The imperial "I": not nearly as rare as Jeff Jacoby thinks

A few minutes ago, I raised some questions about Jeff Jacoby's column on Barack Obama's allegedly outsized ego. One of my queries: had Jacoby--who notes that Obama used the pronoun "I" 34 times in his speech announcing the federal takeover of GM--sought similar data on other presidents? And if so, why hadn't he included it?

Just for the heck fo it, I figured I'd take a look myself. And what do you know: 34 uses of "I" isn't all that many. Consider the following examples of Republican presidents and presidential candidates who've dug the pronoun too:

--Ronald Reagan used "I" 60 times in his farewell address and 32 times in his "Tear down this wall!" speech;

--John McCain used "I" 112 times when he accepted the Republican presidential nomination last year; 

--George W. Bush used "I" 17 times in his speech following 9/11;

--Barry Goldwater used "I" 32 times in his 1964 speech accepting the GOP nomination;

--George H.W. Bush used "I" 27 times in his 1989 inaugual address;

--Sarah Palin wanted to say "I" 20 times in the victory speech she didn't get to give and 27 times in her never-delivered concession speech (both texts here).

C'mon, Jeff. You can do better.

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