Ever since I first saw Obama on TV, he’s struck me as a raging egomaniac. Of course, if you run for president you have to think yourself better than the other jokers who’ve put up their names for the job. But Obama’s self-image has a messianic ring. The defense I’ve heard from his supporters is that “he’s really talking about America.” While I don’t deny that this is what he claims about his rhetoric, listen to the details and the messianic self-image is clear.
In doing this, it should be noted, the McCain camp took at least two quotes from Obama out of context. It uses one controversial remark made by Obama that popped up earlier this week, “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.” A Democratic source later told multiple news outlets that, in context, Obama wasn’t speaking about himself but about America generally — the source quoted Obama as having also said, “It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign, that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It’s about America. I have just become a symbol.’” It’s fairly obvious that Obama was joking in another similar quote used in the video.
Out of context? Nonsense. When you hear the quote in the McCain ad, you know Obama has claimed himself as a symbol of everything great about America, after hearing the “context,” you still know Obama has claimed himself as a symbol of everything great about America, only he’s hiding it in some laughably fake humility–”it’s not about me, but by the way, I represent everything great about America.” Uh huh.
Mother Jones–a liberal mag–nailed this aspect of Obama (commenting on remakrs Obama made in my city of residence, nonetheless!):
I am profoundly troubled that any candidate would chart the course of American history as follows (and I’m rearranging Obama’s history here to make it more chronological):
American Revolutionaries -> Manifest Destiny -> Slaves/Abolitionists -> Suffragettes -> the Labor Movement -> the Greatest Generation -> the Civil Rights Movement -> Himself.
On the whole, McCain has not convinced me he knows what he’s doing. But I like that he’s managed to pin down the scarier parts of Obama’s campaign.