We haven’t lived in President Obama’s America for long, but already we are witnessing a strange new phenomenon: Previously apolitical figures and organizations find themselves demonized, and then forgotten, with the speed, fury, and transience of a summer thunderstorm.
For most of his tenure at CNBC, Jim Cramer was a fairly apolitical creature. First and foremost a stock-market guru, Cramer stated that he eventually split from his partnered show with NRO’s Larry Kudlow “because politics is not my inclination . . . I just really don’t care for [the topic].” But Obama’s early moves spooked the market, and Cramer — who strongly and vocally supported Obama in last year’s campaign — called out Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, lamenting the “invisible Treasury secretary” and “the most, greatest wealth destruction I’ve seen by a president.”
Suddenly, Jim Cramer became a much bigger figure. Suddenly, he became a regular butt of jokes on The Daily Show, and host Jon Stewart ripped into Cramer during their “interview.” Suddenly, the New York Times felt compelled to spotlight Cramer’s bad stock predictions and declare, “his personal brand has taken a beating in the last month.” Media Matters felt the need to establish a new site, “Financial Media Matters.”
In recent months, the market has improved some, and Cramer has been less vocal in his criticism of Obama — and, strangely enough, he’s no longer considered so worthy of mockery by the usual suspects. The host retains his same manic, relentless, over-the-top style; but for some reason, when he stopped criticizing the president, major media voices lost interest in ridiculing him.
The latest entity to be subjected to this Two-Minute Hate is the American Medical Association (AMA).
Geraghty goes on to document how, the minute the AMA dared to criticize the President's health plans, the demonization machine of the left cranked up its operations:
But it was too late; the group’s apostasy was already a matter of public record. Suddenly, Media Matters felt the need to refute the notion that the AMA’s position might be that of America’s doctors, insisting that the group “speaks for less than one-third of doctors.” Coverage of the AMA’s announcement often implied that doctors don’t join because they disagree with the association’s stances, when in fact the trend in the profession has been for doctors to join organizations based on their medical specialty.
At the Daily Kos site, contributors argue that “the AMA is just as much a relic of a by-gone era as the little black bag.” One declared that the time has come “to ask our own doctors to stand firm against the AMA or revoke their membership with AMA due to their opposition to a strong, robust Medicare-like public option.” Another post carried the none-too-subtle headline “All Together Now: ‘Screw You, AMA!’”
By way of comparison, there was only one Kos diary that mentioned the AMA in March, and none in April; but since the recent health-care announcement, there have been 18. A switch has been flipped; the organization is now worth paying attention to and criticizing.
This is the way things are done in Obamaworld. It has always been thus, and Obama's short and unremarkable political career even prior to his amazing presidential run was characterized by the same sort of hostility and focused attention from the media toward the Magical One's opponents. Hope and Change the Chicago Way!
The lesson was clear long before Obama had the enormous power of the Executive Branch to do his dirty work. Like Islam's Mohammed, no criticism of the Democrat's messiah is permitted. To criticize the One is political apostasy and punishable by political and personal destruction.
Writing in the American Spectator in February about Obama's 'enemies list', Mark Hyman noted:
The heavy-handed actions against Obama critics and opponents that occurred before he had government institutions firmly under his control should have had public interest watchdog groups up in arms. Because so many of such groups are ideologically aligned with Obama may explain why there was not even a peep. Conservative and balanced news outlets have the disturbing habit of holding accountable liberal public interest organizations that engage in dishonest or deceptive practices that the major news organizations just so happen to overlook.
How soon and how far the Obama Administration will extend its attacks against its critics and the political opposition may become evident in the days ahead. Spared any serious scrutiny by most news outlets during his very brief career in public office, Barack Obama has displayed an exceptionally thin skin when he has come under a microscope or when he has suffered political and public relations setbacks. (read it all)
Back in October of 2008, Andy McCarthy sounded the alarm on candidate Obama's assault on the First Amendment:
I’ll be blunt: Sen. Obama and his supporters despise free expression, the bedrock of American self-determinism and hence American democracy. What’s more, like garden-variety despots, they see law not as a means of ensuring liberty but as a tool to intimidate and quell dissent.
We London conferees were fretting over speech codes, “hate speech” restrictions, “Islamophobia” provisions, and “libel tourism” — the use of less journalist-friendly defamation laws in foreign jurisdictions to eviscerate our First Amendment freedom to report, for example, on the nexus between ostensible Islamic charity and the funding of terrorist operations.
All the while, in St. Louis, local law-enforcement authorities, dominated by Democrat-party activists, were threatening libel prosecutions against Obama’s political opposition. County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, abetted by a local sheriff and encouraged by the Obama campaign, warned that members of the public who dared speak out against Obama during the campaign’s crucial final weeks would face criminal libel charges — if, in the judgment of these conflicted officials, such criticism of their champion was “false.”
The chill wind was bracing. The Taliban could not better rig matters. The Prophet of Change is only to be admired, not questioned.
To the extent that a person's behavior is mostly motivated by perceived insults to their self--i.e., their narcissistic core; then the "insult" will usually prompt a typical display of narcissistic rage directed toward the unfortunate individual who threatens them.
Such rage responses are invariably destructive, mean, and petty. Additionally, these rages are generally not beneficial to society-at-large (in fact, such actions often have strong sociopathic or antisocial elements to them) , although the person in the throes of narcissistic rage will often convince themselves that they are behaving perfectly appropriately and even for "the good" of others. They "stand above the fray", making it clear to all that their behavior is because they are superior beings. Typically, they get their goons to do the dirty work of silencing their critics.
This fantasy of sublime superiority is the origin of "sociopathic selfishness and "sociopathic selflessness" I have discussed elsewhere; and it is the pathology of all tyrants and dictators.
Far too often, narcissistically flawed individuals are hopelessly attracted by the grandiose opportunities of the political arena (as well as the Hollywood arena) like moths to a flame. Their sense of self is starkly invested in the desire for power over others (always, of course, "for their own good") , constant admiration and adulation and grandiose ambitions. This makes them remarkably adept at the politics of personal destruction--particularly when you are a devoted fan of the teachings of a radical organizer whose philosophy demanded that you: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
For the narcissist it is always a zero-sum game he or she plays with other individuals. From the perspective of the narcissist, if someone else "wins", the narcissist "loses". It cannot be otherwise, since on some level they know that their own talent and skills are way overblown. Hence, they cannot hope to "win" based on those talents alone. Thus, the behavior of the classic narcissist is mostly directed toward making others lose so they can win by default. To that end, there is no behavior or tactic that is considered out -of-bounds or over-the-top.
The state of political discourse in this country was bad enough, with the ubiquitous personal attacks that have become the trademark of all political campaigns; but Barack Obama has taken this to a higher plane of being-- and destroying.
Politics still occasionally brings out those who have strong personal integrity and values; but it is the people of no integrity and no values who are obsessively attracted to the field and are triumphant--and that is true on both sides of the political spectrum.
By that, I mean that those who would actually make the best leaders generally opt out of the process, because they tend to be too healthy to generate the continual rage necessary to destroy all opponents; or they lack the required-- and mostly distorted --sense of personal "perfection" and grandiosity that drives the power-hungry.
I am frequently reminded that it is hopelessly naive these days to expect the electorate to vote for a person based on what that person actually stands for; or even based on the character (we don't need no stinkin' character in our politicians); instead, these days most people respond to the negative campaign ads that slice and dice the other guy; and are mainly influenced by botoxed faces and Hollywood-packaged good-looks rather than the content of any candidate's character. The less they know of that character, the better!
And, despite all efforts to hide the truth about Obama's weak and unprincipled character, there was still plenty of information available to be able to see that the
Real personal integrity and character comes from having a consistent set of values and exhibiting behavior driven by those values. Today's classic narcissistically-driven politicians like both Hillary and Bill can only flutter in the political winds, and zelig-like easily take on whatever characteristics their public care to project onto them.
This is not the kind of person who can face real threats in the real world very effectively because this is not the kind of person who can effectively deal with threats they do not perceive as personal--why should they care much about any other kind, unless the polls indicate they should?.
Hillary Clinton, for example, did not get where she is today by being a person of integrity, honesty and courage--she got there by riding on the coattails of her charismatic husband; and by shrewdly altering her opinions to accommodate the prevailing political winds. And, oh yes, by ruthlessly destroying whoever got in her way. And even her base is able to recognize this about her, although she is extremely careful never to dirty her own hands. Like the Hamas and Hezbollah gunmen who shield themselves with innocent women and children, Hillary and her spouse have always had a ready supply of useful fall-guys (recall Vince Foster's suicide or Sandy Berger's recent archival exploits, for example) to take responsibility for their misdeeds.
In fact, the Clinton's narcissism became way to overexposed and obvious. In reality, they paved the way for a candidate like Obama, who initially was so attractive because the same leftists who once adored Hillary began to find her to be too obvious and coarse. Instead, they dropped her and swung over to the unknown, tabula rasa candidate on whom they are able to project their own fantasies without any intrusion by harsh reality.
The antics of the Clintons during their run in power seem almost benign and innocent by comparison.
We have a real demagogue in office now.
The best leaders are not obsessed with themselves; with polls; or with accumulating power by pandering to all sides. Those leaders may, in truth, have many other personal flaws--but not particularly of the dangerously malignant narcissistic variety. Whatever those flaws (and we all possess them), they are characterologically able to be more concerned about dealing with external reality; rather than in preserving a distorted and fragile internal one. Avenging petty slights and insults is not a high priority to a psychologically healthy person. Those healthy individuals are far more likely to direct their psychological energy toward dealing with real-world geopolitical threats that endanger both their country and the people they have the responsibility to protect; rather than using that country or the power of their office to counter threats to their endangered self and act on their grandiose fantasies about themselves.
The latter is the same psychological pathology that is rampant among dictators and dictator wannabes of all stripes. Their concern about others in their group/nation is purely of the “l’état c’est moi” variety. Look at Saddam's behavioral legacy. Observe the recent behaviors of Ahmadinejad or Chavez or Kim Jong Il -- or any of the other despots and thugs that somehow claw their way up to the top of the food chain in their respective countries.
That the needs of the nation, or the people they serve, might be different from their own; or that doing the right thing is often different from doing the popular thing, are foreign and dangerous concepts. The only reality they know--or care about--is the one inside themselves.
Welcome to Obamaworld.