Where the Left and the Right get it wrong on Obama….mostly
Another conspiracy theory from republicans…now it’s the jobs report. At the same time the apologies from the democratic regulars and Obama supporters at at a fever pitch and those further left are as convinced as ever that Obama is a closet Nixon or Reagan or both. Whatever. The right want to see him as a socialist or extremest or Muslim lover or …… And the democratic followers as some new born savior.
They are all wrong. What you see is an illusion.
To me now the answer to the question Obama is fairly simple, though I will admit it was not always thus. Like David Seaton I was pretty certain he was a question mark with multiple choice answers. Not what he wanted us to see him as.
A very good clue came from the first of the debates – and I use the term very loosely. One of the best analysis of which is given by Doug Henwood on his blog.
Unlike Franklin Roosevelt, who famously said that he welcomed the hatred of the rich, Obama wants to flatter them. He made the mistake of calling them “fatcats” once, so his former fans on Wall Street turned on him. That has something to do with why he didn’t mention the 47% thing, or tar Romney as the candidate of the 0.1%. That would be divisive and offend the people whose admiration he craves. FDR came out of the aristocracy, and had the confidence to step on the fancy toes of the rich now and then. Obama came out of nowhere, was groomed for success by elite institutions throughout his impressive rise, and no doubt wants some of those nice shoes for himself.
I do not agree however with Doug’s assertion that Obama is a narcissist. I have personally known people like that and Obama does not really fit the mold. What he does fit is that of a “people pleaser“. People Pleasers are not necessarily narcissist nor are they totally sociopathic. What they are – if I may use the vernacular – are suck ups. Constantly wanting and needing the approval of those they deem to be higher up. Afraid of rejection and confrontation, especially face to face – they will do or say whatever they think is wanted by those above them.
I know I have worked for them and was more than a bit of a people pleaser myself for a while. But old age and some professional help cured me of it for the most part.
But this is not all that surprising when one considers his background. A child of mixed race not really fitting in on either side. Whose father left him at an early age and moving around quite a bit. I would almost bet he had few, if any, real close friends but constantly seeking the approval of those around him. Becoming the first black president of the Harvard law Review and chumming around with those of similar ilk. But never actually seeing himself as an equal. Needing to be the best to get any approval at all.
So his performance during the debate with Romney – possibly expecting Lehrer to come to his defense and be the assertive one – so not confronting Romney directly but only after the debates from a safe distance is no real surprise to me. It fits the pattern to a tee.
The democrats themselves have been the corporatist party from the get go. Unlike the republicans who worship money and those who have it, the democrats are envious of it. Not bowing down with praise but sucking up and wanting it. So Obama in a lot of ways fits right in.
This is not to apologize for Obama or even a heavy critique. He is what he is. He is a con but for his own self worth unlike Romney who is a con for money and property. Romney will steel your bank account. Obama your sanity. He will appear as whatever he thinks you want him to be and is very good at it. And as Doug Henwood notes.
Romney believes in money. Obama believes in nothing.
Most liberals want to write off Obama’s bad performance as a bad night. It’s not just that. It’s a structural problem.