Kathryn Lopez

Barack Obama at least has one thing right: the author of "The Audacity of Hope" is certainly audacious.

The junior Illinois senator has been telling us for months now: "We are the hope of the future. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." If I believed that about myself, I'd be pretty audacious. Not to mention messianic.

And so the political savior went to Berlin to stand on the shoulders of giants, and didn't even have the courtesy to tip his hat to the president of the United States -- Ronald Reagan -- whose monumentally historic rhetoric he adapted ad nauseam, showing an audacious disregard for creativity and originality.

But the Berlin speech wasn't anything too new -- save the self-reintroduction as a post-national "Citizen of the World." You've heard most of it before. It would be less disturbing if it were merely empty rhetoric signifying everything and nothing, requiring projection on the part of the unformed masses Obama seeks to galvanize, to give it meaning. But his substance is audaciously insulting, on top of the language.

Hillary Clinton, in retrospect, got a bad, perhaps unfair, rap for being presumptuous. Despite being a workhorse in the Senate and on the campaign trail, she was maligned by many, including this columnist, for her imperial arrogance, for thinking of her campaign as merely part of the inevitable return of the Clintons to their rightful White House. It was an august, foregone conclusion to which Team Clinton certainly did subscribe. But at least she was willing to do the work she needed to do to earn the job. Barack Obama, by comparison, makes Hillary look positively meek, and does so without all the elbow grease. In his mind and in the minds of many a callow Obamamaniac, he is the "inevitable" one.

"We are the ones we have been waiting for"? Really? If all of American history has been waiting for me to be able to pull a lever for Barack Obama, I might have to rethink the greatness of this fine country. Fortunately I won't have to. I hate to tell Chris Matthews with his tingling leg and all, but Barack Obama is not the source and summit of U.S. history. Barack Obama represents an obnoxiously elitist attitude that reeks of paternalistic government, the kind that folks like Reagan and the late, great William F. Buckley Jr. devoted much of their lives to pushing back, here and abroad.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.