Barack Obama; Arrogant or Confident?

The following is another guest post from my wife. Be sure to check out her excellent blog, The “D” Spot Redeux, @ http://thedspotredeux.blogspot.com

Barack Obama: Arrogant or Confident?

By Pamela Hilliard

There is a familiar meme being resurrected from the 2008 Democratic Primaries that Senator Barack Obama is becoming more and more arrogant as the Presidential elections draw closer.  As a former English teacher, I request that you pull out your Webster’s for clarity: ar’-ro-gant (adj.) full of or due to pride; haughty; con’-fi-dent (adj.) certain; sure of oneself.  It seems to me that Senator Obama is extremely confident; confident in his abilities, confident in his policies, confident in his political stances, confident in the people with whom he surrounds himself, confident in his campaign, confident in his readiness for the job of President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Services.


I believe that those who see Obama as arrogant are unpleasantly surprised that a relative newcomer could actually become President of the United States: he’s too young, he’s too inexperienced, it’s not his turn; he’s only been a Senator a few years–how could he be the Democratic nominee? But there is another undercurrent to the label of “arrogant”: that of the “uppity black man”.  As is all too common in America, just about everything can have racial overtones, intended or not, and there is some ugly history that black men were only supposed to go so far, only supposed to ask so many questions, and certainly were not supposed to go against the ruling class.  Barack can be smart, but not “smarter” than, he can have good ideas, but not “better” ideas, he can be right some of the time, but not “most” of the time.

When you're running for Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful nation on Earth, a little confidence helps

When you're running for Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful nation on Earth, a little confidence helps


Someone who is arrogant shows that arrogance with a “my way or the highway” attitude; with an air of inevitability; even with an “I can do no wrong” aura–forging ahead even when everything points to failure.  People who are arrogant are often later found to be like the Emperor without clothes; the arrogance is actually a cover-up of his or her own insecurities.  Arrogant people dare others to speak or act against them.  Senator Obama did not believe the Democratic nomination was all but his for the taking; therefore he had to devise a superior strategy backed up by a unshakable faith in his vision for America.  That is why his theme never changed; and he did not have to “make up” things to look overly important; he didn’t have to make repeated or major shakeups in his campaign staff because he was sure he chose the right persons for the right reasons the first time.  

Most of the anti-Obama rhetoric has been to portray him as “not quite good enough”, not quite “knowledgeable enough”, and especially not quite “worthy enough” (as in Affirmative Action for black politicians).  Many have tried unsuccessfully to call him a flip-flopper when if they had actually studied his words, they would find out that he has been quite consistent in his views all along.  Many have tried to trip him up with various “guilt-by-associations”, and are surprised when he does not explode or rant and rave against those who try to attack him (the angry black man); even going so far as to compliment those same attackers–another surprise move of confidence.   Many are still trying to find something, anything, that will finally prove that there are skeletons in his closet that will surely bring him down this time.  Those still looking are becoming increasingly fruustrated when they find nothing.

Someone who knows that he has the right vision and judgment, and has seen his vision and judgment borne out to be right with the passage of time has the luxury of being confident.  Someone who is confident that “nothing untoward will be found” doesn’t have to try to hide behind being overly vengeful toward his opponent.  Someone who is confident in his own capabilities does not have to tear down his opponent to try to cement his/her own win. 

As was shown in both the Democratic and Republican Primaries, the candidates who were actually the most arrogant ended up not being the winners.  In the immediate hours and days after the death of Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, most of the candidates were falling all over themselves to get in front of the cameras to show how strong they were in foreign policy. It was a media circus of “look at me! look at me!”  That is arrogance. Most of those candidates had ended their campaigns less than one or two months later.  Only the most quietly confident of the candidates gave respectful condolences (mostly off-camera), and then a few days later explained that what he had outlined in his policy about Pakistan was right all along. That’s confidence. Senator Obama was able to show his prescience about the situation from several months’ previous to that time.  Because of his vision, because of his judgment, he had the confidence to let everyone else fight for attention; he was right all along.

And so what if he's a little arrogant?

And so what if he's a little arrogant?


Arrogance is full of or due to pride, and pride cometh before a fall.  Confidence is being certain and sure of yourself.  Senator Barack Obama is a confident man.  Senator Barack Obama is a brilliant man.  Senator Barack Obama is a brilliant, confident black man.  He won the Democratic nomination against all odds; he is ahead in the Presidential election polls in most areas because of superior strategy and very hard work starting years ago when he arrived in Chicago in a beat-up car, knowing no one in the city, to take a community organizing job that paid $12,000 a year because he was confident it was the right thing to do.  There’s nothing arrogant or “uppity” about that.

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~ by Keith A. Owens on August 5, 2008.

3 Responses to “Barack Obama; Arrogant or Confident?”

  1. I agree with the article and I like how you broke down the differences between the two words “arrogant” and “confident”; because there is a distinction between the two. But in all honesty, I dont think its nothing wrong with him being arrogant as well as confident. Certain people aren’t comfortable with his current political progress and don’t know how to react to black men in power. And that’s when they try to label him as “uppity” and “arrogant” because his performance is way past the normal expectations of black men; and I think they feel threatened by that.

  2. Hey Tyrone.

    I totally agree with you that there’s nothing wrong with Obama being a little arrogant. If you’re running for the leader of the world’s most powerful nation, arrogance can be an asset.

    Thanks for dropping by!

  3. arrogance is ugly in every way shape and form. Obama is extremely arrogant. He is nothing more than a community leader and by way of political correctness gone wrong (overkill) gotr elected as a senator in Illinois. He is so arrogant that one year into that four year senate term he was already sending people to Iowa regarding the next presidential election which was three years away. Now thats ARROGANCE!!!

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