George Will still peddling false argument that President Obama is especially narcissistic

  Poor George Will! He’s not the hot-shot columnist he used to be. He’s no longer on ABC on Sunday mornings — rather, he’s at Fox News, where the audience is smaller. His brand of conservatism doesn’t resonate among today’s Republican wingnuts. He’s become a preacher without a choir. Another sign of Will’s decline is his persistence in peddling snide little falsehoods. Consider, for example, his repeated claims that President Obama is more narcissistic than most presidents, as evidenced by frequent references to himself in his speeches and pronouncements. Will has been spewing this stuff for several years now, despite detailed debunking of it all by people who have actually looked into the matter. He did it again today, in a COLUMN about the Donald Trump phenomenon. In an aside, Will said Trump “uses the first-person singular pronoun even more than the previous world-record holder (Obama)…” The problem with this  argument, as George Will should know by now, is that Obama uses the first-person singular pronoun less frequently than most past presidents. Check  THIS: Conservative commentators are fond of pointing to Barack Obama’s excessive use of the word “I” as evidence of the president’s narcissism. (“For God’s sake, he talks like the emperor Napoleon,” Charles Krauthammer complained recently.) But there’s one tiny problem with this line of reasoning. If you’re counting pronouns, Obama is maybe the least narcissistic president since 1945. BuzzFeed News analyzed more than 2,000 presidential news conferences since 1929, looking for usage of first-person singular pronouns — “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine,” and “myself.” Just 2.5 percent of Obama’s total news-conference words fell into this category. Only Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt used them less often. While presidential news conferences don’t capture the totality of how Obama or Hoover or Roosevelt talk, they represent one of the largest corpuses — if not the largest — of presidential speaking. Every president has at least 125,000 spoken words in the data set. The news conferences also typically feature a mix of scripted remarks and a question-and-answer session. Even in presidential speeches, which are highly scripted, Obama’s usage of first-person singular pronouns ranks below average — 1.6 percent vs. 1.8 percent....

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It’s foolish to say Obama should play patty-cake with GOP opponents of the Iran deal

Some right-wingers are arguing that it was wrong for President Obama to say in a speech last week that congressional Republicans who oppose the nuclear deal with Iran have common cause with the extremist mullahs in that country. I say it wasn’t — especially in light of GOP rhetoric suggesting that the president actually wants Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Besides, Obama is not so naïve as to think that nice talk about Republican politicians might persuade a few of them to support the nuclear deal. That simply isn’t going to happen, no matter how polite the president is. E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post adds THIS: Obama does not need any private briefings on how Republicans are thinking. He realizes, as everyone else should, that there’s only one way to save the Iran accord. Republicans will have the votes to pass a measure disapproving it, and he needs to keep enough Democrats on his side to sustain his veto… In broad terms, this is an argument over whether the foreign policy of George W. Bush, with its proclivity toward unilateral military action, or his own approach, which stresses alliances and diplomacy, is more likely to defend the United States’ long-term interest… The president was not wrong when he said that “many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.” …[I]t was useful that he reminded Americans of the run-up to the Iraq invasion, when “those calling for war labeled themselves strong and decisive, while dismissing those who disagreed as weak — even appeasers of a malevolent adversary.”        ...

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Does Illinois Republican Mark Kirk think ugly rhetoric will save his Senate seat?

The consensus among political pundits these days is that Sen. Mark Kirk, the Illinois Republican, likely will lose his re-election bid next year to Democrat Tammy Duckworth, a disabled veteran of the war in Iraq. It should come as no surprise, then, that Kirk would seize every effort to attract the attention of the voting public. But his strategy in that regard went way too far the other day when he resorted to shockingly reckless rhetoric in condemning the Obama administration’s agreement with Iran on the issue of nuclear weapons. In a radio interview, Kirk said President Obama actually “wants…to get nukes to Iran.” He said “tens of thousands of people in the Middle East are gonna lose their lives because of this decision by Barack Hussein Obama.” Barack Hussein Obama? That’s the kind of Muslim-baiting you would expect from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, not a quasi-moderate Republican from the president’s home state. But Kirk went even further. “This is the greatest appeasement since Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to Hitler,” he said. “The president will make this a viciously partisan issue, leading most Democrats to standing with the Iranians,” he said. The agreement “condemns the next generation to cleaning up a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf,” he said. Kirk even implied that a recent federal indictment of Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey on corruption charges was motivated by the fact that Menendez has had misgivings about a nuclear deal with Iran. Kirk’s rhetoric shocked even a few pundits who had shown him considerable sympathy since he suffered a stroke three years ago. One of them said he is “now going to lift my self-imposed ban on questioning the mental capabilities and moral character of Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois. He’s some combination of insane and morally reprehensible…” Another pundit couldn’t understand Kirk’s political strategy in employing such extreme rhetoric. “It’s weird,” he said, “to see a statewide elected official from the president’s home state—a blue state at that—basically accuse him of deliberate assistance to terrorists…” There’s more about all of this HERE and HERE and HERE.    ...

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So much for the myth that Obama is a Muslim

President Obama spoke this morning in celebration of the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states. But wait! There are still millions of Americans who suspect or firmly believe that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim. And don’t Muslims strongly oppose homosexuality? This doesn’t add up, does it? How can our supposedly Muslim president celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage? I eagerly await efforts by the crazies to explain this...

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Let’s put Obama’s public use of the N-word in context, shall we?

In a radio interview in the wake of last week’s tragedy in Charleston, S.C., President Obama said this: Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior. Predictably enough, some pathological Obamaphobes say the president’s public use of the N-word betrays him a racist in his own right. Consider, for example, THE REACTION from some guy at Right Wing News.com: So, now we have a president who is using this incendiary word in order to continue riling race-hate in this country? This kind of thing is so common among Obama’s wingnut critics. To hear them tell it, all the vile racism heaped on Obama since he first became a candidate for president eight years ago is own fault. Indeed, every problem America has faced in recent years is his fault — every last one of them, even the imaginary ones. But let’s put the president’s use of the N-word in  context. Clearly, he uttered that ugly word in a cautionary, disapproving sense. More to the point, he said that widespread disfavor for the N-word is not the only measure of whether racism still exists. I know lots of bigots who would never use the N-word but still harbor terribly racist views. Changes in vocabulary don’t always reflect changes in attitude. I expect that the next phase in this controversy will include right-wingers asking this question: “If he can use the N-word, why can’t I?” That’s how stupid some people are....

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