By: Robin of Berkeley
So what is the matter with Obama? Conservatives have been asking this question for some time. I’ve written a number of articles trying to solve the mystery.
Even some liberals are starting to wonder. James Carville railed about Obama’s blasé attitude after the catastrophic oil spill. The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd revamped Obama’s “Yes We Can” motto into “Will We Ever?”
The liberal women of the TV show “The View” have expressed sympathy for Michelle Obama’s living with a man so out of touch. Peggy Noonan, hardly a vehement Obama foe, recently pronounced him disconnected.
Obama’s odd mannerisms intrigue a psychotherapist like me. He also presents a serious diagnostic challenge.
For one, Obama’s teleprompter and the men behind the Blackberry keep him well-scripted. We know so little about the facts of his life.
But it’s more than just a lack of information. Obama himself is a strange bird. He doesn’t fit easily into any diagnostic category.
Many people attribute Obama’s oddness to his narcissism. True, Obama has a gargantuan ego, and he is notoriously thin-skinned.
Yet a personality disorder like narcissism does not explain Obama’s strangeness: his giggling while being asked about the economy; his continuing a shout-out rather than announcing the Ft. Hood shootings; or his vacations, golfing, partying and fundraising during the calamitous oil spill.
Take also Obama’s declaring on the “Today Show” that he wants to know whose ass to kick. Consummate narcissists would never stoop to this vulgar display of adolescent machismo.
Obama is flat when passion is needed; he’s aggressive when savvy is required. What’s most worrisome is that Obama doesn’t even realize that his behavior is inappropriate.
So if it’s not just simple narcissism, what is wrong with Obama? Since I’ve never evaluated him, I can’t say for sure. But I can hazard some educated guesses.
If I saw a client as disconnected as him, the first thing I would wonder: Is something wrong with his brain? And I’d consider the following theoretical diagnostic possibilities.
–Physical problems: There are a multitude of physiological conditions that can cause people to act strangely. For instance: head injuries, endocrine disturbances, epilepsy, and toxic chemical exposure.
It makes me wonder: Did Obama ever have a head injury? His stepfather in Indonesia was purportedly an alcoholic abuser. Was Obama subject to any physical abuse?
– Drugs and alcohol: Damage to the brain from drugs and alcohol can also cause significant cognitive impairments. Obama once said that there were 57 states — and didn’t correct himself. Memory problems can be caused by both illicit and prescription drug use.
Obama admits to a history of drug use in his youth. Did his usage cause some damage? Does Obama still use?
–Asperger’s Syndrome: Also known as high-functioning autism, Asperger’s causes deficits in social skills. A person with Asperger’s can’t read social cues. Consequently, he can be insensitive and hurtful without even knowing it.
Could Obama have Asperger’s? He might have some mild traits, but certainly not the full-blown disorder. In contrast to Obama, those with Asperger’s get fixated on some behavior, like programming computers. Obama lacks this kind of passion and zeal.
–Mental Illness: Obama’s family tree is replete with the unbalanced. His maternal great-grandmother committed suicide. His grandfather, Stanley Dunham, was particularly unhinged: He was expelled from high school for punching his principal; named his daughter Stanley because he wanted a boy; and exposed young Barry to not just drunken trash talk, but unrestricted visits with alleged pedophile Frank Marshall Davis (who might or might not be Obama’s biological father). Barack Sr. was an abusive, alcoholic bigamist.
Since mental illness runs in the family, does Obama have any signs? Yes and no. No, he is not a schizophrenic babbling about Martians. But there are red flags for some other conditions.
While Obama doesn’t appear to hallucinate, he seems to have delusions. His believing he has a Messiah-like special gift smacks of grandiose delusions. His externalizing all blame to conservatives, George W. Bush, or the “racist” bogeyman hints at persecutory delusions.
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