As aforementioned, here is my take as to what the driving forces that makes up Barack Obama’s persona. Admittedly, I have absolutely no clinical training and my psychology classes numbered two in college, but hey… that never stopped an Irishman before.
My first observation is that I believe Barack Obama is a very detached person. Detached in many ways, but first and foremost detached from his emotions.
Sadly, his father abandoned his family when he was only two years old, which left the President without a male role model and the chance of forming this primary attachment in his life.
In addition, his mother sent him to live with his grandparents in Hawaii when he was ten, but permitted his half-sister to stay under her care. The separation was only one year, but again it strikes me as unusual and was probably not the best scenario to enhance the attachment of a maternal bond in Obama's life.
A few years back, I read the book Snakes in Suits. The book described at length how to spot psychopaths in the workplace. According to the book, one characteristic that distinguishes this group of people is that they are usually great public speakers. The philosophy behind this line of thought is that psychopaths do not have any connection to the words that saying; they are just words with no attachment to a conscious, emotion or to their feelings so the words freely flow unobstructed producing a great result.
When a normal person has to talk in publicly there is frequently stuttering and nerves that come out. These normal people have attachments to their words and emotions.
Now let me say very clearly I DO NOT BELIEVE our President is a psychopath, and I do not believe all great public speakers as psychopaths, but I do believe that the President’s emotional detachment may be a contributing force in allowing him to excel in public speaking.
Multiple political pundits have cited that Obama delivers his speeches in a way that a college professor would instruct a class. I think this is a fair observation. College professors instruct those around them at an elevated, professional level, void of interpersonal interaction. This again is where Obama excels.
During New York’s 2008 Al Smith Dinner (a dinner where presidential candidates humorously roast each other), Republican-nominee John McCain freely cracked jokes at the podium, even defaming himself often, frequently breaking out into laughter and shared his enjoyment with the whole room. When it was President Obama’s turn, to date, I have never seen Barack Obama appear more uncomfortable and squeamish than when he tried to deliver pre-written humorous punch lines at this dinner. Humor is an emotion, if you are detached from your emotions it is very difficult to laugh and be comfortable with your humorous side.
Moreover, cited repeatedly on this blog was the fact that Barack Obama was the only representative in the Illinois State Legislature to vote AGAINST the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. This piece of legislation protected babies that survived botched abortions and were breathing on their own. You really have to have ice in your veins to vote against this bill with no pings of conscious… or be very detached from any emotion.
I had a good amount of fun in this blog goofing on Obama’s Styra-foam pillars at his Denver convention speech. If you think about the back drop that Obama chose on this most important night of his life... it was a visual back drop of hard, cold, impersonal stone. Am I reading too much into this?
The Obama camp will tell you they copied JFK’s theme at his 1960 convention, but I would argue that Kennedy was a very detached person as well. Detached from his emotions and conscience. Multiple mistresses, shady dealings, etc... Kennedy was also a dynamic orator.
Obama was very comfortable with this colossus Coliseum theme, and the large-scale scope of this production also protected him from any smaller intimate setting that could possibly leave him exposed.
We have a very detached President.