Just finished Andrew McCarthy's The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. This isn't a review, praise God for vittory; the D-blog just wanted to mention one thing. In discussing Obama's much-mocked low bow to Saudi King Abdullah at the London G-20 summit in 2009, McCarthy defines "America's exceptionalism" as "the historically unique determination, forged in the blood of patriots, to refuse submission to a tyrannical power."
Um, look, there are approximately 2,551 metric shit-boatloads of attempts to define, celebrate or denigrate "American exceptionalism," many of them dumb, but McCarthy's definition seems standout dumb even among them (and I include the various commie definitions you'll run across almost immediately).
What I always thought is that American exceptionalism, at its most basic, is the idea that human beings possess certain rights ("negative" rights, as President Toonces and his ilk would have it) that are not granted by government and cannot be taken away by government. That's it. I could be wrong (he said falsely), but it sure as hell ain't refusal to submit to a tyrannical power.