GEORGE WILL FOLLOWS THE RIGHT’S CHOSEN MEME…. Periodically, conservatives latch onto a new line of attack against President Obama. Apparently, the new one is “narcissism.” Marty Peretz talked it up yesterday in a bizarre piece, and George Will endorsed the argument in his column today.
In the Niagara of words spoken and written about the Obamas’ trip to Copenhagen, too few have been devoted to the words they spoke there. Their separate speeches to the International Olympic Committee were so dreadful, and in such a characteristic way, that they might be symptomatic of something that has serious implications for American governance.
Both Obamas gave heartfelt speeches about . . . themselves. Although the working of the committee’s mind is murky, it could reasonably have rejected Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Games on aesthetic grounds — unless narcissism has suddenly become an Olympic sport. […]
[S]ometimes the Olympic Games are a net subtraction from international comity. But Obama quickly returned to speaking about . . . himself.
Putting aside Will’s fondness for dramatic ellipses, his criticism is simply detached from reality here.
The speeches are online, and reading them, it’s tempting to wonder if Will even read the remarks before using them as the basis for a cheap column.
The president told the International Olympic Committee, for example, “I’ve come here today to urge you to choose Chicago for the same reason I chose Chicago nearly 25 years ago — the reason I fell in love with the city I still call home.” It was a springboard for the president to reflect, not on himself, but on his hometown — the diversity of the city, the “rich tapestry of distinctive neighborhoods,” Chicago’s history of hosting major events, and its ability to be “a bustling metropolis with the warmth of a small town.”
Obama referenced the celebration in Chicago on Election Night last year, but he specifically said, “Their interest wasn’t about me as an individual.”
Will specifically noted that the president used the personal pronouns “I” or “me” 26 times in 48 sentences. What Will did not note is that Obama used the word “we” 26 times, “us” six times, and “our” 12 times.
Will is complaining just for the sake of complaining, talking up “narcissism” because it’s the new thing for conservative cool kids to do.