Via Later One, I came to this psychological analysis (from a psychologist!) of Obama:

Obama, however, has impressed me as being pretty much free of the major flaws that most commonly afflict VIPs.

First, he seems not to have any out-of-control ego needs. Most people have pretty strong needs to either feed or defend their ego. Among public figures, Bill Clinton seemed to have a truly pathological need to be loved, admired, and worshipped by everyone at all times. This manifested itself in his sexual issues, obviously, and in other ways as well. George W. Bush, on the other hand, seems to have an overwhelming need to defend his ego against the possibility that his thoughts or actions could be in any way wrong. This inability to tolerate any feelings threatening to his self-esteem has caused an inability to ever correct his course or change his mind. Both these patterns have obviously damaged the nation.

Obama seems free of both of these problems. He doesn’t compulsively seek attention, sexual or otherwise, and he does seem to be quite able to self-reflect and admit error and change course when necessary. He obviously thinks highly of himself, since he ran for President, and feels confident he can handle difficult problems, but so far his faith in himself has proven to be rationally based and correct.

The analysis is obviously flawed: there just isn’t enough yet to allow an appropriate examination of Obama’s mind. His public past is short and sometimes parochial. As of now, much of what we know is either the carefully designed persona that every candidate creates for himself, or a mythological past, part of his very own bildungsroman.

The comparison with Clinton and George W Bush, both with eight years of spotlight, emphasizes the rather painful obviousity: we only know about their flaws after we had the opportunity of seeing them. So does it make any sense to compare to a man who we know next-to-nothing?

In fact it does, but for different reasons. A more interesting side of this story is not about what Obama is or isn’t. Instead, it’s about what we are: increasingly desperate. In times of despair, a Hero comes up to hold our hands and take us to a better place.

Heroes are not perfect but are able to counter the flaws we see now; that is how they are able to “fix things”, defeat the enemy and help us. So by noticing the flaws that plague us now, we seek a Hero with the diametrical features. If we don’t know enough about the potential Hero to find these features in him, then we just foresee them: a reverse hindsight, the capability of drawing conclusions now about what we will only find out later.

Achilles

Achilles

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