We mention President Obama's narcissism not as an exercise in name-calling but because it continues to be relevant to how he conducts himself in office, and it's not pretty.
This undeniable character trait was on full display in his interview with Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes," in the sense that he simply cannot entertain the possibility, much less — infinitely less — admit the possibility that he has made a mistake or exercised poor judgment.
If anything remotely positive happens on his watch, he presumes to take full credit for it — way more than the normal opportunistic politician. With the killing of Osama bin Laden, for example, Obama boasts as if the raid were his initial idea and he delivered the kill shot. Most people in his position would play down their role in such an event and give credit to our special forces personnel who made it happen.
But when things are going poorly, Obama either candy-coats the reality or pretends he's an outsider powerless to do anything but complain about it. No president has ever been so committed to eschewing accountability.
News outlets are reporting that Obama acknowledged that his administration was surprised by the strength of the Islamic State, sort of. He lays the blame for any such underestimates at the feet of Jim Clapper, his director of intelligence. Isn't Clapper in the administration? It's as if Obama is every bit as mystified by Clapper's alleged oversight as the rest of us and as if he has no culpability for it whatsoever.
But it's even worse than that. For the truth is that this wasn't some kind of mistake in intelligence. Our intelligence services were fully aware of the strength and danger the Islamic State posed months and months ago and were aware of its aggressive pursuit of territorial expansion. It's not that we underestimated the Islamic State; it's that we overtly ignored it or that Obama was literally out to lunch — or on the golf course.
Journalist Eli Lake reported that one former senior Pentagon official was flabbergasted in watching Obama's "60 Minutes" performance. "Either the president doesn't read the intelligence he's getting or he's bulls——ing," said the official.
Liberals were relentless in accusing President George W. Bush of lying about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction leading up to our attack on Iraq, even though he was reasonably relying on the best intelligence estimates from our own intelligence services and those of most other nations. He believed that Saddam Hussein had these weapons based on intelligence and on Saddam's behavior. Bush acted on that intelligence, for which he has been called a liar by egregious liars.
Obama, by contrast, had actionable intelligence and didn't act and is now acting as though he was personally unaware of it. Well, if his director of intelligence had that information, is it even conceivable he wouldn't have passed it on to Obama? Only if he knew Obama wouldn't care or wouldn't act on it in any event.
So if Clapper knew of the nature and extent of the Islamic State threat and didn't pass it on to Obama because he knew he wouldn't act on it, that's Obama's fault. If he knew and didn't pass it on for some other reason, that's Obama's fault for having such a knucklehead in such a critically important position affecting our national security. If Obama now knows that Clapper knew and didn't pass this information on to him, he should either resign himself (for creating the impression that he didn't want to know about such matters) or fire Clapper for not telling him. You feel me? It's Obama's fault any way you look at it.
I suspect that Clapper either didn't report to Obama because he knew Obama didn't want to hear it or did report to him but he didn't read it or he read it but refused to even consider acting on it because to do so would have contradicted his firmly held position that we had to remove ourselves entirely from Iraq. Obama is continuing in this stubbornly irresponsible posture today, even if he has reluctantly allowed airstrikes, because he has announced that he will not even consider ground forces in that area — no matter how dramatically the Islamic State threatens our national security and that of our allies.
Obama's narcissism is a clear and present danger to the security interests of the United States for a host of reasons. He refuses to accept accountability for his decisions or failed policies and thus won't change course when reality proves him wrong. He won't realistically assess threats when they contradict his worldview-driven perceptions. And he won't take action if by doing so he would be tacitly admitting he was wrong before.
I suspect that even Democratic Party leaders and those in his administration who have the sense to grasp the reality of the threat to world stability posed by radical Islamists are shaking their heads in private over the bizarre, surreal character who leads their party but refuses to lead the United States of America.