Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Peggy Noonan Asks, "What Is Wrong With Them?"

More of the usual brilliance about the sheer self-regard that so many in Washington seem to hold themselves.

A few weeks ago it was the senators who announced the judicial compromise. There is nothing wrong with compromise and nothing wrong with announcements, but the senators who spoke referred to themselves with such flights of vanity and conceit--we're so brave, so farsighted, so high-minded--that it was embarrassing. They patted themselves on the back so hard they looked like a bevy of big breasted pigeons in a mass wing-flap. Little grey feathers and bits of corn came through my TV screen, and I had to sweep up when they were done.

This week comes the previously careful Sen. Barack Obama, flapping his wings in Time magazine and explaining that he's a lot like Abraham Lincoln, only sort of better. "In Lincoln's rise from poverty, his ultimate mastery of language and law, his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat--in all this he reminded me not just of my own struggles."

Oh. So that's what Lincoln's for. Actually Lincoln's life is a lot like Mr. Obama's. Lincoln came from a lean-to in the backwoods. His mother died when he was 9. The Lincolns had no money, no standing. Lincoln educated himself, reading law on his own, working as a field hand, a store clerk and a raft hand on the Mississippi. He also split some rails. He entered politics, knew more defeat than victory, and went on to lead the nation through its greatest trauma, the Civil War, and past its greatest sin, slavery.

Barack Obama, the son of two University of Hawaii students, went to Columbia and Harvard Law after attending a private academy that taught the children of the Hawaiian royal family. He made his name in politics as an aggressive Chicago vote hustler in Bill Clinton's first campaign for the presidency.

You see the similarities.

There is nothing wrong with Barack Obama's résumé, but it is a log-cabin-free zone. So far it also is a greatness-free zone. If he keeps talking about himself like this it always will be.

Mr. Obama said he keeps a photographic portrait of Lincoln on the wall of his office, and that "it asks me questions."

I'm sure it does. I'm sure it says, "Barack, why are you such an egomaniac?" Or perhaps, "Is it no longer possible in American politics to speak of another's greatness without suggesting your own?"

Go read it all for she goes on to paste the worthless Stupid Party leader Bil Frist and the Supreme Court for their chronic self-love.

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