America used to be famous for its men and women of action. Now? Now we’re governed (ruled?) by a group of narcissists who think that selfies and hashtags equal action:
In the 21st century, we have regressed to the Freudian phallic stage of development, reaching in, back in short pants with our hands all the way down them, which gives one a rather limited impression of the elephant in the room.
The “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign, directed at the fanatical Islamist slavers in Nigeria, has inspired selfies from U.S. senators and the wife of the president of these United States, while State Department spokesman Jen Psaki, the Pippi Longstocking of the diplomatic world, took to Twitter to photograph herself with a “United for Ukraine” placard. To confront the heinous crimes of Boko Haram, a U.S. senator has many options — for example, introducing an authorization to use military force against said terrorist franchise. The U.S. State Department has many tools at its disposal for confronting the expansionist tendencies of Vladimir Putin.
The selfie is not among those tools.
But it seems to be the tool of choice with this bunch. Well, that and deploying hashtags. How utterly useless and embarrassing is it to see our supposed leaders resorting to this sort of self-centered “action”?
Very. Oh, it’s an action – it’s all about the PR for them. It feeds their need to feel superior and show they “care”. Actually do something to address the situation in question? Yeah, that’s hard.
But that’s what we get for “leadership” from this crew:
Imagine, if you can, the abjectly juvenile state of mind necessary to contemplate the hundreds of Nigerian girls taken into slavery by a fanatical Muslim anti-education militia — whose characteristic activity beyond slave-taking is setting fire to children — and, in the face of all that horror, concluding: “You know what this situation really calls for? A cutesy picture of . . . me!” Bad enough when your cousin Caitlin at Bryn Mawr does that — but senators? State Department officials? These are men and (disproportionately, I think) women of power and influence, who have the ability to engage with the world and change it. But they are enchanted by the unique witchcraft of the age of social media, the totemic power of the digital expression of the self. It is not accidental that the only good selfie in the history of world leaders came well before the invention of Twitter from a man with an ego sufficiently robust not to require the constant reinforcement that is the psychic lifeblood of Millennials (and Washingtonians well old enough to know better), without which they find themselves paralyzed.
Can a leadership group take the reins from this group and do worse? Oh you bet. But with the bar set as low as the Obama administration has set it, it would take a real concerted effort to do worse. Of course, there’s Hillary. However the one positive thing the Obama administration has done in its seemingly endless tenure is rescue Jimmy Carter. He is now only the 2nd worst president ever. At least his administration was mostly peopled by adults.
I’m sometimes amazed at the depth of the narcissism this President suffers under, but this particular example has to take the cake:
The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper tweeted that Obama had casually dropped his own name into Ronald Reagan’s official biography on www.whitehouse.gov, claiming credit for taking up the mantle of Reagan’s tax reform advocacy with his “Buffett Rule” gimmick. My first thought was, he must be joking. But he wasn’t—it turns out Obama has added bullet points bragging about his own accomplishments to the biographical sketches of every single U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge (except, for some reason, Gerald Ford).
Even the biographies of other Presidents aren’t sacrosanct to this guy if there’s a glimmer of political gain to be collected by inserting himself. Examples:
- On Feb. 22, 1924 Calvin Coolidge became the first president to make a public radio address to the American people. President Coolidge later helped create the Federal Radio Commission, which has now evolved to become the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). President Obama became the first president to hold virtual gatherings and town halls using Twitter, Facebook, Google+,LinkedIn, etc.
- In a 1946 letter to the National Urban League, President Truman wrote that the government has “an obligation to see that the civil rights of every citizen are fully and equally protected.” He ended racial segregation in civil service and the armed forces in 1948. Today the Obama administration continues to strive toward upholding the civil rights of its citizens, repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, allowing people of all sexual orientations to serve openly in our armed forces.
- President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare signed (sic) into law in 1965—providing millions of elderly healthcare stability. President Obama’s historic health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, strengthens Medicare, offers eligible seniors a range of preventive services with no cost-sharing, and provides discounts on drugs when in the coverage gap known as the “donut hole.”
- On August 14, 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. Today the Obama administration continues to protect seniors and ensure Social Security will be there for future generations.
- In a June 28, 1985 speech Reagan called for a fairer tax code, one where a multi-millionaire did not have a lower tax rate than his secretary. Today, President Obama is calling for the same with the Buffett Rule.
I’ve been hesitant to buy into the label "narcissistic personality disorder" that many attribute to this guy, but it is getting harder and harder to resist.
I’m not a psychologist or a psychiatrist, but I can read and analyze. When I look at the symptoms, a lot of things jump out at me that ring true.
The symptoms of Narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence; differentiation occurs when the underlying psychological structures of these traits are considered pathological. Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others. Yet, they have a fragile self-esteem and cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. It is this sadistic tendency that is characteristic of narcissism as opposed to other psychological conditions affecting level of self-worth. 
In children, inflated self-views and grandiose feelings, which are characteristics of narcissism, are part of the normal self-development. Children are typically unable to understand the difference between their actual from ideal self, which causes an unrealistic perception of the self. After about age 8, views of the self, both positive and negative, begin to develop based on comparisons of peers & become more realistic. Two factors that cause self-view to remain unrealistic are dysfunctional interactions with parents that can be a lack or excessive attention. The child will either compensate for lack of attention or act in terms of unrealistic self-perception.
The CNS, Childhood Narcissism Scale, measurements concluded that narcissistic children seek to impress others & gain admiration but do not have any interest in creating sincere friendships. CNS researchers have measured that childhood narcissism has become more prevalent in Western society: any types of activities that focus on overly praising the individual, can raise narcissistic levels. More research is needed to find the reasons that promote or protect against narcissism.
Yes, that’s a Wikipedia definition, but it conforms with most others you’ll find on the net. Examination of the symptoms should give pause. I’m not saying he might be the only politician with this problem or that he’d even be diagnosed with NPD. I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV (although I have stayed in a Holiday Inn Express before). However, there are so many examples of similar behavior in his past that it is hard to ignore what is right in front of your eyes. And while he may not personally do everything (this probably being an example) he has a staff which knows their President and does what he would approve. That’s why they’re where they are. They play into the personality and feed it.
This is the “me and I” President. There is rarely a time he isn’t trying to praise himself, even if no one else will. Make of all of this what you want, I’m just sayin’ …
Marty Peretz, editor-in-chief of The New Republic, has some interesting things to say about the Obama Olympic trip. He too seems to have come to the conclusion many of us have about our new Commander in Chief:
What I suspect is that the president is probably a clinical narcissist. This is not necessarily a bad condition if one maintains for oneself what the psychiatrists call an “optimal margin of illusion,” that is, the margin of hope that allows you to work. But what if his narcissism blinds him to the issues and problems in the world and the inveterate foes of the nation that are not susceptible to his charms?
Chicago will survive its disappointments and Obama will, as well. It is the other stage sets on which the president struts–like he strutted in Cairo and at the United Nations–that concern me.
To the point:
If Obama could not get Chicago over the finish line in Copenhagen, which was a test only of his charms, how will he persuade Tehran to give up its nuclear weapons capacity or the Arabs, to whom he has tilted (we are told) only tactically, to sit down without their 60 year-old map as guide to what they demand from Israel.
Good question. To this point, “persuasion” seems to be the sum of our foreign policy strategy. What’s our alternate strategy if that doesn’t work? Or is our “clinical narcissist” beyond the “optimal margin of illusion” besides seeming to be in way over his head?