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September 2011

by Gaije Kushner

(Editorial Note: This article is satire. It is not a sincere attempt to claim that these individuals are clinically insane, and Gaije Kushner is not a mental health professional.)

If you've been following the GOP's current batch of presidential dreamers, you've surely noticed, they aren't quite right in the head. With this cornucopia of crazy, how to understand what's going on with any one of them?

Rick Perry sees himself as quite the charmer. He expects his bizarre, possibly illegal antics declaring a state day of prayer for rain or threatening Texan secession will be met with praise. Evidence-based science, aka reality, means nothing to him. Witness his easy rejections of evolution and human responsibility for global climate change. Indifference to truth, combined with an absence of empathy, allow him to execute any prisoner, regardless of exonerating evidence.
These traits make Perry a likely candidate for unprincipled narcissistic personality disorder, characterized by arrogance, absence of empathy, and disinterest in truth.

Michelle Bachmann loves Jesus a lot. Really, really, a lot. She possesses an inflexible sense of morality. When she's not talking about Jesus, she loves to discuss the academic rigor of her education at Oral Roberts University's law school, research she worked on with her professors and books influential to her intellectual growth. Now she'll be working on a book of her own, due out in November. And she is prone to mysteriously incapacitating episodes.
Geschwind syndrome is a personality syndrome associated with temporal lobe epilepsy. Symptoms include hyperreligiosity, hypermorality, hypergraphia, and pendantism. Sound like anyone we know?

Mitt Romney floats along on his effortful charm, and unconvincing confidence. Despite his storied financial security, he persists in seeking the recognition and status attendant to the presidency. Any deeply held principles, he's hidden well. Instead, a desire to please his audience drives his positions. This inevitably annoys, suggestive of an unappealing inner vacuity. 

This fear of displeasing others is a hallmark of compensatory narcissistic personality disorder—typically accompanied by pseudo-confidence and an endless search for approval and status.

Ron Paul persists in believing he could win the presidency, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. When not engaged in this quixotic quest, he publishes books with titles like The Revolution: a Manifesto or End the Fed, neither of which will be happening anytime soon. A glance at his congressional record shows support of bills supporting congressional term limits, seeking abolition of the Federal income tax, and banning abortion. None of which had a chance of passing.

Grandiose delusional disorder is the name for this kind of unsupported belief in one's own capabilities. 

Sarah Palin has yet to announce her intentions for 2012. Instead, she's reveling in the speculative media attention. Her appearances on Fox news and her short lived TLC reality series further suggest an abiding need for public validation, as do her presidential ambitions. Typically, a presidential aspirant has a lifetime's accrual of qualifications and accomplishments. Palin's trying something different, convincing the electorate she's perfectly well qualified as is. Challenged, she reacts with hostility or retreats into victimhood. 

Palin's appetite for attention, coupled with her belief in her own special snowflake superiority to humanity create a vivid example of elitist narcissistic personality disorder. 

John Huntsman is an anomaly amongst his peers. He believes in evolution and manmade climate change. He sees China as key to our future security. He's even funny. 

Anywhere else, he'd seem a picture of mental health. Within the GOP, however, his thoughts are nothing short of bizarre, meeting the main criteria for schizotypal personality disorder. Simply switching parties would be his perfect cure.

 

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