Ponnuru and Lowry admit that Obama has explicitly acknowledged America’s exceptional principles and role. But they dismiss this with the observation that it “would be remarkable if any president did not say such things.” Which is true enough. But in that case, the argument becomes trivially psychologizing: Obama SAYS he believes in American exceptionalism, but he doesn’t really MEAN it. As far as I can tell, Ponnuru and Lowry present no evidence for that conclusion except some quotes in which Obama suggests that the election of a black man, namely himself, to the presidency was sort of a big deal. I guess that can be seen as narcissistic. But I seem to recall a similar sentiment expressed in the pages of NR and Commentary back in November.