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WaPo notes that Palin, Romney, Pence, Huckabee, Santorum and Gingrich have all recently extolled "American exceptionalism." In part, this arises from Obama's reluctance on the matter.
Obama was asked by Financial Times correspondent Ed Luce whether he subscribes, as his predecessors did, "to the school of American exceptionalism that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world."
The president's answer began: "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."
Though purportedly affirming his belief, many understood the president to have signaled denial by nuance.
The rhetoric of exceptionalism is likely to continue, as it has an eager audience not only in Tea Party and conservative circles but also among moderate American. The (rightful) perception that Democrats eschew the doctrine not only plays very well in the current environment but clearly defines a fundamental divergence in liberal and conservative political perceptions and policies.
WaPo quotes the late political sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset, who employed exceptionalism to explain "why the United States is the only industrialized country which does not have a significant socialist movement or Labor party." Many Americans see in Obamacare, finance regulation, massive spending and the like an attempt to impose institutions and policies which conflict with the established modes and inheritances consistent with a sense of exceptionalism. Tea Party Americans instinctively responded to this shift with defiance, demonstrating a visceral attachment to a continued sense of American exceptionalism and its social, political and economic consequences.