The Candidates on the Couch

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You might say that anyone who runs for President is by definition clinically insane. Candidates, after all, are pathologically certain that they are destined to lead the free world, a sure sign of delusional narcissism. As Bush and Gore trade barbs in the waning days of the campaign, voters are judging their personalities as much as their policies. And the armchair psychobiographers among us want more than Oprah and Letterman can diagnose.

Does Bush’s smirk reveal a sense of entitlement? Or is it an unconscious reflex to cover up an Oedipal sense of inferiority? And what are the latent behavioral traits behind Gore’s self-serving exaggerations and rigid arrogance? Both men are privileged sons of powerful politician fathers who were voted out of office; and their mothers are steely, ambitious women who raised their sons to be leaders. So what would Freud say? We’re putting the candidates on the couch this hour on the Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Gail Sheehy, journalist and author

Samuel Shem, psychiatrist and novelist

Paula Caplan, psychologist and author.