Ed Lasky says Barack Obama has had one passion that has been consistent over the years: himself. His healthy self-regard is well-known by now. From the omnipresent posters of his jutting face to the spectacle of the Democratic National Convention with Styrofoam Greek columns
to the disgraceful alteration of the official presidential seal during the 2008 campaign to his constant presence on our airwaves (Really, do we care about his sports commentary? Or his brackets in the NCAA tournaments?), we know that this is a man with a hunger for the spotlight.
But Obama's ego needs more than the worship of others. His ego also needs the boost that comes from insulting and denigrating others and rubbing in their faces how well he has fared compared to them. The latest example is culled from the upcoming hagiography of him from the writer David Maraniss:
Will Burns, who worked for Obama when he was a state senator, recalls walking the precincts of their district in the fall of 1997, rounding up petition signatures for Obama's first reelection campaign. "Obama was even competitive about getting signatures," said Burns, now a Chicago alderman. "We would go to someone's door and he would say afterwards, 'See how smooth that was. See how good I am at this. I got a full sheet! You only got a half sheet.' And I would think, 'Well, you're the [expletive] candidate, of course you got a full sheet!' That was him."
Other examples of the Ego in the Oval Office:
I think I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters.
I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors.
And this boast from 2004 before his breakout speech at the Democratic National Convention:
I'm Lebron, baby. I can play on this level. I got game.
Hillary Clinton was just "likeable enough" -- ah, the back-handed "compliment" that is actually an insult. Obama doesn't deliver his putdowns with the humor of Don Rickles. He truly is the Insulter-in-Chief, who has a mean streak that flourishes when he abuses and demeans other people.
But for what purpose does he use putdowns? Why does he seemingly need to trash-talk people on a regular basis?
His belief in how own superiority is clear. We certainly know how disdainful he is of small-town people based on his view of them as bitter clingers to guns and God who fear foreigners. Lest we forget, though, he later smeared all Americans by blaming weak economic growth under his reign on Americans who have grown "soft." Americans have been "a bit lazy," too.
Nor are African-Americans spared his putdowns. He spoke back in 2011 to an African-American group and told them to stop criticizing him and get to work on his re-election. He exhorted them to:
Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying.
Black groups complained that such language was racially tinged. Imagine if a white president had used such language toward an African-American group, accusing them of always demanding more and being lazy to boot.
But there is always more when it comes to Barack Obama.
There is this grandiose claim made to a Democrat House member who was wavering over casting a vote in favor of ObamaCare because he might face voter problems in his next campaign for office -- especially since HillaryCare went down in flames in 1994:
Well, the big difference here and in '94 was you've got me.
However, Obama's ego needs more than his own high self-regard and the worship of millions of besotted followers. He delights in delivering insults and reminders of his own success.
President are normally gracious in victory. Victory speeches are usually filled with praise for the defeated opponent. Bygones are bygones. Presidents are the most powerful people in the world, after all. They can be magnanimous without reveling in the defeat of others. Not this particular president, however.
When Republicans expressed differences with Barack Obama's tax plan, President Obama dismissed their concerns and ideas with the reminder that "I won." That bipartisanship he peddled to his dreamy and dewy-eyed supporters was tossed under the bus on Election Day. But he upped the insult level when he refused to address legitimate concerns expressed by Senator John McCain during the 2010 "health care summit" and instead responded with the retort that "we're not campaigning anymore. The election is over." McCain deadpanned that "I'm reminded of that every day."
Obama is not man enough, is not a gentleman enough, to let bygones be bygones. He must rub his success and his superiority in other people's faces. But sometimes his sense of superiority escapes all sensible bounds.
There is his Dominion Over the Earth, when he challenged the Almighty for dominance over our world. During his 2008 celebratory speech on becoming the Democratic nominee for president, he said future generations would remember:
This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.
The narcissism of Barack Obama is beyond belief. His excessive use of the personal pronoun "I" is yet one more example. President George H.W. Bush had his speechwriters search through and delete as many instances of the word I as they could in his own speeches -- such a contrast to the current occupier of the Oval Office. But Obama's Obama Obsession goes beyond just his own well-developed self-regard. He is not happy unless he can pair it with denigrating others -- for instance, saying Republicans opposed his boondoggle and politically generated "jobs bill" because they could not understand it, so he would have to break it into bite-sized pieces so they could understand the bill. Yet there were Democrats who admitted they did not understand ObamaCare when they voted for it -- including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Did Obama ridicule them?
He said that Republicans want to build moats around America and fill them with alligators to eat illegal immigrants coming into America. Is that even remotely funny? Is that the great presidential rhetoric we were supposed to be hearing from the greatest orator since Pericles?
Then there is Obama's penchant to personalize political differences and demean others in doing so. There are "fat cat" bankers responsible for all our problems, the ever-present George Bush to use as a punching bag, greedy doctors who yank out tonsils for fun and profit, stupid cops, Republicans who have to sit in the back of the bus, and inevitably, Fox News.
Whoever makes straw should be doing quite well, because Obama makes straw men on an assembly line.
The list of people Obama looks down upon is ever-growing.
Then there are his moral equals -- apparently. His wife, Michelle, who said America was a "mean" country which she gained some modicum of respect for only when her husband became the Democratic nominee for president. There is Attorney General Eric Holder, who calls us a "nation of cowards" when it comes to race. His "moral compass" and "mentor" Jeremiah Wright, who was happy to see America's chickens come to roost on 9/11 and views white people as the source of black people's problems. Muslims, who can commit no wrong -- where was his call for American Muslims to search their souls when one of them went on a shooting spree, wounding and killing many soldiers down in Texas? Or when many others have tried to commit terror attacks in America -- where is the call for soul-searching by President Obama? Do they get some sort of exemption?
Presidents are supposed to be role models. Remember the cliché "I want to grow up to be president"? Presidents are supposed to inspire us to do great things -- to think of something greater than ourselves. Ronald Reagan dismissed praise of himself as being a Great Communicator. He said in his parting speech as president, "I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things."
What "great things" has President Obama communicated over the last few years?