Thursday, May 26, 2005

Peggy Noonan writes one of her best columns on how puffed up with their own dignity and importance some politicians, particularly the Feeble Fourteen, have become.
know they're centrists, but there is nothing moderate about their self-regard. And why should there be? I personally was dazzled by their refusal to bow to the counsels of common sense and proportion, and stirred that they had no fear of justified insult ("blowhard," "puffed up popinjay") as they moved forward in the halls of the United States Senate to bravely proclaim their excellence.

John McCain wryly reminded us not to miss A&E's biography of his heroic Vietnam experience. Joe Lieberman referred to the group as "this band of brothers, and sisters." But my favorite was Lindsey Graham, who said, "I know there will be folks 'back home' who will be angry, but that's only because they're not as sophisticated and high-minded as I am. Actually they're rather stupid, which is why they're not in the Senate and I am. But I have 3 1/2 years to charm them out of their narrow-minded resentments, and watch me, baby."
Oh, excuse me, that's not what he said. That's only what he meant. It was the invisible scroll as he spoke. The CNN identifier that popped up beneath his head as he chattered, however, did say, "Conceited Nitwit Who Affects 'Back Home' Accent to Confuse the Boobs."

Oh wait, that's not what it said. It said, "R-South Carolina." My bad.

Actually, what Mr. Graham said was, "People at home are gonna be mad at me for a while." He said he decided to support the deal because "kids are dyin' " in Iraq, "Social Security is comin' up," and "this is a lot bigger than me." If only he knew that is true.

Absolutely perfect.

And she notices something that has irritated my husband and me - how any time the police have a big announcement about finishing a case and catching the bad guy or helping someone, they have to spend 15 minutes thanking everyone who ever did anything to help out on the case. Then they introduce more people who thank other people. It's their moment in the public arena and they don't want to waste a moment of it. Here's Peggy Noonan, who says it so much better than I.
Why do they do this? Is their egomania not part of a trend? Have you noticed that every announcement now made on television has become an Academy Awards show in which the speaker announces that he is the winner? I often watch cable news during the day, and in the past year I've been taken aback by what happens when a local police chief announces the capture of a serial killer who's been murdering people for 30 years. The police chief does not say, "We finally got him." Instead he gives a long speech congratulating himself, lauding law-enforcement personnel, complimenting his department, congratulating investigators and their families, and nodding to the district attorney, the attorney general and the governor. Sometimes the police chief's voice shakes, so moved is he by the excellence of himself, his colleagues and his bosses. Then he announces a bad guy got caught. The only thing he never says is, "Sorry it took 30 years!" The only question he doesn't want to hear is, "Didn't you get tips on that guy in 1978?"
PErhaps that is what took so long. They were too occupied with their self regard.