AT’s latest great insight into Obama

Over at American Amateur Psychoanalyst (a.k.a. American Thinker) we have the latest in that website’s series of amateur psychological exercises purporting to “explain” Barack Obama. According to M. Catharine Evans, the reason for Obama’s disastrous course of conduct as president is that he suffers from the “Adult Child of an Alcoholic” (ACoA) syndrome. Thus, when he recently told an interviewer that his Agriculture Secretary’s precipitate firing of Shirley Sherrod was due to our “media culture where something goes up on Youtube or a blog and everybody scrambles,” he was, according to Evans, demonstrating the refusal to take responsibility which is typical of ACoAs.

Evans continues:

A typical response for an ACoA is to blame others…. His inability to admit his character defects except when the din becomes so loud that he needs to shut people up is classic. He waited six weeks after the Deepwater Horizon oil explosion to answer critics’ charges that he wasn’t doing anything. Obama stated, “I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this thing down.”

His words drip with the narcissism of adult children of alcoholics. Having been abandoned by both parents, Obama sees himself as alone in the world. He doesn’t have to consult the experts; in his grandiose way of thinking, he’s the expert on everything.

Evans gives more examples of Obama’s self-image as “the expert on everything,” and of his narcissistic blaming of others for his own mistakes, and she attributes all such attitudes and behaviors to Obama’s ACoA syndrome. It doesn’t seem to occur to this deep American thinker that our culture is filled with narcissists who think they are the expert on everything and who don’t take responsibility for their actions. Are all such individuals adult children of alcoholics? For that matter, does Evans take into account the simple fact that Obama never knew his father, except for one month he spent with him at age ten, after which he never had any contact with him and his alcoholic behavior again? Nope. (Ironically, she references that father-son history, but fails to see that it undermines her own theory.) Furthermore, Obama’s main mental picture of his father came from his mother, who idealized Obama Sr. and built up an image in young Barry’s mind of his father as a noble progressive crusader.

Finally, what useful political understandings and actions can arise from analysis such as Evans’? “Adult children of alcoholics are bad for society—keep them out of the White House”? Evans seems to have forgotten that the most effective and successful American president in the second half of the twentieth century was Ronald Reagan, whose father had been an alcoholic. Moreover, Ronald as a boy, unlike Barry as a boy, had to deal extensively with his father’s alcoholism.

The only true lesson provided by Evan’s article is this: If you want to get published at American Thinker, all you have to do is come up with some embarrassingly half-baked theory of Obama, and you’ve got it made. I’m not saying that all of AT’s articles are silly partisan trash. But such articles overwhelmingly set the tone of that site, and are typical of the ever-declining intellectual quality of the mainstream conservative Web.

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N. writes:

I have a theory for the never ending, and ever more fabled, explanations for Obama’s behavior: they don’t want to face facts. People don’t want to consider the fact that Obama is in opposition to the traditional culture and government of the United States.

Let’s face it, for most people, the notion of an anti-American President is a very uncomfortable idea. Thus the unending articles about how he’s foolish, or insulated, or suffering from some mental problem from the past.

But Occam’s Razor counsels using the simplest explanation that explains a phenomena or situation, and the simplest explanation of Obama is this: he was raised to be anti-American by a series of radicals of various sorts including avowed Communists. He is carrying out a radical, centralizing “revolution from above” that while nonviolent, surely is something that Lenin would recognize and doubtless approve of (while grumbling that “progress is too slow,” no doubt).

It’s the simple explanation: Obama knows what he’s doing, and he’s doing it with purpose. This explanation obviously is too scary for many people to contemplate.

LA replies:

I agree with everything you say about Obama’s real beliefs and agenda and about why many conservatives don’t want to see it. But I disagree with your underlying rationale. The simplest explanation is not necessarily the best; the best explanation is the best. Sometimes the simplest explanation will be the best; sometimes not. If you follow the reductionist approach, you end up pursuing the simplest explanation for its own sake, rather than pursuing the best and truest explanation. Conciseness is always welcome; but conciseness is not the same thing as reductionism. Any phenomenon consists of more than one component, more than one cause.

July 31

Ken Hechtman writes:

I have a better explanation of the Shirley Sherrod affair. I don’t know if it’s the best one.

Moderate left parties (the hard left generally doesn’t have this problem) do not protect their own people in the face of public scandal, real or imagined. All their training and instinct says “Throw them under the bus! Make it a one-day story!.” I’ve seen this in the NDP more times than I care to count.

Dana Larsen was a marijuana legalization activist whom the NDP leader personally recruited into the party in 2003. In 2008 he got the nomination to run for federal parliament. During the campaign, there was a news story about a Youtube video in which Larsen smokes marijuana. Bam! Forced to drop out of the race that day! Now, is it them or is it me? He’s a MARIJUANA ACTIVIST, what did they THINK he did? This is like Claude Rains being shocked there’s gambling going on in Humphrey Bogart’s bar.

Another candidate the NDP unceremoniously dropped in that election was Julian Peters. His “scandal” was that ten years earlier, he’d gone skinny-dipping on a Vancouver Island hippie nude beach in the presence of a couple of teenage girls. This is the West Coast, ferchrissakes! It’s like your California. Skinny-dipping isn’t illegal there, it’s almost mandatory. But the party press flacks figured some of the blue-haired bluenosed swing voters out in the Prairies might not like it so they forced him to drop out that day too. Our Prairie Provinces are like your Kansas and Nebraska, they don’t even take nude showers out there.

Conservatives don’t do this. They close ranks and they protect their own. They NEVER validate the press’s charges, not in the sense of admitting the accusations are true and not in the sense of admitting that if true, they disqualify people from public office. And this is what these West Wing wannabes on the left don’t see: The sum total effect of several years of these “one-day stories” is that people believe the dirt is true and the dirt matters. AND that you won’t stand up for your own people.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 29, 2010 08:29 PM | Send

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