First up was White House spokesman Jay Carney, who quickly defended the president’s exceptionalism assertion.
“Russia offers a stark contrast that demonstrates why America is exceptional,” said Mr. Carney. “Unlike Russia, the United States stands up for democratic values and human rights in our own country and around the world. And we believe that global security is advanced when children cannot be gassed to death by a dictator.”
Members of Congress were quick to wave the exceptionalism flag. Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky, a presumed 2016 presidential hopeful, penned his own opinion piece for Time Magazine as to why the US is exceptional.
The US sense that it is different, wrote Senator Paul, is rooted in the nation’s founding values and documents, particularly the Constitution. US constitutional checks and balances have been on full display in recent days, wrote the Kentucky senator, as President Obama has turned to Congress for a vote authorizing military action in Syria, which Paul opposes.
“While Putin is correct that God created every human being as an equal in His eyes, clearly the results of each of our efforts on this earth, individually and collectively, are not equal,” wrote Paul.
Many commentators pointed to the Constitution and guaranteed US rights as exceptional, noting almost without exception that in Russia those rights have proved fungible over the years.