President Obama's penchant for inspiring slogans, showy speeches, and dropping in on late-night talk shows has won him some just teasing. One of the more popular ways to do this is by calling him out as a narcissist--a label that has stuck on Obama since before day one of taking office. As Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly notes, the Chicago Olympics debacle has prompted a healthy revival of the phrase, even enlisting some heavy-hitters on the left. A survey:
October 6, 2009, The Washington Post: "Although the working of the committee's mind is murky, it could reasonably have rejected Chicago's bid for the 2016 Games on aesthetic grounds -- unless narcissism has suddenly become an Olympic sport."
August 3, 2009, The Washington Post: "Obama should be told: Enough, already, with the we-are-who-we-have-been-waiting-for rhetorical cotton candy that elevates narcissism to a political philosophy."
July 18, 2008, The Washington Post: "There's nothing new about narcissism in politics. Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Nonetheless, has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements?"
April 21, 2009, The National Review: "The most telling moment, however, was when Daniel Ortega, the president of Nicaragua, delivered a 53-minute excoriating attack on the United States. And Obama's response was 'I'm grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for the things that occurred when I was three months old.' Does the narcissism of this man know no bounds? This is not about him. It is about his country."
October 4, 2009, The New Republic: "What I suspect is that the president is probably a clinical narcissist. This is not necessarily a bad condition if one maintains for oneself what the psychiatrists call an "optimal margin of illusion," that is, the margin of hope that allows you to work. But what if his narcissism blinds him to the issues and problems in the world and the inveterate foes of the nation that are not susceptible to his charms?"
October 6, 2009, Commentary: "What was a vaguely creepy cult-of-personality approach to campaigning has become the stuff of parody. And what’s worse, we now get the narcissism in stereo — from both Obamas."
October 3, 2009, Commentary: "Obama’s Olympics bid rebuff is a self-inflected wound, which may either come to personify a White House tripped up by its own arrogance and incompetency or serve as a wake-up call that narcissism is not the basis for a successful presidency."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.