TAMPA, Fla. -- The most important Republican in the U.S. Senate described President Barack Obama as something less than American in his speech opening the Wednesday session of the Republican National Convention.
"Over the past four years Americans have been led to believe we're just like everybody else, that America isn't unique," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, hitting on an argument some Republicans began using in the last election.
"We are different," McConnell said. "The president scoffs at this idea. To him, this kind of thinking is the problem, not the solution."
"What this administration has in mind for America isn't a renewal, it's a great leveling out," McConnell said. "It wants the kind of government-imposed equality that, in a single generation, transformed Western Europe from a place where for centuries high achievement and discovery and innovation were celebrated and prized, to a place where they have elections about whether people should have to work."
"But that's not who we are," McConnell declared, making a sharp distinction between what he sees as Obama's views and those of the rest of the country. "It just doesn't occur to an American that someone else will solve their problems."
"This president may want to give up on the problems we face, manage the decline," he added. "But the American people don't."
McConnell's speaking postion kicking off the day when Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) gets nominated reflected his skill in delivering messages like this without trespassing into the outlandish realm of birtherism.
To reinforce the point, the RNC followed McConnell's speech with a Mitt Romney video piece in which the GOP presidential nominee harkened back to a time when people walked a little taller and prouder because they were "Americans."