Political commentators on the Left noted a significant change in how President Obama is making his case for more gun control. The change has been perceptible to Brett Logiurato at Business Insider, Sam Stein at Huffington Post, and Adam Chandler at the Atlantic.
Just hours after the horrific massacre in Charleston, President Obama expressed his sorrow:
To say that our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and their community doesn’t say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel.
He said that the FBI was considering the massacre a “hate crime” and then turned the blame away from the alleged killer and toward the weapon he used:
We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that once again innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun….
It’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.
Logiurato noted the change immediately, that the president took the opportunity, even before any of the victims' funerals were held, to blame guns and Americans’ continuing favorable attitude toward them for the massacre. Obama said the same thing while addressing the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Friday:
We need a change in attitudes among everybody — lawful gun owners, those who are unfamiliar with guns. We have to have a conversation about it and fix this….
No reforms can guarantee the elimination of violence. But [if his proposed reforms had been passed] we might still have some more Americans with us. We might have stopped one shooter. Some families might still be whole. You all might have to attend fewer funerals.
Sam Stein at the Huffington Post noted about Obama's Thursday speech in Charleston, “Obama now seems emotionally worn down and at times overtly angry” while “bemoaning how the political system has completely failed to respond to gun violence.”
But it was Adam Chandler, a writer for the Atlantic magazine, who noticed the sharpest contrast from previous comments from the president:
In displaying anger, President Obama deviated from a precedent set in over six years of delivering speeches about mass shootings and gun violence. This time, there was the same rhetorical display of uncertainties, but with an entirely different conclusion: “Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.”
The fact that none of the gun restrictions Obama wants to impose on America would have prevented the massacre doesn’t matter. Background checks on private transactions, bans on assault rifles, limits on magazine size — none of these would have kept Dylann Roof from committing murder. He received the gun he allegedly used in the assault as a gift from his father, an exception granted under the laws of South Carolina.
After reviewing all of the president’s anti-gun proposals, Matt Vespa noted in an article at Townhall.com that “nothing that the president had proposed in his renewed gun control push after the Newtown shooting in December 2012 would have stopped 21-year-old Dylann Roof from unleashing this horrific torrent of violence,” adding
Had the Democratic laundry list of 2013 been implemented in its entirety, what happened this morning would have gone down in exactly the same way.
Is this shift that is obvious even to supporters of the president and his policies evidence about something concerning? Patrick Caddell, a Democrat political operative who worked for Democratic presidential candidates George McGovern in 1972, Jimmy Carter in 1976, Gary Hart in 1984, Joe Biden in 1988, and Jerry Brown in 1992, raised eyebrows late last year when speaking about the president in an interview with Sean Hannity:
Caddell: I just want to say … this man is a raving narcissist. He has absolutely…
Hannity: This is your president, Pat! You’re saying he’s a raging narcissist?
Caddell: He’s a raging narcissist who has no grip on reality. What he’s been doing … is that I’m king and I can rule like a king.
Writing in the second person, the Mayo Clinic summed up its definition of “narcissistic personality disorder”:
If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior.
You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) lists its own criteria for the disorder including:
Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance;
Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it;
Exaggerating your achievements and talents;
Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people;
Requiring constant admiration;
Having a sense of entitlement;
Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations;
Taking advantage of others to get what you want; and
Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner.
Is it possible that the president’s detachment from the real world (i.e., that more gun controls wouldn’t haven’t prevented the Charleston massacre) or his frustration with Congress for not passing his anti-gun agenda shows more than just disappointment?
Is this a rarely seen side of the president that presages an even more aggressive attack on the Second Amendment? Quite possibly
A graduate of an Ivy League school and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at www.LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics.