Word-Counting Strikes Again

Totally called it. John Boehner, criticizing a State of the Union address shot through-and-through with acknowledgments of American exceptionalism, for failing to use the word. This was foreordained from the moment Michele Bachmann conspicuously dropped the word in her speech, the way a seventh grader deploys SAT vocabulary: generically. In the following, trade the word “exceptionalism” for any other thing we generically like:

I believe that we are in the early days of a history-making turn in America. Please know how important your calls, visits, and letters are to the maintenance of our liberties. Because of you, Congress is responding and we are just starting to undo the damage that’s been done the last few years. Because we believe in lower taxes. We believe in a limited view of government, and exceptionalism in America. And I believe that America is the indispensable nation of the world. Just the creation of this nation itself was a miracle. Who’s to say that we can’t see a miracle again?

“Happiness”? “The future”? “Baseball”? “Softcore pornography”? There’s now a required speech vocabulary list in America: ignore the word, even while paying elegant homage to the concept, and face Republican wrath. Make a note. Do they really think we’re this dumb?

I believe that we are in the early days of a history-making turn in America. Please know how important your calls, visits, and letters are to the maintenance of our liberties. Because of you, Congress is responding and we are just starting to undo the damage that’s been done the last few years. Because we believe in lower taxes. We believe in a limited view of government, and exceptionalism in America. And I believe that America is the indispensable nation of the world. Just the creation of this nation itself was a miracle. Who’s to say that we can’t see a miracle again
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9 comments

  1. david boudreau · ·

    I wish I could agree with you on American exceptionalism, I do think Obama is closer to it than the neo-facist right. Look back since ronnie star wars ray gun its been down hill for America ! The debt was created by ray-gun= $4 trillion of debt (with 19 tax increases), Head of the bush crime family “daddy bush” $2 trillion of debt (with a tax increase) and that coward ba-bush-ka + 6 trillion of debt plus dub-ya took $2 Trillion from social security to hide some of the debt!. so wheres “EXCEPTIONALISM” HOW DO THEY REPRESENT that?
    Oh did in mention that B.J. billy left us with NO DEBT! yes a tax increase but in the black! I see the right I see a sea of RED since 1980.
    I’ll take the left anytime.

  2. Dick Turpis · ·

    Does all this talk of “American Exceptionalism” remind anyone else of a bunch of 8 year olds whining that they can do what they want because they’re better than everyone else?

  3. It reminds me more of a guy with a serious mid-life crisis, staring in the mirror and trying to convince himself that he’s still “got it”.

  4. Hey now. Naturally what we tell ourselves about ourselves is going to be encouraging and validating. But I don’t feel that the sentiment is far off, even if the execution, in the hands of Bachmann, is poor. The US still IS the indispensable nation.

    1. Dick Turpis · ·

      Which nations would you consider dispensable?

    2. I must admit I’ve never actually been able to figure out precisely what that means.

      The US is a great place and all, but you’re still subject to the same historical and political dynamics as everyone else. How does this ‘exceptionalism’ manifest in practice?

    3. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid. the U.S. MAY have been exceptional once, but when trained lawyers begin to publicly say its ok to kill U.S. citizens without due process, we’ve slide off that pedestal thank you very much.

  5. This is how I saw it:

    “America, you’re so pretty. Don’t let those mean liberals talk about your acne. You’re the prettiest girl at the dance. They don’t love you like I do, America. You know what, those liberals probably gave you that acne. America, you’re an innocent! You are gorgeous. Don’t get an eating disorder America.”

  6. Also, Daily Intel had a list of Obama referring to exceptionalism, without using the word:
    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/01/did_obama_not_flatter_america.html

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