The concept of American exceptionalism is gospel in the Republican Party. Republicans in Washington consistently proclaim the US the “greatest nation in the world.” Late last month, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) ripped President Barack Obama for failing to mention American exceptionalism in his recent State of the Union address. The president, Boehner vented, “refused to talk about American exceptionalism. We are different than the rest of the world…[Democrats] reject that notion.”
At least one freshman House Republican apparently missed the American exceptionalism memo. At a meet-and-greet here on the second day of CPAC, Rep. Richard Nugent (R-Fla.) veered wildly off the GOP script, referring to the US as “a second-class state.” Nugent was one of nearly a dozen freshman congressmen who showed up at the event, where attendees downed mimosas and glad-handed with the GOP’s new members as well as Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), who introduced each of the members. The freshmen each gave a brief statement, and while Nugent’s hit on the usual themes—paying off our debt, reducing the deficit, embracing free enterprise—the “second-class state” remark was a bit startling, and met with silence.
Here’s what Nugent’s said:
Washington has gone tone deaf in the last administration. They didn’t listen to any of us…
I was comfortable in retirement. The reason I ran is because I currently have three sons serving this great nation. What I saw in their future is not an exceptional America. What’s happened in the last four years has drug this country down and put it into a second-class state.