Do we have a misanthrope as president? According to a former aide to Barack Obama, Neera Tanden, the answer may be yes. Her comments were made when discussing the relationship between Obama and Bill Clinton and were reported by New York magazine, which wrote:
“People say the reason Obama wouldn’t call Clinton is because he doesn’t like him,” observes Tanden. “The truth is, Obama doesn’t call anyone, and he’s not close to almost anyone. It’s stunning that he’s in politics, because he really doesn’t like people. My analogy is that it’s like becoming Bill Gates without liking computers.”
I must correct Tanden: It would be stunning that Obama is in politics if liking people — which is, it is rumored, associated with wanting to help them — were the only reason, or even the main one, for entering politics.
Obama Image vs. Obama Reality
Obama may not like others, but that dislike isn’t generally returned. As polls have shown, the president’s “likeability” rating has been relatively high. Yet I heard years ago already through the grapevine — via journalist contacts who knew someone who had contact with Obama — that, far from likeable, he was arrogant to the point of being dismissive. So what is the reality?
Many people have tried to explain Obama’s behavior during the first presidential debate. Was he disinterested, distracted, or unprepared? Perhaps all or none of the above, but I perceived something else.
Obama didn’t seem happy that he had to deign to debate Mitt Romney. Who is Romney, after all? What does it matter that he’s roughly half of America’s choice for president?
This is reminiscent of the time a few years back when the president didn’t want to meet with a rural congressman and remarked (I’m paraphrasing), “This is the kind of thing I have to put up with.” It also brings to mind a story Thomas Sowell related about Obama’s time in academia:
As Professor Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago Law School has pointed out, Obama made no effort to take part in the marketplace of ideas with other faculty members when he was teaching a law course there.
What would be the point, if he already knew the truth and knew that they were wrong?
True, but we should add: What was the point when those people were clearly beneath him and not even worth his time?
If some think my assessment is a stretch, consider that if you’re “not close to almost anyone,” there’s a reason.
If your daughter were dating a man with a troubled past, you might ask her to at least consider how his baggage may impact her future. So now let’s consider the troubled past of the man who wants to lead our nation into the future. As Dr. Sam Vaknin wrote in his essay, “Barack Obama: Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?”:
Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then, his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia: a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979.
In light of the above, the probability is high that young Obama didn’t receive the love necessary for proper development. And if this is the case, is it possible that Obama compensated for that lack of love with narcissism, inordinate and destructive self-love? Consider that, as Dr. Vaknin writes, a narcissist:
[Is] firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions).
Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law,” and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy.
Given this probable lack of love and how Obama was shuffled around from one caretaker to another, it also is likely that he didn’t experience proper attachment in childhood. And here are a few common effects of this problem, as related by Dr. Darvin Smith. Such an individual may:
• Appear “to have confused thought processes”
• Exhibit “poor control; depends on others to provide external control of behavior [Teleprompter?]”
• “May not show guilt when breaking rules or laws [rule by executive decree?]”
• “Project blame on others”
• Experience “problems with logical thinking”
• Seek to keep people at a distance because he does “not trust others.”
Now, we have someone who “doesn’t call anyone,” is “not close to almost anyone,” and “really doesn’t like people” — which is Obama — according to former aide Neera Tanden. On the other hand we have someone “who seeks to keep people at a distance because he does ‘not trust others,’” which is a person who suffered faulty childhood attachment. And we also have someone who will only “associate with ... other special or unique … people,” which is a narcissist. Is there any connection here?
But if young Obama received little love, its opposite was a quite different matter. Remember that Obama was marinated in grievance from the time he was a tot. His mother was a radical leftist atheist; and his mentor was Frank Marshall Davis, who actually belonged to the Communist Party USA (membership number 47544). Obama was instilled with hatred for the British and other “colonizers”; with hatred for whites, whose culture he said was “alien”; with hatred for free markets, which, in his former pastor Rev. Wright’s words, are infused with “white man’s greed”; and with hatred of suburbs, which, he was taught, suck prosperity from the inner cities. And he also doesn’t seem to think too highly of rural folks, who he said “cling to … antipathy to those who aren’t like them….”
Did I miss anything? Perhaps. What I know for sure, however, is that it’s a mistake to frame information with little children in a way that causes them to hate a given group; what you do is teach them morality, and then tell them who the (supposed) villains are when they’re older so that no irrational hatred is ingrained. But this clearly wasn’t the understanding of child-rearing animating the leftist radicals who molded the young Obama.
The Résumé and the Reality
Some will say my judgments are rash, that there are too many missing pieces of this puzzle to draw any definitive conclusions. But politicians specialize in missing pieces, as they show us only what they want us to see. So it’s as when judging any job candidate: You can’t read his mind, but what does a preponderance of the evidence tell you? Would you hire a person carrying Obama’s baggage as your babysitter? How about as your doctor? Would you buy a used car from such a person?
What about placing such a man at the helm of our nation?
Barack Obama really doesn’t seem to like people. And that’s a problem because those are precisely the creatures he must govern.