I don’t know about the rest of you, but I found Anne Kornblut’s report in the Washington Post — “Obama’s 17-minute, 2,500-word response to woman’s claim of being ‘over-taxed’” — to be deeply disturbing. Although I disagree with most of Barack Obama’s policies, I took no pleasure in seeing a political opponent wound himself by talking on and on to the point of agitating his audience. The situation is much too grave for that. This is our country — all of us, Republican, Democrat and Independent. And I am now convinced of what I have long suspected — the United States has a president with a serious personality disorder.
Now I admit I am not a professional psychiatrist or psychologist, nor do I see myself even remotely as a paragon of mental health, but I have made a decent living for over thirty years as a fiction writer whose stock in trade is perforce studying people and this is one strange dude. He makes Richard Nixon seem almost normal.
I first began worrying about this during the Reverend Wright affair. Obama insisted, as we all recall, that he did not know the reverend’s views even though the then candidate had spent twenty years in his church, been married by him, had his children baptized by him and taken the inspiration for his book from Wright. Now most educated people would have a pretty good idea about Wright after five minutes, let alone twenty years. The reverend is not a subtle man. Yet Obama told us he didn’t know.
Was the candidate lying or was he just so dissociated from reality that he didn’t see what was in front of his eyes? Or perhaps a little of both? Whatever the conclusion, it is not a happy one. The same man is before us now — only we’re not in the midst of a campaign. We have no way out. He is leading our nation during a time of economic crisis with a world changing so rapidly that our heads spin.
Therapists often speak of “inappropriate affect” — laughing at sad news, etc. — as an indicator of psychological disturbance. That is not far from what Obama displayed at the question-and-answer session in Charlotte described by Kornblut when he endlessly replied to a woman’s query about taxation. His response was inappropriate, to say the least. It also was a demonstration that at heart he does not believe his own ideas. Otherwise, why take so long? Methinks he doth protest too much, as the Bard said. And protest he does, like a comedian who knows he is bombing but keeps telling jokes.
Unfortunately, the joke is on us. Presidential proposals have become a manifestation of ego and not of thought-through deliberated policy. No attempt at bi-partisanship is ever really made because our leader is too fragile to compromise and too wounded to admit when he is wrong. For someone who arrived as an “intellectual” president, ideas are the least of it. He only wants to be right.
I know some conservatives think Obama is a socialist or a closet Alinskyite or whatever, but I think the problem is yet more complicated. No matter his ideology, this man is not fit to rule psychologically. Or, more properly, govern — but you know what I mean. He doesn’t have the temperament. He was elected with people knowing almost nothing about him. Despite that the facts are still masked, his history still obscure, we may now know too much, have seen too much. These things just leak out around the edges. They do for all of us, like it or not. And yet, he will be with us until 2012 at least.
Good luck to us.