Presidents are compelled to use the language of exceptionalism in two important ways. If our presidents are to be believed, we are always doing something New and something Great. We have had, in the past eighty years, the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier, the Great Society, the New Nixon, Morning in America, A Thousand Points of Light, a New Covenant, a Bridge to Tomorrow, and Compassionate Conservatism, and now we have a New Foundation. These slogans are made to do a lot of work, in that they suggest another word that became the brand of the Obama campaign last year: change.Read the rest of Obama and the end of exceptionalism.
Thomas L. Dumm
Thomas L. Dumm is William H. Hastie '25 Professor of Political Science at Amherst College. He is the author of five books, the most recent being Loneliness as a Way of Life (Harvard University Press, 2008). He was one of the founders, and a founding editor, of the journal Theory & Event, an online journal of contemporary political theory. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2001.