Grand Slam Shelby Steele: Obama and the Burden of Exceptionalism

Now here’s Shelby Steele, and you will recognize that you’ve heard much of this on this program, but I love this. It’s in the Wall Street Journal, and as you know, every time Shelby Steele writes on this subject, I trumpet it; share it with you almost verbatim. He writes, ” If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times: President Obama is destroying the country. Some say this destructiveness is intended; most say it is inadvertent, an outgrowth of inexperience, ideological wrong-headedness and an oddly < character. Indeed, on the matter of Mr. Obama's character, today's left now sounds like the right of three years ago. "They have begun to see through the man and are surprised at how little is there." That's Shelby Steele describing the American left. "Yet there is something more than inexperience or lack of character that defines this presidency: Mr. Obama came of age in a bubble of post-'60s liberalism that conditioned him to be an adversary of American exceptionalism. In this liberalism America's exceptional status in the world follows from a bargain with the devil -- an indulgence in militarism, racism, sexism, corporate greed, and environmental disregard as the means to a broad economic, military, and even cultural supremacy in the world. And therefore America's greatness is as much the fruit of evil as of a devotion to freedom." This is so right on the money. It's just another way of saying Obama's got a chip on his shoulder because of the way he was educated: This country has gotten where it is via immoral acts, stealing the world's resources as our own, impoverishing people around the world. This is what he believes. "Mr. Obama did not explicitly run on an anti-exceptionalism platform. Yet once he was elected it became clear that his idea of how and where to apply presidential power was shaped precisely by this brand of liberalism. There was his devotion to big government, his passion for redistribution, and his scolding and scapegoating of Wall Street -- as if his mandate was somehow to overcome ... American capitalism itself." Right on. Dead, right on. "Anti-exceptionalism has clearly shaped his 'leading from behind' profile abroad -- an offer of self-effacement to offset the presumed American evil of swaggering cowboyism. Once in office his 'hope and change' campaign slogan came to look like the 'hope' of overcoming American exceptionalism and 'change' away from it."



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