Political comedian Bill Maher said Sunday on CNN that the Republican brand of “American exceptionalism” is based on an unrealistic “fantasy” that’s contradicted by facts.
“They live in this fantasy world where it’s always 1945, [and] America’s always number one,” Maher, the host of HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” said of Republicans.
Maher was referring to a common trend among modern Republican leaders that today involves characterizing the United States as a beacon of good and a nation with unparalleled greatness in world history.
He specifically invoked remarks expressed by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and US Senator-elect Marco Rubio of Florida, all of whom regularly tout the issue of American exceptionalism.
But the United States, as Maher pointed out with some help from Zakaria, ranks behind dozens of countries on issues such as broadband internet penetration, infant mortality, literacy and health care, among others.
“These people love the truth, they just hate facts,” Maher said.
The actual term “American exceptionalism,” coined by the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, refers not to the ostensible superiority of the United States but rather to the uniqueness of its founding, upon a set of principles and convictions regarding human nature.
But Republicans have re-branded the issue to signify American superiority over other nations. And, as the Washington Post recently reported, the term “seems to be on the lips of just about every Republican who is giving any thought to running for president in 2012.”
The phrase has become a rallying cry for conservatives who claim progressives don’t quite love or appreciate America as much. Liberals such as Maher argue that fact-based criticisms of US shortcomings are important in political discourse to help solve the country’s problems.
The following video is from CNN, uploaded to YouTube by CRUClEFICTION.