Rep. Michele Bachmann, a tea party favorite considering a run for president in 2012, speaks to the media, Friday, May 20, 2011, at a Republican fundraiser in Archbold, Ohio. (AP Photo/JD Pooley) (Jd Pooley)

Did Michele Bachmann just reject American exceptionalism?

The congresswoman suggests another nation -- Israel -- is just as exceptional as the U.S.A.

Justin Elliott
June 24, 2011 1:19AM (UTC)

One of the most common attacks on President Obama from the right is that he is not a believer in "American exceptionalism," an idea that is endlessly invoked despite Obama's repeated statements that the U.S. is "the greatest nation on Earth."

Last month, Sarah Palin even pounced on Obama's reference to the U.S. military as "one of the finest fighting forces in the world," declaring to a reporter:


This is the greatest fighting force in the world, the U.S. military. It’s not just one of the greatest fighting forces. And I sure hope our president recognizes that. We’re not just one of many. We are the best.

Now think about that quote as you watch this video on the U.S.-Israel relationship recently released by presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann.

"Most Americans recognize that Israelis and Americans are two sides of the same coin because we share the same values and the same aspirations," Bachmann says. "We even share the same exceptional mission -- to be a light to the nations."


But how can America truly be unique -- be exceptional -- if Israel shares our "same exceptional mission"? Doesn't that undermine the one-of-a-kind character of America the Exceptional?

I've asked Bachmann's spokesman if the congresswoman believes that other countries can maintain the same level of exceptionalism as America, and I will update this post if I hear back.

Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

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