Back when then Governor Sarah Palin debated then Senator Joe Biden in a bid for the Vice-presidency of the United States, Rich Lowry of the National Review famously wrote:
Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can’t be learned; it’s either something you have or you don’t, and man, she’s got it.
Up until recently, I didn’t get the full thrust of Lowry’s sexual addiction. I assumed it was limited to Palin. But after reading an editorial in the Washington Post this week, I think I now really understand the cause of Rich’s hard-on.
Matt Miller, this week, wrote a most amusing analysis of our country’s preoccupation with “American exceptionalism”. He writes:
Oooh, you’re so strong, baby, so handsome. You’re the greatest.
I’m talking about you, America. You’re . . . why, you’re exceptional!
Does anyone else think there’s something a little insecure about a country that requires its politicians to constantly declare how exceptional it is? A populace in need of this much reassurance may be the surest sign of looming national decline.
American exceptionalism is now the central theme of Sarah Palin’s speeches. The supposedly insufficient Democratic commitment to this idea will be a core Republican complaint in 2012. Conservatives assail Barack Obama for his alleged indifference to it. It’s part of their broader indictment of Obama’s fishy cosmopolitanism, his overseas “apology tours,” his didn’t-wear-the-flag-lapel-pin-until-he-had-to peevishness. Not to mention the whole anti-colonial Kenyan resentment thing the president’s got going.
Real men – real Americans – know America is the greatest country ever invented. And they shout it from the rooftops. Don’t they?
On Marco Rubio, Miller made the following observation:
Rubio described his Senate race as “a referendum on our identity,” adding that “this race forces us to answer a very simple question,” he said. “Do we want our country to continue to be exceptional, or are we prepared for it to become just like everyone else?”
And to think I thought the election was about who had better ideas for getting the economy moving again.
The key part of Rubio’s phrase is “continue to be exceptional”. You can’t continue to be what you are not presently. We are “just like everyone else” to the extent that we are in debt up to our eyeballs, and by many folk’s estimation on our way to becoming Greece. Again, Miller nails it when he says:
The conservative use of American exceptionalism as a political sword today is perversely revealing. There’s something off when the first generation of Americans that is less educated than its parents feels a deep need to be told how unique it is. Or that a generation that’s handing off epic debts and a chronically dysfunctional political process (among other woes) demands that its leaders keep toasting its fabulousness. Especially when other nations now offer more upward mobility, and a better blend of growth with equity, than we do – arguably the best measures of America’s once-exceptional national performance.
Wouldn’t it bolster Americans more to be told that we can meet the challenges of this moment? Wouldn’t we be better off striving to be exceptional at solving our common problems?
But no, of course not. Anyone who suggests America needs improvement is a traitor of the first order. And heaven forbid our President does this. Any modesty on his part amounts to an “apology tour”. Miller concludes:
Sarah Palin’s focus on this theme proves she is shrewder than her critics acknowledge. … If you don’t have real answers, soothing words are a start.
Oooh, you’re so strong, baby, so handsome. Palin knows the country she is courting.
George Washington was called “The Father of Our Country” and to some extent every President should serve this role. A father provides a strong example and encourages his “children” to excel with humility, to not accept “good enough”. Somehow over the past 10 years, America has forsaken the notion of a fatherly President. America now wants its President to be a fraternity brother or a best girlfriend. We want someone who would be fun to have a drink with. We want someone to give us an erection.
So you see, the star-bursts Rich Lowry saw went beyond a personal physical reaction. It was symptomatic of a nation that wants a huge collective blow job from its leader. It is commonly accepted that Vice President Nelson Rockefeller died in coitus with an aide. The typical male reaction is “what a way to go, at least he died happy.” And so it is with America. We may be near death, but as long as Sarah keeps winking at us and stroking our national dick, at least we’ll die happy.