When George W. Bush suggested in 2004 a manned mission to Mars, the proposal was mocked to death. Rightly so, perhaps, because it was a ploy smacking of desperation and, what's more, one designed to distract attention from troubling events and setbacks elsewhere.
Today, the more a party talks about American exceptionalism, the more one suspects it fears for the future. It reeks of fear -- not strength -- and like most such boastfulness seems designed to camouflage insecurity.
If Americans fear they're no longer as exceptional as they should be, that's at least in part a consequence of poor George W. Bush's failed presidency. Empires wither when they're overextended abroad and underresourced at home.