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Monday, February 22, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "Escape From Bushworld": Should Presidential Candidates Undergo Psychiatric Exams?



In a New York Times post-mortem entitled "Escape From Bushworld," Maureen Dowd observes that with Jeb's departure from the race for the Republican presidential nomination, the Bush dynasty has "perished, with a whimper." Dowd writes:

"With his uncanny bat-like sonar, sensing how to psychologically gauge and then gut an opponent, Trump went straight for the Bushes’ biggest bête noire: wimpiness.

. . . .

"The country is now aflame with anger and disgust about politicians and bankers who conned trusting Americans and never got punished for it. That fury has led to the rise of wildly improbable candidates in both parties. As the Bush dynasty falls, it must watch in horror knowing that it is responsible for the rise of Donald Trump.

"[W]ildly improbable candidates in both parties"? Dowd is obviously referring to Trump and perhaps Cruz in the Republican Party, but is she also referring to Sanders and Clinton in the Democratic Party?

And now - a drum roll please - I wish to propose: That all remaining Republican and Democratic candidates for president undergo psychiatric tests, and that the results be made public.

Does Trump suffer from a severe narcissistic personality disorder which renders him unfit to be placed in charge of the US nuclear arsenal? I think voters deserve to know.

Hillary? Apparently, she is also no stranger to narcissism, but coming under sniper fire in Bosnia? As reported in a New York Times article entitled "Lies Can Point to Mental Disorders or Signal Normal Growth" by Daniel Goleman:

"Psychiatrists see lying as pathological when it is so persistent as to be destructive to the liar's life, or to those to whom he lies.

The most blatant lying is found in the condition called 'pseudologia fantastica,'in which a person concocts a stream of fictitious tales about his past, many with a small kernel of truth, all self-aggrandizing.

. . . .

'Pathological liars seem utterly sincere about their lies, but if confronted with facts to the contrary, will often just as sincerely reverse their story,' Dr. [Bryan] King said. 'Their stories have a believable consistency, but they just do not seem able to monitor whether they are telling the truth or not.'

Research suggests that this most extreme form of lying is associated with a specific neurological pattern: a minor memory deficit combined with impairment in the frontal lobes, which critically evaluate information, Dr. King said. In such cases, the person suffers from the inability to assess the accuracy of what he says, and so can tell lies as though they were true."

According to this Times article, Dr. King further observed:

"Grandiose lies typify the narcissist, whose deep need to win the constant approval of others impels him to present himself in the most favorable light. They are prone to exaggerate their abilities or accomplisments [sic] in order to seem more impressive. Because narcissists feel entitled to special treatment - for instance, believing that ordinary rules do not apply to them - they can be reckless in their lies."

"[O]rdinary rules do not apply to them"? Like ignoring government regulations and setting up a home email server while secretary of state?" Hmm.

Of course, Hillary might not want to undergo such an exam and have the results published. After all, she has told the electorate that regarding the transcripts of her speeches to financial institutions, she will not release them unless everyone else does. Leadership? Transparency? Why should Hillary give a damn!

So how about all you other candidates calling Hillary's bluff: Undergo those psychiatric exams and release the transcripts of your speeches! Americans deserve to know!

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