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Is Your Favorite Politician a Sociopath?

Posted by on Mar. 6, 2010 at 9:12 PM
  • 10 Replies

Is Your Favorite Politician a Sociopath?

So many politicians are caught lying or breaking laws, yet none of them seem to believe they did anything wrong.
March 4, 2010  |  
 
Mental Health Parity Press Conference with Majority Leader Hoyer, David Wellstone and Congressman Ramstad
Photo Credit: Image by Rep. Keith Ellison via Flickr
What do John Edwards, Bob Barr, Rod Blagojevich, John Ensign, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, William Jefferson, William Jefferson Clinton, David Vitter, James McGreevey, Tom DeLay, Charles Rangel, Newt Gingrich, and David Paterson have in common?

They're all politicians who've been caught doing something illegal, unethical, mind-bogglingly self-destructive, or all of the above.

But what also binds them is that none of them seem to believe they really did anything wrong, in spite of vast evidence to the contrary. When they finally have no option but to appear contrite, their apologies feel stilted, scripted and anything but heartfelt.

The latest offender, New York Governor David Paterson, hasn't even gotten around to apologizing yet. In the meantime, he's apparently managed to convince himself that it's okay to phone up and intimidate a woman his top aide just viciously beat up. Then there's John Edwards. I've just finished reading The Politician by his aide, Andrew Young -- an irresistibly salacious takedown, but one that never gets near understanding Edwards' breathtaking brazenness and utter obliviousness. Or how about the much-indicted Rod Blagojevich joining the cast of "The Apprentice" while he awaits his own criminal trial -- and continues to profess his utter innocence despite dozens of tape recordings that make it clear exactly what he did.

Narcissism -- suddenly the most overused word in the language -- simply doesn't do these guys justice. On a hunch, I decided to look up the word sociopath, which it turns out isn't defined much differently than psychopath. Here are some of the most common characteristics of both:

  • Conventional appearance
  • Glib, superficially charming, often highly verbal
  • Promiscuous sexual behavior
  • Manipulative and cunning
  • High sense of entitlement
  • Lacks a sense of moral responsibility or moral conscience
  • Shallow emotions
  • Callousness, lack of empathy
  • Lying without remorse, shame or guilt
  • Interested only in their personal needs or desires, without concern for other people

Sound anything like the politicians I've named above -- and perhaps your own friendly elected representatives?

These are men (yes, they're all men) who've operated all their lives in a world that rewards them more for their acting abilities than for who they really are.
What Paterson, Edwards and these other pols are missing, at the most basic level, is an inner life: the capacity for introspection and self-awareness, or any reliable connection to a deeply held set of values.

The consequence is they feel no impulse to take responsibility for the consequences of their behaviors.

Your Thoughts?

by on Mar. 6, 2010 at 9:12 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Waxing_Lyrical
by on Mar. 6, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Probably!

sageinca
by on Mar. 6, 2010 at 9:16 PM
What do John Edwards, Bob Barr, Rod Blagojevich, John Ensign, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, William Jefferson, William Jefferson Clinton, David Vitter, James McGreevey, Tom DeLay, Charles Rangel, Newt Gingrich, and David Paterson have in common?
 
They're lost..
Della529
by on Mar. 7, 2010 at 2:07 AM

I have my own theory about the list in the article, but I'll have to check first. 

bump for later. 

mamadixon
by Gold Member on Mar. 7, 2010 at 2:10 AM

LMAO....

tericared
by on Mar. 7, 2010 at 2:11 AM

 

Quoting Della529:

I have my own theory about the list in the article, but I'll have to check first. 

bump for later. 

 Looking forward to it....

Heartlight617
by on Mar. 7, 2010 at 8:07 AM
It's the George Costanza defense! (Seinfeld-when George gets fired for doing the cleaning woman on the bosses desk!) I recently half jokingly stated ANYone running for public office should be presumed guilty until proven otherwise. Sad that these folks think the laws are not made for them, and are surrounded by assistants and press who enable just that mindset!
norwegianwood
by Platinum Member on Mar. 7, 2010 at 11:42 AM

 Newt Gingrich was found after a three and a half year investigation to have done NOTHING ILLEGAL or UNETHICAL...so, I resent his inclusion in this list; the same is true with Tom DeLay...9 freaking trials, 9, before they found a judge and jury who would convict..that's because it was BULL.

This article is ridiculous as well because it presupposes that IF you are accused of doing a laundry list of things, and you happen to be found to have done something a few find unethical after several atempts to make things stick, then, you must have blinders on.

Mistakes are not 'ethics' issues, they are mistakes. And, where are Geithner, Daschle, Bill Richardson, Killefer, Solis in this list?

I don't think what some of these people have done should put them in the same category as 'pathological' people. Patterson made a mistake in judgment. He says he did not intimidate the woman and he likely didn't consider his call alone would constitute 'intimidation'...until we know the evidence, it's silly to put him in there with pathological womanizer Clinton or Jefferson who took bribe money and had it in a freezer...they are miles apart in my view from someone whose atty misstated something in countless documents, something that ultimately didn't matter because the subsequent investigation found there to be no ethical or legal violation.

P

Redteux
by on Mar. 7, 2010 at 1:09 PM

I thought a dx of sociopath was a prerequisite for running for office!!

stormcris
by Christy on Mar. 7, 2010 at 4:46 PM

I thought this was common knowledge that for most people to get into politics they had to be. There are a few exceptions.

norwegianwood
by Platinum Member on Mar. 7, 2010 at 5:22 PM

 LMAO...

P

Quoting Redteux:

I thought a dx of sociopath was a prerequisite for running for office!!

 

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