I don't want to waste too much time on Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby's assault on Barack Obama's ego, because it's literally yesterday's news. I do, however, have a few questions after reading Jacoby's piece:
--Jacoby hits Obama for not going to Germany this past week to mark the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall's fall. If Obama had made the trip, might Jacoby have whacked him for visiting Europe in the immediate aftermath of Ft. Hood, and amid general economic shittiness?
--Jacoby complains that Obama's remarks for that anniversary celebration, conveyed by video, were "bloodless," and suggests that Obama erred by not mentioning the Soviet Union, communism, or Ronald Reagan, among other phrases he deems important. However, he also informs us that Obama said the Berlin Wall represented "a system that denied people the freedoms that should be the right of every human being." That's a pretty unequivocal denunciation of communism. So why is Jacoby spinning it as the opposite?
--Jacoby both accuses Obama of relying on the "royal 'we'" at the beginning of his presidency and of saying "I" too much--at least in a February speech to congress. If both "I" and "we" are off limits, what pronouns does Jacoby suggest the president use instead?
--Also, Jacoby's data on Obama's use of "I" comes from just two speeches.* Has Jacoby taken a look at the use of "I" by past presidents in past addresses? If so, why didn't he share the results to establish just how self-absorbed Obama really is?
--Addendum: Jacoby mocks Obama for saying, in a September speech to the UN, that high international expectations accompanied his election. Ten months earlier, Jacoby devoted a column to the high international expectations that accompanied Obama's election. What's the issue here?
On the bright side, though, at least it wasn't another column kvetching about global warming.
*NOTE: I initially wrote that Jacoby relied on one speech, and that his "I" count for that speech came from Stanley Fish. He actually cites two, and seems to use Fish's "I" count for one of them.