When narcissists attack

Much has been made today — and deservedly so — of the fact that the Obama campaign has tried to shut down both Stanley Kurtz’s investigations into his work on Chicago’s Annenberg Challenge with Bill Ayers and to silence any discussion about the results of those investigations.  When the Obama campaign heard that Kurtz would be on a rather scholarly sounding Chicago radio talk show, it sent out an emergency email to rouse the troops to action.  The introductory text spelled out just how serious the threat to the Messiah was:

“WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears,” Obama’s campaign wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “He’s currently scheduled to spend a solid two-hour block from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. pushing lies, distortions, and manipulations about Barack and University of Illinois professor William Ayers.”

Once the troops were stirred into a frenzy, the Obama team told them what to do (make a call to the radio show) and what to say.  Here are the talking points:

Then report back on your call and sign up for the Obama Action Wire using the form to the right.

The Facts on Barack and William Ayers:

  • William Ayers was involved with the Weather Underground when Barack Obama was eight years old, and Barack has roundly condemned their actions.
  • Last night on Fox News, Kurtz tried to radicalize an education reform program in Chicago called the Annenberg Challenge. The Challenge was funded by Republican Walter Annenberg, introduced by Mayor Daley and Republican Governor Jim Edgar, and one of its initiatives was even praised by John McCain.
  • Kurtz claimed on Fox News that William Ayers recruited Obama to the Annenberg Challenge — a flat out lie. Ayers did not serve on the board of the Challenge, and he had nothing to do with Barack’s recruitment.

Tips for making your call:

  • Be honest, but be civil.
  • Be persistent. It may take a few attempts to get through to the show. Just keep trying. Your call is important.
  • Use the talking points above to help you speak confidently and concisely.

You’ll notice that the facts have absolutely nothing to do with the information Kurtz is investigating based on contemporaneous documentary evidence, which is Obama’s conduct while on the Annenberg Challenge and his relationship with Ayers during that same period. Instead, “the facts” are entirely conclusory:  Kurtz lied.  End of story.  Or, rather, that’s Obama’s story and he’s sticking to it.

The call to action worked.  Incensed Obama fans inundated the radio station with phone calls, something quite unusual for this normally staid show.  Guy Benson, who was coincidentally in the studio at the time the calls started coming, describes what happened next:

As I arrived at the downtown Chicago studios a few hours before show time, the phones began ringing off the hook with irate callers demanding Kurtz be axed from the program.


Why? Because, naturally, Kurtz is a “right-wing hatchet man,” a “smear merchant” and a “slimy character assassin” who is perpetrating one of the “most cynical and offensive smears ever launched against Barack.”


They jammed all five studio lines for nearly the entire show while firing off dozens of angry emails. Many vowed to kick their grievances up the food chain to station management. After 90 minutes of alleged smear peddling, Milt Rosenberg (a well-respected host whose long-form interview show has aired in Chicago for decades) opened the phone lines, and blind ignorance soon began to crackle across the AM airwaves. The overwhelming message was clear: The interview must be put to an end immediately, and the station management should prevent similar discussions from taking place.

What struck everyone on the Right who has blogged about the Obamaniac’s attack is how free of substance it was.  Benson has this to say:

One female caller, when pressed about what precisely she objected to, simply replied, “We just want it to stop!” Another angry caller was asked what “lies” Kurtz had told in any of his reporting on Barack Obama. The thoughtful response? “Everything he said is dishonest.” The same caller later refused to get into “specifics.” Another gentleman called Kurtz “the most un-American person” he’d ever heard. Several of the callers did not even know Stanley’s name, most had obviously never read a sentence of his meticulous research, and more than simply read verbatim from the Obama talking points.

One of Michelle Malkin’s readers, who heard the show as it was being aired, noted exactly the same information vacuum when it came to the attack against the radio show and against Kurtz:

The callers claimed that everything Kurtz is stating is fabricated, so Kurtz then read verbatim from the documents!

Andrew McCarthy saw precisely the same pattern in the calls — wild attacks, unbounded by any facts:

In the last few minutes, two called to scald Milt for having Stanley on without having an Obama rep on to give the counterpoint.  Milt explains, repeatedly, that he contacted the Obama campaign (he gave the name of the campaign official his producer spoke with) and the campaign — the HQ of which is about a quarter mile from the studio where the show airs — declined to come on.  They were offered the opportunity to have someone there with Stanley for the entire two hours, and they said no.

Another pro-Obama woman called and, after accusing Stanley of slander but of course not citing anything he said that was slanderous, stated, “We want it to stop.”  Milt asked what she wanted stopped, and she replied, “It’s just not what we believe as Americans.”  Milt tried again, asking what she didn’t believe.  She responded that it was someone saying bad things about Barack Obama and, again, we just want it to stop.

As you might expect, those who have commented on this frenzied attempt to silence Obama critics — an effort that started at the top with the Obama campaign itself — have noted (a) that this is typical of the Left and (b) that we can expect more of the same if a Democratic White House and a Democratic Congress are able to team together to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine (something that might have made sense in an era that boasted only three TV stations, but that is insanity in the wild market of cable TV and satellite TV, not to mention AM and FM radio).

For a couple of excellent analyses of the situation on the ground — the facts from Kurtz and the fact-free accusations from the Left — I highly recommend Cheat-Seeking Missiles’ take on the subject, Confederate Yankee’s post (complete with illustration), and the summary from the editors at National Review.

I’m going to throw one more idea into the mix, and it’s personal, not political.  I’ve blogged before about the unusual narcissism that characterizes Barack Obama.  He has a staggering level of self-involvement that has him seeing himself as the center of the universe and with everything revolving around him.  In his own mind, he’s better than everyone else and (unsurprisingly, given their inevitable jealously and small-mindedness about his extraordinary virtues) everyone is evil and out to get him.

What this mindset means (and I speak from personal experience having once had a close relationship with a narcissist) is that facts are irrelevant, everything is personal.  An argument with a narcissist will go like this:

Normal person:  Will you pick up milk from the store?

Narcissist:  Stop nagging me.

Normal person:  I’m not nagging.  I’m just asking if you can get milk from the store?

Narcissist:  You drive me crazy.  You’re just blathering on about milk.  You always do that.  I never get a moment to myself.  You’re just impossibly difficult.

Normal person:  Even if that’s true, we’re out of milk, and I won’t be home for hours.  Can you pick up milk from the store?

Narcissist:  This is all your fault you know.  If you’d been more organized, we would have had milk already (ignoring that the normal person has been out of town for a week).  You never take care of anything around the house.

And so on and so on.  What you notice very quickly in arguing with a narcissist is that facts are entirely irrelevant.  The substantive matter at issue (in the above example, the need for milk and who is best situated to get it) is entirely irrelevant.  All that matters is that you are impinging on the narcissist’s comfort level.  From that point on, everything devolves into pure attack mode.  And since the narcissist lives in a world characterized by his immediate needs and concerns, in his own mind, he never tells a lie.  Even if this is the first time you’ve ever asked him to buy milk, his statement that you always do something like that is absolutely true — because for him, if he feels pressured, once equals always.  (For more on this topic and the narcissist’s bizarre, self-referential reality, read that enjoyable book Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend.)

If I’m right about Obama’s narcissism, one that seems to attract others with the same quality, one doesn’t have to look to Leftist political ideology to explain away his and his followers’ blind determination to use bullying, fact-free force to shut down anything that impinges on his ego.  For the malignant narcissist, anything that is inconvenient, that is demanding, that is hurtful, requires, not a reasoned response, but a full throttle, all-out, battle-to-the death defense.

And since narcissists have a strong paranoid streak (it’s always everybody out to get the narcissist), the easiest full throttle attack is a personal one.  Don’t bother with facts.  Just reiterate, loudly and brutally, what an absolutely horrible person the other one is, along with a history (usually made up) of all their exceptionally horrible moments, either general or specifically with respect to the narcissist.

Sure Obama is a product of the Left, as are his followers.  But they all also display the aggressive, self-referential, paranoid behavior of classic narcissists.  I can assure you that the nation will not be happier for having such hostile, self-aggrandizing, self-pitying people in charge and, worse, out to get you.

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  • MerryMaven

    Brilliant, Bookworm. No wonder he had a shrine built to himself for his coronation tonight. Now has anyone thought to photoshop Obama into that painting of Napoleon putting the crown on his own head?

    I just got “Evil Genes” from abebooks – can’t wait to read it.

  • Marguerite

    One more thing about narcissists is that since it’s all about them, they are not aware of the effect of their behavior on others and deny it when it is pointed out to them. Can we hope that in Obama’s case his self-absorbtion continues for all to see?

  • 1Lulu

    Like I wrote once before here, can you imagine a greater fulfillment of narcissistic dreams than to be Barack Obama right now? While I am certain he does not have the skills to be president and will be very destructive in that role should he (God forbid) win, I also think he will be destructive if he loses- as all narcissists are. He would foment anger and divisiveness.

    Obama is not content merely to be president. he is running for savior (a Democratic party trend- look at St. Al, savior of planet earth and all mankind). What is remarkable to me is that Obama has catapulted to this level of acclaim based on his own belief in his specialness, but not on accomplishment. It is like a cult, a messianic cult since he will save us all and heal the oceans too.

    It is unnerving to see so many enraptured by Obama- swooning like a revival meeting. he promises deliverance, but like so many in the past, he will be a false messiah because once president (God forbid…) he would have to deliver action. Promises of change and hope would not be enough. I pity our media if he should fail.

  • http://helenl.wordpress.com/ Helen Losse

    “If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint you opponent as someone people should run from.” Barack Obama

    read entire speech http://i.usatoday.net/news/politics/election2008/pdf/obama-full-text-8-28-2008.pdf

    Then make this election about ideas, not character assassination.

  • Gringo

    “If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint you opponent as someone people should run from.” Barack Obama

    When BHO’s changing of positions makes JFKerry, the poster child for flip-flop, seem like the Rock of Gibraltar by comparison, it becomes rather difficult to determine WHAT his record is, except for VOTE FOR ME.

    Then make this election about ideas, not character assassination.

    I dunno , I really thought that BHO had a brilliant fantasy there, that keeping tires inflated could substitute for all proposed increases in onshore and offshore drilling, Alaska and lower 48. All the drilling, said BHO. And BHO’s comparing Russia in Georgia in 2008 to our deposing Saddam Hussein was also spot on. After all, Iraqis had re-elected Saddam with 94% or was it 98% or was it 99.5% of the vote. After all, the UN Security Council had passed 17 resolutions against Georgia.
    Like they say, A MAN A PLAN PANAMA.

  • 1Lulu

    Being president of the United States is a job more challenging than average, I think you would agree. I want the person in that role to have particular abilities, convictions, candidness, and experience. I don’t think Obama has demonstrated these qualifications in any way that gives me confidence in his ability to be commander in chief- the leader of the free world. He is a blank slate, and in these post 9-11 days we can’t afford to take a leap of faith into the unknown. He is campaigning on charisma and hope, not on his resume of success or ideas. I find this scary.

  • benning

    The attacks from the Leftists, defending Obama from any criticism, are part-and-parcel of the Leftist Doctrine. Unlike the claims that the Right promotes violence, the Left inspires and revels in violence.

  • Mike Devx

    Oh please oh please oh please, let the reports be true, let it be Sarah Palin.
    This is a truly fantastic choice in every way. If true.

    (To make this even vaguely relevant to the Book post that I’m adding this comment to, Mrs. Palin is as far from a narcissist as you can get!)

  • dg

    I found this comment on the American Thinker’s article on the Ayers-Obama link:

    Why is it OK for McCain to bomb innocent children but not OK for Ayers to bomb buildings to protest McCain’s bombs?

    Was it a just war? Not according to ex-Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara, who ought to know since he ran the war for seven years. Read his book: “In Retrospect”.

    Posted by: Marvin Sussman | August 24, 2008 02:26 AM

    Maybe this is why Ayers and Dohrn can teach at respectable universities and work in respectable law firms…

  • Ymarsakar

    • Use the talking points above to help you speak confidently and concisely.

    That’s the basic low down on propaganda operations, Book. I get an idea and then I convince 500,000 people to repeat those ideas as if they themselves came up with it.

    This is how you spread from one sector of control to many sectors of control. A mini ink blot conquest strategy.

    Advertisement, 1 to 1 marketing, subterfuge and espionage, all deal in such things in one fashion or another.

    Several of the callers did not even know Stanley’s name, most had obviously never read a sentence of his meticulous research, and more than simply read verbatim from the Obama talking points.

    People often are unconvinced when I say that the Left are full of useful tools who simply need a master and they’ll be on board, ready and willing to do what people like me tell them to do.

    How many more incidents like this will it take to convince people that propaganda and those that have mastered it, are about acquiring tools and using them? Yet, people continue to think this is “grass roots”, “democracy”, “liberty”, or the various other clap trap they were fed from deception arts so far beyond their understanding that it would be like comparing Abu Musab Al Zarqawi with David Petraeus.

    The Art of Propaganda is more powerful than nuclear weapons, for there are no limitations on the Art of Propaganda (no law, no Bill of Rights, and no recourse for the weak except to engage in counter-propaganda) while nuclear weapons have severe limitations on how many times they may be used. In fact, by the time one nuclear weapon has been used, the Art of Propaganda has been used 77 trillion times in discrete chunks.

    By the time the nuclear weapon leaves the missile silos or bomb bay doors, the people dropping them will have been subverted by propaganda, thus raising the interesting question of paradox; once propaganda succeeds, can weapons ever even be used if people can’t consider a reason for it?

    From that point on, everything devolves into pure attack mode.

    It makes sense, when you want to destroy an enemy, you do what I do. Go into hunter killer mode. Whether you are evil or good, wise or foolish, the basic necessities of reality require that you attack if you wish to win. Civilization is actually anti-nature in terms of realistic standards, for civilization promotes cooperation and restraint. Nature does not particularly care for cooperation; it only cares for strength and survival. Mankind has wrapped around a safety net or social net on this little reality, however.

    I can assure you that the nation will not be happier for having such hostile, self-aggrandizing, self-pitying people in charge and, worse, out to get you.

    The Palestinians supported Arafat until the bitter, clinging, end, Book. And the same will be true for Obama and his religious disciples.

    One more thing about narcissists is that since it’s all about them, they are not aware of the effect of their behavior on others and deny it when it is pointed out to them.

    That’s because other people don’t exist for them; others are just props, not human beings. After all, only the narcissist is ‘real’; only the narcissist and his emotions matter.

    It is unnerving to see so many enraptured by Obama- swooning like a revival meeting.

    The ‘so many’ you see are just weak minded people. They need something to believe in; they need a strong man to tell them what to do. Look at Iraq: until the US stepped up to the plate and decided how things will go with Petraeus in command, every weak minded idiot in Iraq went to the insurgency to fight for independence or whatever.

    If you don’t gain control of the tools, the insurgency (meaning your enemies the Left) will gain control of those tools. It is as simple as that. When you don’t control the land and the people on it, somebody else will come in and grab it.

    Most Americans think that this American Golden Age about cooperating, sharing, social nets, and truth/justice is the natural order of things. No, the natural order of things is the law of the jungle: something the Democrats practice all the time.

  • Ymarsakar

    Read this


    To see what Ayers has been up to and why Obama is so afraid of being linked to him, directly or even indirectly.

  • suek
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