It’s a continuation of a process that began with the first debate, in which Obama tip-toed out from behind the curtain on the central stage of Oz, and showed us who he really is. Not a great leader, certainly not a messianic figure. Indeed, as we now see, he’s a bum. It’s a shock to lots of Americans, who previously were willing to grant that the president had his faults but was basically a good man, a nice guy, and a cultured gentleman. He showed them he was none of those things.
I think that was a real shock to a meaningful chunk of the electorate, and it would not have been nearly so potent if it had come from a book or an oped. Its power comes from the fact that Obama showed it himself.
It shouldn’t have been hard to foresee the consequences of his self-revelation. So why did he do it? He’s certainly capable of dissimulation. The One who won the presidency four years ago did not present himself this way. He and his acolytes very carefully portrayed him as a transcendent figure, a new kind of leader, the incarnation of elegance and brilliance. And that succeeded. So what’s up?
I think he’s cracking, and the inner nastiness and vulgarity are on display. He’s losing, and he’s angry, and he can no longer sustain the pretense of elegance and coolness.
Nobody ever said he was disciplined, did they?
Moreover, he is the victim of his own myth, the “I have a special gift” legend that is the core doctrine of his powerful narcissism. He thinks he is so charismatic, and so wonderful, that if we see him in all his splendor, we will love him as he so loves himself.
I think that’s false, and I think the shifts in the polls–people suddenly like Romney, people suddenly turning away from Obama–demonstrate that. We’ll see for sure on the 6th of November.