Get PJ Media on your Apple

Belmont Club

Obama, Kevin Rudd, and the Quality of Leadership

September 9th, 2013 - 4:17 am

Within a few days of Kevin Rudd’s defeat as prime minister, the Australian Financial Review described how his victorious opponent, Tony Abbott, had employed a psychiatric report to exploit Rudd’s known mental instabilities:

The document was not shown to Abbott, but rather remained within the strategy group as an informal check-list, often as a tool for comparison after Rudd had already behaved in ways that the Liberal strategists believed could be leveraged to their advantage. The Liberal war room had reached its own conclusions about Rudd long ago, based on his public behaviour and the damning revelations of his colleagues.

Describing grandiose narcissism as less a psychiatric disease and more a destructive character defect, the document suggested Rudd was held together by one key strut: an absolute conviction of intellectual superiority over everyone else. “Kick out that strut and he will collapse”.

Rudd, the document went on, was vulnerable to any challenge to his self-belief that he was more widely read, smarter and more knowledgeable than anyone else “on the planet”. Such a condition of grandiose narcissism would make Rudd obsessively paranoid, excessively vindictive — “prepared to wait years to get revenge”.

Rumors that Rudd was a few sandwiches short of a picnic had been circulating for some time, supported in part by camera outtakes which showed him in an actual Jekyll and Hyde mode, as shown in this video here. Even before Rudd was defeated, television specials were openly questioning his mental stability.

These defects are probably shocking to the ordinary public. Most of us will find it hard to accept that our countries might be led by persons very much worse than ourselves. It seems natural to think our social superiors are in fact superior — how else did those post turtles get there? But the facts suggest otherwise. It’s possible that our most exalted leaders are actually far less competent than we imagine, could we watch the outtakes of their lives.

The historical data is depressing. “Wild Bill” Donovan commissioned Professor Henry A. Murray of the Harvard Psychological Clinic, Dr. Ernst Kris of the New School for Social Research, and Dr. Bertram D. Lewin of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute to prepare a psychological profile of Adolf Hitler. The report rather unflatteringly concluded that Hitler was a pervert, psychopath, and a probable suicide. It’s too bad no similar evaluation was made of Joseph Stalin, but the odds are that old Uncle Joe would have given Hitler a run for his money in the monster sweepstakes.

And although it’s nice to think that the standard for world leaders picked up after the Second World War, the evidence hardly supports that view. Mao Tse Tung, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, the Assad dynasty — to mention only a few — proved none too savory. It was recently reported that Kim Jong-un, who is only in his twenties, ordered the execution of his ex-girlfriend for making a video, along with “other members of North Korea’s most famous pop groups.” Their immediate families were forced to watch:

The onlookers were then sent to prison camps, victims of the regime’s assumption of guilt by association, the reports stated.

“They were executed with machine guns while the key members of the Unhasu Orchestra, Wangjaesan Light Band and Moranbong Band as well as the families of the victims looked on,” said a Chinese source reported in the newspaper.

Kim is probably nuttier than a fruitcake. If he hasn’t blown up the world it’s for lack of means, rather than from restraint of character.

By these standards, old Kevin Rudd is pretty harmless. Bush-league in fact, mediocre in his faults. But Australian prime ministers aren’t really in the business of taking on the really bad guys of history. Kevin Rudd doesn’t have to match the cunning of the Putins, Saddams, and Assads of the world. If he can overawe the New South Wales union heavies, it is probably enough.

It’s different for American presidents. By definition they are always matched against the nastiest, meanest, and most cunning rogues on the planet. Against people with names like Hitler and Stalin.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
He does have a "dazzling way with words"-one that's consistent with his pathology. Every speech, talk, lecture, harangue, jeremiad, etc. is devoid of logic. He commits fallacies as naturally as most people breathe:
False dillemmas, begging the question, red herrings, ad hominems, straw-men, sweeping generalizations and slippery slopes, infect every communique. He is neither intelligent nor assiduous enough to craft these-they are a product of his warped upbringing, his indoctrination by wing-nut professors and Alinsky-ite political mentors.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"His dazzling way with words, his skill as an orator, is beyond doubt."



Even in an unsympathetic article, the BBC cannot help but foist this drivel upon us. Where is the evidence for these Socratic qualities of Mr. Obama? His best speech as President was probably his post Gabby Giffords speech. Second overall was, I would guess, his 2004 convention speech. And can anyone quote a single line from either, or ANY other speech? Any "cross of gold", or "better angels of our nature", or "bear any burden", "nothing to fear but fear itself", "I have a dream", "We will fight on the beaches"? How about a "we will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail", by that modern day Pericles, George W. Bush. ANYTHING? Just ONE memorable and quotable phrase?

I don't have to like the Dallas Cowboys or the NY Yankees to acknowledge when they play brilliant games. I don't have to like Barack Obama to acknowledge his great oratorical skills.... if there were ever any evidence of it.

I actually begin to consider that the left simply repeats this over and over, because it HAS to be true (#4,897,215 in the 'HAS-to-be-true' file), because without it, there is literally no reason whatsoever for them to slobber on themselves over this guy and throw their panties onstage at him.

"Barack Obama is a great orator" is one of those statements that should be above debate, like "Michael Jordan was a great basketball player." We all have eyes and ears, there is nothing to discuss there. The fact the the left can repeat something so patently untrue over and over and over for years, and still believe it!!! says a great deal about the ideology, and it's successes over the years, as a whole.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One of your better screeds, Wretchard.

This bit:

"Describing grandiose narcissism as less a psychiatric disease and more a destructive character defect, the document suggested Rudd was held together by one key strut: an absolute conviction of intellectual superiority over everyone else. 'Kick out that strut and he will collapse'."

Does this not describe a hefty chunk - nearly all, really - of the left? Think about the typical NPR-listening pseudointellectual. Her life is based upon a core belief that all things free-market, Western, Christian, and Y-chromosome are the greatest inherent evil in the universe. From that principal she builds outward a worldview and a philosophical basis for all her other beliefs.

She pretties it up, of course, by pretending it's about "compassion" or "being enlightened" or "righting the wrongs of history". She looks at the evil ones who have more than she does and feels envy, then tells herself that it really isn't envy, it's concern for "the needy". She knows she can't compete jobwise or financially in a society based upon free association and free market principles, so she opts for statism and central planning. She doesn't want to make any sacrifices or compromises with men (who are evil after all) so she envisions a world where the family is no longer, man, wife, and kids, but is, rather, state, woman, and child.

Then she reads a couple of books by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky for "validation" and tells herself she's got it all figured out.

Then she wraps all of that up and tells herself that she really is a more enlightened, more intelligent, more compassionate, more highly evolved creature than most of the rest of the human race.

Right now there are billboards set up on commuting routes by the NPR affiliate in Boston which say as much...."Listen to us and you are one of the elite."

Is it any wonder, then, that there is such resistance to "kicking out the strut" by these people and their secular pastors? It explains the absolute dread of naming the evils of radical Islam, for instance. In doing so the strut would be blown away. "Something more evil than Christianity? No, no, can't have that...." because it there WERE something more evil the strut disappears and the whole edifice collapses. The basis for having an "absolute conviction of intellectual superiority over everyone else" loses its basis and everything else in the worldview becomes moot.

Amoral narcissistic people come to cherish any sytem which allows themselves the illusion of being godlike, or at least godlike in reference to their fellow humans. In order for that to work they must have bogeymen. These bogeymen become so cherished that like the strut, were they to disappear, there would be nothing left. So real threats and evil get willfully ignored.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (85)
All Comments   (85)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
For all his weaknesses, at least JFK recognized them and tried to compensate for them. Obama will do no such thing, because he doesn't believe he has weaknesses or can ever make a mistake.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Apparently, most politicians are one rolled steel ball away from Captain Queeg status. Except that most modern politicians prefer graft, threat and sexual perversion to straight insanity. It's more fun.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Laura Ingraham asked yesterday, "How is it possible that the Obama people could run such a startling effective campaign for President, and yet look so amateuish against their international competitors?"

That isn't what struck me. What landed so very hard was how could the Republicans do so poorly against an amateur with a staff of buffoons?

The answer was unsettling for the implication it has for Republicans. And yet honestly, we see the current skill of the Republican "leadership" (such as it is) on display unfortunately...every day. I think neither party has a very deep bench of statesmen and statesmen are what we need. Rubio has immolated; Cruz will be fought "to the death" by the elite Repubs because they seem to have a "Death Wish" for political suicide.

Reality over narrative,
Honesty over sly personal political solutions,
Common sense solutions over "brilliance,"
Competence over cool,
The nation's interest over political expediency.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Duh!1 does not even rise to Idiot-Savant levels.
That he "won" twice speaks volumes for America's degeneracy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama is a clinical narcissist and this isn't your run-of-the-mill political egotist; this is a pathological psychological aberration where Obama has no insight into himself, absolutely no empathy or connection to others, no connection to reality and its hard facts. He long ago disconnected himself from reality and lives entirely in a virtual world of his own words - just his own words which are unconnected to the real world of fact. His words have one goal - to control others and that 'other world, ie, to prevent reality from intruding on his secure World-of-Words.

Obama is NOT a great orator; without a teleprompter he can't put two sentences together. He is a mesmerizing SPEAKER; he's a great preacher-from-a-text. But he doesn't have the thoughts, the analytic capacity to write or even, I claim, to understand that speech! His agenda is never about the content of a speech; his agenda is always to manipulate you so that he controls you. Period. The next day, he'll give a speech that says the opposite - because his audience for that day wants to hear the opposite. It's all about control. Of you.

Obama is profoundly ignorant about economics, about history, about political theories - and he has no desire to learn. His entire lifestyle has been based around about his ability to personally manipulate people, using his words, words and, of course, racism. He's used both as his basic infrastructure-of-how-to-live.

It has worked beautifully. Think of it. Someone with no academic qualifications, not an article, not a book (his narcissistic autobiographies don't count); someone with no political or legislative experience; someone with no intellectual ideology other than 'I'm not Bush' - is viewed as The Coming of the Messiah - and he contributes to this imagery with his preachings and self-glorification about 'the oceans ceasing to rise and peace on earth' - ...someone with such pompous self-glorification is handed, yes, handed, the most powerful political position on earth - and what does he do?

He tells us all that we have merely to 'listen to him' and all will be well. He informs us of his superiority and of course, this is obvious when he disdains and sidelines Congress, ignores the Constitution, slithers past the law.

He pompously informs us that the MENA nations and tribes which are in an uproar as they move out of tribalism into the modern industrial economy - all they have to do is 'listen to him' and all will be well. He insults all our allies, from Britain to France to Israel; he apologizes for 'being America' to all our enemies. Why? Because he considers that he is Not America; he is Obama. The two are not the same.

Result? Look - reality, in the end, always trumps fiction. Obama lives in his own fictional world of Himself. But the real world no longer has any patience for such fictional delusions. The world derides and mocks him and no longer takes the word of America as having any value. And with Obama as President, they are right. But remember, a pathological narcissist, who feels threatened because he feels he cannot control people/events can become vicious, violent, and very dangerous. Obama should have been left as a local community organizer - where his fictional world would have been confined to local adulation.

Obama has divided Americans against each other; imploded the capacity of the economy to recover from the recession with his increasing the ratio of non-productive members of the nation and his regulations and Obamacare; alienated economic partners (eg Canada) and Asia; and almost obliterated the integrity of the role of the USA in the world. But finally, people are waking up to realize that we have allowed a clinical narcissist, so psychologically damaged as to be labelled a sociopath, to move into total power.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's going to be interesting some 2 administrations down the road, when the real historically significant memoirs start coming out. To see just what the world really thought of 'The One' in private. T'ain't gonna be pretty I'll wager.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Rudd is up himself and so is Obama. I believe you HAVE TO be a Narcissist to be a politician. try to think of one that isn't.?????
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As long as we're discussing the psychiatric profiles/mental stability of the current crop of leaders, why not ask about the profiles of those who boost them into power, namely their media enablers? Wretchard embedded a video of television commentators remarking on Rudd's anger management issues et al. Where were these analysts before Rudd became PM? Ditto the usual suspects in the American press. What type of person chooses to become a TV journo?

In other news, our first Native American presidential candidate is throwing her war bonnet in the ring:
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Great article, Richard. Even-handed, objective, good research. Well done.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Adventures in oratory, 9/9/2013 edition:

John F'ing Ketchup: Incredibly Small!
Obambus I: UN Hocus Pocus.

These are two orators who always felt smart, so stand by for more.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 4 5 Next View All