Friday, January 22, 2021
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The Lady Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

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Sarah Palin sets the bar for chauvinism high. It is shrouded in an appeal to Americans' pride in their nation's accomplishments and position in the world. It hijacks a concept its originator would not recognize. "American exceptionalism" is being recast to excuse any requirement for intellectual rigor or personal achievement.

In today's Washington Post, Karen Tumulty describes the battle within the Republican Party to claim the mantle of patriotic messiah by painting President Obama as a betrayer of American destiny. Clearly it is much easier to portray an accomplished scholar or executive than to be one. And while every day is another day President Obama gains on executive experience and accomplishment over any potential Republican opponent, none of them have demonstrated his scholarship. So they conveniently shift to protestations that rattle personal demons borne in their constituencies' darkest fears, stoking misperceptions.

With a more intellectual sheen than the false assertions that Obama is secretly a Muslim or that he was born in Kenya, an argument over American exceptionalism "is a respectable way of raising the question of whether Obama is one of us," said William Galston, a former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.  - from Tumulty's WaPo piece