Posts Tagged ‘Democratic Party’

Obama is starting to lose it.

Most politicians are more than a bit narcissistic.  You have to really believe in yourself to run for office, and no one has been drafted to run, Cincinnatus-like, since the age of Andrew Jackson.  That said, moderately narcissistic men can also be great leaders through balancing qualities such as empathy, brains, imagination, experience, patriotism, and good ideas.

Obama is not such a man.

He does, however, really really love himself.  And unlike other recent presidents, such as Bush or Clinton or Carter, he seems to find himself to be the most interesting subject imaginable.  If Carter’s fatal leadership flaw was micromanagement, and Clinton’s self-destructive appetites, and Bush a lack of imagination and ability to change, Obama’s is his huge blind-spot to his own failure to connect with and persuade the American people, a failure of communication that derives from his utter self-obsession.  His writings and his personal interests typically grow from this exaggerated interest in himself and his confused identity; this explains his strong interest in black history, anti-colonialism, Kenya, and Islam, and this also explains his relative lack of interest in law, legislation, public policy, and much else that should be in his portfolio.

Now that he has accomplished much of the agenda he set out for his first term in office, he is a bit confused and disoriented.    His agenda has succeeded in (a) doing nothing to revive the economy and (b) making Obama very unpopular with both Democrats and Republicans, as well as Independents.  His disorientation flows from his lack of capacity for self-criticism and change, and he lacks this capacity because he has for so long been  isolated, self-obsessed, and disinterested in what others have to say, that he cannot read the tea leaves of mass public discontent.  He’s like the salesman whose pitch does not solicit and evolve based on feedback from the customer.  He’s selling brand new and expensive Toyota Priuses to a nation that would just like to buy a car that runs.

Obama does not connect with the American people.  He never really did, after all.  Rather, an image of him as the healer of racial divisions, an image concocted by David Axelrod and the America media, won the election of 2008.  The real Obama–the untested, short-tempered, immature, self-obsessed, liberal elitist with a chip on his shoulder about America and its people–is becoming increasingly erratic and ineffective.

This week, Obama blames his core supporters for his troubles:

People need to shake off this lethargy,” Obama told People magazine. “People need to buck up … if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.”

That’s one way to put it.  Notice the “need to” rhetoric; this is the tell-tale rhetoric of someone totally disinterested in what other people are inclined to do, would rather do,  have a perfect right to do.  Obama is an aggressive narcissist.  He sees himself as much more than a mere elected official, subordinate to the people, who are ultimately sovereign and whom he ultimately serves.  In his eyes, he’s the embodiment of a movement for national renewal and national redemption, hope and change and all that.  He is the true will of the people, expressed in its highest, most aspirational manner. But perhaps the people are not up to the challenge.  That’s your problem, and it’s your fault if his presidency results in failure.

After all, let’s not forget how his wife Michelle suggested Obama’s presidency would work back in the campaign:

And Barack Obama will require you to work.

He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism, that you put down your division, that you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones, that you push yourselves to be better, and that you engage.

Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual – uninvolved, uninformed…

So you see, if you don’t like him, you’re just not trying hard enough.  If you protest him and his policies, you’re engaged in “division” and “cynicism.”  And if you fail him by not getting out to vote as he tells you that you “need to,”  it’s your fault he’s so incredibly unpopular, and you ultimately fail yourselves.

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Gov. Blagojevich’s efforts essentially to sell the Obama Senate vacancy appointment are important for a number of reasons. It’s not exactly news that Illinois’ politics is corrupt. But so far the media has exempted Obama from much scrutiny in this regard, in spite of his associations with Tony Rezko, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Jeremiah Wright, Mayor Daley, and the other unsavory figures that make up the Illinois Democratic Party machine.

The scandal also shows that reality has a way of intruding on Obama’s myth of himself. Much of his presidency will not be defined–as was his campaign–by rhetoric, but instead by policies, results, and reality. A scandal like this reminds the public, “Hey, do we really know this guy?” Obama’s lawyerly denials of involvement do not inspire much confidence.

Finally, the entire event raises the legitimate question of what did Obama and his staff know, when did they know it, and did they report it to the FBI. So far it appears they did not actively play the governor’s game. But if they were silent after being asked illegally to “play ball” with the governor, then even if they did not actively participate, the failure to sound the alarm is one step away from a true coverup, a la, Watergate.

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