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The Artificially Inflated Self-Esteem of Barack Obama

August 22, 2008
by Frank Salvato

As we wind our way ever further down the agonizingly long road to the 2008 presidential elections one thing has become glaringly clear: Barack Obama has a pretty healthy ego. It goes without saying that most people who become politicians have a penchant for self-aggrandizing. It does take a certain amount of self-confidence to engage in the American political process and that process requires one to effectively market oneself. But there is a considerable difference between self-confidence and narcissism. Barack Obama has crossed that line.

It was during his "fact-finding trip" to the Middle East and Europe that all doubt was removed with regard to whether Obama was confident or egocentric. The first red flag - and admittedly, this could have been the doing of his handlers but as they say, the buck stops... - was that even though he went to great pains to indicate that he was traveling overseas as part of a "Senatorial fact-finding mission" he traveled with campaign signs, signs that appeared in Israel as well as in Germany.

The first question that entered my mind was, why would someone engaged in a governmental fact-finding mission, as part of a group of elected officials - presidential candidate or not - have the audacity to even think about campaigning overseas...to foreign nationals...who cannot vote in an American presidential election?

Then as I watched him bask in the adulation of approximately 200,000 Germans in Tiergarten, gathered in proximity to the Victory Column where they had initially gathered to hear two of Germany's most popular music groups, I couldn't help but notice that as Obama viewed the crowd his pose had a familiarity; I had seen the ego, the arrogance, the elitism before. Then it occurred to me that the manner in which he perused the crowd was not unlike the jaw-jutted arrogance possessed by the fascist Benito Mussolini at the height of his power. It was like a split screen in my mind: on the one screen was Mussolini, lording over his captive followers who screamed "Il Duce" and on the other was Barack Obama inspecting his foreign-national sycophants who chanted "Obama" and "Change."

From that point forward - and I had suspected as much before but had never had the validation as was presented in Germany - it was clear that Barack Obama was an egotist; he had bought into his own marketing hype. The question of whether the Obamas were elitist had already been answered.

▪ In Iowa in July of 2007, Barack Obama opined to a group of Iowa farmers, "Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula? I mean, they're charging a lot of money for this stuff." There are no Whole Foods (an upscale grocery store) in Iowa.

▪ This past July, in Pontiac, Michigan, Michelle Obama quipped, "You're getting $600 - what can you do with that?... it may even feel good that first month when you get that check, and then you go out and you buy a pair of earrings."

Arugula? $600 earrings? And we're supposed to believe that the Obamas are in tune with the middle class?

Even more comical is the notion that Barack Obama is in tune with the "downtrodden" because of his deprived childhood. While Obama's biological father did abandon the family when he was young, this has more to say about the poor choice Obama's mother made in a mate than it does about Obama. But far from the picture that the Obama camp would paint regarding Barack's - Barry's - childhood, the facts, as presented, indicate that Barack Obama lived anything but a deprived life. I fact, it could be argued that he was a "fortunate son."

Obama, at ten years of age, was enrolled in Honolulu's prestigious private Punahou School, where his peers were an assemblage of the island's richest and most accomplished students. He went to Occidental College in Los Angeles, Colombia University in New York and Harvard Law School. Between college and graduate school he even found time to travel the world, visiting Europe for three weeks and Africa for five weeks.

In retrospect, how many people can say that they had the chance to attend so many prestigious colleges or had the wherewithal to spend two months traveling the world?

So, it is clear that from the very beginning, Barack Obama has lived a pretty good life. His educational experience has been above average. His travel opportunities have been many. And now, Barack Obama is being handed - on the proverbial silver platter - an incredible political opportunity, the opportunity to seriously vie for the office of President of the United States. Ironically, he does so without having earned the right to do so; without even earning his keep as a freshman in the United States Senate.

It would appear that Barack Obama, for all the rhetoric about growing up in the mean streets of which ever urban setting benefits his political opportunity at the moment, has more in common with Ferris Bueller than the average American.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Hey Barack...how's the arugula today
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Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism.  Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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