Lisa De Pasquale

In President Reagan’s final address from the White House he talked about the important of an “informed patriotism.” He said:

Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn't get these things from your family you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special…

But now… some things have changed. Younger parents aren't sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style.

Unfortunately, this trend has only gotten worse in the last 25 years. In 2011, a Pew study found that only 32 percent of millenials thought that America is the greatest country on Earth. The notion of American exceptionalism is dwindling.

But, one organization wants to change that.

Political strategist and former Chief of Staff to Rep. John Shadegg, Sean Noble is the president and founder of American Encore. The organization seeks to “defend freedom, promote free markets, work to expand economic opportunity and make the case for the American ideals of liberty and democracy, both at home and abroad.”

Noble argues that the election of Barack Obama is a symptom, not the cause, of the decline in the belief of American exceptionalism. Noble wrote in National Review, “As our sense of American greatness declines, so too does our willingness to defend those very principles that make us so exceptional. The IRS limits the free speech of nonprofits, the government spies on citizens and journalists, and the White House bypasses Congress — the people’s representatives — legislating through executive order and federal-agency regulations. It’s a vicious cycle: Americans no longer believe our nation to be exceptional, we therefore elect politicians who make us less exceptional, and the qualities that made us great erode.”

As Harry Reid, Al Franken and other Democrats ramp up their attacks on conservative donors and organizations, American Encore has a tough road ahead. But, the idea of American exceptionalism is stronger than the Left’s attacks. As Reagan said, “Freedom is special and rare. It's fragile; it needs protection.”

The De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures and free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.

1. What one thing would you do as President "just because you could”?

Read whatever files there are that haven’t been released about JFK’s assassination.

2. Tell me about your favorite teacher and how he or she influenced your life.

My favorite teacher was my mom. I was homeschooled from 6th-9th grade. It was the most intensive learning experience I ever had. High school and college didn’t come close to the influence that those years had on me.

3. If you could be paid to do anything besides your current job, what would it be?

Baseball player (or slow pitch softball)

4. What's your favorite movie line and who would you like to say it to?

From Field of Dreams: “Hey dad, wanna have a catch?” I’d say it to my dad.

5. What's your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?

Mad Men

6. What’s the best present you ever received?

A pair of seats from Dodger Stadium. They are in my office.

7. What’s the best present you ever gave?

Based on reaction, when I gave my daughter a motorized scooter. You’d have thought I handed her keys to a Ferrari.

8. What advice do you remember your mother or father giving you? Did you take it?

Yes, they said don’t trust big government or big business.

9. Who would be on the perfect "Red Eye" panel?

Frank Luntz, Monica Crowley, Phil Kerpen

10. What books are on your reading list?

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt; Allegiant by Veronica Roth; David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell; Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

11. What would you like tomorrow's headline to say?

“Obama Rejects Liberals, Vows To Work With GOP House”

12. Tell me about the moment you decided to enter the political arena.

There wasn’t a clear moment that I decided to enter the political arena. I was involved in politics at a very young age. As a 10 yr-old in 1980, my mom sat me down with a phone list and told me to “call these people and tell them to vote for Ronald Reagan.” It was all the Republicans in Navajo County in Arizona - and it took me less than an hour because there were so few Republicans. Then, for the next couple weeks, I called Democrats and got to experience first-hand the growing “Reagan Democrat” effort.

While I clearly had the politics bug from a young age, I actually wanted to be a TV anchor. When I was told I had a face for radio, I opted to stay with politics.


Lisa De Pasquale

Lisa De Pasquale is is a writer in Alexandria, VA. Miss De Pasquale was previously the director of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where she oversaw all aspects of the conference from June 2006 to April 2011. Prior to CPAC, she was the program director of the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute. In 2010, she was named a “Rising Star” by Campaigns & Elections magazine in their annual list of top political leaders under 35. She has written articles for Townhall.com and Townhall Magazine, Human Events, The Daily Caller, Washingtonian, the St. Augustine Record, The Washington Times, The Houston Chronicle, and the Tallahassee Democrat. Originally from Florida, Miss De Pasquale received a B.A. from Flagler College in St. Augustine.

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