There’s an element of narcissism that is present in every politician. But it seems that President Obama ushered in an era where it may be the defining characteristic of all future presidents.
It’s easy for the left to point at Trump’s rather glaring self-worship and bemoan the trait. But as the midterms have approached, and former President Obama came back onto the scene to try to help Democrats reclaim so many of the seats they lost during his tenure, honest leftists were reminded that Trump’s self-absorption is nothing new.
And it's just what we needed, no? What else could a hopelessly divided country ask for besides a petty, narcissistic presidential peeing match between two all-star narcissists?
There has been much talk about how incapable President Trump is of uniting the country. I don’t disagree with that, if for no other reason, President Trump doesn’t seem even remotely interested in trying to. But it would benefit all of us to recognize that a return to the Obama years would certainly not bring us any closer.
Obama is the godfather of this polarization. He thrived on it, fostered it, exploited it, used it, and still doesn’t know how to do anything else, even when it devolves into downright demagoguery. For instance, what kind of gall it must take for Barack Obama to say this:
“I’d like to think there are compassionate conservatives out there who think there’s nothing compassionate about ripping immigrant children from the arms of their mothers at the border and putting them in pens.”
Remember, those “pens” to which the former president refers were constructed to house immigrant children during his own presidency...on his watch. It was approved by his administration and the policy he demeans as monstrous was conducted under his oversight.
To grasp the full measure of demagoguery taking place here, recognize that even though President Trump altered economic course dramatically upon taking office, Obama claims credit for our current economic state. Yet when it comes to this "pen" policy – one in which Trump did not alter course dramatically from the Obama years – the former president claims he’s appalled at what’s happening.
I loathe the current state of polarization, the social media hot takes that amplify it, the presidential tweets and taunts that exacerbate it, and the media lies that deepen it. None of it is good for our republic. I don’t see how it’s possible that things get better until Americans reject it, and demand leaders much different than the two presidential peas in a pod that seem to be leading the warring tribes.