Not so long ago, school children were taught that, in America, government is “of the people, by the people and for the people.”
After all, turn on any television and you are likely to see our president lecturing others about their inadequacies or bragging about his accomplishments.
There he is, pontificating about our SUVs and our wasteful energy consumption. Here he is, condemning religious institutions as intolerant simply because they do not want to pay for people’s contraceptives and abortions.
Wait five minutes and you’ll catch him attacking successful people, who have worked all of their lives, as part of that greedy 1 percent. Or you’ll hear him express righteous indignation at congressional leaders who dare to propose solutions to the nation’s troubles that differ from his own.
President Barack Obama does not convey the impression of a humble servant of the American people. He presents as an enlightened monarch — sent by the gods to heal the planet, unite the races, redistribute the wealth, and (of course) save the auto industry and pay off the unions.
It is an impression reinforced by Obama’s habitually self-referential language. Take, for example, his recent statements about Iran: “I reserve all options . . . My policy is not containment. . . . My policy is to prevent Iran from obtaining weapons of mass destruction.”
Not the “United States reserves all options.” Not, “it’s the policy of the United States of America.” But “I, Barack Obama, reserve all options.” It’s not about the country. It’s all about him.
Here is “Dear Leader” on the capture of Osama bin Laden: “I directed [the CIA] to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority. . . .I met repeatedly with my national security team. . . .I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and I authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden.”
Compare this to the language used by George W. Bush after the capture of Saddam Hussein: “The success of yesterday’s mission is a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq. The operation was based on the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator’s footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force.”
For Bush, military victories were a collective effort and the source of shared national pride. For Obama, they are occasions for personal bravado.
This attitude has led some political commentators to wonder if our president suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder. Clinical evidence abounds.
Defending his presidency recently to donors at a New York fundraiser, Obama said, “Around the world — Gandhi, Nelson Mandela — what they did was hard. It takes time. It takes more than a single term.”
Either way, the arrogance is astounding, but not surprising from a man who once likened his election to the West’s victory in the Cold War.
To be sure, Obama’s self-love has long been on display. In 2008 he bragged, “I know more about policies on any political issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m a better political director than my political director.”