Maureen Dowd: Epic Idiot
The First Shrink
Barack Obama grew up learning how to slip in and out of different worlds — black and white, foreign and American, rich and poor.
The son of an anthropologist, he developed a lot of “tricks,” as he put it, training himself to be a close observer of human nature, figuring out what others needed so he could get where he wanted to go. [Evidence? I mean, even for an op-ed, this is silly. Did his mostly absent father somehow transmit the "anthropologist gene" to his son?]
He was able to banish any fear in older white folk that he was an angry young black man — with smiles, courtesy and, as he wrote in his memoir, “no sudden moves.” He learned negotiating skills as a community organizer and was able to ascend to the presidency of the Harvard Law Review by letting a disparate band of self-regarding eggheads [Unlike a self-selected group of self-regarding "experts" who populate the NYT editorial pages?] feel that they were being heard and heeded.
As Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a Harvard law professor who mentored the young Obama, put it, “He can enter your space and organize your thoughts without necessarily revealing his own concerns and conflicts.” He can leave you thinking he agrees, when often he’s only agreeing to leave you thinking he agrees. [Thus, he's like every other successful politician in the history of the species.]
He privately rolls his eyes at the way many in politics and government spend so much time preening and maneuvering for credit rather than simply doing their jobs. [How the fuck could she possibly know this?] Yet with that detached and novelistic eye [I'd say Dowd is doing the novelizing here.] that allows him to be a great writer, he is also able to do a kind of political jujitsu, where he assesses the bluster and insecurities of other politicians, defuses them, and then uses them to his advantage. [Wow, he's like some kind of entirely centered, fully confident, perfect creature! And He walks among us. How lucky we are.]
Gabriel Byrne’s brooding psychoanalyst on “In Treatment” might envy Barack Obama’s calming psychoanalysis in Europe. [The inevitable pop-culture reference.] He may not have come away with all he wanted substantively. His hand was too weak going in, and there was too much hostility toward America, thanks to W.’s blunders and Cheney’s bullying. [None due to his own admin's idiotic handling of the financial crisis -- nooooo, none of that!] But he showed a psychological finesse that has been missing from American leadership for a long time.
“Each country has its own quirks,” he said at his London press conference, indicating that you had to intuit how much you could prod each leader. [Oh, my god. Dowd's right: Obama is a full-on genius! Move over, Machiavelli! So long, Sun-Tzu! Wow, "each country has its own quirks." Not since Max Weber has a social scientist uncovered a truth so central, so instantly recognizable as correct, and yet so unacknowledged till now.]
W. always bragged about his instincts, saying he knew whom to trust based on his gut. But even with the help of psychologists putting together profiles of dictators and other major players for our intelligence services, Bush and his inner circle were extraordinarily obtuse about reading the motivations and the intentions of friends and foes.
How could it never occur to them that Saddam Hussein might simply be bluffing about the size of his W.M.D. arsenal to keep the Iranians and other antagonists at bay? [Gee, I don't know -- ask your colleagues at the Times. You know, the ones you go spa-ing with.]
W. bristled at French and German leaders because he thought they were condescending to him. He thought he saw into Vladimir Putin’s soul until the Russian leader showed his totalitarian stripes.
W. and Condi were so clueless about the mind-set of Palestinians that Condi was blindsided by the Hamas victory in 2006, learning the news from TV as she did the elliptical at 5 a.m. in the gym of her Watergate apartment. [Typical snark. I'd bet my left nut that Dowd does just this every a.m., just before she gets her hair dyed and a her botox refurbished.]
The Bush chuckleheads misread the world and insisted that everyone else go along with their deluded perception, and they bullied the world and got huffy if the world didn’t quickly fall in line.
President Obama, by contrast, employed smart psychology in the global club, even on small things, like asking other leaders if they wanted to start talking first at news conferences. [Oh, yeah, that'll fool 'em all. This man is such a genius! Bush? Dumb. Me no like him. Obama? Smart. Me like. Obama is, like, you know, totally so much cuter than Bush, who was icky. Me and my girlfriends just die every time Barack flashes that smile! My heart skips a beat every time.]
With Anglo-American capitalism on trial and Gordon Brown floundering in the polls, Mr. Obama took pains to drape an arm around “Gordon” and return to using the phrase “special relationship.” He gave a shout-out [Will someone please kill her?] to the Brown kids, saying he’d talked dinosaurs with them. [This kind of totally by-the-book political theater cannot possibly impress anyone with a nervous system more complex than that of a flatworm.]
He won points with a prickly Sarkozy when he intervened in an argument about tax havens between the French and Chinese leaders, pulling them into a corner to help them “get this all in some kind of perspective” and find a middle ground. Mr. Obama also played to the ego of the Napoleonic French leader [See, Sarkozy's French, so therefore if he gets all uppity, you have to say he's like Napoleon. You know how those smarmy French are, when we're not defending them from Bush and Freedom Fries.] , saying at their press conference, “He’s courageous on so many fronts, it’s hard to keep up.”
Soon Sarko [Kind of like a shark, right?] was back gushing over his charmant Americain ami.
Having an Iowa-style town hall in Strasbourg with enthusiastic French and German students was a clever ploy to underscore his popularity on the world stage, and put European leaders on notice that many of their constituents are also his.
Like a good shrink, the president listens; it’s a way of flattering his subjects and sussing them out without having to fathom what’s in their soul. [Yeah, that's what a good shrink does: flatter their patients and "suss them out." It's all about self-interested manipulation! Just read Freud's little-known work, Couch Potato: How To Fuck With Your Patients' Heads.] “It is easy to talk to him,” Dmitri Medvedev said after their meeting. “He can listen.” The Russian president called the American one “my new comrade.” [Then they went and played with their trucks.]
Mr. Obama, the least silly of men, [Take it from Dowd, the most silly of women.] was even willing to mug for a silly Facebook-ready picture [No, really, someone must kill this woman.] , grinning and giving a thumbs-up with Medvedev and a goofy-looking Silvio Berlusconi. [Oh, yes, those easily charmed, dumb-ass "fer-uh-ners." I'm so happy Obama towers over them all. This way, with Dumb Mean Bush deposed, Smart Sexy Obama can ensure that our Empire regains its rightful place above the nations.]
Now that America can’t put everyone under its thumb, a thumbs-up and a killer smile can go a long way. [I think this piece was more about what Obama does to Dowd's panties than anything else. Sorry to be so graphic, but that's what it reads like to me.]