The PJ Tatler

Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren, and the Party of Hollow Braggarts

What is it with Democrats having to be historic firsts and bestests at everything?

Elizabeth Warren, the presumed Democrat nominee for Senate in Massachusetts, has now admitted that she told her university employers about her alleged Cherokee heritage:

Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren acknowledged for the first time late Wednesday night that she told Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania that she was Native American, but she continued to insist that race played no role in her recruitment.

“At some point after I was hired by them, I . . . provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard,’’ she said in a statement issued by her campaign. “My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I’m proud of it and I have been open about it.’’

She’s also been less than truthful about it, and refuses to answer straightforward questions about it. MA Gov. Deval Patrick even tried to shield her from a reporter’s questions about it when he endorsed her. If you watch no other blog clip today, watch this one.

Warren claimed not only to be Cherokee, which coincidentally got her a leg up in getting jobs over applicants who didn’t claim any minority status, but she has also claimed that — not making this up — she’s the first nursing mother to take the bar exam in New Jersey. Women have been taking the bar in NJ since 1895. Did someone go around keeping a stat of which of those women were also nursing mothers, or did Warren just make stuff up again to make herself look more fabulous?

It’s probably the latter, and she’s far from the only Democrat to engage in absurd self-puffery. Take President Obama, who earlier this week made the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony all about himself — which is par for the Golfer in Chief’s course — and then said this, about his understanding of Judiasm.

In the meeting, Obama reportedly boasted about his knowledge of Judaism, telling the leaders that he thinks he knows more “about Judaism” than all past presidents. He said he gained this knowledge of Judaism from reading.

“Obama … stressed he probably knows about Judaism more than any other president, because he read about it,” Haaretz reports. “[He] wondered how come no one asks Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner or Senate minority leader Mitch McConnel [sic] about their support to Israel.”


Answering the president’s question, because they obviously do support Israel, and his support is, well, a whole lot less obvious.

Like Warren’s nursing mother bar exam claim, there is no way to quantify Obama’s statement. He certainly has no way of justifying it. It just makes him look like an immature braggard and opens him up to mockery. So why make it?

The Democrats as a party/ideology do this “historic first” thing all the time. It didn’t begin with Obama, but it has certainly gotten more pronounced after his election. I won’t go through the entire litany, from appointing the “first Hispanic Supreme Court justice” in Sonya Sotomayor to passing ObamaCare mainly because passing some sort of large health care bill had been a Democrat priority since Truman, not on the merits of the bill itself. Obama has made claiming historic firsts and bests part of routine act. When Democrats aren’t making these claims for themselves, others make them on their behalf: Obama has been called, with a straight face, the first gay president, the first Jewish president, the first Asian American president, and even the first Hispanic president, despite the fact that he is not gay, is not Jewish, is not Asian American, and is not Hispanic. Living in Asia for a few years doesn’t make one any more Asian than going to a kosher deli makes one Jewish. If it did, I’d be Japanese/Mexican, despite the fact that my heritage is actually English, because I lived in Japan and eat lots of Mexican food.

What is with all this phony firsts and bests and obvious self-centeredness? Is this just the normal egotism we see with politicians, or is there something deeper and weirder going on here? Are we seeing the outcome of a generation of teaching excessive self-esteem? Or are we seeing surface evidence of a deep seated insecurity? I don’t pretend to know, I’m just curious about it.