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Does Obama Have Trouble Relating To Men?

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal wrote this last week, but I’ve been ruminating on it ever since and I’m curious what your thoughts are:

Jeremiah Wright and Mitt Romney are two of the most important men in Barack Obama’s life, and for reasons that transcend the merely personal. His dealings with them are crucial to his relationships, respec…

  1. Maggie Leber

    (The WSJ link is broken, Mollie)

  2. Keith Rice

    At first I wanted to dismiss it, Obama’s incompetence stems from fantasyland ideology and being the poster boy for tokenism. Yet, it makes sense, aside from those who subordinate to him, he seems to be timid with men.

  3. ConservativeWanderer

    Obama has a problem relating to other people, period.

    To him, as a supreme narcissist, other people aren’t really “people,” just people-shaped things that exist only to serve him.

  4. katievs

    Sometimes armchair psycho-analysis is spot-on.

    Obama loves to vanquish strawmen in front of adoring crowds.  That habit exudes deep insecurity about his manhood.  When he’s confronted with real opposition from real men, he retreats into peevishness and resentment.  (Remember the bottom of the shoe to Bibi?  Remember the middle finger to the face while listening to Paul Ryan?)

    I’ve also noticed in photos of his community-organizing days that this ACORN troops seem to be almost all women.

  5. Jimmy Carter

    Well, Barry does where Mom jeans.

  6. Crabby Appleton

    Interesting.  It may help explain his well documented puerile petulance when confronted with authoritative males.  Of course, I’m no psychiatrist.  I just pretend to be.  

  7. Essgee

    Have always thought that Obama’s mother was the real force of shaping his ideology.  His father existed much in the tales of his mother.  It was her anti-colonialist and communist leanings that formed his world view, her direction of his mentoring towards communist theories and away from the evolving world view of his step-father.

    The other women in his life simply are an extention of her belief system.

  8. Vice-Potentate

    The gendered analysis seems a bit dubious to me as does psychoanalysis in general.

  9. tigerlily

    Maybe, maybe not. The problem as I see it, is that Obama is simply unable to get along with anyone – male of female- who does not agree with him ideologically. He’s lived in a couple of bubbles his entire life – a far-left wing bubble starting with his mother, moving on to Frank Marshall Davis and on through college and law school into community organizing and on up to his presidential run. The second bubble is the affirmative action bubble he has been ensconced in since infancy. I really doubt that anyone close to him has ever told him that an idea or action of his was stupid. Even now, he surrounds himself with nothing but ideological soulmates and sycophants.

    Sure, he disdains Romney probably as much as he disdains Bibi, but he also doesn’t get along at all with Angela Merkel who has apparently had the temerity to tell him his stimulus plans are idiotic. 

  10. RightinChicago

    I think so.  It helps to explain why he doesn’t like politics and all the negotiating, hand shaking, and schmoozing that go along with it.  It also may explain why he is so competitive against people.  I’ve read that he must win at basketball, golf, bowling, etc.  It’s probably because he fears other men and goes out of his way to beat them to prove his “superiority”.

  11. KC Mulville

    Well, it is a sign of children from fatherless homes that they don’t always know how to handle strong men. They either overreact (with violence) or underreact (with passivity). 

    But, just to throw the ball back into play … what does it say about the women around him? Are they using him? Maneuvering vicariously through him?

  12. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Maggie Leber: (The WSJ link is broken, Mollie) · 41 minutes ago

    Thank you! I think I fixed.

  13. quodlibet
    RightinChicago: I think so.  It helps to explain why he doesn’t like politics and all the negotiating, hand shaking, and schmoozing that go along with it.  It also may explain why he is so competitive against people.  I’ve read that he must win at basketball, golf, bowling, etc.  It’s probably because he fears other men and goes out of his way to beat them to prove his “superiority”. · 0 minutes ago

    If he must win at bowling I hope he has improved since 2008.

  14. EJHill

    The real question is, “What do you feel about it?” You have one hour to talk and leave a check with the girl on your way out…

    All politicians are narcissistic to a degree. You have to be, otherwise you’d never run.

    The troubling aspect of Obama is that he doesn’t really seem to be in charge – of anything. He is just the vessel for others’ ambitions – particularly Valerie Jarrett.

  15. Colin B Lane
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal wrote this last week, but 
    Obama seems to lack the basic emotional skill–surely of enormous importance to any task of political leadership–of accurately sizing up other men, whether they be allies or rivals, and of adjusting his view of them to take account of new information.

    I think Taranto’s point is incredibly insightful. I would take issue with only one thing: I believe Obama’s profound inability to take the measure of people is not limited to men. He does not seem to know how to size anyone up very well. Hence his over-reliance on Valerie Jarrett and his schmoozing with Sandra Fluke (Seriously? The most powerful man in the world wants to align himself with Sandra Fluke??).

    My sense is that Obama quickly places people he meets (men and women) into one of two categories — friend or enemy. There are no other categories.

    It is an extraordinarily childish view of the world and the people who inhabit it.  And it represents a shockingly shallow level of thinking for the smartest president ever

  16. Ansonia

    A lot of men who grow up, without a father who is willing to make sacrifices for their present or future well being, are good at getting around women, and uncomfortable around (even more often hostile toward) men.

  17. RightinChicago
    quodlibet

    RightinChicago: I think so.  It helps to explain why he doesn’t like politics and all the negotiating, hand shaking, and schmoozing that go along with it.  It also may explain why he is so competitive against people.  I’ve read that he must win at basketball, golf, bowling, etc.  It’s probably because he fears other men and goes out of his way to beat them to prove his “superiority”. · 0 minutes ago

    If he must win at bowling I hope he has improved since 2008. · 36 minutes ago

    That’s it exactly.  In one of the many recent unflattering Obama pieces, I read that he practiced incessantly after losing a bowling match.

  18. Vice-Potentate
    KC Mulville: Well, it is a sign of children from fatherless homes that they don’t always know how to handle strong men. They either overreact (with violence) or underreact (with passivity). 

    This is my specific problem with psychoanalytics it predicts two polar behaviors and then chooses between them. You then set the locus for behavior in a detached context, usually childhood. This frees whoever is being analyzed from specific action, usually painfully stupid, in the present. Which, in turn, provides a release from responsibility for the action. You are left with a non-predictive theory on how non-critical responsibility can be placed in the past.

  19. KC Mulville
    Vice-Potentate This frees whoever is being analyzed from specific action, usually painfully stupid, in the present. Which, in turn, provides a release from responsibility for the action. You are left with a non-predictive theory on how non-critical responsibility can be placed in the past.

    No argument about the chain of reasoning, but I don’t think anyone (at least I don’t) is excusing Obama from responsibility. And as Taranto said himself above, “Of course it’s not Obama’s fault he grew up in a broken home. That doesn’t mean America deserves to pay the price for it.”

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