25 May 2012

Rep. Mike Coffman Displays OIP Derangement Syndrome

This week’s expression of OIP Derangement Syndrome comes from Mike Coffman, now in his second term representing a portion of Colorado in the US House of Representatives.

In a 12 May speech to Republican supporters, KUSA-TV reported, Coffman concluded by saying:
I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.
After a pause, the audience applauded. A supporter posted the recording on the web, stating, “I’m glad the congressman said it. Not enough have.”

A few days later, after Democratic activists and journalists picked up on Coffman’s words, he issued a written apology denying that he really believed what he’d told that closed meeting—and repeating another common lie about President Obama:
I don’t believe the president shares my belief in American Exceptionalism. His policies reflect a philosophy that America is but one nation among many equals.
Back in November 2010, Andrew Sullivan identified right-wing claims that Obama doesn’t believe that America is a preeminent nation as “The Big Lie,” showing how the President had said exactly the opposite in the speech those critics quote.

Complaining about lack of “American exceptionalism” is a mask for conservatives’ real, irrational response to seeing Barack Obama exercising executive power like previous Presidents. And that same unnameable anxiety surfaced when Coffman told his audience that Obama is “just not an American.”


Nathan said...

I've always been a little uncomfortable with the notion of "American exceptionalism" anyway. Does that mean people who aren't exceptional don't belong here?

J. L. Bell said...

Ironically immigrants, particularly those who overcome great obstacles and legal barriers to migrate, might be among the most exceptional people in the country.

Anonymous said...

"American exceptionalism" is a quasi-religious idea going back to the Puritans who felt that the New world was a sort of new 'Promised Land' for God's elect. It seems to have been used to justify both isolationism from European and other world conflicts and intervention in world affairs.