Is President Obama a Narcissist?

Dr. Sam Vaknin, an expert on narcissism, has asserted that President Barack Obama is a narcissist, basing his conclusion on several points of character and behavior that have become well-known and observed by the American Public.

According to Vaknin, “Obama’s early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence…The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial: the perpetrators could be dysfunctional or absent parents, teachers, other adults, or peers.”

The American Thinker expands on that idea, and indeed, builds on the foundation of President andMichelle Obama stating that Oprah Winfrey is their “global role model” as they attempt to change the world from how it is into what they want it to be. According to The American Thinker, not only is Winfrey also a narcissist, but also her spiritual mentor, Eckhart Tolle. “Barack Obama looks to OprahWinfrey as his ‘global role model’ for change. To effect this worldwide change, Oprah, in turn, relies on the ‘infallible’ teachings of her guru, Eckhart Tolle. Tolle, in turn, looks in the mirror and makes friends with the backwards image of himself, thus enabling him, and others who see themselves in the same backwards way (Obama and Oprah), to ‘change the world.’ All three mock the Judeo-Christian tradition. All three are determined to remake the world ‘as it should be.'”

That President Obama has a rather lofty opinion of himself is without question. More so than even President Bush, his sense of personal entitlement and right-by-virtue seem to outstrip any known figure not currently residing in Hollywood. As Charles Krauthammer asked in July of last year, “Has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements? Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted “present” nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself.”

But this is The United States of America, in the 21st Century, and the greatest subject to fascinate anyone is themselves, the passion and desire for a life of celebrity, and to a lesser extent, the latest scoop on the ascent and collapse of celebrities. We build celebrities from pure obscurity, place them on a pedestal, worship them, then in true dionysian fashion, eventually, tear them to pieces. We have television shows based on the concept. The entire “pop culture” mystique revolves around it.

So it would seem natural that America would succeed in placing in the most demanding and powerful office in the entire world someone who captures the public imagination–not someone who was a war-hero, or a hero in government, or even a Hollywood Icon like Ronald Regan, but a complete unknown. As if the script for our selection of President of the United States of America was based on the same rules as American Idol, too much experience disqualifies, and rank amateur gets you in the door. Racial politics aside, which is an entirely different subject all together, as the racial cronyism that propelled President Obama into office, coupled with well orchestrated and strategized proxy-race cards, and abbracadabra, here’s the keys to the nation Mr. President.

Says Vaknin, “Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the “old ways”: against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.” Another insight by Vaknin, “In the narcissist’s surrealistic world, even language is pathologized. It mutates into a weapon of self-defence, a verbal fortification, a medium without a message, replacing words with duplicitous and ambiguous vocables. Narcissists (and, often, by contagion, their unfortunate victims) don’t talk, or communicate. They fend off. They hide and evade and avoid and disguise. In their planet of capricious and arbitrary unpredictability, of shifting semiotic and semantic dunes – they perfect the ability to say nothing in lengthy, Castro-like speeches.”

Indeed, the great orator President Obama’s greatest speeches seem to be the ones that hover around saying the least about nothing. The “Audacity of Hope”. “Change We Can Believe In”.

What change? What is changing? Is anything changing other than the guy sitting in the Oval Office, and the rats scurrying amongst the hallowed halls of The White House?

What was the Hope? The hope that Obama would be elected? To what end?

It’s too late to ask these questions, because the deed has been done, and the results we must now all live with, but these would have been good questions to have asked sometime before Election Day in 2008. We as a nation had the audacity to hope for nothing in particular. Of course the answers would not have meant much to all those who superficially chose their president based on the color of his skin, or on the grandiosity of his hollow speeches, because the result would have been the same.

The emptiness of President Obama’s accomplishments prior to arriving in the White House are also a hallmark of the narcissistic personality. Says Vaknin, “The narcissist’s biography sounds unusually rich and complex. His achievements – incommensurate with his age, education, or renown. Yet, his actual condition is evidently and demonstrably incompatible with his claims. Very often, the narcissist lies or his fantasies are easily discernible…The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions.”

And regarding recent attempts by the Obama Administration to strike back on outspoken dissenting members of the media, according to Viknan, this is also a modus operandi of the narcissist, “The narcissist perceives every disagreement – let alone criticism – coming from people whom he does not consider to be his “peers” (e.g., the media) as nothing short of a threat. He reacts defensively. He becomes indignant, aggressive and cold…He devalues the person who made the disparaging remark. By holding the critic in contempt, by diminishing the stature of the discordant conversant – the narcissist minimises the impact of the disagreement or criticism on himself. This is a defence mechanism known as cognitive dissonance.”

Many leaders of our country have had narcissistic traits, in fact, many would say that a feature of personality that would compel someone into a life of public service would be parts of the narcissistic personality make-up, but the danger comes when we find that we have an empty suit in the drivers seat, that the great man the American Public assumed they were electing into office proves to be wholly inadequate and incapable of bringing about a solution to the growing world crisis. The specter of the “Age of Obama”, as Gwen Ifill has termed our time period, may be a false-shadow that leads to catastrophe.

Sources:

The Washington Post, The Audacity of Vanity, Charles Krauthammer
The American Thinker, Obama, Oprah, and the Guru: Malignant Narcissism, by Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr.
Barack Obama – Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?, Dr. Sam Vaknin
Do You Recognize Barack Obama in These Texts?, Dr. Sam Vaknin

 

(*Originally published March 12, 2009 on the Yahoo Contributor Network)

It’s Official: Privatized Gains, Socialized Losses

Latest Plan to Resuscitate Economy Making for Strange Bedfellows

 

The Obama Administration has announced a plan to join forces with private equity firms and hedge funds to forge a public/private partnership to tackle the challenge of reversing the Housing and Credit Crisis. This is coming after weeks of assailing the rich with income and capital gains taxes, calling for a “redistribution of wealth,” and pushing for “cram down” on home mortgages.

Can they even be serious with this plan?

As Paul Krugman has stated in the New York Times, “Here’s how the pattern works: first, administration officials, usually speaking off the record, float a plan for rescuing the banks in the press. This trial balloon is quickly shot down by informed commentators. Then, a few weeks later, the administration floats a new plan. This plan is, however, just a thinly disguised version of the previous plan, a fact quickly realized by all concerned. And the cycle starts again. Why do officials keep offering plans that nobody else finds credible?”

Could it be that they don’t have any other ideas?

This most recent trial balloon is for a 9:1 leveraging with private capital to purchase recently issued highly rated securities to fund consumer lending, allowing the private capital to make the profits off of such a deal, with minimal risk of loss. This program, named Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF, will be rolled out in two separate $1 Trillion moves, one of which may come within the next two weeks as Treasury Secretary Geithner stated in congressional testimony on Wednesday.

Here is an outline of how TALF would work, according to The Washington Post, “A hedge fund uses $1 million of its own money and gets a $9 million loan from the Fed, payable after three years, to buy a $10 million asset-backed security, which finances consumer loans. Hoping that the market for these assets recovers, the hedge fund would hold the asset for three years. If the security rises in value to $11 million, the investor would keep the profit, essentially doubling the initial investment. The government, meanwhile, would consider the deal a success because consumer lending was spurred. If the value fell below $9 million, the hedge fund would lose its down payment but nothing more. The Treasury, using bailout funds approved by Congress, would cover the next set of losses, with the Fed ultimately on the hook for anything more.”

Meanwhile, the stock market continues to struggle, as it has become more and more obvious that President Obama intends to do just what he promised in redefining the way that The Government works in the life of the individual and the forces of economy, including a rapid shrinking of Defense budgets, higher taxes, increased entitlements, decreased itemized tax deductions for charitable contribution, while also ignoring the effects that such moves may actually have on future growth of the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped more than 20% since Inauguration Day, the biggest drop in at least 90 years and according to Bloomberg, “Only twice has the benchmark gauge slipped in the 12 months after the election of a Democratic president since 1900, after Woodrow Wilson’s victory in 1912 and Jimmy Carter’s in 1976.”

Even more subtle, but of great concern, is that the amount of American’s who pay no net taxes on income will rise from 38% to 50%, meaning that a voting majority of the population may have no staked interest in the continued expansion of Federal Government.

And not only is Secretary Geithner facing one of the worst economic crisis of all time, but he is doing so without a fully staffed Treasury Department. The staffing problem is so dire that Treasury did not even have anyone available to testify in front of congress regarding the recent AIG bailout. Neel Kashkari, a Bush holdover who took a significant amount of heat in December regarding the management of TARP in congressional testimony, is still in charge of TARP, but cannot relate policy initiatives to affected parties or negotiate with banks because he is on his way out and is not privy to future plans.

When it comes to finger pointing as to who to blame for the financial crisis, the Essential Information and Consumer Education Foundation may have identified the true players, according to a 231-page report, the financial sector invested more than $5 billion in political influence purchasing in Washington over the past decade, with as many as 3,000 lobbyists winning deregulation and other policy decisions that led directly to the current situation.

Sources:

The Washington Post, U.S. to Invite The Wealthy To Invest in The Bailout, by David Cho
The New York Times, 
The Big Dither, by Paul Krugman
The 
Wall Street Journal, Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Dow, by Michael J. Boskin
Bloomberg.com, 
‘Obama Bear Market’ Punishes Investors as Dow Slumps, by Eric Martin
The Washington Post, 
Understaffed Geithner can’t keep up, critics say, by Daniel Wagner
Essential Information and Consumer Education Foundation, 
Sold Out How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America, March 4, 2009

 

(* This article was originally published March 12, 2009 on the Yahoo Contributor Network)