Narcissism on Parade
by Tom Donelson on April 30, 2012 at 9:20 AM
In this century, we have seen two of the least qualified Presidential candidate foisted upon the American public, and I am not talking about Sarah Palin. John Edwards may be the most despicable man ever considered for either Vice-President or have the nerve to run for President. Under the definition of narcissism, there is a picture of Edwards attached. A trial lawyer by training, Edwards took ambition to new levels as he basically used his dying wife, an elderly millionaire, and treated his own staff with disdain, along with his mistress. There wasn’t anyone he wouldn't step over in the name of ambition, nor was there any evidence that he was particularly knowledgeable about the issues. The great mystery was how just a man could hide his inadequacy so well, but then when much of the media was (and still is) in the tank for the left and Democratic Party, it was even a miracle that the issue got covered. Edwards’ scandal was first covered by tabloids and ignored by much of the mainstream media until it became obvious that Edwards was too much of a cad to be ignored. (And his presidency candidacy was over, so his usefulness was over.)
Then there is Barack Obama who proved to be the perfect candidate for the celebrity era. There was a cult-like adoration among many of his supporters, and even much of the media, as he was treated like more of a messiah than a politician with many flaws. An Indian writer once noted that democracy is best served by modest men and women running the country, and if there is anything that Obama is not, it is modest. From the time he accepted his nomination for the Presidency under Greek columns in an outdoor stadium, we were given a major clue that this was not a man with too much humility. In her book, The Obamas, Author Jodi Kantors noted, “Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: 'I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it …It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.' Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. 'I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,' Obama told him. 'I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.'"
Great leaders understand their strength and their limitations, and poor leaders overestimate what they can accomplish or do. The day that Obama wrapped up the nomination, he stated that it was the day the planet started to heal and economic problems were solved. To paraphrase one of his sayings, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” Between Edwards and Obama, I can’t remember any politicians who could match either for their narcissism in modern times.
This brings me to a story about Mitt Romney. This man has been running for President for five years and yet this story seems to have missed everyone's radar screen. A family boat sprang a leak and the family members, along with their family dog, ended up struggling in the lake. Romney and his sons jumped on jet skis and saved the family and the family dog from drowning. The question that remains, how does a story like this not get told? Team Romney never even brought this up, and you would figure that a candidate who saves the lives of strangers and their dog would be something that a campaign would put out everywhere. Obama’s people would not only have put this out, but we would have had Obama saving this family's lives without even using a jet ski. So how does a story like this not get told? I am not saying that Romney is Saint Mitt, but the real reason that this story never made it out in the public arena is that Mitt Romney chose not to tell the story. It could be simply that Romney chose that his heroic efforts stay private for he did what was expected. For years, Romney has given 20% of his earnings to charities and his church, but this was never made public until recently. There is an aspect of modesty to Romney, a good sign for a leader. Modesty is a virtue that needs to be restored back to the public life; we need to elect politicians who understand their limitation and what they can accomplish. Democracy and free market societies are dependent upon leaders whose modesty is a virtue and immodesty a vice. When Presidential candidate appears under Greek columns and talk of healing the planet, we should fear just a candidate. These are the politicians who don’t understand their own limitations or the government they lead.