WashPost Columnist: July 4 A Day for 'Boastful Exceptionalism, Smug Insularity'

What is it about celebrations of national pride that Washington Post columnists find so distasteful? Remember Marc Fisher declaring the Pledge of Allegiance "has a creepy totalitarian feel to it, with or without the obviously unconstitutional, McCarthy-era addition of the God bit"?

For Wednesday, just hours after the fireworks filled the air, it's Business section columnist Steven Pearlstein, who began: "This is the week each year when Americans revel in their nationalism, a summer brew of playful patriotism, boastful exceptionalism, and a somewhat smug insularity." Wow, there must have been no partying with the Pearlsteins.

Pearlstein's point is the the collapse of the latest round of global trade talks means that many countries are still struggling with the economic changes that globalization has wrought, including America with its rejection of illegal immigration. Pearlstein argues that Mexico is struggling, even though it has followed the "script" of international financial institutions:

As a result Mexican politics have lurched leftward, just as they have in the rest of Latin America, reflecting a healthy strain of anti-Americanism and a distrust of free trade and global investment."

Is Pearlstein rooting for anti-Americanism if he finds it a "healthy strain," or did he just lead readers to think he's rooting for it when he begins with the "smug insularity" paragraph? (Notice Mexico didn't "lurch leftward" enough to produce a victory....yet....for leftist Lopez Obrador.)

Pearlstein concluded that any business executives or think-tank experts who would now warn of the dangers of protectionism "should save their breath. You can't go around the world preaching about democracy and free markets if you're not willing to accept the results of elections and acknowledge shifting sentiments in the marketplace of ideas." Something tells me it's the Mexican left who will not be willing to accept the results of elections.

UPDATE: Stephen Spruiell has graciously linked here at NRO Media Blog. Steve goes into more detail on how Pearlstein's getting it wrong on the economics, including an online chat exchange. Please read it. I was only focusing on the ugly-American overtones.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis