Careerist narcissists: The new political elite – By George J. Marlin

The following appears in the July 1-7, 2011 issue of the Long Island Business News:

For most of our nation’s history, public officials governed part time and then returned to their day jobs outside of politics. In towns, villages and neighborhoods, storefront entrepreneurs served as mayors, legislators or on boards because they believed it was their civic responsibility to do so.

Local residents, working hard to raise families and to make ends meet, and without the time to stay on top of community issues, were grateful they had neighbors willing to take on these low-paying or volunteer positions and act for the common good.

In the early 1970s, however, there appeared a new careerist political class whose members pushed out part-timers from the public arena. Seeking and holding public office meant everything to them. Their career, livelihood and self-identity depended on it.

These “me generation” narcissists craving political power believe they are the only ones fit to govern, not because they are lovers of the downtrodden or have experience, but because they are measurably smarter than the public at large and that society will benefit from their counsel.

They also possess grandiose views of their talents, excessive interests in themselves, a craving for attention and admiration, and a consciousness of superiority. This type of narcissist, according to the noted social philosopher Christopher Lasch, “depends on others to validate his self-esteem. He cannot live without an admiring audience.

“For the narcissist, the world is a mirror, whereas the rugged individual saw it as an empty wilderness to be shaped to his own design.”

Success for these narcissists “consists of nothing more substantial than a wish to be vastly admired, not for one’s accomplishments, but simply for oneself, uncritically and without reservation.”

The poster boy for this new class of political narcissism is recently deminted Congressman Anthony Weiner – although there are numerous other examples in New York.

Weiner, for example, has never had a real job in the private sector. Straight out of SUNY Plattsburgh, he went to work as an aide to then-U.S. Rep. Charles Schumer. In 1991, at age 27, he was elected to the New York City Council and in 1998 was elected to Congress.

Weiner is a political narcissist who has excelled at self-promotion, campaigning, fundraising and self-exaltation. “Please understand I am a very important man,” he lectured an Internet groupie. All that mattered was his political ambitions and sexual prowess, not sound judgment, duty or character.

Shameless, he was willing to do whatever it took to cling to his office. His handling of Tweetergate proves it: When lying didn’t work, he tried public flagellation, and when that failed, he declared himself a victim, an expectant father and then checked into a treatment center. He held out as long as he could because he has had no existence apart from his role in public life. Weiner will never adjust to civilian life. He will be a lost soul forever living off of past glories and attempting political comebacks.

Weiner and fellow political narcissists – New York Power Authority chief executive Richie Kessel springs to mind – have in common an inflated sense of themselves. For them the world is an extension of their wills and emotions. Because they are the anointed ones, the people should be submissive to their exercise of power. Any who challenge their vision are unworthy, insensitive, evil and intellectually and morally bankrupt.

Since they venerate only their egos, they are willing to disregard law and shame in pursuit of accolades and power.

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8 Comments on “Careerist narcissists: The new political elite – By George J. Marlin”

  1. BreakingNews Says:

    Reliable sources in WPO say Richie was summoned to Albany Tues, met with a senior Cuomo person for 10 minutes, was dismissed after 10 minutes and is soon headed out the door to Palookaville. The long Kessel nightmare at PASNY is drawing to a close. Goodbye Richie. Goodbye Fran. Goodbye Tom. Goodbye Rocco. Goodbye Frank. Goodbye Libby. Goodbye and Goodnight.

    • No Fan Of Kessel Says:

      Rumor mill says that Kessel will be staying on until December and then allowed to retire. Hopefully, his team of hacks will be departing with him.

  2. Wherearetheadults? Says:

    Richie doesnt come to work, makes illegal contrbutions, is being investigated more than Roger Clemens, has staff drive his deli sandwiches and Chinese food from the city and LI, is ruining a once fine authority but where are the adults? aren’t Townsend, Dyson, Foster, the Judge and others supposed to do something to control the big lug and fix this mess? why are they enabling this buffoon? if they dont do something, aren’t they responsible too?

  3. SleeplessinWhitePlains Says:

    Richie going around telling one and all that he’s going to survive, that Larry Schwartz, the Gov’s new secretary,is Richi’s very good friend and that no one can touch him and that he meets with the Governor all the time and is in the inner circle. he’s also saying that the Gov’s office gave him ok to go upstate on a speaking tour and that if he were on the way out they wouldnt let him do this. If this is all true, I cant stay here much longer and I suspect I wont be alone. How does this guy get away with this?

  4. I'llTakeasideofslawwiththat Says:

    Today’s Newsday reports that “Kessel’s days at LIPA also under investigation”. Article says that Kessel uncharacteristically was “unavailable for comment.” So, Richie is being investigated by the State IG on NYPA matters, the State IG on LIPA matters and the NYPA board on NYPA matters (temporarily suspended). No wonder the guy has to eat.

  5. BringmeaSandwichandaBlintz Says:

    I passed Frank Ryan and Tom Dejesu on the way back from the City brining Richie’s lunch to him from Katz’s on one of the few days he’s in WPO. How does he get away with all this? I hear he’s telling people that he’s taking the summer off (who would notice the difference) and going to come back strong in September. he may even work two days a week. Marlin why dont you FOIL his schedule and diary.

  6. HungryforMoreKesselInfo Says:

    good to see Kessel reference here. Thanks. We’re starved for more info about Kessel.

  7. Gov'tMule Says:

    maybe the people who voted them into office don’t like themselves very much and figure they deserve leaders such as what we have. Maybe some who voted and or hired these folks were somehow connected and thought they would end up getting a kickback. Dumbed-down and monsterous. De-evolution.
    Hey George, thanks for trying, keep up the good work.


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