We got constitutional government to work on a scale no one had thought possible; made ourselves a haven of liberty for the world’s peoples; and created a fluid, open society. We amassed unbelievable wealth, and spread it widely. Internationally, we wielded our overwhelming military and industrial power as a benevolent hegemon. We led the coalitions against the ideological empires of the 20th century and protected the global commons. We remain the world’s sole superpower, looked to by most of the world as a leader distinctly better than any of the alternatives.
Our greatness is simply a fact. Only the churlish or malevolent can deny it, or even get irked at its assertion.
The Weekly Standard's ever-watchful Bill Kristol, meanwhile, noticed that President Obama has taken to discussing the country he leads in similar terms, revealing that "sources" say the president has summoned Lowry to the White House for a private meeting this week:
The day after Rich's column appeared, on January 1, President Obama asserted in his weekly address that "we've had the good fortune to grow up in the greatest nation on Earth." Then, in case anyone missed it, Obama repeated eight sentences later that he's confident we can "do what it takes to make sure America remains in the 21st century what it was the 20th: the greatest country in the world."
And sources now tell us that Lowry's been called to the White House this week for a secret meeting.
Rich, who posted a quick item on The Corner pleading ignorance on the supposed meeting, tells me that the entire rumor was a tongue in cheek play by Kristol. "That was just Bill Kristol fooling around," he wrote in an email.
Pity. The President might have learned a thing or two from Rich.
*Lowry omitted China from his list, which may doom his 2011 New Year's resolution: Get invited to one of Thomas Friedman's cocktail parties.