An exceptional people, and an unexceptional president

Putin is wrong: Telling a nation it is exceptional is not hazardous, it is essential. Photo: AP Photos

WASHINGTON, September 12, 2013 — Vladimir Putin took to the pages of the The New York Times, today. In an editorial titled “A plea for caution from Russia,” Putin wrote, “It is extremely dangerous to encourage a people to see themselves as exceptional.”

Putin is wrong.


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America is an exceptional nation. Part of the reason we are exceptional is because we believe that, and until a generation ago, we were taught that.

America is exceptional. Unfortunately, we are stuck with the most unexceptional leader this nation has ever seen.

Our founding fathers conceived a nation with the ideals of freedom and liberty. They could never conceive this nation having a leader who hated it and wanted to see it fail.

They would never believe that this nation could elect someone like Barack Obama.


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What Putin — and for that matter Obama, who agrees with Putin on American exceptionalism — do not realize is that Americans are an exceptional people because we believe we are.

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can or you cannot, either way, you are right.” Real Americans — Americans who love their country — believe we can. And we did everything possible to make sure we could. We believed we could tame an untamed continent, and we did. We believed we could go to the moon, and we did.

Unfortunately for America, the spirit of exceptionalism has been mostly destroyed. Liberals in education teach young people that not only is America not special, but we are evil. They teach that American wealth is not the result of freedom and free enterprise, but the result of theft and oppression.

In the past we told everyone who came to America, “we don’t care where you came from, you are now Americans. You are not some balkanized subset of Americans. You are Americans.” We insisted that immigrants become Americans. Becoming American was not simply a matter of citizenship. It was a matter of identity.

Immigrants in past generations would refuse to speak their native language in their own homes because they wanted their kids to speak English and become Americans. 

President Theodore Roosevelt told the Knights of Columbus in 1915, “The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.”

In their war on American exceptionalism, that is exactly what the left has done. America was exceptional because while we might have disagreements, there were core beliefs that all Americans shared. These were the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Today President Obama and the left want America to follow the lead of the unexceptional nations. Today the left wants America to go from being the bright shining city on the hill to simply another failed socialist state.

Vladimir Putin is wrong. It is not dangerous to tell a people they are exceptional. It is the key to becoming the greatest and freest nation on this earth.


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Judson Phillips

Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest Tea Party Groups in the country and the number one national tea party site on the Internet.

A lawyer by profession, Judson has been involved in politics since his teens. “Ronald Reagan inspired me,” he says.

Judson became involved in the Tea Party movement in February 2009 after hearing Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC.   “I heard there was going to be a Tea Party in Chicago inspired by Santelli, but didn’t know if anyone was doing a rally in Nashville where I was based.  Finally I emailed Michelle Malkin and asked her if there was a Tea Party in Nashville.  Malkin sent an email back saying, ‘No, why don’t you organize one?’  I did.”

The first Tea Party in Nashville was held late February 2009 which drew a crowd of about 600. Judson then organized the Tax Day Tea Party in Nashville, which drew over 10,000 people into downtown.   It was at this time that Tea Party Nation was formed.  Later that year, Judson decided to bring activists from across the country together, so he organized the first National Tea Party Convention in February 2010, which featured Alaska’s former Governor and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Sarah Palin as it’s keynote speaker.

He currently manages the Tea Party Nation website, writes several daily columns and is working on more projects than any one person should.  He is a frequent guest on cable and broadcast news shows, including on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and others.

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