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Peter Wehner: Obama has the "disease of conceit"

Writes Wehner on the Commentary blog:

It is not enough for President Obama to put forward a series of utterly false statements on behalf of his effort to engineer the wholesale reinvention of American health care. No, he has to position himself as the great truth teller in the process. His critics are “simply dishonest,” Obama said during his health-care town-hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado, on Saturday.

In his New York Times op-ed, Obama decries the “wild misrepresentations” of his detractors. The president is the Child of Light pitted against the Forces of Darkness. Here’s the thing, though: Obama, in possession of the largest megaphone in the world, is himself being simply dishonest and employing wild misrepresentations of the facts. By now the list is well known and seemingly grows by the week, to the point that it is getting difficult to track the assortment of false claims....

Obama portrays his critics as tools of special interests—yet he has assembled as powerful a group of special interests on his behalf as you can imagine (the coalition that is supporting the White House’s health-care ad campaign includes the American Medical Association; Families USA; the Federation of American Hospitals; the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA; and the Service Employees International Union).

In his Times op-ed, Obama—who promised to lead America in a civil and high-minded debate, one in which he would address respectfully those who have differences with him—also attacks the motivations of his critics, saying that “the cynics and the naysayers will continue to exploit fear and concerns for political gains.” And then he informs us that this is a “complicated and critical issue, and it deserves a serious debate.”....

[H]e must cast himself in the role of the one honest man whom Diogenes went in search of. President Obama’s self-conceit is now edging toward self-parody.

You can read the whole thing here.

Comments (8)

So both Obama and Dylan appear to be suffering from this 'Disease of Conceit.' Is this something going around, er what?

In all fairness to Bob though, he at least has accomplished immeasurably more to be conceited about.

"Self-parody" is among the very kindest of things that could be said while still remaining accurately descriptive. "Edging toward," likewise; he is well into self-parodying territory, and far beyond. Quixote is a fictional archtype of self-parody, Mussolini, chin out, vain and over-proud, a non-fictional type and one whose intelligence was never in doubt; Obama is no mere Quixote.

The question that is more worthy of being posed concerns 1) how many are cognizant, or more fully cognizant of that fact, and 2) to what effect, to what practical social and political effect?

Michael B., take a look at the polling numbers, not just his woeful approval/disapproval number, but a look at the internals on specific issues. Obama is bleeding daily, and up on the Hill, Republican staffers are energized, whereas Democrat staffers are beginning to appear shell-shocked.

So rest easy, the guy who has done nothing but arrange for the divorce records of political opponents to be made public, who has sat around for most of the last decade pondering about writing or actually writing about nothing more than himself, {but mostly his marxist wastrel of a father...} the guy who long ago looked in a mirror and never walked away, that guy is bringing the whole corrupt Democrat party into disrepute.

He's done more for the GOP than any Republican since Reagan and Gingrich. He's the gift that weekly delivers a gaffe, and we don't even need to consider his foreign policy, which is even more disgraceful than his domestic idiocy.

Michael B, Your comment about Mussolini and the chin caught my attention. Not that I would defend it to the death but it is interesting that the physical postures or poses are strikingly familiar.
Clinton had it down pat, complete with the down turned lips. Now The O, whose jaw may yet hit a low hanging ceiling.

Outwards signs of a power, aggressive personality type ?

I am not sure why he portrays himself as the "one" who will bring all sides together when he constantly ridicules the motivations of those who disagree with him.

Mr. H


It appears you appreciated my Mussolini analogy very much in the spirit intended. I don't expect Obama to invade Ethiopia any time soon and, in general, I deem an analogy to be something other than, something less than an exact parallel. An analogy needs to be appreciated in a certain qualitative and duly proportionate manner and it would appear you interpreted it in the manner intended.

Some things are very similar: the innate intelligence, the political acumen, the overbearing pride and pronounced egoism, the cult of personality and accompanying facile arrogations, the posturing (yes, the chin) and the self-possessed quality, the pretense, all that, also the central-state outlooks that dovetail so well with those personal/political attributes. Also, the worship or near-worship (or, minimally, uncritical assessment) from a sizeable segment of the masses, some other things as well. (Cf., I would never draw a comparison with Hitler. Otoh, Mussolini himself, though this is not well known, had very strong misgivings and negative assessments of Hitler early on. And, look at some of the people Obama is willing to befriend: Chavez, his approach to Iran, the Honduras situation, Arab potentates - that bow, ...)

An exact parallel? Certainly not. Still, salient and imo fundamental and critical aspects of the analogy hold up all too well, are in fact telling, are illuminating in some very worrisome areas.

quality reviewer,

I'm not as optimistic as you appear to be though I deem my comment to be a simple observation, reflecting neither undue pessimism nor optimism at this time.

When the masses finally see this One for the narcissist he essentially is (and the president he most definitely is not) and he begins to melt like the wicked witch of the west, I would strongly suggest keeping him away from sharp objects and nuclear devices.

Michael B, your 8/18 post noted, a good piece.
I will only add that Obama is a type prevalent thru history, varying in degree and whatever restraints existed that leashed ambition. A type that is a either a curse or blemish to mankind, depending on the countervailing forces brought to bear on the would be Leader.

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