Obama’s ‘Bushisms’ continue to multiply. His latest is relatively minor. In a speech on Tuesday that contained a reference to 19th-century French political thinker and author Alexis de Tocqueville, the president misstated the man’s first name as “Alex.”
He could have simply shrugged it off with a self-deprecatory joke, perhaps saying, “I call him Alex because he and I used to be close.”
Instead, as Fox News notes, via the Daily Caller, the White House “quietly changed an official transcript to hide” the goof. Neil Munro, who wrote up the incident for TDC, submits that “the error is an embarrassment for a president who claims to have been a … a judicious student of American history.” That may be overstating the severity of the mistake.
What is less forgivable and far more damning is the administration’s need to scrub the gaffe from the official record. Obama has made mistakes before; it’s part of being human. But therein lies his problem. He thinks of himself as above the level of a mere mortal. He once foolishly boasted:
I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it…. I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.
Whether he believes his own silly mythology is beside the point. What is crucial is that, because he holds himself to unattainable standards, when he makes a mistake — even one that is inconsequential — he is so devastated that he needs to try to cover over it. In so doing, he reveals himself to be a very small man.
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