Obama’s self-love

A strange article in the New York Times about Obama’s competitiveness, his desire to excel in sports and games and various trivial pursuits, his relentless grading of himself and others, and his conviction that he is always the smartest person in the room.

Which raises a question: Who are three most self-esteeming, it’s-all-about-me-and-my wonderfulness figures in American politics? I would say they are Obama, his wife, and Condoleezza Rice. Is it a coincidence that these three are black? Sounds like pretty good support for the blogger Whiskey’s theory of black culture.

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Paul K. writes:

The article you linked reveals the president as grandiose, egocentric, and immature. A few choice nuggets:

[H]e joked at a recent New York fund-raiser with several famous basketball players in attendance, “it is very rare that I come to an event where I’m like the fifth or sixth most interesting person.”

This president, who has met world leaders and other eminent, accomplished people, finds basketball players the most interesting? But perhaps I misunderstand him—perhaps he means he’s usually the fifteenth or sixteenth most interesting person, and in the company of jocks he fares somewhat better.

His idea of birthday relaxation is competing in an Olympic-style athletic tournament with friends, keeping close score. The 2009 version ended with a bowling event. Guess who won, despite his history of embarrassingly low scores? The president, it turned out, had been practicing in the White House alley.

Pathetic. Doesn’t the president realize that his friends and employees let him win, out of concern for his childishly competitive nature? Don’t want to put the boss in a funk.

“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

Though he never ran a large organization before becoming president, he initially dismissed internal concerns about management and ended up with a factionalized White House and a fuzzier decision-making process than many top aides wanted.

“Toxic levels of self-esteem combined with manifest incompetence,” Jodi Kantor might as well be saying. Something odd is going on at the Times. Are we being warned about this unsuitable leader? Could it be that the reporters who follow him most closely find they can’t stand him? A recent article on Valerie Jarrett painted the president as weak, indecisive, and easily manipulated. Her role in the administration sounds positively weird—as though her job title were Secretary of Making the POTUS Feel Good About Himself.

LA replies:

You have explained to me why the article felt strange to me, which I didn’t get around to doing. Maybe this article (along with the other you mentioned) is the Timesians’ way of saying that they don’t think this man is suited for the presidency.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 04, 2012 10:55 PM | Send

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