American Narcissus

One of President Obama’s most prominent and least attractive qualities is his vanity. It almost disposes of the speculation that Obama is a Muslim. The man can’t be a Muslim; he worships himself.
In the title of the new Weekly Standard cover story, Jonathan Last calls Obama “The American Narcissus” and, as Last demonstrates, Obama has earned the title. The evidence compiled by Last is voluminous, if not overwhelming.
Obama’s characteristic rhetorical trope is the presentation of history in a messianic mode featuring himself. Last quotes Obama’s June 2008 speech in St. Paul celebrating his securing the Democratic presidential nomination. In that speech Obama concluded:

I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment–this was the time–when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.

“[T]his was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal[.]” As a false messiah, Sabbatai Zevi has nothing on Obama. Sabbatai converted to Islam under coercion, but Obama’s not for turning. He steadfastly worships at his own shrine.
Obama was at it again in his speech earlier this week to the Indian Parliament. The first person singular figures prominently in it: “I am not the first American president to visit India. Nor will I be the last. But I am proud to visit India so early in my presidency. It is no coincidence that India is my first stop on a visit to Asia, or that this has been my longest visit to another country since becoming President.” Obama seems already to have projected a second term for himself.
But that’s the least of it. One senses that the presidency of the United States is beneath him. Obama gives us history in the form of an arc bending inevitably toward himself:

For me and Michelle, this visit has therefore held special meaning. Throughout my life, including my work as a young man on behalf of the urban poor, I have always found inspiration in the life of Gandhiji and in his simple and profound lesson to be the change we seek in the world. And just as he summoned Indians to seek their destiny, he influenced champions of equality in my own country, including a young Martin Luther King. After making his pilgrimage to India a half century ago, Dr. King called Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent resistance “the only logical and moral approach” in the struggle for justice and progress.
So we were honored to visit the residence where Gandhi and King both stayed–Mani Bhavan. We were humbled to pay our respects at Raj Ghat. And I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as President of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared with America and the world.

“We were humbled…” is a particularly nice touch. In the gospel according to Barack, the man is both herald and messiah. It may be worth noting that in the classic version of the myth that to which the title of Last’s article refers, Nemesis is the key to the story.

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