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New Republic Editor Evokes Fringe Email "Clinical Narcissism" Smear

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Kudos to Joe Klein at Time's Swampland blog for calling out the editor of The New Republic for pegging the president as a "clinical narcissist."He hits back hard, as well he should. Says Klein:

There are solid philosophical arguments that can be made against what
Obama is doing. There are strong arguments that can be made either way
on Afghanistan.  I still think the various health care proposals place
too much of a burden on an already strapped private sector. But
Peretz--allegedly the impresario of one of our most distinguished
journals of liberal thought--is making none of those. He is indulging
in standard Likudnik name calling--Israel good, Iran eeeee-vil--and
indulging in the neoconservative efforts to create a Straw Messiah.

This may sound like a strong rebuke, but keep in mind what TNR editor Marty Peretz had to say about the failed Chicago bid to host the 2016 Olympics:

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?



Chicago will survive its disappointments and Obama will, as well. It is
the other stage sets on which the president struts--like he strutted in
Cairo and at the United Nations--that concern me.



I know that the president believes himself a good man. My nervy query to him is: "Does he believe America to be a good country?"

I'm going to piggy-back on Klein now with a piece of evidence from my inbox.

A famously hawkish supporter of Israel, Peretz's accusations about the president mimic the message of a fringe ring-wing email that I got my hands on.  You know the kind of email I'm talking about, one of those "Obama is a Muslim" emails. So I don't know for sure if Klein put his finger on the real reason for Peretz's anxiety when he claims "the bitterness tracks perfectly with the President's insistence that Israel freeze its settlements" (he might have, read on). But I do know that Peretz's claim evokes a fringe email smear circulating about the president, a link he appears to be less than self-conscious about. 

He's not just mimicking the relatively mainstream critique of Obama's celebrity, but going further, putting himself (unwittingly?) in the same realm as a slanderous and incendiary email chain letter of obviously dubious credibility, the birthers, the camp that believes Obama to be a socialist/Nazi, all of which, you guessed it, is portrayed as having some amorphous connection to Israel.

In its main narcissism thrust the email purports to be based on analysis by an "Israeli psychologist," one Sam Vaknin, PhD, who diagnoses Obama with exactly the same thing as Peretz, clinical narcissism, and whose website constitutes a shrine to his own expertise on narcissim (read: his own narcissism) and yet proclaims "I am NOT a mental health professional - read the DISCLAIMER - click
HERE!!!"

The other messages conveyed by the email? The now well-worn "Obama is a racist"  and "Obama is Hitler" smears. Visit Vaknin's site to see his "work" for yourself.  The email was circulating as early as July 1 of this year, when I received it, and was based on the work of, but evidently not written by, "Dr." Vaknin.

I want to offer up the full text of the email just to shed light on the whole narcissism smear, to show what kind of schlock underpins it. Samples from the email below, followed by its full text:

Vaknin says that Obama's language, posture
and demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, dearest and nearest
suggest that the Senator is either a narcissist or he may
have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).  Narcissists
project a grandiose but false image of themselves.  Jim Jones,
the charismatic leader of People's Temple, the man who led over 900
of his followers to cheerfully commit mass suicide and even murder
their own children was also a narcissist.  David Koresh, Charles
Manson, Joseph Koni, Shoko Asahara, Stalin, Saddam, Mao, Kim Jong Ill
and Adolph Hitler are a few examples of narcissists of our
time.  All these men had a tremendous influence over their
fanciers.  They created a personality cult around themselves and
with their blazing speeches elevated their admirers, filled their
hearts with enthusiasm and instilled in their minds a new zest for
life.  They gave them hope!

It
is no wonder that Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, the Castrists,
the

Hezbollah, the Hamas, the lawyers of the Guantanamo terrorists
and

virtually all sworn enemies of America are so thrilled by the
prospect

of their man in the White House. America is on the verge
of

destruction.  There is no insanity greater than electing

pathological narcissist as
president.

Full text, omitting only what might reveal the sender, is below:

I
received this and found this was what I had been thinking also.
This

is so true!! [name witheld]

Dr. Vaknin sums up the situation
really well.  He also explains why

Obama’s followers will never
believe that their idol is leading them

down the path to
ruin.

Some of you will understand it and some of you will be upset
with me

for sending this politically charged message.  If you
disagree with

the message for any reason,  fine. Stop
reading.  If you read it and

understand Dr. Vaknin’s point,
maybe we can limit Obama’s tenure to 4

years.

Dr. Sam Vaknin
is an Israeli psychologist.  Interesting view on our

new
president.

Dr.. Vaknin has written extensively about
narcissism.

Dr. Vaknin States "I must confess I was impressed
by Sen. Barack Obama

from the first time I saw him.  At first I
was excited to see a black

candidate.  He looked youthful, spoke
well, appeared to be confident -

a wholesome presidential
package.  I was put off soon, not just

because of his
shallowness but also because there was an air of

haughtiness in his
demeanor that was unsettling.  His posture and his

body language
were louder than his empty words. Obama's speeches are

unlike any
political speech we have heard in American history.  Never

a
politician in this land had such quasi "religious" impact on so
many

people.  The fact that Obama is a total incognito with
zero

accomplishment, makes this inexplicable infatuation alarming.
Obama is

not an ordinary man.  He is not a genius.  In fact
he is quite

ignorant on most important subjects."

Barack
Obama is a narcissist.

Dr. Sam Vaknin, the author of the
Malignant Self Love believes

"Barack Obama appears to be a
narcissist."  Vaknin is a world

authority on narcissism. 
He understands narcissism and describes the

inner mind of a
narcissist like no other person.  When he talks about

narcissism
everyone listens.  Vaknin says that Obama's language,

posture
and demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, dearest and

nearest
suggest that the Senator is either a narcissist or he may
have

narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).  Narcissists
project a

grandiose but false image of themselves.  Jim Jones,
the charismatic

leader of People's Temple, the man who led over 900
of his followers

to cheerfully commit mass suicide and even murder
their own children

was also a narcissist.  David Koresh, Charles
Manson, Joseph Koni,

Shoko Asahara, Stalin, Saddam, Mao, Kim Jong Ill
and Adolph Hitler are

a few examples of narcissists of our
time.  All these men had a

tremendous influence over their
fanciers.  They created a personality

cult around themselves and
with their blazing speeches elevated their

admirers, filled their
hearts with enthusiasm and instilled in their

minds a new zest for
life.  They gave them hope!  They promised them

the moon,
but alas, invariably they brought them to their doom.  When

you
are a victim of a cult of personality, you don't know it until it

is
too late.  One determining factor in the development of NPD
is

childhood abuse.

"Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic
and replete with traumatic

and mentally bruising dislocations," says
Vaknin.  "Mixed-race

marriages were even less common then. 
His parents went through a

divorce when he was an infant (two years
old).  Obama saw his father

only once again, before he died in a
car accident.  Then his mother

re-married and Obama had to
relocate to Indonesia, a foreign land with

a radically foreign
culture, to be raised by a step-father.  At the

age of ten, he
was whisked off to live with his maternal

(white)grandparents. 
He saw his mother only intermittently in the

following few years and
then she vanished from his life in 1979.  She

died of cancer in
1995".

One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of
pathological

narcissists.  They project such an imposing 
personality that it

overwhelms those around them.  Charmed by
the charisma of the

narcissist, people become like clay in his
hands.  They cheerfully do

his bidding and delight to be at his
service.  The narcissist shapes

the world around himself and
reduces others in his own inverted image.

He creates a cult of
personality.  His admirers become his

co-dependents 
Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help

them to reach
their personal objective.  They are focused on one

thing alone
and that is power.  All other issues are meaningless to

them and
they do not want to waste their precious time on

trivialities. 
Anything that does not help them is beneath them and do

not deserve
their attention.

If an issue raised in the Senate does not help
Obama in one way or

another, he has no interest in it.  The
"present" vote is a safe

vote..  No one can criticize him if
things go wrong.  Those issues are

unworthy by their very nature
because they are not about him.  Obama's

election as the first
black president of the Harvard Law Review led to

a contract and
advance to write a book about race relations.

The University of
Chicago Law School provided him a lot longer than

expected and at the
end it evolved into, guess what?  His own

autobiography! 
Instead of writing a scholarly paper focusing on race

relations, for
which he had been paid, Obama could not resist writing

about his most
sublime self.  He entitled the book Dreams from
My

Father.

Not surprisingly, Adolph Hitler also wrote his own
autobiography when

he was still nobody.  So did Stalin. 
For a narcissist no subject is

as important as his own self. 
Why would he waste his precious time

and genius writing about
insignificant things when he can write about

such an august being as
himself?  Narcissists are often callous and

even ruthless. 
As the norm, they lack conscience.  This is evident

from Obama's
lack of interest in his own brother who lives on only one

dollar per
month.

A man who lives in luxury, who takes a private jet to
vacation in

Hawaii, and who has raised nearly half a billion dollars
for his

campaign (something unprecedented in history) has no interest
in the

plight of his own brother.  Why?  Because, his
brother cannot be used

for his ascent to power.

A narcissist
cares for no one but himself.  This election is like no

other in
the history of America. The issues are insignificant compared

to what
is at stake.  What can be more dangerous than having a
man

bereft of conscience, a serial liar, and one who cannot
distinguish

his fantasies from reality as the leader of the free
world?  I hate to

sound alarmist, but one is a fool if one is
not alarmed. Many

politicians are narcissists.  They pose no
threat to others...They are

simply self serving and
selfish.

Obama evidences symptoms of pathological narcissism,
which is

different from the run-of-the-mill narcissism of a Richard
Nixon or a

Bill Clinton for example.  To him reality and fantasy
are intertwined.

This is a mental health issue, not just a character
flaw.

Pathological narcissists are dangerous because they look normal
and

even intelligent.  It is this disguise that makes them
treacherous.

Today the Democrats have placed all their hopes in
Obama.  But this

man could put an end to their party.  The
great majority of blacks

have also decided to vote for Obama. 
Only a fool does not know that

their support for him is racially
driven.  This is racism, pure and

simple.  The downside of
this is that if Obama turns out to be the

disaster I predict, he will
cause widespread resentment among the

whites.

The blacks are
unlikely to give up their support  of their man.

Cultic
mentality is pernicious and unrelenting.  They will dig
their

heads deeper in the sand and blame Obama's detractors of
racism. This

will cause a backlash among the whites.

The white
supremacists will take advantage of  the discontent and

they
will receive widespread support.  I predict that in less
than

four years, racial tensions will increase to levels never seen
since

the turbulent 1960's.

Obama will set the clock back
decades... America is the bastion of

freedom.  The peace of the
world depends on the strength of America,

and its weakness translates
into the triumph of terrorism and victory

of rogue nations.

It
is no wonder that Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, the Castrists,
the

Hezbollah, the Hamas, the lawyers of the Guantanamo terrorists
and

virtually all sworn enemies of America are so thrilled by the
prospect

of their man in the White House. America is on the verge
of

destruction.  There is no insanity greater than electing

pathological narcissist as
president.

*END*

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