In her new book America by Heart, Sarah Palin (egregiously) crops a quote from President Obama about American exceptionalism and then offers the observation that it “reminds me of that great scene in the movie The Incredibles”:
Astonishingly, President Obama even said that he believes in American exceptionalism in the same way “the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Which is to say, he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism at all. He seems to think it is just a kind of irrational prejudice in favor of our way of life. To me, that is appalling.
His statement reminds me of that great scene in the movie The Incredibles. Dash, the son in the superhero family, who is a super-fast runner, wants to try out for the track team at school. His mom claims it won't be fair. “Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of. Our powers made us special!” Dash objects. When his mom answers with the politically correct rejoinder “Everyone's special, Dash,” Dash mutters, “Which is another way of saying no one is.” [Page 69]
Palin's writing is strikingly similar to Jonah Goldberg's November 9 syndicated column -- presumably written after Palin finished her book -- in which he says Obama's quote “reminded me of the wonderful scene in Pixar's 'The Incredibles'”:
Last year, when asked if he believed in American exceptionalism, President Obama responded, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”
This reminded me of the wonderful scene in Pixar's “The Incredibles,” in which the mom says “everyone's special” and her son replies, “Which is another way of saying no one is.”
But at least the president made room for the sentiment that America is a special place, even if he chalked it up to a kind of benign provincialism.
If you think this is just a coincidence -- hey, great minds think alike! -- consider one other piece of information: In her acknowledgements section, Palin offers a “special thanks to the brilliant, independent self-starter who got her start in Alaska, Jessica Gavora. Thank you for your most important work on America by Heart.” Gavora is the wife of Jonah Goldberg; Goldberg recently tweeted that his wife “worked with Sarah Palin on her new book.”
I contacted Goldberg for comment on the similarities, but have not heard back. I will post his comment if he does reply.