Obamaporta-prompta; Symptom of Distress?

A Shrinking Presidential Perspective

Necessity being the mother of invention, it appears that Barack Obama has needed, and thus invented, the Portable President Kit, consisting of two teleprompters with accompanying equipment and a traveling Don’t-You-Know-Who-I-Am-I-Am-The-President-That’s-Who Podium With Presidential Seal, which Barack Obama takes with him, everywhere he goes.

That means he brings it to an elementary school, for use in addressing the press (something past-and-moronic presidents did not have to do), who are then weirdly dismissed and unable to witness his talk to the children.

It means that he brings his Obamaprompta w/ Podium to a what is essentially a staff meeting.

I’ll be honest, my first reaction to both of those pictures was that they were photoshops. Whoever is choosing what photos get released by the White House needs to be fired. Do they think these pictures reassure us, or that it makes Obama look commanding? They’re quite wrong. These pictures make the President look like an insecure fool.

For all we know -since we don’t know very much at all about Barack Obama, after all- perhaps the president is an insecure fool. Perhaps that was why he needed a pre-presidential seal,

and a ubiquitous, dreamy logo

and a rather special seat, just for him, on his campaign plane:

and a truly unprecedented sign identifying him as President-Elect

The blogs (and Jon Stewart) are having a lot of fun
at the president’s expense, every time another one of these weird teleprompter-and-podium sightings turns up, and well they should. We can be very certain that if President Bush had needed a teleprompter in an elementary school (whether it was meant for-the-press-only, or not) or if he’d needed one to address a “task force” of ten people, the press and most Americans would be ridiculing him without mercy (and with some justification), while his supporters winced.

Mockery and cynicism is all part of modern day politics, but I am beginning to worry that Obama is showing evidence of a real problem, and it is a problem of insecurity, identity, aloofness, self-protection and, I am sorry to say it, but delusion.

Is Barack Obama headed for some sort of meltdown? Is he clinging to his podium and teleprompters because he has lost his protective shields and does not trust himself without them? The starry-eyed adulation of the press has simmered down to a mere gaze of hopefulness and longing, accompanied by the barest of criticisms, and Obama translates that as the press being “against” him.

Barack Obama is making flimsy excuses or outright lying; he is saying downright weird things like “I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates…” He has become more self-referential than Bill Clinton. He is throwing transparent boondoggles and doublespeaks at an American public he clearly thinks is too stupid to understand much of anything.

Some are talking about Linus and his security blanket.
To me Obama more accurately resembles the responsibility-shirking Captain Queeg, with this marbles. What is going on with him? The teleprompter protects him from a slip of the tongue. The Podium creates a barrier between him and his “audience” such as it is, and all of it keeps everything at a distance. Even in this picture, the desk is a barrier, the legs outstretched to the max create distance, the soles of the feet denote a measure of disregard. This president is voluntarily isolating himself, even from his advisers. And again, the White House must think this makes Obama appear in control, but one could just as easily argue that he is surrounded by men who are standing above and looking down upon him.

The optics are terrible, indeed, but the message being communicated in these photos is downright worrisome. Our nation is in serious trouble, and the man in charge of it all seems content misread every signal and only reluctantly engage. His own party has been in control of Congress (and therefore in control of spending) for two solid years, and yet all he can do is blame the predecessor (with whom he should -at this point- really have a little sympathy) and throw that same congress under the bus because all of his illusions have crumbled, and someone must be blamed.

Well, yes, there must be blame and there is plenty to go around. For my money, the press needs to be made to explain how it can justify having never asked this man a difficult question during his two-year campaign; they need to explain why they were so happy to promote Barack Obama into the presidency when they really did not know him, and did not want to know him. They wanted an idea of a president, and I suspect the press did not look too deeply at Barack Obama, because they did not want their idea shattered; they did not want to find out he was not what they imagined. Even Howard Fineman now admits we do not know this man.

So, we do not know much about Barack Obama
. We do not even know the minimal stuff -school records, health records, known associates- because the press never troubled themselves with those same urgent demands they made of his predecessor. All we have is the media-built narrative, and the example of Obama in his first year as president, during which he resembled nothing of the man we saw in 2007 and 2008.

The president does not seem to know himself, either, which is perhaps why he needs to surround himself with cultural elitists, the trappings of his office, and the constant reminder of his title. Whether the highly-insulated Obama knows who his allies are, or even who the majority of his countrymen are is also a question worth asking.

Another WH issued picture that I thought was a photoshop

Referencing that photo, Bookworm, has called Barack Obama as a “malignant narcissist”, incapable of considering anything, except in reference to himself. She may well be right, but I’ll leave that to the experts. I do worry about his isolation, though, and his delusion that the press is “against” him. There is no president in my memory who has been more carefully protected and kid-gloved by the press.

But I think Bookworm is right to wonder what is wrong with Barack Obama. I think many Americans are wondering what is the story with this stranger-president, with the affable (if eerily unchanging) smile, and the instinct to blame others and then slip away. Is he a victim of his own success? Has he made the ultimate mistake of a politician, and believed his own hype, only to find that reality trumps hype, every time, and leaves the adored object unmercifully exposed as being merely mere?

All I know is, I keep seeing these awful White House approved photos, and they daily jar me because they seem to reveal the president in very unflattering, troubling ways, like the work of an obsessed and Obama-hating photoshop expert.

I look at the photos and see a man who seems not to know himself, or -perhaps- to love himself too much. And I can’t help thinking, “this man has about 40 ‘czars’ busily working under the radar; most of them are unaccountable to congress, or to the people, or to the press. They answer only to Barack Obama, whose presidency may be a voyage of self-discovery joined with immense but unfocused power.

Who knows where it will land us?

Ann Althouse links and notes:

[the pictures] are mostly unflattering when seen by people who don’t like Obama — admittedly, that’s an increasing group. People who like him look at those pics and think they are wonderful.

And this reminds me of something I was saying the other day about liberals. Liberals — I’m generalizing — are so engulfed in their belief that they are the good people, the smart people, that they forget to step back and look at things from the perspective of people who don’t agree with them.

Instapundit links! Thanks, Glenn, and welcome readers! Please note, today I recommended that the pope work toward an instalanche in a chat on NPR!

NeoNeocon Again, with the Speech of his life!
Vanderleun remembers a president who knew who he was
State of the Union Bingo Cards
Gateway Pundit: more blaming
Koop: Last Knife in Obamacare?

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Jay

    I think Keith Olbermann is going to crack up before Obama – he seems to be getting angrier and angrier.

  • http://redc1c4.livejournal.com/ redc1c4

    Slublog did a great edit to the mirror photo, as seen on AoSHQ: link

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  • lydia batten

    I am a 4th grader and we’ve had show and tell in school from age 3 without notes or teleprompters.

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    *Sniff* “The press is against me”. *Sniff*

    Gawd, what a self-indulged crybaby.
    This is coming from a publicity-created Frankenstein; foisted into power by leftwing media which served as his campaign wing.
    When taken all together, it’s obvious that Obama’s house-of-cards image is collapsing.
    The White House photos are disturbing and indicative of unchecked hubris and absence of leadership skills, in the hands of an immature socialist empty suit.

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  • dcmatthews

    Why am I reminded of a Paul Simon song?

    “And if I was the President
    The minute the Congress called my name
    I’d say now who do
    Who do you think you’re foolin’
    I got the Presidential Seal
    I’m up on the Presidential podium”

    Makes me wonder if Simon was writing that song today, would he mention teleprompters.

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  • SukieTawdry

    Someone tell that Chi Town punk to get his feet off Jack Kennedy’s desk.

    Spot on, Anchoress. Pray for America (I know you do).

    (Listening to SOTU. Awful yet awesome. Awesome in its awfulness.

  • Alice DeMerse

    It is sad for America and dreadful for Obama. Meltdown is putting it mildly. We are all going to pay for this one – even those who didn’t vote for him. God Bless America – we’ll need it!Irish45

  • Ralph L

    I wonder if that’s a special circular carpet he’s standing on in the second photo, or is it part of the schoolroom?

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  • http://hyphenatedamericans.blogspot.com Hyphenated American

    I believe the best putdown for the ONE comes from Salinger’s “Cathcer in the Rye”. Read the passage here: link

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  • Jocon307

    You are certainly right about those WH photos. I’m pretty much convinced the photo-editor is a republican plant. You don’t mention the one that was published showing the cleaning person vacuuming the empty Oval Office that was released while the President vacationed and a terrorist strove to blow up a plane. Bad optics indeed.

    And Michelle Obama is a study. Tonight she just looked irritated to be mentioned. The press has been trying to put her across as some Jackie Kennedy type, but she’s really coming across more as Joan Crawford.

    It’s all most disturbing.

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  • A_Nonny_Mouse

    Obama said something in his speech about he’s already cut taxes? Huh? My tax withholding INCREASED as of the first of this year (and I’m part-time and don’t earn nearly enough to be slapped with the “rich man’s penalty” tax).

    Of course, I may have misunderstood what he said; I had to walk away from the TV when he started in on “line-item veto” and “transparency” and “earmarks”, due to my rapidly-rising blood pressure. (“What ???” I yelled at the TV. “You absolute TWIT! if you really wanted that stuff –which you already promised us way back during your campaign, you lying liar– you could have done it during the stimulus, AND the GM takeover, AND your arm-twisting of the Dem Senators just before Christmas, AND in those backroom Cadillac-policy tax-exemption deals with the SEIU, you fraud, you dissembler, you two-faced … POLITICIAN!!”)

    So anyway, I was only half-listening through the last part of the speech…

  • Worried One

    Important quotes on malignant narcissism and Obama


    “…Vaknin is a world authority on narcissism. He understands narcissism and describes the inner mind of a narcissist like no other person. When he talks about narcissism everyone listens. Vaknin says that Obama’s language, posture and demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, dearest and nearest suggest that the Senator is either a narcissist or he may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

    Vaknin explains: “Narcissistic leaders are nefarious and their effects pernicious. They are subtle, refined, socially-adept, manipulative, possessed of thespian skills, and convincing. Both types [cerebral and somatic] equally lack empathy and are ruthless and relentless or driven.”

    “…Vaknin writes: “Narcissists use anything they can lay their hands on in the pursuit of narcissistic supply. If God, creed, church, faith, and institutionalized religion can provide them with narcissistic supply, they will become devout. They will abandon religion if it can’t.”

    Therefore, the question whether Obama is a Muslim or a Christian, whether he is pro Palestine, as he has been all his life or whether he is pro Israel, whether he is a black supremacist or an agent of racial harmony, are moot. Obama is anything you want him to be and situation dictates. He takes the side that is more expedient to his cause. To communists he is a comrade, to Islamists he is their man, to Palestinian fighters he is their hope and to the Jews he is a staunch Zionist. The narcissist’s creed is himself. Everything else is negotiable.

    The best description of Obama comes from himself. “I serve as a blank screen,” he wrote in The Audacity of Hope, “on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” This is the key to Obama’s personality. He will do and say anything as long as it suits him. He will embrace any cause, will align himself with anyone, and will shift his position wherever the wind blows. Narcissists are chameleons.

  • Worried One

    This final portion was written as almost a prophetic warning before the election and now it’s become a developing story.


    The narcissist who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite – is highly unlikely to use violence at first.”

    The pacific mask crumbles when the narcissist has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, the prime sources of his narcissistic supply – have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, the narcissist strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. “The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)”, “they don’t really know what they are doing”, “following a rude awakening, they will revert to form”, etc.

    When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail – the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized – is now discarded with contempt and hatred.

    This election is like no other in the history of America. The issues are insignificant compared to what is at stake. What can be more dangerous than having a man bereft of conscience, a serial liar, and one who cannot distinguish his fantasies from reality as the leader of the free world?

    I hate to sound alarmist, but one must be a fool if one is not alarmed. Many politicians are narcissists. They pose no threat to others. They are simply self serving and selfish. Obama evinces symptoms of pathological narcissism, which is different from the run-of-the-mill narcissism of a Richard Nixon or a Bill Clinton, for example. To him reality and fantasy are intertwined. This is a mental health issue, not just a character flaw. Pathological narcissists are dangerous because they look normal and even intelligent. It is this disguise that makes them treacherous.

    Vaknin says, “When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having failed to see through the narcissist earlier on.”

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  • JT Keating

    A leader contemplating his reflection is an
    unsettling picture.


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  • Mark

    What a naive little boy playing “President”. Go play marbles with the other kids, Barry, and let the adults handle things. You’ve made a mess and now it’s time for us to clean up after you.

  • http://www.assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com Assistant Village Idiot

    Rather reminiscent of dictators of banana republics decking themselves out in many medals.

    FWIW, I work in the psychiatric emergency biz, and in the entire sociopath/immaturity/narcissism debate, BTW, I lean pretty strongly toward the narcissistic interpretation. Yeah, even compared to other politicians, which I admit makes it tougher to sort pathology from practical necessity.

  • Gail F

    I don’t think he has a mental problem. I think what I’ve always thought — that he’s a face for the real people in charge. They got tired of trying to find someone people would like who could actually govern, and found someone that people would like who would do whatever they said. That’s why he isn’t actually working with anyone on anything, and that’s why he (apparently) needs a teleprompter wherever he goes.

    Look, I thought George Bush was a bad president, and I never thought he was particularly smart… but I did think he was in charge. Obama? He never accomplished anything before he became president, why should anyone expect him to start now?

  • mlajoie2

    Captain Queeg was mentioned a couple of times here. For a related post, go to link

  • Neil McIntyre

    Dear Sir / Madam

    As an outsider from downunder, who really appreciate what America has done for us in
    Australia, I personally think the new President Barrack OBAMA is the greatest thing that could have happened to this earth , he is a real man of quality , and a true leader of the future.
    I wish him well in his endeavours & I am sure the world will be a far better place with him, even taking into account all the trials and tribulations surrounding everyone everwhere.
    God Bless him, America, Australia & the world.
    Neil McIntyre

  • Mike C

    Everyone who would even consider running for POTUS has to possess some degree of narcissism – you don’t run for that office unless you’re convinced you’re on a mission from God.

    Obama’s problem is that he’s spent his life in academe and has no idea of how the world actually works.

    In re. his medical records, though – those are private, as they should be. Same goes for any one of us. Your blood pressure is a matter for you and your physician, and no-one else.

  • Mike C

    One more thing. Back home (Kansas) in my formative years, we had a wonderful phrase to describe people like Obambi: “College-educated idiots.”

  • creeper

    “According to an interview with one of his speechwriters, their biggest sources are HIS OWN two books… the self-referential feedback-loop is frightening.”

    In that case, his speeches are being written by William Ayers.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.wordpress.com Robert Belvedere

    Quote from and Linked to at:
    Cleaning Out The Cache