Although President Obama has a great deal to be modest about, modesty is not amongst his strong suits. Obama is about as well acquainted with modesty as Casanova was with monogamy.
It could be said that the only thing that has grown faster in the past three and a half years than the size of the federal government and the federal deficit would be President Obama's ego. Like the federal government and federal deficit, Obama's admiration of his own greatness shows no signs of diminishing.
Prior to last week's Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony (where he referred to Nazi death camps as "Polish death camps" much to the anger of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and other Polish officials), Obama along with White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew met with Jewish leaders from around the country. According to Haaretz, Obama, who felt defensive about being perceived as anti-Israel, claimed he knew more about Judaism than any other President before him. To which Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard scoffed, "His vanity boggles the mind." Kristol went on to note that both John Adams and James Madison read Hebrew.
I would be willing to bet that George Washington was far more knowledgeable about Judaism in his day than Obama is now. One only need look at Washington's 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island -- the first synagogue in America:
May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.
I think it's safe to say that none of Obama's assurances concerning Israel hold a candle to the eloquence of the man Americans first called President.
While I concur with Kristol that Obama's claims about his knowledge of Judaism are mind boggling, I would also add that such assertions should hardly come as a surprise by now.
As Jodi Kantor noted in her book The Obamas, when Obama interviewed David Plouffe in 2006 for the position of campaign manager he told Plouffe, "I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I'll hire to do it." In a separate conversation with Patrick Gaspard, who was hired as Obama's political director, Obama said he was "a better speechwriter than my speechwriters," and "a better political director than my political director."
With this in mind, I'm sure Obama believes he's a better basketball player than LeBron James. Indeed, prior to his keynote speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Obama told a reporter, "I'm Lebron, baby. I can play on this level. I got game." Now Obama may very well have meant that metaphorically but when he sunk that three pointer during a campaign stop in South Carolina in August 2007 and another three pointer while visiting U.S. troops in Kuwait in July 2008, he probably thought he could suit up with the Bulls and gone one on one with King James. I mean how many world leaders have their image on a basketball? However, during the White House Easter Egg Roll last April in the presence of former NBA players and former members of the Harlem Globetrotters, Obama missed five shots before finally sinking a three pointer. Talk about foul. The only thing Obama has in common with LeBron is that neither man has won an NBA Title -- and that might soon change.
But why stop there? Chances are Obama fancies himself a better singer than Al Green, a better dancer than Savion Glover and, for that matter, a better businessman than Mitt Romney. At least that's what he'll try to convince voters of between now and November. Of course, it is one thing to convince the readership of the Daily Kos that Obama's entrepreneurial skills are better than Romney's; it's quite another to convince an electorate that has had to put up with 3½ years of hope, change and Solyndra.
Yet somehow I don't think that will be a deterrent to Obama who, during a fundraiser last March, compared his re-election bid to the plights of both Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Now I don't recall where Obama undertook a fast much less spent a day in prison for his travails. But such details are of little concern to one who seeks to transform America.
Right or wrong, all Presidents believe they did a good job in office. But Obama took it to another level when he told Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes last December, "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." So can we really be surprised that the man who considers himself, at minimum, the fourth greatest American President would interject himself into the White House biographies of nearly every President since Coolidge?
To say that President Obama thinks the world of himself would be an understatement. His high opinion of himself might very well extend to yet to be discovered galaxies at the outer reaches of the universe. If President Obama were to travel to the moon it would be more than appropriate to say, "The Ego has landed."
Well, in a little over five months from now, voters across America might not hold President Obama in such high esteem. In which case, he will have to come back down to earth. Something tells me it will be a long, unpleasant journey.