He does not easily exult, despair or anger: to do so would be an indulgence, a distraction from his goals. Instead, they say, he separates himself from the moment and assesses.....Wow, the NYT used the middle name. Can we say Barack Hussein Obama now without raising the presumption that we're out to get him?
But with Barack Hussein Obama officially becoming the Democratic presidential nominee on Wednesday night....
There is little about him that feels spontaneous or unpolished, and even after two books, thousands of campaign events and countless hours on television, many Americans say they do not feel they know him. The accusations of elusiveness puzzle those closest to the candidate. Far more than most politicians, they say, he is the same in public as he is in private.This is the real Obama, then. There is no other. Some will say: Aha, I told you: empty suit. But I'm thinking: The 20th century is over. No more Freud and hippies. No more contempt for the repressed and delving into the subconscious and imprecations to let it all hang out. There is no subconscious. There is no it to hang out. The 21st century man has arrived. Reorient yourself for the future.
Starting in law school, Mr. Obama began pulling together a large cast of mentors, well-connected and civic-minded friends who rose in Chicago and Illinois politics along with him, including a spouse he thought was ideal.No, no, don't speculate about the substance of his marriage. That would be too 20th century. What you see is what it is.
“He loved Michelle,” said Gerald Kellman, Mr. Obama’s community organizing boss, but he was also looking for the kind of partner who could join him in his endeavors. “This is a person who could help him manage the pressures of the life he thought he wanted.”
If there is one quality that those closest to Mr. Obama marvel at, it is his emotional control. This is partly a matter of temperament...I told you: he's phlegmatic.
...they say, partly an effort by Mr. Obama to step away from his own feelings so he can make dispassionate judgments. “He doesn’t allow himself the luxury of any distraction,” said Valerie Jarrett, a close adviser. “He is able to use his disciplined mind to not get caught up in the emotional swirl.”No vortex for him.
It is not that Mr. Obama does not experience emotion, friends say. But he detaches and observes, revealing more in his books than he does in the moment. “He has the qualities of a writer,” Mr. Axelrod said. “I get the sense that he’s participating in these things but also watching them.”...Odd that the crowd got so emotional, when he was aloof. What were they looking for in him? And why did they think they saw it?
As a campaigner, Mr. Obama had to learn to sometimes let simple emotion rule. When Mr. Axelrod first devised “Yes We Can” as a slogan during Mr. Obama’s Senate campaign, the candidate resisted: it was a little corny for his taste. “That’s where the high-minded and big-thinking Barack came in,” said Peter Giangreco, a consultant to the Obama campaign. “His initial instincts were off from where regular people’s were.”
IN THE COMMENTS: Palladian writes:
It's funny how the New York Times seems to think this article makes Obama look good, when it actually makes him sort of seem like a sociopath.
Or like Mr Spock.
But then, Mr Spock would never become a Democrat. Illogical, Captain.
MORE: I've set up a new post on the Obama's-a-Vulcan theme, so comments on that theme would be better over there.
Also in the comments, Amba writes:
You're so 20th century you can't help analyzing him even while commanding us to get over analyzing him.Ha ha. Yes. I will never get out of that place.
Me too. I found a Jungian twist that kind of fits (it's down at the end of this post.... What's interesting is that the "negative puer aeternus" has trouble ever making commitments. Obama made commitments to his family and (for a while) to his black and Christian identity, as if he knew he needed to be "grounded" even if it did not come naturally.Fascinating. Go over there and read the whole thing. Snippet:
John McCain, by contrast [to Obama's puer aeternus], is senex, the archetype of the "old man." A Jungian would say (annoyingly) that they "constellate" each other, that is, whenever one shows up it invokes the other.Spooky!