(N.B.: this originally was posted in the comments section but upon reflection think it deserves its own post. No worries, no effort to impersonate Krauthammer or a certain Senate Majority Leader with the deliberately stylized prose. Just some observations).
Narcissism is an occupational hazard for political leaders. You have to have an outsized ambition and an outsized ego to run for office.
The Right’s compulsive need to maintain its Narrative within which all adherents can act out their own form of idealized Self is essentially collective narcissism. That’s offered as a lay person’s experience working, talking, and socializing with them over decades. From the Newts of the world to the most vicious ‘unknowns’ (except today the latter likely have so many Facebook ‘friends’ they have their own ‘fan’ page).
Narcissistic need to support a fantasized, grandiose self-image within a larger heroic Narrative explains alot. Not just the daily evidence of disconnect between actual behavior and the projected idealized (often censoring) personality. The post 2008 purge and radicalization are inevitable consequence. A complimentary analytical framework from a conventional political/historical perspective of Movements here and on the Continent.
Narrative radicalization and escalating vehemence through cant and acting out must — by internal logic — treble when fantasy can not surmount the limits imposed by Objective Reality (say Nov. 2008). Obama’s victory is a crisis threatening the ability to segregate their disassociated fantasized self-image with their often fragmented and undeveloped self. Why anyone remotely close to the Movement who said after defeat “now is the time for introspection” was doomed to be mau maued and kicked off the island. And Lord help you if there was a photo with you hugging Obama . . .
On one extreme one gets birthers. Another? Secession. And so on. They’re really the same. Their commonality is an irrational imperative to retreat to a safe Narrative that protects their idealized, fantasy Self. From that Barlett-esque non-emprical world adherents safely can continue to use the objective external world as a mere prop in their own internal movie.
This is in marked contrast with more normative modes of collecting and processing input, cognition and productions of ‘knowledge’ below: