An editorial by Jordan B. Rickards cross-posted at www.RickardsReview.com
SOLIPSISM [sol-ip-siz-uhm] (noun): 1) Philosophy: the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist. 2) Extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one’s feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption. 3) Barack Obama.
President Obama is undoubtedly many things to many people. Liberals see him as a genius, conservatives see him as a meddlesome dilettante. Liberals fawn over rhetorical skills, conservatives say the credit goes to his teleprompter. Liberals think he knows it all, conservatives think he’s a know-it-all.
But if there’s an attribute central to Barack Hussein Obama which all objective, reasonable people should be able to recognize, it has to be his historic self-absorption. Indeed, not since Maximilien Robespierre created and placed himself atop of the “Cult of the Supreme Being” has the world seen such an insufferable ego.
In light of that, what follows is a compilation of his twenty most impossibly self-absorbed moments, listed in reverse order. Frankly, this is well overdue. Note that originally this list was going to be limited to ten, and then fifteen examples, but there was simply too much material…
20 & 19. Obama writes two memoirs, the first at age 35.
Arguably, these two entries could rank higher, but it seems appropriate that this list should begin where the nation’s introduction to Obama’s narcissism began.
Obama first appeared in the public eye in 1990 when he was the selected as the first ever African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review, and also probably the first editor never to have actually written any articles. He had, however, published two god-awful poems as a student at Occidental College, one of which, called “Underground,” reads as follows:
Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs.
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch.
The apes howl, bare
Their fangs, dance
Tumble in the
Musty, wet pelts
Glistening in the blue.
Uh, yeah. Apes that eat figs. Right.
With such an advanced mastery of the English language, it was no surprise that Simon and Schuster advanced the heretofore unknown 33-year-old somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 to write a book on race relations. After a good deal of procrastinating and deadline missing by Obama, prompting Simon and Schuster to cancel his contract, Obama received a second contract from Times Books, and finally wrote (or, depending on who you believe, maybe had Bill Ayers write) “Dreams from My Father,” a personal memoir completely devoid of anything resembling scholarship.
After selling so few books over the next decade that “Dreams” went out of print, then-Senator Obama burst back onto the national scene in 2004 with his speech to the Democratic National Convention. The title of this speech (yes, he gives his speeches titles) was “The Audacity of Hope,” a phrase he took from a sermon given by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the racist, anti-American pastor who was the first person Obama thanked upon winning election to the Senate, and who Obama would have us believe had no influence on him. This speech was popular among Democrats, which was predictable considering that Obama’s ”Audacity of Hope” speech was basically a rip-off of Bill Clinton’s popular (and equally banal) “A Place Called Hope” speech to the 1992 Democratic National Convention. Senator Obama then turned this speech into a full-length book about (what else?) himself, because, after all, what man in his mid-forties doesn’t have two personal memoirs?
18. “The election’s over, John.”
There are polite ways to disagree. There are diplomatic ways to disagree. And then there’s Barack Obama’s way of disagreeing with Sen. John McCain during a summit on healthcare reform.
Obama had invited Republican leaders from both houses of Congress, ostensibly for the purpose of incorporating a bi-partisan approach, but really, as it turned out, to belittle his opposition. During an exchange that is rather uncomfortable to watch, Sen. McCain had the temerity to point out that any reform should “remove all the special interests and special deals for a favored few, and treat all Americans the same.” This outrageous suggestion prompted a clearly perturbed Obama, evidently not used to receiving any resistance, to reassert his supremacy by sniping: “Let me just make this point, John, because we’re not campaigning anymore. The election’s over.”
In other words: “I won. I’m what matters. Fall into line.”
17. “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it.”
From The Obamas, by Jodi Kantor: “When David Plouffe, [Obama's] campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning. ‘I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it.’ … Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. ‘I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.’”
Unfortunately, this hubris did not end when the campaign ended, but carried through in full force to the presidency, leading to…
16. “It would be easier if I could do this entirely on my own.”
During the height of the most recent debt crisis last summer, when those stubborn Republicans refused (temporarily) to raise the debt ceiling, the message from Obama was clear: he can fix this problem, if everyone else gets out of the way.
Yes, the same man who has never run so much as a vending machine believes he is singularly qualified to run the largest and most dynamic market economy in the history of the world.
First he told a told a gathering at a town hall “It would be easier if I could do this entirely on my own,” before quickly adding the disclaimer that our democracy does not work that way, which everyone knows. Three days later, he told the illegal alien anarchy group La Raza “The idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you, not just on immigration reform.” Then, within a few weeks, Obama’s spokesman bemoaned to reporters how “unfortunate” it is that Obama “does not control all levers of government.”
Actually, what’s unfortunate is that for two years Obama did control all levers of government, and instead of creating jobs, or reducing the deficit, or, heaven forbid, reigning in spending, he focused on his vainglorious Obamacare, which will destroy jobs, raise the deficit, and is perhaps the greatest power-grab overreach since FDR’s “Pack the Court” plan.
15. American soldiers fight for Barack Obama
Most of our brave men and women in the armed forces enlisted believing they would be serving God and Country on behalf of the American people, advancing democracy, liberty, and the American way. Little did they know they were actually fighting for Barack Obama, who on occasion likes to reflect on “those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf.”
14. Obama as the standard of divine law
For millennia, theologians have struggled with the concept of sin. Usually, though, the question focused on how one finds redemption from sin, or what constitutes a sin, not who gets to decide what a sin is. It seemed a given that sin, by its very nature, is a transgression against God’s values. What those values are is subject to debate, of course, but the debate is always in the context of divine law and divine will.
Except to Barack Obama. When asked to define “sin,” he stated that sin is “being out of alignment with my values,” whatever those are. So take that, St. Augustine!
13. Announcing the killing of Osama bin Laden
Perhaps the only time the nation has truly been united under President Obama was when he delivered the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. And why let a great opportunity for self-aggrandizement go wasted?
Just as he had felt compelled to include himself in the report of the Navy snipers who killed the Somali pirates who had hijacked an American tanker in 2009, telling us that he had heroically “given the order” to shoot, in his relatively brief announcement about the Bin Laden killing Obama referenced himself fifteen times, speaking at length of his minimal role: “I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda… I was briefed on a possible lead… I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden… I determined that we had enough intelligence…and authorized an operation.”
Oddly, never once during this speech did he mention the Navy SEALs who actually carried out the operation. But that was a minor detail.
12. The State of My Union
Fifteen personal references may seem like a lot (especially when one really didn’t contribute much to the effort spoken about), but that was actually an exercise of restraint for Obama. Consider that in Obama’s four State of the Union addresses, he has said the word “I” 80, 102, 62, and 72 times respectively. In his most recent address, he also used the word “my” 18 times, “I’m” 14 times, “me” 13 times, and “I’ve” 5 times, meaning that in a speech that was supposed to be about the health and wellbeing of our nation, Obama managed to reference himself a whopping 122 times, averaging roughly once every 30 seconds!
To put that in perspective, in the first State of the Union Address ever given by an American President, George Washington used the word “I” 11 times. Thomas Jefferson used it 17 times in his first such address. In 1864, during the height of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln used the word “I” 22 times. Ronald Reagan used it an average of 39 times during his State of the Unions, with a high of 48. George W. Bush averaged 35, with a high of 46.
If nothing else, at least we know that the state of our President’s ego is still strong.
11. It’s his country. We’re just living in it.
In November, 2007, when the presidential primaries were just taking off in full force, ABC News followed Senator Obama as he tried to connect with voters in Iowa (with whom he has so much in common). If Obama seemed a little overconfident, well he was, telling his interviewer of his chances: “Every place is Barack Obama country once Barack Obama’s been there.”
You know a politician has had too heavy a dose of himself once he begins to speak of himself in the third person like General MacArthur.
In any event, Obama wound up winning the Iowa / Obama Country caucus with a whopping 37% of the vote, barely edging out one of the top-10 most hated men in America, as well as Bill Clinton’s wife.
(Speaking of Bill Clinton’s wife, while I doubt anyone could ever surpass Obama in terms of self-absorption, she gives it a heck of a good effort in this video, where she flips out on a black college student for asking her what her husband thinks about something).
10. “You’re going to destroy my presidency”
Back in July, 2009, the country was just beginning to shift its attention from stimulus packages and bail outs, and started to focus on what Obamacare was really about. Right around then, Obama, becoming increasingly frustrated with some independently-minded Democrats in Congress who were less than eager to nationalize our healthcare system, admonished them as best he could, angrily pleading “You’re going to destroy my presidency.” Because that’s what’s really important.
Ironically, it was the passage of the bill that led to the historic Republican gains in the next congressional election, which effectively turned Obama into a lame duck halfway through his first term, effectively destroying his presidency.
9. Republican Scott Brown’s victory proves voters still love Obama. Wait, what?
The moment was already strange enough. Ted Kennedy, the leading proponent in the Senate for the passage of Obamacare, had died after a yearlong battle with a brain tumor, and a special election was to be held to replace him. This was critical because the Democrats needed to retain 60 seats in the Senate in order to avoid a filibuster blocking a vote on Obamacare. Still, nobody thought a Republican would have much of a chance to take a Senate seat in reliably liberal Massachusetts, much less Ted Kennedy’s seat.
What the pundit class forgot to factor in, however, was that Massachusetts had enacted an Obamacare clone a few years previous and, having suffered through it already, the people of Massachusetts wanted to make sure that Obama did not do nationally what had happened to them at the state level. To that end, they elected a relatively unknown moderate Republican named Scott Brown, who ran a single issue campaign wherein he promised little more other than to oppose Obamacare.
When it became clear that Brown might win, Obama traveled to Massachusetts to campaign in person for Brown’s hapless opponent, Martha Coakley. But the President’s efforts were of no avail, and Brown’s victory imperiled Obama’s signature piece of legislation. Yet, even with this stinging defeat, Obama declared victory, saying that the Republican win actually demonstrated that people were still mad at Republicans over the Bush years, and that sending Brown to Washington was not a rejection of Obama’s agenda, but was actually an affirmation of the same movement that brought Obama to power.
“Here’s my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country,” Obama said. “The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry, and they’re frustrated. Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.”
8. Killing Osama Bin Laden, The Sequel
As if taking all the credit for killing Bin Laden while excluding the Navy SEALs was not bad enough, a year later the same President who lectured us against “spiking the football” was trying to convince us of his supposedly Sergeant York-like heroics during the Bin Laden raid. This time it was in the form of a 90 second add about the killing, where Obama had Bill Clinton extol the courage — not of the Navy SEALs who risked death, imprisonment, and torture — but of Obama for doing what every other American would have done by giving the order to go ahead with the mission; in other words, basically pointing at a picture of Bin Laden and saying “kill that.”
In the video, Clinton, speaking of the political risks Obama took in making such a decision, says “Suppose the Navy SEALs had been captured or killed. The downside would have been horrible for him.”
Oh, and yeah, it also would have been pretty rough for the SEALs who would have been captured, tortured, and beheaded by maniacs screaming “Allahu Akbar.” And their families probably would have taken it pretty hard too. But let that not distract from the courage Obama displayed, making an obvious decision in the face of the possibility of a minor and brief drop in his approval ratings, the result of which could have been a slightly increased possibility of (gasp!) losing an election.
7. Death be not proud… except of me.
We’ve all heard jokes about voter fraud and dead people voting for Democrats. But rarely do the dead endorse a candidate so explicitly and enthusiastically.
During the debate on Obamacare, our President took to the teleprompter frequently. In what had to be his most bizarre speech, Obama spoke passionately about a former campaign volunteer who had recently died of breast cancer. He told about how she didn’t have the money for insurance, and the cancer was discovered too late because she hadn’t been able to afford the exams necessary to detect the disease, and she fought the good fight for four years, and struggled, and still contributed heavily to Obama’s campaign, only to die shortly afterward. It was indeed a sad story, the kind that tugs on the heart strings of even the most battle-hardened and cynical among us.
Of course, our President couldn’t leave it at that. Because the conversation had by then strayed too far from the topic of himself, he quickly added to the end of the story, with a completely straight face, that the dead woman “insisted she’s going to be buried in an Obama t-shirt.”
And if right now you find yourself aghast, staring straight ahead with mouth agape, then you have a lot in common with the audience members who heard him say it live.
She matters more because of her faith in him.
Good grief! Does everything have to be about this guy? Had she been wearing a “Palin” shirt would her life be less valuable?
Anyway, it turns out that she did have health insurance, she just didn’t want to pay the deductible because she had just dropped $30,000 into a new business.
6. “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.”
Wait, you think the thing about the shirt was an accident? Then you don’t get it. Understand that Obama sees himself as something larger than a person. He sees himself as the personification of a movement; indeed, almost a religion. By mentioning the shirt in mournful terms, he was referencing the faith this born again believer had in the Church of Obama, and how to her, and so many others, Obama’s not just a person, but like Christ before him, a redemptive figure, one who represents everything that’s good in us, what we once were, and what we could be once again. In him we live and move and have our being.
But don’t take my word for it! According to The Washington Post, with about 100 days to go before the 2008 election, Obama met in the Cannon Caucus Room with a gathering of Democrat congressional leaders. Inside, he told the House members, “This is the moment . . . that the world is waiting for. I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.”
He ended by telling the leaders “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in my name.”
Well, OK, that last part’s not true. To mimic Christ that blatantly would be outright ridiculous, almost like claiming to be able to walk on water, or raise the dead or…
5. Calm the seas?
Yes, calm the seas.
Remember that speech John Edwards gave in 2004 where he started acting like a tent revival preacher, claiming that if we elected him and John Kerry they would heal the sick and the lame would walk? Well, candidate Obama one-upped him in a speech made in June, 2008, upon winning the last of the Democrat primaries, when he claimed that nominating him would prove to be “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal.”
I guess by “oceans” he meant “economy.”
4. The gift that keeps on giving.
Gift giving between international allies is a long-standing tradition. Queen Victoria once bestowed upon President Rutherford B. Hayes a desk made from the timbers of the British ship Resolute. This desk has since been used in the oval office by Presidents Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama. Germany gave us large segments of the Berlin Wall. The French gave us the Statue of Liberty.
President Obama gave Queen Elizabeth an iPod.
But not just any iPod, mind you. This one was preloaded with pictures of Obama at his inauguration, as well as audio recordings of his “Audacity of Hope” speech and inaugural address.
Now, here’s a woman whose reign has spanned 12 prime ministers and 12 presidencies. She has reigned contemporaneous with the administrations of Churchill, who defeated the Nazis; Truman, who defeated the Japanese; and Reagan, who defeated the Soviets. But Barack Obama imagines that he is just so uniquely impressive to her that she won’t be able to wait to pop those white ear buds into place, perhaps while being chauffeured on a trip up to Balmoral, as she scrolls through her various playlists, passing by Paul McCartney, Elton John, and Eric Clapton, and settling on “Obama, Barack,” so she can listen to loops of such banalities as “hope,” and “change,” and…
Well, that’s good to know.
2. Modification of other presidential biographies to include himself.
This borders on outright creepy.
The White House website used to be like every other government website: sterile, kind of boring, and more utilitarian than anything else. Barack Obama has turned it into a one-man campaign fan page. All that’s missing is a “like” button.
Before a visitor is even allowed to get to the home screen, a preliminary screen opens to a giant picture of Obama, sitting in a chair, wearing one of those American flag pins that he hates, his head slightly tilted back, staring into space like a meth addict, trying to look — I don’t know — pensive or something…
(As an aside, as with many staged pictures of Obama, this one is taken at a three-quarters angle, and one cannot help but wonder whether that’s due to his famous insecurity about his large ears. This may also explain why he shifts his head from one three-quarters angle to the other when he gives a speech, seemingly trying at all costs to avoid a head-on shot).
Anyway, the point of the preliminary screen is to disabuse anyone of the idea that WhiteHouse.gov, despite clearly having a .gov extension, is about the office, or America, or democracy, or any of that. It’s about one man and one man only. And lest you think otherwise, just take a look at the edits of the Presidential bios done by Obama’s staff, wherein he inserts himself into just about every post-World War I presidential biography! For example:
President Herbert Hoover signed the bill founding the Department of Veterans Affairs July 21, 1930. President Obama is committed to making sure that the VA, the second-largest cabinet department, serves the needs of all veterans.”
And how could we forget his historic collaboration with Harry Truman:
In a 1946 letter to the National Urban League, President Truman wrote that the government has ‘an obligation to see that the civil rights of every citizen are fully and equally protected.’ He ended racial segregation in civil service and the armed forces in 1948. Today the Obama Administration continues to strive toward upholding the civil rights of its citizens, repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, allowing people of all sexual orientations to serve openly in our armed forces.”
And my personal favorite:
On Feb. 22, 1924, Calvin Coolidge became the first president to make a public radio address to the American people. President Coolidge later helped create the Federal Radio Commission, which has now evolved to become the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). President Obama became the first president to hold virtual gatherings and town halls using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.”
The entry about George W. Bush even brags that while Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address was broadcast on the Internet without any frills, Obama’s addresses “were available in an enhanced live stream version that featured infographics, charts and data side-by-side in real time with the President’s speech.”
And yet, for as silly as all those are, if it’s a complete lack of historical perspective you’re looking for…
1. You’ve got me babe.
When it was becoming increasingly clear that Obamacare was not only unpopular, it had the possibility of sinking massive numbers of Democrat congressman in the 2010 elections, a number of Democrats confronted the President. Their question was simple: how, given the unpopularity of this legislation, are we going to avoid a landslide defeat, the kind of which we suffered in 1994. “Well,” he said “the big difference [between] here and in ’94 is you’ve got me.”
What followed in November saw congressional Republicans make historic gains, handing the Democrats the worst midterm election loss since 1938, in an electoral tidal wave that resulted in 63 new seats gained for the GOP in the House.
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.