The ever-insipid Joan Vennochi was, for some unfathomable reason, given space in today’s Boston Globe where she whines about Obama’s ego.

In February, a blogger for the left-embracing Mother Jones commented on his uneasiness over the candidate’s messianic complex: “Does this post play unhelpfully into the pernicious and growing Obamaism-as-cult . . . that we’ll likely see repeated over and over by the right wing if Obama gets the nomination?” blogged Jonathan Stein.

“It does. Sorry. But Obama’s rhetoric makes an undeniable suggestion: that his election, not an eight-year administration that successfully implements his vision for America, would represent a moment in America of the grandest, most transformative kind. And that’s a bit much,” Stein wrote.

Does Vennochi seriously think it’s possible for anyone to run for president without having a sense of mission, and perhaps a bit of ego to go with it? Jonathan Stein’s criticism is almost fictional as it applies to Obama – who never made any such claims himself – but applies quite well to Reagan’s “Morning in America” campaign. At least Obama, unlike George W. Bush, doesn’t claim to be getting specific instructions directly from God. Somehow you won’t find Vennochi pointing to those examples. The simple fact is that presidential candidates are a proud lot.

Yes, Obama comes off as confident in what he says. What’s wrong with that? Should he try to sound less confident even when he’s talking about subjects he understands well? Is this another variation on the “ignorance as authenticity” meme we’ve had to put up with ever since Bush started running for president? You might think so, from the way Vennochi tries to praise McCain for a humility that would be well justified if it were sincere. Should Obama make shows of such false humility, pretending not to have knowledge or skills that in fact he does? Should he try to be “one of the boys” like the trust-fund Ivy-league false Texan in the White House today? You can’t get less authentic than that. Without defining a difference between confidence and hubris – which Vennochi doesn’t even attempt – all such criticism demonstrates is the critics’ belief in a social hierarchy where even a US senator and potential president shouldn’t presume to stand up straight and look others in the eye until the establishment has accepted him and granted him that right. I’m trying really really hard not to turn this into an accusation of covert racism, but the more I think about the mindset necessary to criticize Obama for being too proud the harder that gets so I’ll stop.