Theodore's World: "The Audacity of Vanity" by Charles Krauthammer

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April 22, 2009

"The Audacity of Vanity" by Charles Krauthammer

Special Report with Brett Baier, the panel including Charles Krauthammer, was especially prescient in describing the pitfalls of Obama's South American visit, his time with Chavez, his complacent acceptance of Daniel Noriega's 50-minute anti-US screen, as well as America's endurance of Mahmoud's tirade about Israel being a "racist regime."


The Audacity of Vanity

The Washington Post

By Charles Krauthammer

Barack Obama wants to speak at the Brandenburg Gate. He figures it would be a nice backdrop. The supporting cast -- a cheering audience and a few fainting frauleins -- would be a picturesque way to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

What Obama does not seem to understand is that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn. President Ronald Reagan earned the right to speak there because his relentless pressure had brought the Soviet empire to its knees and he was demanding its final "tear down this wall" liquidation. When President John F. Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate on the day of his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, he was representing a country that was prepared to go to the brink of nuclear war to defend West Berlin.

Who is Obama representing? And what exactly has he done in his lifetime to merit appropriating the Brandenburg Gate as a campaign prop? What was his role in the fight against communism, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the creation of what George Bush the elder -- who presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall but modestly declined to go there for a victory lap -- called "a Europe whole and free"?

Does Obama not see the incongruity? It's as if a German pol took a campaign trip to America and demanded the Statue of Liberty as a venue for a campaign speech. (The Germans have now gently nudged Obama into looking at other venues.)

Americans are beginning to notice Obama's elevated opinion of himself. There's nothing new about narcissism in politics. Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Nonetheless, has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements?

Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted "present" nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself.

It is a subject upon which he can dilate effortlessly. In his victory speech upon winning the nomination, Obama declared it a great turning point in history -- "generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment" -- when, among other wonders, "the rise of the oceans began to slow." As Hudson Institute economist Irwin Stelzer noted in his London Daily Telegraph column, "Moses made the waters recede, but he had help." Obama apparently works alone.

Obama may think he's King Canute, but the good king ordered the tides to halt precisely to refute sycophantic aides who suggested that he had such power. Obama has no such modesty.

After all, in the words of his own slogan, "we are the ones we've been waiting for," which, translating the royal "we," means: " I am the one we've been waiting for." Amazingly, he had a quasi-presidential seal with its own Latin inscription affixed to his lectern, until general ridicule -- it was pointed out that he was not yet president -- induced him to take it down.

He lectures us that instead of worrying about immigrants learning English, "you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish" -- a language Obama does not speak. He further admonishes us on how "embarrassing" it is that Europeans are multilingual but "we go over to Europe, and all we can say is 'merci beaucoup.' " Obama speaks no French.

His fluent English does, however, feature many such admonitions, instructions and improvements. His wife assures us that President Obama will be a stern taskmaster: "Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism . . . that you come out of your isolation. . . . Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."

For the first few months of the campaign, the question about Obama was: Who is he? The question now is: Who does he think he is?

We are getting to know. Redeemer of our uninvolved, uninformed lives. Lord of the seas. And more. As he said on victory night, his rise marks the moment when "our planet began to heal." As I recall -- I'm no expert on this -- Jesus practiced his healing just on the sick. Obama operates on a larger canvas.


Robert Godwin, PhD (Clinical psychologist) also weighs in on pathological and malignant narcissism:

“Obama seems to suffer from malignant narcissism whereby he feels he is exceptional, acts like he is exceptional and his followers believe he is exceptional. On the basis of his followers opinion, Obama feels even more justified in his exceptionalism...”

To nail that reality down further:

“..The pathological narcissist imagines he’s giving you milk when he’s actually feeding you poop; in short, he’s not a bountiful breast but a toxic a$$hole. Once you get a feel for this, you can really appreciate the ubiquity of the dynamic. Ever wonder how Noam Chomsky can be so prolific? Because the large intestine never sleeps. Likewise, mass culture is a sewer. Literally. ...

Look at Obama. What is he? That’s part of the problem, because he clearly doesn’t know. He’s certainly not “priestly” or spiritual, based upon his long-time membership in a racist cult. He’s not intellectual, based upon his skin-deep grasp of the issues, and a mind that seems to consist of little more than recycled leftist cliches with no discernible center. He’s not a warrior; quite the opposite, as he has no feel whatsoever for military culture. He’s not a leader, as his basic masculinity is too much in doubt. He’s pretending to be something, but even he doesn’t seem to know what it is. Apparently, he wasn’t even a good community agitator, like Al Sharpton. ..” ~ Gagdad Bob (Robert Godwin, PhD)


Wild Thing's comment........

This is such a great column. I have always like Charles Krauthammer. He really nails it.

Posted by Wild Thing at April 22, 2009 04:40 AM


Krauthammer always nails it. His mind is as sharp as a razor. I never am bored listening to him or reading him. He is realistic and to the point.

I also like the above notes of Dr Godwin, Gagdad Bob. That is sure a good diagnosis of Obams, Teh One.

Posted by: TomR at April 22, 2009 01:19 PM

And why did he go in the first place when he was only running for President? Like the German people have anything to say about who we elect. He is so self absorbed, it's not funny. His pomposity and self indulgence make me want to puke!

Posted by: Lynn at April 22, 2009 02:21 PM

Barak Obama is only a wordsmith of ghost written speeches, dependent upon constant teleprompter cues, has never risen to the level his malcontents had envisioned. This is the man leading the free world off the cliff into oblivion. His cabinet is stained with Tax Cheats, and total buffoons who in the private sector would have been fired long ago for their imcompetancet. Yet this community organizer sees them as the heroes to save his party, not his country mind you but the democrat party.

He is reaching the point of no return when he will finally have to accept responsibility for the direction, the wrong direction we are heading. Thats when it will hit the fecal-oscillator will start splattering his debry in every direction.

Posted by: Mark at April 22, 2009 08:00 PM

Excellent post Chrissie, I sure like Krauthammer, I wondered why he was so blunt and honest, he's not afraid of anything. He cheated death from a diving accident that left him a paraplegic and breathing impaired, something he doesn't reveal. He does his homework and is a better journalist than those who profess to be journalists.

Posted by: Jack at April 22, 2009 08:57 PM

Tom, I agree, I think he is awesome.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 22, 2009 11:20 PM

Lynn, yes he really makes me sick too.
He turns my stomach.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 22, 2009 11:23 PM

Mark, I like how you said this.....
"Barak Obama is only a wordsmith of
ghost written speeches"

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 22, 2009 11:25 PM

Jack, yes he never discusses his accident.
I am so glad you shared about what happened
to him. I have a lot of respect for him.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 22, 2009 11:29 PM