May 23, 2009

IF IT ISN'T ALL ABOUT HIM THEN IT'S ALL ABOUT NOTHING:

But Enough About Me . . .: Does Obama understand that the office of the presidency is bigger--much bigger--than he is? (William Kristol, 06/01/2009, Weekly Standard)

Who cares? Who cares about Barack Obama's father, his mother, or his "own American journey"? Is his journey so noteworthy that it needs to be intruded into a presidential speech on weighty matters of constitutional law and public policy, of civil liberties and national security? After all, tens of millions of other Americans have ancestors who came to these shores in search of the promise of a better life. Tens of millions of other Americans have lived in a foreign land--and some of them were presumably awakened early by their mothers.

And so what? Are those Americans who didn't live abroad as youths any less attached to the principles of the Declaration? Didn't the rest of us study the Constitution as well? Haven't millions of other Americans also been bound by it as lawyers and legislators--to say nothing of tens of millions who have sworn oaths to it when serving in the military and other public and civic roles?

And isn't the point of the Declaration and the Constitution--and of the various oaths we swear, the pledges of allegiance we make--that our individual backgrounds should recede as we assume the duties of public office or when we exercise our rights as citizens? Perhaps not in the eyes of Barack Obama. Even by the standard of political types, he seems strikingly self-preoccupied and self-referential.

Doesn't Obama's self-regard sometimes seem greater than his regard for the position he occupies? Does he understand that the office of the presidency is bigger--much bigger--than he is? Or does Obama think of the presidency primarily as a vessel through which to exercise his political gifts and pursue his personal achievements?


Mr. Kristol doesn't get it? The presidency is the achievement.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 23, 2009 11:00 AM
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