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Rio, 1 -- Chicago, 0. The Politics of Narcissism and General McChrystal
New Republic ^ | 10-5-09 | Marty Peretz

Posted on 10/05/2009 6:00:56 AM PDT by SJackson

Frankly, I don't care that Chicago lost its bid for the Olympics. Really, I don't.

But maybe the president's trip to Copenhagen was useful since his top battle commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, traveling from England to Denmark, had the opportunity to meet Barack Obama on Air Force One. Their talking with each other is, after all, a rarity. In fact, Obama and McChrystal had spoken but once since the general took on AfPak as his turf in early June 2009. With whom, then, is Obama conversing? And how independent of mind on military matters are they? Or are they of the touchy-feely persuasion?

Speaking in diplomatese, the White House press office graded the Obama-McChrystal conversation as "productive," which means neither a disaster nor especially gratifying. My guess is that, in this context, it actually means not impolite. Their differences have been a big topic in the news, and the standoff is clear: McChrystal wants more troops and has a strategy to mobilize them; the president wants less, many many less, and to get Kabul off the nightly news. During the campaign, he spoke of the American involvement in Afghanistan as a war of necessity rather than a war of choice, like Iraq, which was made to seem like a war of sinful desire. No longer.

If the president is true to his essential beliefs about foreign affairs, Obama actually wants out but can't design a clean exodus. His party swallowed deeply when it played along with his election strategy of pitting Iraq against Afghanistan. At rallies, the candidate's mention of a free Afghanistan was never an applause line. But now, nine months into the administration's life, there is much Democratic rumbling in the Capitol cloakrooms against more troops on the AfPak war front, the demand for which everyone knew was on its way, and even against maintaining the present troop level. Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a man full of himself, will be nearly as puffy and cantankerous with Obama as he was with George Bush.

So, while the president did make time for a rather brief conversation with McChrystal in Copenhagen, the real purpose of his rushed trans-Atlantic flight was to grease the International Olympic Committee into naming Chicago as epicenter of the 2016 games. If you read closely in the newspapers, it wasn't as if Chicagoans were so ecstatic for the prize. Having the Olympics in town often turns out to be a big bust, burdening its residents, businesses and taxes for years thereafter. And, since the president is so much against national chauvinism, he might have contemplated that the games turn out to be among the most ritualized examples of hate on the planet, with the added cost of moving the poor around to make way for the rich visitors. When I was in Capetown, South Africa this summer, I saw from afar the still-being-built stadium for the 2010 World Cup soccer games. Now, South Africans are mad for soccer. But the talk in the street was against the expenditure, which comes to billions of rand and hundreds of millions of dollars even before anybody faces up to the inevitable cost over-runs. How many shanty-towns could have been replaced with this money? Or how about putting a water supply into these jungles of human refuse?

Anyway, whatever thought Obama may have given to these matters about Chicago, Valerie Jarrett had his ear. (The last time we know she had his ear was when she convinced him to bestow the National Medal of Freedom on that nice frigid anti-Semite, Mary Robinson. Beware!)

The front-page lead headline in the weekend edition of the Financial Times said it much too clearly for Obama's vanity: "Rio in carnival mood after Brazil beats Obama to the 2016 Olympics." By contrast, it was a huge triumph for Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has long created his persona as an antagonist to the U.S. Not a Hugo Chavez, mind you, but an antagonist nonetheless. And not a danger to foreign investors. Lula actually held the line against the new Latin cult of socialism.

As the FT went on to say, the IOC "delivered an astonishing snub" to the president "by eliminating Chicago in the first round of voting." Chicago was dumped before Madrid was dumped and before Tokyo was dumped. Had the Obama folk not done any canvassing which would have alerted them to the fact that they were jet-setting to a humiliation? Maybe Michelle's presence added to the over-confident sense of invincibility. Moreover, how could they lose with Oprah Winfrey in tow?

So this question arises: If Obama could not get Chicago over the finish line in Copenhagen, which was a test only of his charms, how will he persuade Tehran to give up its nuclear weapons capacity or the Arabs, to whom he has tilted (we are told) only tactically, to sit down without their 60 year-old map as guide to what they demand from Israel.

What I suspect is that the president is probably a clinical narcissist. This is not necessarily a bad condition if one maintains for oneself what the psychiatrists call an "optimal margin of illusion," that is, the margin of hope that allows you to work. But what if his narcissism blinds him to the issues and problems in the world and the inveterate foes of the nation that are not susceptible to his charms?

Chicago will survive its disappointments and Obama will, as well. It is the other stage sets on which the president struts--like he strutted in Cairo and at the United Nations--that concern me.

I know that the president believes himself a good man. My nervy query to him is: "Does he believe America to be a good country?"


TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2016olympics; bho44; chicago; obama; olympics; peretz

1 posted on 10/05/2009 6:00:56 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson

Daley probably sees this as just another opportunity for stealth funding of the Chicago thugs. In other words, the Olmypics was just another way of robbing the government....that would be you and me...the taxpayer.


2 posted on 10/05/2009 6:04:13 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: SJackson
Rio, 1 -- Chicago, 0.

Actually it was Rio, 3 -- Madrid, 2 -- Tokyo, 1 -- Chicago 0. There's no use sugar-coating the facts, Obama lost to everyone. Maybe he should have brought VP Joe Biden along for a little bit of GRAVITAS... A very little bit.

3 posted on 10/05/2009 6:15:14 AM PDT by Dixie Yooper (Ephesians 6:11)
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To: SJackson

4 posted on 10/05/2009 6:15:46 AM PDT by Iron Munro (I carry a gun because I’m too young to die and too old to take a beating.)
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To: SJackson
What I suspect is that the president is probably a clinical narcissist. This is not necessarily a bad condition if one maintains for oneself what the psychiatrists call an "optimal margin of illusion," that is, the margin of hope that allows you to work. But what if his narcissism blinds him to the issues and problems in the world and the inveterate foes of the nation that are not susceptible to his charms?

We are in serious trouble because obama does appear to believe his own press releases. He seems to actually believe people, including hostile foreign powers, will do what he wants ... well, I don't know why he would think that. North Korea, Iran, China, et al certainly are going their own way, acting in their own best interests, obama's desires be hanged.

obama's narcissism leaks out even in his speeches (which are many) and his use of the phrase "let me" which I see as a very controlling phrase. He really wants everyone to let him run their lives. Most of us see it only as his trying to ruin our lives.

5 posted on 10/05/2009 6:22:01 AM PDT by ThunderSleeps (obama out now! I'll keep my money, my guns, and my freedom - you can keep the change.)
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To: SJackson

“What I suspect is that the president is probably a clinical narcissist”

I think it’s possible that the Kenyan will crack under the pressure. Watch for a long period of seclusion where the Kenyan isn’t on TV, Ya know, for like a couple of days.


6 posted on 10/05/2009 6:22:15 AM PDT by y6162 (uish..)
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To: SJackson
I can't stand Obama and believe he is handling the Afghanistan issue completely wrong. But I can't place the blame for losing Chicago at his feet. Rio offered up a lot more money than we did.

Besides, there has never been an Olympics in South America, so it was about time.

7 posted on 10/05/2009 6:28:39 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: y6162
“What I suspect is that the president is probably a clinical narcissist”

Listen to this expert on narcissism and it will leave you shook up like it did me. Voters do not know what they unleashed on this country last November. - OB1

Dr Sam Vaknin Podcast - Is Obama a Narcissist?

8 posted on 10/05/2009 6:38:27 AM PDT by OB1kNOb (There are four boxes used in defense of liberty: Soap, ballot, jury, & ammo. Use in that order.)
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To: MEGoody

Yes, but anybody who was realistic also knew that about the Olympics before Obama went to Copenhagen, and surely somebody must have mentioned it to him at some moment. But the point is that he is such a narcissist that he really thought that it was all about him, and that the committee would completely throw over their way of doing things and historical pattern simply because he had swept into the room to let them bask in his glow.

That’s what it’s really all about: Obama is a clinical narcissist. This prevents him from making realistic decisions about anything, from Afghanistan to the Olympic committee.


9 posted on 10/05/2009 6:43:58 AM PDT by livius
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To: y6162
Watch for a long period of seclusion where the Kenyan isn’t on TV, Ya know, for like a couple of days.

You can't be serious!

10 posted on 10/05/2009 6:47:26 AM PDT by uncitizen
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To: SJackson

And this is Marty Peretz of the New Republic saying this stuff. Obama is getting deeper into trouble every day.


11 posted on 10/05/2009 6:57:00 AM PDT by 17th Miss Regt
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To: SJackson
Letterman = 1 hour

McChrystal = 25 minutes

12 posted on 10/05/2009 7:00:45 AM PDT by N. Theknow (Kennedys: Can't fly, can't ski, can't drive, can't skipper a boat, but they know what's best.)
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To: SJackson

It must be agony for an accomplished general to have to take orders from our infantile prez, or even discuss important matters with him, especially knowing that bambi actually wants the US to be defeated.


13 posted on 10/05/2009 7:13:45 AM PDT by HerrBlucher (Obamanos!)
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To: 17th Miss Regt

Yep even uber lib/neo-lib lefty dipwad like Marty Peretz, a 100% Demo supporter, including strongly supporting Senator Barack Obama in both primary race and in the 2008 general election, is starting to see the light on Obama. Soooprize! Soooprize, the indications are the leftist Jews here are suddenly realizing their messiah is a fraud...for a bunch of relatively ‘smart’ people they sure got sucked in by BHO! Think any of these folks might get off the Lefty Plantation???? I doubt it, they will go down with the ship.


14 posted on 10/05/2009 7:24:06 AM PDT by iopscusa (El Vaquero. (SC Lowcountry Cowboy))
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To: HerrBlucher

With his ties to communism and domestic terrorists like Ayers, does obama even have the security clearance to be briefed by his top field commanders??


15 posted on 10/05/2009 7:53:49 AM PDT by jesseam (Been there, done that)
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To: SJackson

I don’t theink the General got the memo on “soft power”.


16 posted on 10/05/2009 8:34:51 AM PDT by thethirddegree
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To: HerrBlucher

Every soldier, from the lowest Private on up, has at least once had to take orders from someone he despised. You obey the rank, not the man, and discipline does the rest. It’s just part of the job.


17 posted on 10/05/2009 8:36:13 AM PDT by Mountain Troll (My investment plan - Canned food and shotguns)
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To: SJackson
Marty Peretz ... New Republic ... "What I suspect is that the president is probably a clinical narcissist."

Folks, the worm is starting to turn.

18 posted on 10/05/2009 8:41:51 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: Mountain Troll
Every soldier, from the lowest Private on up, has at least once had to take orders from someone he despised. You obey the rank, not the man, and discipline does the rest. It’s just part of the job.

There may come a point, however, where "the rank" orders you to do something that is manifestly wrong or harmful. At that point, the soldier must decide if his responsibility is to his superiors, or to the nation.

This sort of situation is quite obviously not a decision that should be taken lightly -- it's deadly serious. What is a commander to do if he is convinced that his president is dangerously wrong?

There's only one thing to do at that point: resign.

19 posted on 10/05/2009 8:49:26 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: SJackson
I know that the president believes himself a good man. My nervy query to him is: "Does he believe America to be a good country?"

That's the difficulty with having a narcissist in office, and I do agree with that diagnosis, although there is a healthy dollop of narcissism in most politicians. In 0bama's case it approaches clinical levels. What it leads to is the belief that America is badly flawed, imperialistic, racist, all that tired laundry list of accusation from the left, and that radical changes driven from the top are the only way it may recover its virtue in the eyes of its accusers.

Not only is that impossible as it lies, it will be made impossible by an ever-ratcheting set of demands on the part of those who find accusation an effective way to influence policy. Nothing less than a perfection not demanded from anyone else will be the standard and it will be moved as necessary. It's all about the power to move the standard, not even the actual policy. In fact, and it's embarrassingly visible in this case, the actual responsibility for the policies enacted will be consistently diverted to someone else.

So does 0bama believe that America is a "good" country? Frankly it seems rather unlikely, but that may change as he starts to come to grips with the real world and realizes that the mythologies of the Left are just that. His supporters do not. They've said so on numerous occasions and they live by the myth. "God damn America" is not the utterance of a fringe player but a genuine tenet of that mythology, and 0bama is finding himself pulled between three poles now, not two - the exigencies of keeping his ever-demanding base together, the adamant demands of a world that operates on a set of premises different from the mythology of the Left, and his own desperate need for celebrity. The latter will tend to drive him back toward the myth, fostered by the mythmakers in the media whose own political power derives from it. The real world will chug on its own direction, and those of us not favored with the ability to exist within the myth are in for some nasty weather.

20 posted on 10/05/2009 9:00:40 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: ThunderSleeps
What I suspect is that the president is probably a clinical narcissist.

I just loved the caller into War Room this morning who suggested a theme song for Pres. BO updates: Toby Keith's "I Wanna Talk About Me"...only the lyrics need a very slight adjustment. The Keith song is about the flip side: his girl is a narcissist, who only wants to talk about herself. But the chorus is perfect for BO with a little adjustment:

I wanna talk about me,
Wanna talk about I,
Wanna talk about number one
Oh my me my,
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see.
I like talking about you you you you - when I have to - but usually,
I wanna talk about meeeeee (me,me,me,me-background singers)
I wanna talk about me (me,me-background singers)

21 posted on 10/05/2009 9:30:44 AM PDT by Nevermore (...just a typical cracker, clinging to my Constitutional rights...)
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To: thethirddegree
I don’t theink the General got the memo on “soft power”.

Given his background, he may simply have discarded it.

22 posted on 10/05/2009 3:51:51 PM PDT by SJackson (In wine there is wisdom, In beer there is freedom, In water there is bacteria.)
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To: ThunderSleeps
We are in serious trouble because obama does appear to believe his own press releases.

Why wouldn't he, he's surrounded by yes men, and women.

23 posted on 10/05/2009 3:58:17 PM PDT by SJackson (In wine there is wisdom, In beer there is freedom, In water there is bacteria.)
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