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Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

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Author Topic: Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall  (Read 70 times)
Harconen
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« on: August 10, 2009, 05:31:28 pm »

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

By Pat Racimora on August 10, 2009 at 4:00 PM in Current Affairs


Is President Obama a flaming narcissist?

Or is he just another ambitious wannabe who happened to wander on to the world stage when a cluster of extraordinary factors aligned to propel him to the top, much like in the 1987 movie, The Secret of My Success? (Our hero, played by Michael J. Fox, moves from Kansas to New York City, lands a job in the basement mailroom of a distant relative’s gigantic company, and lands up in the board room within hours.)


A little over a year ago, Charles Krauthammer stated in a Washington Post article:

Americans are beginning to notice Obama’s elevated opinion of himself. There’s nothing new about narcissism in politics. Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Nonetheless, has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements?

Psychologist Shmuel Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited and a bit of a self-promoter himself, also believes that our President appears to be a narcissist.

Dr Vaknin laid out his reasons in an article also written around the time Obama received the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama-Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?:

Obama displays the following behaviors, which are among the hallmarks of pathological narcissism:

1. Subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions, views, opinions, and “ideals” (e.g., about campaign finance, re-districting). These flip-flops do not cause him overt distress and are ego-syntonic (he feels justified in acting this way). Alternatively, refuses to commit to a standpoint and, in the process, evidences a lack of empathy.

2. Ignores data that conflict with his fantasy world, or with his inflated and grandiose self-image. This has to do with magical thinking. Obama already sees himself as president because he is firmly convinced that his dreams, thoughts, and wishes affect reality. Additionally, he denies the gap between his fantasies and his modest or limited real-life achievements (for instance, in 12 years of academic career, he hasn’t published a single scholarly paper or book).

3. Feels that he is above the law, including and especially his own laws

4. Talks about himself in the 3rd person singular or uses the regal “we” and craves to be the exclusive center of attention, even adulation

5. Have a messianic-cosmic vision of himself and his life and his “mission”

6. Sets ever more complex rules in a convoluted world of grandiose fantasies with its own language (jargon)

7. Displays false modesty and unctuous “folksiness” but unable to sustain these behaviors (the persona, or mask) for long. It slips and the true Obama is revealed: haughty, aloof, distant, and disdainful of simple folk and their lives

8. Sublimates aggression and holds grudges

9. Behaves as an eternal adolescent (e.g., his choice of language, youthful image he projects, demands indulgence and feels entitled to special treatment, even though his objective accomplishments do not justify it).

Coming up to the present, Jack Kelly writing for the Toledo Blade notes, “A person who wrote two autobiographies before he was 45 is no piker when it comes to extravagant self regard.” Kelly also interviewed Dr. Vaknin, who has not changed his mind since last August.

President Obama is constantly in campaign mode which, Dr. Vaknin said, is another sign of narcissism: “The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments.”

Then there are smaller clues:

If Mr. Obama is a narcissist, it would explain otherwise odd things, such as his notion that an iPod loaded with his speeches is an appropriate gift for the Queen of England and his frequent references to himself in virtually all of those speeches.

And, what happens when narcissists become frustrated because things don’t go exactly their way?

President Obama’s signature issues are foundering even in a heavily Democratic Congress, as moderate lawmakers fret about their cost. Mr. Obama has responded by lashing out at critics rather than by seeking compromise. Narcissists overreact to criticism and can quickly fall into a rage if their plans are frustrated, Dr. Vaknin said.

So what happens if the cheering stops? “Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression,” Dr. Vaknin said.

That’s a little scary, given that our President is now feeling some heat.

I don’t know whether our President should be classified as having a narcissistic personality disorder. Only a qualified mental health professional doing a personal evaluation can make that call. The bigger insight might be to understand that all politicians are attention-seekers to some extent, and all will revel in their power.

The REAL issue is us, the American voter. When will more voters be able to set aside the glitz and hype and see candidates for who they actually are without their wide smiles and good-sounding talk, backed up by clever handlers who care more about winning than governing?


http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/2009/08/10/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall/#more-29995
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