The President of the United States has always been adept at taking credit where none is due and shifting blame to those who don’t deserve it. Some might call it a valuable survival skill in the political pirhana tank that is Washington, D.C., but he has taken it beyond the average, run of the mill shiftiness one might expect from sitting for too long in the D.C. sandblaster, and has turned it into what appears to be a compulsion on his part to appear superhuman. Because of the frequency and the intensity of the symptoms, I believe his propensity to selectively acquire credit and divest himself of blame has risen beyond simple coping mechanism to the level of a psychological disorder. I have no experience in psychology, except for a couple of classes in college, which pretty much makes me about as qualified to diagnose the President as the President, with his very short resume of leadership positions, is qualified to lead our country. I also did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, which is only relevant if Holiday Inn is still using that particular ad campaign.
Like all disorders worth their salt, mine has a slick, easy-t0-remember acronym, so that people can point to him on the television and say, “yes, that is classic SCARS.” S.C.A.R.S. stands for Selective Credit And Responsibility Syndrome, and it is characterized by the patient’s pathological desire to take credit for any positive thing that happens anywhere, even if the patient was nowhere near the event and had nothing to do with it, coupled with a second overwhelming desire to avoid responsibility for anything bad, no matter how insignificant, that ever happened while the patient was in a position to do something about it.
A quick look at Obama’s record shows that he has suffered from SCARS for a very long time, but the pressures of the Presidency have very likely exacerbated his condition. A good example of the President manifesting SCARS symptoms can been seen in his handling of both Fast and Furious and the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Erick Erickson wrote an excellent piece on the subject, though he didn’t mention SCARS, because at that point, research on the disorder was still in its infancy. The President, suffering from SCARS, takes credit for Bin Laden’s death, even going so far as making it a campaign slogan (Bin Laden is Dead and GM is alive). What he refuses to acknowledge was that anyone with an IQ over twenty-five would have made the same decision, and that it was actually the SpecOps warriors who went in there and did the wet-work. Conversely, he has refused to take any blame or responsibility for anything related to the Fast and Furious scandal, even going so far as to blame the previous administration for the mind-bogglingly sloppy operation that seemed to be bereft of any kind of safety consideration or basic rational thought. Both of these events occurred far from where the President actually was. Both events were run by people other than the President, who worked in various capacities for the Executive Branch. Yet the President has convinced himself that he all but pulled the trigger on Bin Laden, while knowing nothing at all about the death of Brian Terry. The compulsion to compartmentalize external events based on their perceived effect on one’s reputation is a dead giveaway for SCARS.
SCARS offers a psychological explanation for why the President decided to alter the presidential biographies of his predecessors. Rather than a simple case of narcissism, or a insidious trick to subtly affect the opinions of 8th grade social studies students, it was something the President had no control over. He was compelled to insinuate himself into the lives of our former Presidents. Of course, when it comes to unpleasant things here in the present day, he is equally compelled to disavow even the most tenuous responsibility for them. Take for example his response to the events unfolding in North Africa. His skipping of the intelligence briefing and his appearance at a Las Vegas fundraiser while our embassy burned Department of State employees (which is under the executive branch) were killed and dragged around the streets of Benghazi are both directly attributable to his SCARS. He is compelled by his condition to take absolutely no responsibility whatsoever. He had no choice but to go to Las Vegas and ask people for money. In his mind, the events in Egypt and North Africa were someone else’s responsibility, because they adversely affect his reputation.
The President should look into having SCARS added to the DSM – V. Coming out publicly with his condition can only help his reelection bid, because it would enable him to avoid responsibility for avoiding responsibility. What’s more, he would look like a brave man while facing a serious psychological condition, which he could then take credit for.