This Roger Simon piece on Obama’s psychology during the debate is, if not correct, at least interesting.
What we have before us in these debates is an almost archetypal confrontation – between a man who was and is an exceptionally good father and a man who was deserted by his.
Good fathering is the story of Mitt Romney’s life. He has five sons who are, by all accounts, devoted to him and vice-versa. These boys grew up with a father who, although wealthy and successful, worked like a demon, doted on them, and apparently devoted an extraordinary amount of time to charitable work, in which he also involved them. Indeed, I’ve never heard of a politician who did anything quite like it.
Almost the polar opposite, Barack Obama’s father abandoned him twice and then ended up an irresponsible drunken victim of multiple car crashes. This sad behavior precipitated a search by Obama that brought him in contact with several father surrogates, notably Frank Marshall Davis and Jeremiah Wright, that it would be hard to brand as anywhere near satisfactory. (Davis was a pornographer and about Wright the less said the better.) No Mitt Romneys there.
If you think this is lost on Barack Obama when he stands opposite Romney, then you think the president is stupid, which he is obviously not. But it’s worse for him yet, because he is standing opposite a father who has worked harder, has more experience, and is more knowledgeable and charitable than he and he, on some level at least, must know it.
Not only that, most of what Mitt Romney has done, including graduating simultaneously from Harvard Law and Harvard Business, is an open book, while almost everything about Obama remains purposefully hidden. (He knows this too, obviously.) Obama lives in fear of exposure – and thus in fear of Romney who, although rich, is much more the self-made man of the two, the ultimate father figure.
The face-to-face clash of these two men is almost out of Greek drama. Obama must rage against or embrace the man who represents what he most dearly needed and never had. If this really were Aeschylus or Sophocles, Obama would be caught between those conflicting goals and end up plucking his own eyes out.
I think it’s funny that people on the Right are so interested in the psychology of the President. I admit that I am too. I am always interested in the “what makes that person tick” angle. But Obama’s sychophants, oddly, don’t are one whit about his history or his psychology. They love him so much, but they don’t seem to truly care about where he comes from. If I wrote what I’m about to write on a larger stage I’m sure I’d get panned for it, but I do believe that many conservatives have a sort of sympathy for Obama that people on the left don’t have. It’s just that being a sympathetic figure is often not a quality we look for in Presidents.
While some of that unfulfilled interest comes out in the form of theories about his birth or other things that might hurt his chances of holding public office, the spark for this curiosity begins with the fact that Obama is, and tries to be, a mysterious figure. He begs analysis. I come from a family with a history of issues between fathers and sons and sons and mothers. I’ve had my problems with my father and have gone through various stages to come to terms in our relationship. I’ve also had problems with authority – being both defiant of it but also filled with feelings of inferiority in the face of it. Those two responses are coupled together. My father had his own issues with his father, and they were much more physically and emotionally impactful than Obama’s. My dad, being just a yob off the streets, had no sociological infrastructure against which to craft his story for his own betterment. Likewise, that defiance and that inferiority complex exists in him too. My dad’s relationship with his father has fostered resentment between him and his mother. So I wonder how much of that there is in Obama given that his mother yanked him around the world pursuing her dreams and putting him into relationships with other father figures and then also shunting him off to his grandparents house.
We saw some of the resentment in the debate though we don’t know its full story. Resentment is a stinky cologne, the political opposite of Hope and Change. Only by not getting to know their President can his base avoid coming to grips with that truth.