In Republican Rome whenever a general won a great victory a triumphal parade was arranged and he would ride a chariot and listen to the frenzied cheers of the populace; while he was riding the chariot basking in the glory, a slave stood right behind him, constantly whispering in his ear “Memento mori” (Remember that thou are mortal) In more recent times, Andrew Jackson relied on his famous Kitchen Cabinet, composed of people whom he trusted and who not always agreed with him; Abraham Lincoln had his Cabinet of Rivals and he would listen to various and sometimes antagonistic opinions. In the Vatican, regardless of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility on matters of doctrine, the Synod of Bishops has been known to oppose papal decisions, the latest being their opposition to the proposed idea of allowing divorced Catholics to remarry.
Previous presidential administrations relied on cabinets and advisors that sometimes held divergent opinions. That is, until the current Obama administration. For the length of his presidency, he has been constantly surrounded by an assortment of advisors and assistants who have been nothing but yes men and sycophants who always flatter him and constantly shield him from the barbs of criticism.
How else can Obama’s statement of December 26 can be explained: “I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it” Besides being a veiled swipe at Hillary Clinton, it is an obvious self-serving and aggrandizing statement.
In contrast to former presidents, who traditionally retire and keep a low profile and abstain from commenting on their successors, Former President-to-be Barack Obama promised to stick around in Washington in order to “protect his legacy and defend his health care legislation” In other words, to be a thorn on the side of incoming president Donald J Trump.
He does have his enablers, though. On January 4th, Defense Secretary Ash Carter awarded Obama with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Service. And consider the following: in his biography of Obama titled “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama” David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, quotes senior advisor and longtime Obama friend, Valerie Jarret, the White House eminence grise: “I think Barack Obama knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows he had the ability -the extraordinary ability- to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense of them, and I think that he has never been challenged intellectually. So what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with just extraordinary talents that had to be ready taxed in order for him to be happy. He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do”
Wow! That is an extraordinary statement and it is obvious that Obama believes it; that explains the bevy of self congratulatory statements aimed at whitewashing his eight-year presidency. Unfortunately, the one person who does not buy any of it is Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly taken Obama to school whether in the Middle East or international relations and has succeeded in making him look weak and indecisive.
While Barack Obama blows his own trumpet over his accomplishments, it would be worthwhile to examine some of them:
His eponymous health reform, which was railroaded through Congress under the now-infamous “if you like your doctor you can keep him” and ‘if you like your health plan, you can keep it” Remember Nancy Pelosi’s “to find out what’s in the bill you have to pass it”?
Four dead Americans, including an ambassador, in a burned out consulate littering Benghazi after a 13-hour siege with no help whatsoever forthcoming. His immediate reaction? Placing the blame on an obscure You Tube video and his speech at the U. N. saying emphatically “The future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” After which he went to a fund-raiser in Las Vegas.
His call for a Syrian red line and his failure to enforce it, worsening the civil war and resulting in some 400,000 deaths and millions of refugees. His weakness in Syria opened the door for Putin to intervene on behalf of his longtime ally Bashir Assad.
The weakest economic recovery in recent times and the manipulation of the statistics to show that the unemployment rate has decreased, ignoring the fact that millions of Americans have just given up looking for jobs or forced to take part-time jobs, in which case they vanish from the official numbers. If unemployment has decreased, how come the number of people employed has not correspondingly increased?
The politicization of the Department of Justice, first under Eric Holder and now under Loretta Lynch
The worst race relations atmosphere since the days of the civil rights marches in the sixties.
The worst showing of the Democratic party since the 1920’s. The GOP now controls Congress and the majority of states governorships and the majority of states legislatures.
The list can go on
In Psychology, narcissism is defined as “extreme selfishness with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration as characterizing a personality type, exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without corresponding achievements”