Everyone is getting stuck into Bob Carr over his book Diary of a Foreign Minister. But as some have noted, some of the quotes people are having the most fun mocking are actually attempts at self-deprecation.
So why the confusion? The pundits getting stuck into Carr can't all be literal-minded idiots, can they?
I think the reason for this is that his sense of self-importance is so strong and constant that it just won't be shifted. Even when he's trying to send himself up he comes across as a right tosser. And that's because he just is.
This is what makes him unusual as a politician. Most of them have a high opinion of themselves, of course. And they're extremely ambitious. But they also usually have the emotional intelligence to know how they are perceived by the voting public. They manage to speak much more on their constituents' level and generally don't come across as poncing prats. They manage to deal with the relentless abuse that is part of the job by gradually training themselves to ignore it. They grow their thick hides slowly.
Carr, on the other hand, clearly sees himself as special and superior. His ability to ignore criticism hasn't come from bitter experience so much as the sincere belief that he's a blessing on democracy and that anyone who can't see that must be a mental infant.
Have a listen to this interview he gave to Ben Fordham and you'll see what I mean. Fordham flays him left right and centre. Most other pollies would likely lose their composure. But Carr just cheerfully blathers on regardless in the most stunningly arrogant way. You can imagine him hanging up the phone and not giving it another thought!