hitler’s vision of German exceptionalism.

inspectorudy | June 8, 2015 at 12:31 am

What happened in Nebraska with the Corn husker Kickback is the same as the states that refused to set up their own obamacare exchanges. The Demorats were so sure that all states were as greedy as the blue states and that all any of them wanted was government money. They were wrong. And what is so amazing is that obama and the msm keep thinking its all about politics. It is the American way! We had a few losers like Kasich from Ohio who talked about helping his people first before political concerns. He doesn’t get it either. Neither did Brewer in Arizona. All they saw were dollar signs and the money coming to their state. It used to be that pride made Americans get off their butts and seek jobs and after getting a hand up went out and went to work. obama and his socialist cronies want to do away with that American ethic.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | June 8, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Didn’t know Ron Fournier was running for “#! Idiot” this year.