One of the most common misreadings of Obama is that he’s an intellectual who doesn’t like campaigning, but loves being immersed in deep thought. He hates the business of politics because he’s an introvert.
The latest sample of such delusional thinking comes from Rosa Brooks.
Obama’s an introvert: Unlike your husband Bill, who draws energy from crowds and loves a good political brawl like other men love football, Obama’s clearly happiest within the small circle of people he knows and trusts. The tide of idealism that swept him into the White House sustained him through those hard months of campaigning, but wasn’t enough to carry him through the tedium of governing. He likes to read and write and think, but he doesn’t much want to shake hands, curry favor with grandstanding congressmen, or sit through ceremonial meetings with foreign dignitaries.
Look at his tight body language; listen to the undertone of irritation in his voice. Barack Obama is a man who almost always looks and sounds like he’d prefer to be somewhere else. He’s a politician who hates politics.
Obama loves campaigning. It’s not a tide of idealism that draws him to crowds and photo ops. If Rosa was paying any attention she would have noticed that.
Obama runs a permanent campaign. He is not interested in sitting in a room and reading books. Like a lot of Ivy Leaguers he’s good at faking intellectualism, at having read all the right books at the right time, or at least gotten summaries of them, so he can claim to be a thinker.
But Rosa is right. Obama doesn’t like people. He likes being admired by people. He loves the attention, but he’s paranoid about the terms on which he gets it.
That undertone of irritation comes into his voice when he’s challenged or question or even asked for something. Then he becomes surly.
Obama doesn’t hate politics. He likes power. He hates compromise. That’s not idealism though, it’s ego. He wants everything his way. And he can’t stand even the slightest challenge.
Think of the brat with too much self-esteem who begins to pout if the teacher corrects a mistake and throws a fit when mommy won’t buy him the thing he wants right now. That’s Obama in a nutshell.
It’s not being an introvert. Narcissists don’t like people because they like themselves too much. Introverts like people, but are uncomfortable around them.
If Obama had been an introvert, he would have never been elected. Like most modern politicians, he’s an extrovert. And like many of them, he has an obsessive need to be admired and adored, and very little empathy and tolerance for others. He’s good at playing a role, but the more his ego is fed, the less patience he has for the playacting.
People like Rosa Brooks have spoiled him rotten. And the more he’s spoiled, the less he feels the need to put up with anything.