In a follow-up to Russian President Vladimir Putin's attack on American exceptionalism in his September 11<sup>th op-ed in the New York Times, a new Rasmussen poll finds only 27 percent of U.S. voters agree with the Russian president, while 59 percent say America is indeed "more exceptional than other nations."
"It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation," Putin wrote last Wednesday. "We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."
Following Putin's remarks, Rasmussen conducted a survey of 1,000 likely voters last Thursday and Friday, finding a majority believe in American exceptionalism. To the question, "Is the United States more exceptional than other nations?" 59 percent said yes, 27 percent disagreed, and 14 percent said they were not sure.
"History teaches us that a strong and engaged America is a source of good in the world," wrote Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator from Florida, in an op-ed in the Christian Post. "No nation has liberated more people or done more to raise living standards around the world through trade and charity than the United States," he argued.
The senator contrasted the histories of America and Russia post World War II, when both countries united to defeat the Nazis. "While strong U.S. leadership rebuilt a free and prosperous Western Europe after the war, the Soviet Union did the opposite, spreading a Communist ideology that imprisoned people behind walls and on islands," he wrote.
Critics condemn Putin's "hypocrisy," noting the vast perks of the Russian presidency and Putin's particular policies.
In a CP op-ed, Rob Schwarzenwalder, senior vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC) and former chief of staff for two members of Congress, cited a 2012 New York Times report on Putin's wealth, "which makes that of multiple czars combined seem minor." The report listed 20 residences, 15 helicopters, 4 specious yachts, and 43 aircraft "worth an estimated $1 billion." The main presidential jet boasts an interior furnished with gold inlay.
"Some animals truly are more equal than others," Schwarzenwalder quipped.
In addition to pointing out the hypocrisy in Putin's remark about eqaulity, Schwarzenwalder also defended American exceptionalism. "The assertion of human equality…is a claim at once so extraordinary and so vigorous that no other nation had previously made it or sought to live by it," the FRC vice president explained.
But this extraordinary quality itself calls America to be humble, Scharzenwalder argued. "In asserting we are exceptional, we are not claiming we are better than anyone else," he wrote. Instead, "we are claiming that everyone, everywhere, has intrinsic and equal worth because he or she has been so created by the Lord of the universe." America's exceptionalism only enables the U.S. to serve others, defending their rights as equally important.
John McCain, a Republican Senator from Arizona, will respond to Putin with an op-ed of his own, in the Russian newspaper Pravda. Following a joke on CNN that he would "love to have a commentary in Pravda," McCain inspired John Hudson, a reporter at Foreign Policy magazine, to contact the editors of the Russian paper.
"Mr. McCain has been an active anti-Russian politician for many years," said Pravda's English Editor Dmitry Sudakov, according to Foreign Policy. "We have been critical of his stance on Russia and international politics in our materials, but we would be only pleased to publish a story penned by such a prominent politician as John McCain.