DNC 2012: Our neurotic and narcissistic president speaks

Barack Obama's ills explain his inability to lead. Photo: Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY, September 7, 2012—President Obama is unfit for office according to all sorts of practical criteria.

As Hugh Hewitt puts it in his column, “America does not need four more years of an in-over-his-head whiner; a petulant egomaniac who does not seem to understand the most basic of economic principles and who is a lousy negotiator to boot.”

Our commander in chief has demonstrated time and again that he cannot work with opposition, that he is unable to see issues from others’ point of view, and he has failed to think outside of the tiny and highly constrained liberal box vis a vis the big problems of our nation.

Atop all of that, he displays classic neurotic and narcissistic tendencies.

According to academics, neurotics approach conflict in unhealthy ways: “they rely on direct and indirect fighting,” they” perceive their social situation negatively” causing them to distrust others, and when confronted, they “act defensive, use guilt-inducements, and leave the scene in a ‘hit and run’ manner.”

While a neurotic president is dangerous enough, Barack Obama is also a quintessential narcissist. The literature states that narcissists tend to display several characteristics, all of which the president has nailed.

For one, narcissists believe that they are unique. It was the entire rationale for Obama’s presidential candidacy. He believed, and probably continues to believe, that he alone could heal America, bring the parties together, take the middle ground on all issues, and even slow the rise of the oceans.

Narcissists believe they are superior to other people, and they have dreams about gaining power and prestige. According to ABC News, when the Republicans took control of the House in 2010, Obama didn’t even have incoming speaker John Boehner’s phone number. That the president couldn’t see it coming, and didn’t bother to concern himself with how to get in touch with the leader of his opposition says it all.

Narcissists need attention and admiration. From the Greek columns at Invesco Field and the cult of personality that sprung up around Barack Obama four years ago to his continued wooing of Hollywood elites, the president often seems to put the need for grandstanding ahead of the thankless work of governing.

They are inclined to show off.

Narcissistic people have a knack for appearing charming. Obama’s charm cannot be denied. Interestingly, academic literature notes that “the first impression of the narcissist evaporates once people learn more about this charming individual.” Americans are coming to learn more about Obama and are not impressed with his charm. Polling shows a very steady decline in his popularity.

In their interpersonal behaviors, narcissists manipulate and exploit. The president’s despicable use of Paul Ryan as a punching bag in 2011, when he invited the congressman to attend a speech about entitlements is the best example. Ryan had just issued a bold and risky plan for Medicare, and the president took advantage of his bully pulpit to bully the Budget Committee Chairman. His attack on a Supreme Court decision in his 2010 State of the Union is another example.

Narcissists are unable to empathize. Despite all his talk from the political center—especially his outrageously deceptive bestseller, The Audacity of Hope—the president has been unable during his term in office to ascribe good motives to those who disagree with him. Describing Republicans’ views, he accused them of wanting dirtier air and water and fewer people with health insurance. Not understanding that half of the country can disagree with him and still be decent people escapes him.

A narcissist displays envy. If “you didn’t build that” doesn’t betray a sense of envy over what others have done, it is at least exploitative of that envy in his base. But nearly all of Obama’s domestic policy proposals are built on envy, couched in terms of fairness.

The president, like other narcissists, is arrogant, defensive, and aggressive.

Interestingly, Canary writes, “narcissistic people are quite charming when initiating social involvements. However, narcissists face problems in sustaining positive relationships.”

If that doesn’t describe Barack Obama’s relationship with the American electorate, then nothing does.

Everyone has neurosis and narcissism to a degree. It is likely a major problem when the most powerful man in the world suffers from both in excess. 

You can learn more about the author at Rich-Stowell.com and on Facebook.

Rich Stowell on Google+

Rich is a teacher and a soldier. In addition to writing the “Rich Like Me” political column at the Washington Times Communities, he is the author of Nine Weeks: A Teacher’s Education in Army Basic TrainingTunnel Club; and Not Another Boring Textbook: A High School Students’ Guide to their Inner Conservative. 

He writes about Salt Lake City and the World in the Food and Travel section.


Read more: Obama’s re-election appeal: Give me another chance | Washington Times Communities 
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Rich Stowell

Rich Stowell has written about politics and travel for the Washington Times Communities since 2011. He is a soldier in the Utah National Guard and a fellow at the Center for Communication and Community at the University of Utah. Rich is the author of "Nine Weeks: A Teacher's Education in Army Basic Training"and continues to blog about military issues at “My Public Affairs.”

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