The media flurry over Obama’s most recent position on gay marriage almost obscured a statement that could have significant implications for America’s security.
As reported by Elliott Abrams at the Weekly Standard, Obama has returned to his 1996 position of supporting gay marriage after opposing it during his senatorial and presidential campaigns. Calculated flip-flopping by a politician is not new, of course, but Abrams rightly zeroes in on a phrase in Obama’s announcement that reveals far more about his character than his change of positions on a controversial issue. As part of his reasoning for coming out, once again, in favor of gay marriage, Obama described his concern for gay “soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf…”
Fighting on his behalf? Our troops put themselves in harm’s way for Barack Obama? Presenting his “evolving” position as concern for our troops was a stretch to begin with -- a weak attempt to wrap the flag around a position that will not play well in the thirty-one states that have affirmed traditional marriage. But to say that our military fights on his behalf -- instead of on the behalf of the nation -- reawakens concerns about the deep and abiding narcissism observed from the early days of Obama’s rapid rise to power.
The narcissistic personality is defined by characteristics such as an inflated sense of one’s importance, unrealistic fantasies of power and success, the need for constant approval and acceptance, and difficulty handling criticism from others. Narcissism is different from healthy self-esteem; people who simply have strong self-esteem can realistically evaluate their shortcomings as well as their strengths. Such people are not likely to describe their impact upon the world in messianic terms, as Obama did during the 2008 campaign when he prophesied that his election would be remembered by future generations as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
Under normal circumstances, extreme narcissism creates difficulties in personal relationships and at work because of the narcissist’s intense and unrealistic demands for approval and acceptance. When the narcissist works out of the Oval Office, however, the implications become ominous.
The popular misconceptions about the role of president can be alluring enough even to those with balanced egos. Though the president is supposed to be the head of one of three co-equal branches of government, popular phrases such as “leader of the free world” and “most powerful person on the planet” create a mystique that clouds the real limitations of any office occupied by a mere human being. Combine that kind of language with the imperial trappings of what was intended to be a public servant’s job, then throw in a fawning news media (this more so in Obama's case than his predecessor's), and we have a brew that could impair the judgment of even the most centered occupant of the Oval Office. For a narcissist, however, that brew can be intoxicating to the point that the security of the nation is threatened.
A nation with $16 trillion in debt is in desperate need of a government that is firmly grounded in reality -- that more borrowing and spending will not cause our deficits to recede any more than electing Obama will change the level of the oceans. A nation with ever-growing healthcare costs needs a sober assessment of the causes and solutions, not takeover by a politician who presumptuously simplifies the practice of medicine to choosing between the “blue pill and the red pill,” and who imposes on the nation a plan that no one had read and that mainstream America did not want. And a nation with tragic levels of unemployment does not need to have its business leaders lectured by a politician who has never met a payroll. To the extent that his catastrophic policies are driven by his narcissistic exaggeration of his abilities and power, the nation is being pushed ever closer to economic Armageddon by the outsized ego of Barack Obama.
Obama’s ego cannot change the laws of economics, nature, or of Nature’s God. But his ego can do irreparable harm to the economic and political security of three hundred million people.
Dr. Timothy Daughtry is a former clinical psychologist and co-author of a new book, Waking The Sleeping Giant: How Mainstream Americans Can Beat Liberals At Their Own Game. He advises candidates at the local, state, and federal level on understanding and countering leftist tactics. Dr. Daughtry is the Chairman and CEO of Concord Bridge Consulting.