Monday, July 21, 2008
'Has There Ever Been A Presidential Nominee With A Wider Gap Between His Estimation Of Himself And The Sum Total Of His Lifetime Achievements?"
Barack Obama wants to speak at the Brandenburg Gate. He figures it would be a nice backdrop. The supporting cast -- a cheering audience and a few fainting frauleins --would be a picturesque way to bolster his foreign policy credentials.
What Obama does not seem to understand is that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn. President Ronald Reagan earned the right to speak there because his relentless pressure had brought the Soviet empire to its knees and he was demanding its final "tear down this wall" liquidation. When President John F. Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate on the day of his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, he was representing a country that was prepared to go to the brink of nuclear war to defend West Berlin.
Who is Obama representing? And what exactly has he done in his lifetime to merit appropriating the Brandenburg Gate as a campaign prop? What was his role in the fight against communism, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the creation of what George Bush the elder -- who presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall but modestly declined to go there for a victory lap -- called "a Europe whole and free"?.....
Americans are beginning to notice Obama's elevated opinion of himself. There's nothing new about narcissism in politics. Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Nonetheless, has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements?
Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted "present" nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article?His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself.
Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.
Over the weekend, I have been reading his book Dreams from my Father (I assume that's what Krauthammer is referring to), and I cannot imagine a more egregiously unfair description of the book. I would not be surprised if Krauthammer has never touched the book, much less read a single page of it. I have read many autobiographies, and I can tell the ones that are simply the author's ego at work and the ones that aren't. Obama's book clearly falls in the latter category. Much of the time, he isn't talking about himself but simply recording his observations of other people he has met in life. The book is primarily the story of a biracial guy struggling to find his cultural identity in a racially polarized world, but even then Obama largely universalizes his experiences, making it a book about ideas, not about himself per se.
Krauthammer's conclusions are especially surprising since the other two major candidates in this race have been far more ego-driven. Hillary's entire candidacy was built on her overinflated ego. McCain has depended heavily on his admittedly fascinating story as a veteran and former POW, and he has used it to avoid discussing issues (like veterans benefits).
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do.
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside
Till I look down on the garden green
Down on the roof so brown
Up in the air I go flying again
Up in the air and down!
-----by runescape money