Among presidents and other high-ranking politicians, narcissism isn't so much a hazard as a job requirement. Still, there's being self-centered and then there's… rewriting the history of the United States to include one's own accomplishments within the biographies of past American leaders.
The conservative Heritage Foundation and Commentary Magazine catches the White House doing the latter — enumerating Barack Obama's achievements within the biographical sketches of presidents past. Unfortunately, the President's communication team neglected a few key moments in history…
* When Jefferson assumed the Presidency on March 4, 1801, the crisis in France had passed. Today, President Obama communicates with the President of France entirely through apologies.
* On March 4, 1841 William Henry Harrison became the first president to have his photograph taken. Today, the most dangerous place in America is between President Obama and a live camera.
* Inaugurated on July 10, 1850, Millard Fillmore had a weird name. Today, Barack Obama has a weird name.
Tags: 14th Amendment, Barack Obama, Franklin Roosevelt, George Bush, Grover Cleveland, History, James Buchanan, Millard Fillmore, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson
The left has had a lot of fun mocking Newt Gingrich for comparing himself to important historical figures like Abraham Lincoln, Charles de Gaulle, Margaret Thatcher, Ho Chi Minh, Jessica Rabbit, a dishwasher, Uranus and, let's say, the song "November Rain."
But now President Obama's the one getting a Newt-sized head…
Obama's comments in a recent 60 Minutes interview that his legislative and foreign policy accomplishments top all but three former presidents has sparked fierce blowback among right-leaning blogs.
The 60 Minutes Overtime video shows Obama telling correspondent Steve Kroft… "I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln — just in terms of what we've gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do."
I don't know why these right-wing blogs are so outraged. Obama has clearly accomplished more than any other president ever.
Sure, Teddy Roosevelt created the conservation movement and ushered in an era of humane labor laws, but President Obama successfully got, like, five Democrats to agree with him one time.
Of course, George Washington literally founded the United States of America and freed us from the British, but President Obama once got a law passed by giving up only 80% of its provisions.
Thomas Jefferson may be responsible for acquiring a third of our country's land mass and writing the Declaration of Independence, but President Obama is… just… so… cool.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Newt Gingrich, Theodore Roosevelt
My initial reaction to being asked to watch any more Republican debates is to reach for the Eighth Amendment and seek judicial relief from the cruel and unusual punishment of this interminable campaign season, but lately I've come to consider myself lucky. After all, Newt Gingrich's historical perspective usually costs well into the seven figures, yet here he is, condescending for free…
"Just like Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and FDR, I would be prepared to take on the judiciary," Gingrich said.
Citing Lincoln's criticism of the Dred Scott decision, Gingrich said he had no time for legal experts – including former U.S. attorneys general – who argue his plan would undermine the separation of powers.
"I would suggest to you, actually, as a historian I may understand this better than lawyers," Gingrich said, adding that law schools have "over-empowered lawyers to think that they can dictate to the rest of us."
Hopefully, it's not too contemptuous of Gingrich's superior learning to point out that Andrew Jackson's confrontation with the Justice Marshall and the Supreme Court was precipitated by the president's policy of Indian removal and wholesale ethnic cleansing of several Native American tribes, in violation of treaty obligations. And Franklin Roosevelt's "court packing" scheme is usually not held up as the finest moment in American constitutionalism. So giving Gingrich the benefit of the doubt, I assume we're going to go the Lincoln route and impose martial law within the catchment of the 9th Circuit Court, until those liberal activist judges stop being so
But I know the real surprise here isn't the brilliant historical exposition, but the modesty of Gingrich comparing himself to only four of our country's most famous leaders…
Newt Gingrich, ahead in the polls and facing withering criticism from his own party, compared himself to Ronald Reagan in the last debate among the GOP presidential contenders before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.
Still, only five! What a blessed relief from the "arrogant" former constitutional law professor in the White House.
Photo by Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Debates, Franklin Roosevelt, Iowa, Judiciary, Newt Gingrich, Primaries, Republicans, Supreme Court
* Donald Trump's hairpiece's host organism let's us know what we can expect from his conversation with Bill O'Reilly tonight. (Spoiler alert: We're going to be making fun of it tomorrow.)
* Bill Murray is really getting into his possible-upcoming role as Franklin Roosevelt by not walking over to his phone to check his messages.
* Sarah Palin now criticizing the media for doing exactly as she says, but not doing exactly as she says enough.
* Tea Party "nearly as unpopular as both the Republican and Democratic parties" now. I'm not sure who that speaks the worst for.
* John Boehner promises GOP will kick the Democrats' ass on budget standoff. I promise you they won't need to kick it that hard.
Tags: Bill O'Reilly, Birthers, Donald Trump, Fox, Franklin Roosevelt, House of Representatives, John Boehner, Pork Barrel, Primaries, Republicans, Sarah Palin
Glenn Beck's History Lesson for America: Frankrak D. Obamavelt Is a Communist Hitler, and the True Difference Between Europe and the U.S. Involves Trains or Something
You kind of have to respect a guy who can keep a straight face while comparing Kristallnacht to the G20 protests. (Totally the same thing. Totally!) Really! It's a skill. And most most people — burdened by consciences, as they are — just can't pull it off.
But that Glenn Beck, he's a different story! He's the King of Comparing Nazi-Sanctioned Pogroms Against Jews to Protesters Protesting Bankers' Bonuses!
Oh! So that's how political science works. It's just like Thomas the Train! Except a dumbed-down version.
I guess that the real take-away message is that fear over economic collapse leads to racists renting space in Madison Square Garden. Wait, what? I've really lost the thread of this. Why did I make myself watch this? Do yourself a favor and don't have watched that.
There is one good bit, though…
"If you add two elements, fear and hunger, people will listen to anybody who says I have the answer… When I say anybody, I mean anybody."
You don't say.
Tags: Adolf Hitler, Communism, Economy, Fox, Franklin Roosevelt, Glenn Beck, Health Care, Nazis, Woodrow Wilson