Hugh Hewitt hosted Charles Krauthammer on his Monday program to celebrate that Krauthammer's book, "Things That Matter," had sold a million copies. Eventually the discussion turned to President Obama. Krauthammer, who used to practice psychiatry, gave a "non-professional analysis" of President Obama: "Let me say as a layman, without invoking any expertise, Obama is clearly a narcissist in the non-scientific use of the word. He is so self-involved, you see it from his rise."
After discussing Krauthammer's book, Hewitt urged the columnist to give an armchair diagnosis of the President. When he left psychiatry, Krauthammer promised himself he would analyze politicians as a psychological professional because it was impossible to do so from a distance. Eschewing a professional analysis of Obama, he accommodated Hewitt by speaking as a layman.
Hewitt: But I wanted to ask, I know you’ve said before you no longer practice psychiatry. You’ve given that up. But I want to tempt you to do a little armchair diagnosis here. On the New York Times front page yesterday, Peter Baker wrote about a series of dinners the President’s been having, and our friend John Hinderaker at Powerline says he sounds whiny. He sounds depressed to me. What do you think is his mental state?
Krauthammer: That’s very funny, because my specialty when I was a psychiatrist was bipolar disease. And I wrote some papers on manic disease. He’s not manic, and I don’t think he’s depressed. And I, you know, look, I’ve foresworn psychiatry simply because you really can’t do it at a distance. And one other thing is that you remember 1964 when about 500 psychiatrist signed a statement that Barry Goldwater was psychically unfit for the presidency?
Hewitt: Well, I’ve read about it. I don’t remember it.
Krauthammer: Oh, you’re not young enough. Actually, I probably got it second-hand, for all I know. But that’s a real abuse. Psychiatrists, doctors and others who use their science, or even the global warming folks, you know, you have your expertise, and some people just use it to try to bludgeon other people with their authority. So I decided when I left psychiatry never to use my authority. But let me just say as a layman, without invoking any expertise, Obama is clearly a narcissist in the non-scientific use of the word. He is so self-involved, you see it from his rise. Here’s a man who says I don’t do theater, you know, I don’t do that. Well, his whole run in 2008 was theater, including the Roman, the Greek columns that he had around him at his speech at the convention in Denver. So I think he’s extremely self-involved. He sees himself in very world historical terms, which means A) because he’s an amateur, he doesn’t know very much, and B) because he’s a narcissist, he doesn’t listen.
Hewitt: Well, the Baker piece includes this statement. “The President invited a group of foreign policy experts and former government officials to dinner on Monday, and a separate group of columnists and magazine writers for a discussion on Wednesday afternoon.” And from this flows this incredible self-pity. It’s - the world’s on fire, and he’s worried that the second-hand smoke is drifting his way.
Krauthammer: This is all because, I mean, count the number of times he uses the word I in any speech, and compare that to any other president. Remember when he announced the killing of bin Laden? That speech I believe had 29 references to I – on my command, I ordered, as commander-in-chief, I was then told, I this. You’d think he’d pulled the trigger out there in Abbottabad. You know, this is a guy, you look at every one of his speeches, even the way he introduces high officials – I’d like to introduce my Secretary of State. He once referred to "my intelligence community." And in one speech, I no longer remember it, "my military." For God’s sake, he talks like the Emperor Napoleon. I mean, he does have this sense of this all being a drama about him, and everybody else is just sort of part of the stage. And that’s what’s really terrifying. I mean, how can a guy make the statement he made about the beheading, the grisly, cruel beheading of that American, James Foley, then go off to golf. And that’s not the worst part of it. Remember what he did on Meet the Press when asked about it? He said yes, I think I would take that one back. He said I understand the optics were wrong, but I’m not very good at theater.
Hewitt: Same thing, yeah.
Krauthammer: He thinks that not playing golf would have been an act of pretense and theater. And that’s what he’s apologizing for.
Hewitt: It raises this question. At some point, Hillary Clinton, who was in Iowa over the weekend, has to actually condemn him. I think this is coming, because the foreign policy is such a disaster, that eventually, there’s this Sharyl Attkisson piece today about her document drop at State Department, which will be an interesting thing to follow, but do you see a time coming when Hillary is going to have to speak bluntly, and at some political peril, about the President’s amateurishness and utter incapacity?
Krauthammer: I don’t think she will, because I think her husband, who’s a brilliant political tactician, will counsel her correctly that it will do more harm than good. This is a dilemma you really can’t escape. Hubert Humphrey couldn’t escape it ’68, very unpopular president. He tried to distance himself, but if you denounce, you really look small, or you look like, you know, where were you the first four years? Why didn’t you resign? Why didn’t you make a statement? You played along four years, and now you’re going to denounce him? I think it doesn’t work. You get Al Gore in 2000. He’s just talking about, you know, his problem, of course, is the Clinton zipper problem, not even a policy problem. But he can only go so far, because once you’ve served someone, then you’re going to lose more than you gain. I think this is pure politics. I’m not talking about in moral standing, I’m talking about in votes.