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Self-referencing and Moral Preening

2:50 PM, May 21, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Another TWS friend writes in about Obama's speech:

I thought this part was telling:

I stand here today as someone whose own life was made possible by these documents. My father came to our shores in search of the promise that they offered. My mother made me rise before dawn to learn of their truth when I lived as a child in a foreign land. My own American journey was paved by generations of citizens who gave meaning to those simple words - "to form a more perfect union." I have studied the Constitution as a student; I have taught it as a teacher; I have been bound by it as a lawyer and legislator. I took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief, and as a citizen, I know that we must never - ever - turn our back on its enduring principles for expedience sake.

Yes, of course. God forbid this President give a speech without referencing himself. His claim to fame after all is (not one, but) two autobiographies written before he was 45. And the rationale for his self-referencing is always the same: as a foundation for subsequent moral preening. He may claim to believe in a fair debate - he just wants to make sure his podium is taller than yours.

He should be careful here. If he wants to play the "biography gives me special perspective" game, he has nothing on Vice-President Cheney, who during his tenure (in my opinion) largely kept his silence for the sake of national security while his critics libeled him and destroyed his reputation. I wonder if Obama would make a similar sacrifice.