Yesterday, the blogosphere was abuzz with Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry’s story about Barack Obama’s assurance to him that the Democrats wouldn’t have to follow Bill Clinton’s 1994 model and pull to the center. Why not? Because, said Obama, “the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.” I was not at all surprised to read that Obama said that. As I’ve written consistently from the beginning, Obama is not a mere narcissist, he’s a malignant narcissist.
Unlike Bill Clinton, who wanted desperately to be loved, and would do anything to maintain that love, including abandoning his more extreme political beliefs, Obama has found his great love already: himself. Those around him, unless they genuflect to him, are knaves, fools, parasites and enemies. It is almost impossible for him to accommodate himself to them, because he so deeply disrespects them. There’s room in Obama’s life for only one successful person, and that is Obama. Anyone else’s success is a threat and must immediately be countered and destroyed.
What did surprise me, though, was the fact that the image every single conservative site used to illustrate the Marion Berry story came, not from a clever photoshopper (as I had first supposed), but from the White House’s own flickr site. Here’s the photo:
Here we have the most narcissistic president ever, and his people couldn’t resist including in their official photos the quintessential narcissist pose. Compare that photograph with this classic image from Michelangelo:
If the White House wasn’t aware of the comparisons that are routinely drawn between Obama and Narcissus, it should have been. Google “Obama Narcissus” and you get 67,900 results. Google “Obama Narcissist” and you get 143,000 1.46 million results.* The more rarefied search of “Obama malignant narcissist” still yields 37,500 results (and, I hasten to add, not all of those 37,500 results are to my own posts about the man). People are noticing that Obama’s self-regard is transcendent.
I’ve been thinking back on my posts about Obama’s malignant narcissism, and I have to give myself credit for accurately predicting the man’s behavior. In July 2008, I took on Obama’s little habit of lying, something that’s been on display most recently when he issued a bald-faced denial that he had anything to do with the White House negotiated deal giving unions a free pass on their Cadillac plans, while passing those costs on to every other working stiff. I predicted precisely that behavior when I said:
[T]he malignant narcissist has only one truth: his immediate needs. Everything else subordinates itself to those needs. The narcissist, therefore, at any given moment, will convince himself that the facts surrounding him, and the history backing him, are completely congruent with his need right now. He is his own moral compass, he is the truth, the way and the light.
Back in August 2008, when the Obamabots mounted an attack on Stanley Kurtz for having the temerity to investigate Obama’s role in the Annenberg Challenge, I pointed out that, when narcissists debate, their own needs and feelings are always ground zero in the discussion — and I added that Obama had so far shown that this was his preferred style of debate:
[Obama] 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 you notice very quickly in arguing with a narcissist is that facts are entirely irrelevant. The substantive matter at issue . . . 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. [snip] (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.)
This self-referential, egotistical quality may explain what commentators Left and Right are noticing, which is that Obama is not only self-involved, but abnormally defensive. Even when he purports to take the blame for a situation, it always circles back around to being someone else’s fault.
And then of course, we wrap back to the man’s staggering sense of his own wonderfulness, beautifully captured in a photograph that sees President Obama, failing to join in a salute to our nation and our flag and, instead, demurely stepping back to bathe in what he perceives as his inferior’s appropriate worship. [UPDATE: A commenter advised me that the photo I linked to was taken when the band was playing “Hail to the Chief.” If that is true, it makes sense that the military was saluting, but makes no sense that the civilians had their hands on their heart. Be that as it may, let me insert here another photo that makes a similar point:
No matter how you slice it, Obama seems loath to go through the ordinary motions.]
I hate to say I told you so, but I guess I can say it here, because we’ve all been telling each other the same thing: Obama’s self-regard is far in excess of his actual abilities. He loves himself with an unending passion — one that, if flickr is any indication, his acolytes reflect back to him — and this passion will prevent him from ever making the series course corrections necessary to save his presidency or help his country. Sure, he’ll make itty-bitty teeny moves, such as a meaningless spending freeze, but that’s only because he thinks that doing so will buy off the dumb masses. But in terms of big changes — uh-uh, it ain’t going to happen. He’s smart, we’re dumb; he’s right, we’re wrong; and he will force us to his viewpoint if it’s the last thing he does, because his viewpoint is the only one that matters.
As a wrap-up, here’s a short video that tells you everything you need to know about Mr. President:
*Interesting about the googling thing, which I’ve updated (thanks c0lorless.blue.ideas). I thoughtlessly used “google” as a verb. What I actually did, though, was a Bing search. A true Google search yielded many more hits, as you can see. I suspect, though, that the Bing hits were more accurate, which is something I’ve discovered about Bing in the months I’ve used it.