“But Enough about Me. Let’s Talk about Me.”
I have long ago accepted that politicians are more egotistical than the rest of us, and I have long ago forgiven them for it. You have to have ego to think that you can serve in Congress, as a mayor, as a governor, or as a president. You have to have ego in order to endure the battering that other politicians and the press can and will give you. You have to have ego in order to put yourself out there on the campaign trail in order to convince voters that you are the best candidate for a particular public office.
So ego in a politician is fine and good. But there are limits that politicians must respect—something the president of the United States would be well-advised to figure out eventually:
Someone needs to tell Barack Obama—it must get particularly confusing this time of year—that his own birth is not Year One, the date around which all other events are understood. His much-noted, self-referential tic was on cringe-worthy display Friday when the president gave his eulogy for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, who served in Congress for half a century representing Obama’s birth state of Hawaii.
Inouye was a Japanese-American war hero (he lost an arm in World War II, destroying his dream of becoming a surgeon), and as a senator he served on the Watergate committee, helped rewrite our intelligence charter after scandals, and was chairman of the Senate committee that investigated the Iran-Contra affair. It’s the kind of material any eulogist could use to give a moving sense of the man and his accomplishment. But President Barack Obama’s remarks at Inouye’s funeral service were a bizarre twirl around his own personal Kodak carousel.
Obama likes to see events through the lens of his own life’s chronology. Thus we learn that Inouye was elected to the Senate when Obama was 2 years old. Now you could make this relevant by describing how Inouye worked to send federal dollars (you don’t have to call it “pork” at a funeral) to transform Hawaii’s roads and schools, for example, so that the Hawaii Obama grew up in had the kind of facilities people on the mainland had long taken for granted. But no, we simply learn that Inouye was Obama’s senator until he left the state to go to college—something apparently more momentous than anything Inouye did during his decades in office.
Read the whole review, which is devastating. I wonder if the White House will feel any sense of embarrassment over the way in which this memorial was botched.