Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Okay, all, or practically all, politicians are narcissists. Of course. But there are degrees of narcissism, and we seem to be attaining, in Obama, a Caligula-like level of not just narcissism, but clueless narcissism. For example, for all his obnoxious self-regard, I don't think Bill Clinton considers all his opponents to be evil, ungrateful wretches. He's reality-based enough to be narcissistic and realize that he is, and take the fact into account in his understanding of reality.

But Obama, who is probably about one-third as smart as Clinton on his best days, doesn't even know he's narcissistic. He almost certainly thinks he's evaluating himself, and everybody else, objectively. He's been shielded all his life from any criticism, of course, and couple that with his limited intelligence, and you've got a complete cognitive disconnect. Even Joe Biden probably has a better grasp of reality.

This is one of those cases where John Craig says it more clearly and succinctly than I can. This is from his blog at:

How Obama sees himself

Obama's comments at the news conference he held right after the Republican sweep in early November put his narcissism in stark relief.

First, he said that "the American people sent a message" that the public expects their elected leaders to work as hard as they do. That is ridiculous: they sent a message that they didn't like Obama's policies.

After being asked why the election was so devastating for Democrats, Obama responded that the American people felt that Washington wasn't responsive to their needs. Again, he tried to make it sound as if they were dissatisfied with Washington in general rather than with the Democrats in particular, a typical Obama dodge.

Then he added that "every election is a moment for reflection," once again implying that this election was no different than any other -- and essentially saying that he refused to draw any conclusions from the Democrats' resounding defeat.

Obama also emphasized the two thirds of the electorate who didn't vote. His clear implication was that had more people turned out, the results might have been different. But turnout is traditionally low in non-Presidential election years, and the energized Republicans base sent a strong message.

A few minutes later, Obama said that he wanted Congress to act on immigration and that America needs policies which allow "the best and the brightest" to live here. Obama's definition of the "best and the brightest" seems to mean, "those who can cross the Rio Grande without getting caught."

Obama also said that he would give Congress six weeks to act on such a bill. Two and a half weeks later, he issued his executive order.

Much has been made of how Obama has circumvented the Constitution with his order. But as any psychologist will tell you, narcissists never feel the rules apply to them.

A few days later, Obama stated that had he been allowed to campaign more actively, the Democratic candidates would have fared better. (This, after an election during which virtually every Democrat put as much distance between himself and the President as possible.)

The statements from that press conference all seem jarringly at odds with reality, but they were in fact normal for Obama, who has always been a case study in narcissism.

Just last year Obama said, “Kindness covers all of my political beliefs. Empathy, the idea that we have a stake in each other’s success, is what gets me up every single day.”

In other words, "I do what I do because I'm a kind and empathetic person."

The same rule that applies to prison pen pal advertisements applies to politicians: people who actually have those qualities never feel obliged to advertise them.

This is a man who has said, in one of the two autobiographies he had written by the age of 45, "I find comfort in the fact that the longer I’m in politics the less nourishing popularity becomes, that a striving for power and rank and fame seems to betray a poverty of ambition, and that I am answerable mainly to the steady gaze of my own conscience."

Another rule which applies here is that people who have consciences don't talk about their own as distinct entities. (It's also true that no one says he doesn't care about his popularity who doesn't, in fact, care a great deal about it.)
Obama has claimed that the reason he did not make the varsity basketball team at Punahou is because the coach just didn't "get"his style of street play. The fact is, Obama just wasn't good enough. But since becoming President, he's felt he's good enough to play with NBA players. They undoubtedly don't play their hardest against him and let him score on them. But that probably doesn't stop him from indulging his fantasy that he's far better than he actually is.

When he was at Harvard Law School, the other students coined a term, the "Obamometer," to measure the extent to which someone seemed pleased with his own glibness. The term actually outlasted Obama at the law school. (Think about that: at a place which must attract an inordinate share of grandstanding egomaniacs, one ego stood out above all the rest.)

This is a President who looks in the mirror and sees, as he said on The View, "eye candy."

This is a man whose self-regard is such that he once told an aide, "I think I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm a better political director than my political director."

Obama also evidently thinks he's a better military strategist than his generals, since he routinely disregards their advice.

When Obama first met Queen Elizabeth, the gift he gave her was an iPod filled with his own speeches. Even most narcissists would be too embarrassed to do that.

Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008 was famously staged in front of fake styrofoam pillars. It was never clear whether that was meant to evoke Plato, Socrates, or Demosthenes.

In that speech, Obama famously proclaimed that would be remembered as the day the rise of the oceans started to slow. He evidently sees himself as Moses as well.

The list of narcissistic transgressions is far to long to list here, but it's apparent every time he opens his mouth.

Every time he shifts blame for a national problem.

Every time he attributes the best of motives to himself and the worst of motives to his opponents.

Every time he feels that his charisma will be enough to win over intransigent foreign leaders.

Every time he tries to pull the wool over the eyes of the American public.

Once you recognize the sound of a confirmed narcissist, you don't even have to listen that closely. It's impossible to miss. 

1 comment:

  1. Baloo --
    Thank you. And nice analysis of the difference between Clinton and Obama.