Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The right's hatred and derangement are clearly limitless. Here's Jonah Goldberg, writing for the L.A. Times:

Obama's outsized ego

"That's all right, all of you know who I am," President Obama joked last week when the presidential seal fell off his podium during a speech in Pittsburgh.

Even though the incident made headlines for no discernible journalistic reason, it was noteworthy as a succinct example of Obama's arrogance problem. Rather than make a self-deprecating joke, he opted instead to make a self-inflating one, as if to say that the title mattered less than the man....

Right -- because it's "self-inflating" to imagine that people already know who you are when you're the president of the United States. Only an uppity egomaniacal melanin-rich liberal thug Marxist Democrat would be so presumptuous.

Oddly, Goldberg's fellow winger, Peggy Noonan, once imagined George W. Bush uttering the same phrase -- and considered it a mark of his exemplary character:

Finally, you look at President Bush, and you can tell he's not going to change much anymore.... He liked to brag sometimes in the campaign "You know who I am--I say what I mean and I mean what I say." Actually, it wasn't bragging, for it was true.

I can't find any examples of Bush uttering those exact words, though Noonan wrote that column just after the '04 election, and during the campaign there was this:

Bush said he believes voters won't deny him a second term even if they disagree with the war.

"They've seen me make decisions, they've seen me under trying times, they've seen me weep, they've seen me laugh, they've seen me hug," he said. "And they know who I am, and I believe they're comfortable with the fact that they know I'm not going to shift principles or shift positions based upon polls and focus groups."

And there was this:

Taking questions from pupils at Crawford Elementary School back in 2001, he said that "decisions come pretty easy" for those who know what they believe.

"I know who I am. I know what I believe in," Bush said. "The good thing about democracy, if people like the decisions you make, they'll let you stay. If they don't, they'll send me back to Crawford. Isn't all that bad a deal, by the way."

And this:

First of all, let me just put it to you this way, when you're the President and when you're the leader of any other organization, particularly in high pressure jobs that we have here in Washington, you don't have time to figure out who you are. So you better know who you are when you get to the Oval Office. And in many cases, the jobs that you have, there is no time -- if you're representing the people and are serving of the people, your job shouldn't be a therapy session. (Laughter.) You need to have the right values and instincts.

That strikes me as a much more assertive -- and arrogant -- statement, not I'm the president, so surely you recognize me, but I have such unmistakably consistent strength of character that my strength of character is universally acknowledged.

But if any of those Bush statements struck Jonah Goldberg as arrogant at the time, he kept awfully quiet about it.

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