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In Stereo Now

George Will observes that the Olympic-bid speeches by Obama and his wife were noteworthy for their dreadfulness. He writes:

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.

As Will notes, it wasn’t simply the egotism of the appearance but of the speeches themselves that should give us pause. A festival of “I” and “me” and personal tales of playing ball with dad. Who cares? Well, not the IOC.

This is, of course, nothing new. Obama’s entire presidential campaign was constructed on nonsensical rhetoric and an inflated sense of his own fabulousness. From “We are the change we have been waiting for” to the embarrassing Berlin rally to the knee-jerk “I am not George W. Bush” approach to nearly every issue of national security — it’s all been about him. And he has a remarkable lack of ideas and facts to impart. He lectures us on racial profiling because he knows best (but not the facts). He blankets the airwaves but with nothing much to say. He champions health care but lacks a plan with his name on it. And then he goes to the Olympics to tell us how swell it was when everyone came out to celebrate his election. He is the quintessential celebrity — famous for being famous but for not much else, and lacking enough material for anything beyond late-night talk-show interviews.

What was a vaguely creepy cult-of-personality approach to campaigning has become the stuff of parody. And what’s worse, we now get the narcissism in stereo — from both Obamas.

This might be more tolerable if this president had accomplished something. Every leader deserves a victory lap now and then. But considering all that he has actually done in office — passed an overstuffed and ineffective stimulus bill, alienated key allies around the world, picked a ranting lunatic as the favorite candidate in Honduras, gave the Iranians a free ride and an open invitation for chats in Geneva, and pitted the finest military leaders ever assembled against civilian leaders — it might be time for some humility. And a moratorium on TV appearances might help, too.



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