Friday, July 09, 2010

(with a grammar update)

I can't be bothered trying to address every point in Charles Krauthammer's silly column today, which pairs Obama-hates-America right-wing boilerplate with Obama-loves-himself right-wing boilerplate. I'll just limit myself to addressing one passage:

Notice, too, how Obama habitually refers to Cabinet members and other high government officials as "my" -- "my secretary of homeland security," "my national security team," "my ambassador." The more normal -- and respectful -- usage is to say "the," as in "the secretary of state." These are, after all, public officials sworn to serve the nation and the Constitution -- not just the man who appointed them.

It's a stylistic detail, but quite revealing of Obama's exalted view of himself.

Well, then it must be "quite revealing" if another president also had a habit of saying, for instance, "my national security team." If other presidents do it, it must reveal their "exalted view" of themselves?

George W. Bush, your thoughts?

I have just completed a meeting with my national security team, and we have received the latest intelligence updates.

--"Remarks by the President In Photo Opportunity with the National Security Team," September 12, 2001

I've just completed a meeting here at the Pentagon with members of my national security team, as well as a meeting with generals on the ground in Iraq.

--"President Bush Reaffirms Commitments in Iraq," May 10, 2004

I just had a meeting with my national security team; this is the first time we've had a chance to sit down with Secretary Gates since he came back from Iraq.

--"President Bush Meets with His National Security Team," December 28, 2006

My national security team is now making our case on Capitol Hill.

--President's Radio Address, January 13, 2007

I am pleased that the Senate, with strong bipartisan support, has confirmed several key members of my national security team.

--"President Bush Pleased with Senate Confirmation of Key National Security Leaders," February 8, 2007

Next week, after consulting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, my national security team, Members of Congress from both parties, and Iraqi leaders, I will speak directly to the Nation about the recommendations General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker have presented to me.

--President's Radio Address, September 8, 2007

Shall I go on? There are 46 occurrences of the phrase "my national security team" on the archived Bush-era site. There are similar results for "my secretary," and stray ones like "my National Economic Council" and "my National Energy Policy" also show up.

George W. Bush -- what a narcissist!

And Krauthammer criticized him relentlessly for that when he was president -- right?


UPDATE: I can't seem to get into my own comments right now, so I'd just like to say that "me" is a pronoun, but "my" is an adjective.


UPDATE: More on the absurdity of Krauthammer's critique from Language Log. (Hat tip: phleabo in comments.)

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