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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Narcissist in Chief?

As Charles Krauthammer has pointed out, Obama "has never been overly modest about his own powers." Obama certainly has an inflated sense of his own importance. After all, he declared that history will mark his ascent to the presidency as the moment when "our planet [began] to heal."

I was reminded of Obama's exaggeration of his own self when my freshman literature class began to analyze Willa Cather's well-known story entitled "Paul's Case." Our analyses led us to discover a piece in Studies in Short Fiction entitled "Paul's Case: A Narcissistic Personality Disorder, 301.81-Critical Essay," by Rob Saari. In this article, Saari makes the case that the protagonist of Cather's story reflects many of the "essential features of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder." Some of these include the following: 
  • Pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy
  • Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  • Believes that he is "special" and unique and can be understood only by other special or high-status people
  • Has a sense of entitlements
  • Is interpersonally exploitative -- i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  • Lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  • Shows arrogant, haughty behavior.
As I read the above in preparation for our class discussion, I had this disturbingly eerie feeling that I was actually reading about Barack Obama, and not a mere fictional character of Cather's. Obama's lack of empathy has been quite apparent in the Arizona immigration situation, in the current appeals for more immediate action in the Gulf, in his hasty appraisal of the "stupid" cops involved in the Gates affair, and in his ongoing indifference to the genuine needs of the besieged state of Israel.

Furthermore, even when the American people consistently indicate their displeasure with the health care reform law, Obama simply shows his arrogance and takes no notice of the people's desires. Instead of accepting the free flow of information from the people he is supposed to serve, he resorts to adding "teabagger" to his public lexicon. His contempt for America is staggering. His haughtiness towards the American electorate and his puffery with dictators in a bid for their admiration is breathtaking.

Obama accepts the notion that he is the messiah -- that he and he alone can fix this country and, for that matter, the world. If ever there was an exaggerated achievement without commensurate accomplishment, the Nobel Peace Prize given to Obama would be it. He expects to be recognized as superior even when he has achieved nothing positive to show it. He ignores the evidence about global warming and man's alleged interference because this simply does not comply with his demands -- details be damned.  (Continue reading here)

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