Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jack Kelly today

Jack Kelly does his usual job of insulting his reader’s intelligence and maligning people he disagrees with today. Kelly starts with a brief discussion of Vanity Fair’s extensive article on Sarah Palin. Now, from my point of view I don’t really care about Sarah Palin. She is not involved in actual issues that I can see (if she is, she has managed to conceal it), so she is uninteresting to me. The only way I care is if she shows signs she might actually become President, which seems remote but not impossible. Never the less, Kelly first quotes from the article about how Alaskans think Palin is a textbook narcissist, then proceeds to suggest his suspicion the author (editor Todd Purdum of Vanity Fair) simply created the quotes from Alaskans. Kelly throws in a shot he quotes from Bill Clinton for good measure.

All of which is impressive; Kelly accusing the editor of a major magazine of creating sources because that editor reports negatively on Kelly’s favorite politician. But of course there is a whole column to come, one where Kelly then turns and accuses Obama of being the narcissist.

Now I will admit that Kelly does cover his ass in sense of declaring that “Virtually all politicians exhibit some narcissistic traits”, although Kelly doesn’t concede that maybe Purdum does have a point about Palin. And I actually agree that Obama writing a couple of autobiographies, one before he had done much of anything is pretty narcissistic, if not surprising for a politician.

But Kelly uses Sam Vaknin, PhD, who has written about Obama without having interviewed or personally studied him, as a source. Kelly says he quotes from a July article from the American Chronicle. Well, the web reveals a journal called the American Chronicle which this Sam Vaknin has written in weekly. Maybe there is a print edition for July in which he wrote about Obama the narcissist, but as far as I can see Vaknin last wrote about Obama in March. At the end of the article, Vaknin says he is not a mental health professional. So on both these scores Kelly appears to have gotten facts wrong. Shades of Purdum’s imaginary Alaskans.

Kelly selects some quotes from whatever he read from Vaknin:

• subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions;
• ignores data that conflict with his fantasy world;
• feels that he is above the law;
• craves to be the exclusive center of attention, and
• has a messianic-cosmic vision of himself.

I have to say it was not Obama I thought of when I read those quotes. “Feels he is above the law” – Bush’s theory of a unitary President? “Subtly misrepresents facts” – weapons of mass destruction? “Has a messianic-cosmic vision of himself” - This is a quote from an April 2003 USA Today (maybe an April Fool’s joke): “Bush believes he was called by God to lead the nation at this time, says Commerce Secretary Don Evans, a close friend who talks with Bush every day.”

Again, no one should think that because our last President was bat shit that Obama should get a pass. the healthcare plan Obama is leaning towards will do little to reduce the cost of healthcare and in fact will cost a lot because it expands coverage to the uninsured. But Obama has calculated that Americans are not ready for single payer coverage and he is probably right. Still, Obama should be scrutinized and criticized when necessary.

But as Stanley Fish put it in the NYTimes on Friday, there are people out there who hate Obama, presumably because he is black. They want to find a reason, any reason, not simply to criticize but to remove him from office and perhaps punish the traitors who voted for him. Hence the birth certificate controversy and now Jack Kelly’s column on Obama’s sanity.

Can’t we see Obama’s dangerous?

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