June 30, 2009

Palin's sense of self

From a profile in vanityfair.com:
"More than once in my travels in Alaska, people brought up, without prompting, the question of Palin’s extravagant self-regard. Several told me, independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of “narcissistic personality disorder” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—“a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy”—and thought it fit her perfectly. When Trig was born, Palin wrote an e-mail letter to friends and relatives, describing the belated news of her pregnancy and detailing Trig’s condition; she wrote the e-mail not in her own name but in God’s, and signed it “Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.”"
Wow. Just wow.

Reading the rest right now.


steves said...

I think there were some others that suggested she had some kind of Personality Disorder and it was the same type that conservative pundits accused Clinton of having in the middle of the whole Lewinsky business. Having worked with some people that genuinely had one of these Personality Disorders, I am going to go out on a limb and say that neither Clinton or Palin are likely to have one.

I am not suggesting that they don't have some kind of very negative personality traits, but people with genuine Personality Disorders typically are not high functioning and also have other issues. I would also have to say that many of the traits that politicians have are also mirrored in the symptoms of Narcissistic PD.

Streak said...

No, that is a good point. I think this is being used in the generic and untrained way--meant to communicate that Palin acts in ways that seem all about self. And the comparison to Clinton is apt, it seems to me, as he clearly put his own personal pleasures above the country's best interest.

To be fair to both Clintons, however, I never saw them use Chelsea the way I have seen Palin use her kids.

One other thing that Anglican and I discussed over lunch--Palin's seeming disconnect between understanding and even contemplating abortion when she discovered the Downs Syndrome, with her own desire that other women not even have that choice. During the election last year, the entire camp discussed Bristol making the "right choice" to bring that child to term. We all could appreciate and respect that decision, but Palin doesn't want women to even have a choice in the matter. That seems bizarre to me.

steves said...

Considering that she is very much anti-abortion, I can understand her comments in that area, though I am well aware that many others don't share her position.

I am no fan of Bill Clinton, but I thought he and Hillary did a great job with how they dealt with Chelsea and the publicity.

As for Palin, I think she seems pretty weird. I know that the press doesn't really like her, but she just seems to do such a lousy job interacting with them. Maybe she could benefit from a top tier publicity team.

Streak said...

One quibble, Steve. The issue is not that she is opposed to abortion. I have no problem with that, nor that she didn't abort her child with Downs. Nor do I have a problem with Bristol taking her child to term. The issue here is the disconnect between them speaking about it as "making the right choice" and not wanting women to have that choice. Palin isn't suggesting policy that simply encourages people to not abort. She is supporting policy that would make a woman's "choice" irrelevant. She would have been more honest to say of Bristol--"she had no choice but to bring that baby to term. That is what we believe."

But her own admission that she contemplated an abortion makes her a bit of a liar. She believes in choice, but that doesn't sell with the base who loves her.

leighton said...

It's true that people with a genuine Cluster B disorder tend not to be able to retain the staff they need to successfully campaign for state or national office. But one thing that seems to plague Palin is a misplaced sense of being chosen or set apart, in the Biblical sense.

Traditionally, rich and politically privileged people tend to have as confidants other people with comparable assets, and a select inner circle of underlings whose advice they value--whether head servants as in the British aristocratic model, or lawyers and senior staffers in politics. But Palin seemed not to value the input of McCain's top tier publicity team, who regarded her as uncoachable.

I think it would take someone of Justin Frank's caliber to guess with any confidence what is actually going on with her. (If memory serves, Palin is not the first public figure Purdum has accused of clinical narcissism.) But it does seem like there is something seriously dysfunctional about her, even beyond the usual histrionic and selfish traits that most people capable of withstanding national public scrutiny are prey to.

I would speculate (but don't have enough experience with the varieties of American religion or with psychology to really defend this) that Palin is what happens when someone in the religious right isn't just using the Biblical vocabulary of anointing and being chosen by God for political gain, but actually believes it, and expects people who don't know the first thing about Christian scriptures or her sect's practices to treat her accordingly.

steves said...

I am not a fan of psychoanalysis, mostly because I think it is outdated and many of it's theories have been replaced by better ones. The only people that seem to use it anymore are clinicians that cater to the very wealthy, since they are typically the only ones that can afford the length of time psychoanalysis takes to work.

In my opinion, it would take someone that knows her very well to formulate any kind of credible diagnosis.

As for the abortion question. If she believes that abortion is morally wrong and should be legally wrong, then it only stands to reason that she doesn't support a coice.

Streak said...

But she said herself that Bristol made the right "choice" and that she herself contemplated an abortion. How are those things even possible when she says that the issue should be closed? If she and First Dude have thought anything through at all, wouldn't they have said to Bristol, "you are having this baby, and that is that. There is no other option." they would have then admitted to the rest of the world that their daughter had absolutely no say in the matter.

that would be intellectually consistent. What she says now is not.

Tony said...

Some conservatives I know personally are now backpedaling on some of their statements made about Palin during the campaign. I guess since the "must beat Obama at any cost" has worn off and some of my friends are reflecting on their positions, they are concluding Palin may not have been the wisest choice.

Talking a few days ago about Repubs' prospects right now looking at 2012, Palin, Huckabee, and Jindal is all we've got. Sadly.

Streak said...

Is Jindall still on the radar? He was so bad during that Republican response that I have not heard as much about him.

I think Pawlenty might be the Republican's best bet. Moderate Republican from outside the South. But the far right has a lot of control over this party still, and they will probably have difficulty coming out of their primaries with anyone not of their evangelical choosing.

Tony said...

Sorry, should have clarified. Amongst some of my conservative friends, they are still holding out hope for Jindal. He isn't getting so much national attention now given his ridiculous response a few months ago.

I don't think Pawlenty will gain much ground simply because the far right is still in control--contrary to what many are saying.

steves said...

Tony, good to hear from you again.

I was always lukewarm towards Palin. There were some things I liked about her and I thought the MSM was somewhat nasty towards her, but there were also things I didn't like about her and she never did a great job handling the press and her critics. Now that she has resigned, I don't know what she has in mind, but I doubt she will be a serious contender.

I also haven't heard much about Jindahl in the last few months. Time will tell if he can present a coherent message and build up support. I don't know who really controls the GOP now. Who is the far right? The neo-cons? The social conservatives? The fiscal conservatives? I saw some polling data that suggested the 41% of the US self-identifies as "conservative", whatever that means.

Tony said...

Hey Steve,

Good to see you, too!

I admit a heavy bias against Palin though I do agree she was treated pretty harshly by the media. However, much of it she did bring on herself and I don't think anyone can underestimate her lack of intellectual curiosity.

I am still not sure what she has in mind with the resignation though I am also a day behind in the news.

Most of what I hear about Jindal is personal conversation. Much of what I hear is western NC rednecks who want to sound like they know what they are talking about. :)

About the far-right and who is in control, don't underestimate the clout of James Dobson, Richard Land, and Tony Perkins. Granted, the far-right is without cohesive leadership right now (though Rush has solidified it some) though I think it will emerge before 2012. Obama's team has done a fine job of dispatching with the far right and undermining their authority. At least, that's my take.

Hope everyone here is doing well.

Streak said...

That lack of intellectual curiosity, according to the Vanity Fair piece, is deeper than we thought. She refused to prep for debates or interviews, and seemed to truly not see why she should understand these complex issues.