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AdLib On May - 21 - 2012


This isn’t a case of overheated partisan rhetoric, it’s not an ad hominem attack, it’s a genuine philosophical inquiry. Is the pattern of unsympathetic behavior exhibited by Romney simply the result of selfishness or is it reflective of a deeper anti-social psychological condition?

Let’s begin with defining the traits of sociopathy:

  • Glibness and Superficial Charm
  • Manipulative and Conning
    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
  • Grandiose Sense of Self
    Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”
  • Pathological Lying
    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
  • Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
  • Shallow Emotions
    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
  • Incapacity for Love
  • Need for Stimulation
    Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
  • Callousness/Lack of Empathy
    Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
  • Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
    Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
  • Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
    Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
  • Irresponsibility/Unreliability
    Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
  • Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
    Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
  • Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
    Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
  • Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
    Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.


There are some literal aspects of sociopathy listed above that Mitt Romney doesn’t exhibit such as those connected with living on the edge and promiscuous behaviorr…but one could argue that his constant lying at the risk of his campaign and reputation and his jumping into bed with whatever opinion or right wing extremists he thinks could get him elected is pretty promiscuous.

With some of the key qualities missing from his repetoire, it would not seem wholly justified to refer to Romney in a clinical way as a sociopath. However, being that he has displayed the majority of behaviors listed above with few exeptions, it would seem logical to refer to him as one with a majority of sociopathic tendancies.

Has America ever voted for a man with sociopathic tendancies to be their president? Could such a candidate actually win?

There have been fringe candidates including some libertarians who certainly have appeared to have sociopathic leanings (though true liberrtarians are not by definition, sociopaths). Once in office, we have seen Presidents act sociopathically and get re-elected (George Bush anyone?) but I can’t recall any competitive candidate that exhibited as many aspects of sociopathy as Romney does.

By the time people enter the voting booths in November, I think that this less explicit factor in the Presidential race will become a meaningful element. The plain fact is that the more people see of Romney, the more discomforrt they feel about them.

This doesn’t necessarily show up in polls, it can be a vague feeling that people may not even be able to put their finger on but after the next five months of nonstop national exposure and sociopathic-type behavior by Romney. that sense of him, that he’s not a genuine and normally adjusted human being will be established.

Whatever the avalanche of lies and mudslinging being used to try and bury Obama, in the end, people will have to vote for the man they want making decisions over their lives and it seems to me that for all the reasonable reservations they may have about Obama, the majority of indie voters who will decide this election, will not feel comfortable handing their future over to someone who feels so close to a sociopath as Mitt Romney does.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

53 Responses so far.

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  1. goleafsgo says:

    Ad Lib, Oh,boy! Finally someone has analyzed this man…and correctly so. Thank you. Do you think the media will eventually bring this to light, or are they too sceeered? I found AB’s comment particularly interesting because it befuddled me when he acted so childishly. Why was he, a grown man acting in that manner? -- “primitive personality disorder.” It fits. Ann Romney has stated she had raised 6 boys -her biological children and her husband, as they were constantly pulling pranks and doing childish things together. Surely she has wondered about this.

    I think there are many who can be diagnosed as having symptoms
    like Romney in the GOP. Of course we have seen this issue raised many times about Sarah Palin’s personality disorder..even by her own
    people in the part. (lordy, half of the Congress and all of the Tea Party need help)

    Seriously though. This is scary. Do Americans think Romney is any different than say…Putin? Now there is a personality disorder if I ever saw one LOL!

    Thanks again for another informative post. Have a great day.

  2. foodchain says:

    Bito, thank you. Really, I worked hard at this, LOL!

  3. Kalima says:

    Briefly, after reading through the definition, doesn’t this apply to the majority of Republicans too, and if push comes to shove, we have quite a few of them governing now in the Tory party over in the U.K. Just ask the millions of people whose lives are being destroyed by Cameron’s austerity fiasco.

    That a majority of Americans would vote for a know-nothing selfish and truly despicable individual like Romney is beyond my comprehension of human behaviour, and the more he is out there repeating his lies and nonsense, the less I believe that there will be that many stupid people left who are able to vote in November. Keep the faith in the President and watch Romney and his out-of-touch group of hate filled old fogies, deflate like so many over stretched party balloons.

  4. PatsyT says:

    Whoa! That is one creepy image!
    Looks like he has been cast to play the Suburban Slasher Dad!
    Don’t let him drive home the baby sitter!
    Now, what weapon would a character like that use to overcome his prey?

    • In keeping with his character, it would have to be a “blunt,” object!

    • AlphaBitch says:

      Patsy: Aside from his laser vision and magic underwear?

      • foodchain says:

        If Mitt is (and he is) a sociopath then too many democratic spokespersons are maggots. OK, that doesn’t fit, but they are seriously dysfunctional. Chris Mathews, whom I seldom watch, has a hard driving position against democrats who give split or ambiguous support to their president. The Wall St firm of Bain has made threading the needle for the new corporate sponsored democrats very difficult. The mayor of New Jersey, Ed Rendell, Harry Ford, among others, have gone on record as not supporting Bain attacks.

        So how dysfunctional can this family be? Enough to destroy our president to protect the MSNBC jobs? Keep Wall St support as a democratic mayor of NJ? Both parties are dysfunctional in their tactics to retain or win. But I think the democrats reach new lows. The GOP, while divided between the regulars and the Tea Partyers, are willing to comment within those two playbooks. Our democratic spokespersons will not support anything if it does not support him/herself.

        When asked why there were no democratic surrogates to speak for Obama after Cory Booker’s denouncement of the Bain attack strategy, Wasserman-Shultz said it’s up to the president to speak for himself. Ed Rendell made light of his contrary statements. For my first time ever, a news person called them out as self-serving and disingenuous.

        Mitt is disturbingly, nervously, and quick to adopt and adapt to sociopathic goals. But our dysfunctional democratic family is not winning any prizes either.

        • Sabreen60 says:

          From Politico (YUK)
          …Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell became the latest Dem to step up and defend private equity, calling President Barack Obama’s Bain attacks “disappointing.” The big caveat with Rendell is that he currently works for a law firm, Ballard Spahr, that has a big mergers-and-acquisitions practice, and sells its private-equity expertise in these terms: “Our more than 70 M&A/private equity attorneys represent buyers (both strategic and financial) and sellers ranging from small, privately held companies to multinational public companies in transactions that span small and middle markets to multibillion-dollar mergers.

          Similar disclaimers apply to other critics of the Bain strategy. It’s been widely noted that Cory Booker raised big cash from private equity and other financial services companies. Since leaving office, Harold Ford has worked for Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. Ex-auto czar Steven Rattner actually founded a private equity firm and ended up in legal hot water for his finance activities. So when these guys chastise the Obama campaign, it’s not as if they’re speaking from an unbiased perspective.

          Follow the money! These rogue Dems have monied interest that trump Party, the President & in Booker’s case constituents.

        • Kalima says:

          Hi foodchain, this is what I said on MB this morning.

          “I see no reason for the president to have to defend his attack on Romney, it’s the truth and the GOP have set the bar almost on the ground. Booker’s defense and silly ramblings about what disgusts the American public is pointless after what the Republicans churn out each day against the President. What negative campaigning is Booker referring to when what has been stated is just the truth about Romney as opposed to the lies about PBO? With Democrats like this, who needs enemies, and Booker needs to differentiate between what is truth and what are outright lies. Where has Booker been through all the negativity during the President’s first term, don’t they have tv in Newark”??

          Oh, and underneath I posted this.

          Cory Booker: making capital out of Bain

          By criticising the president’s negative ad, the Newark mayor has adjusted views of himself as an Obama surrogate. As intended


          • foodchain says:

            Kalima, you are so right. I am sorry I can’t keep us with all you do; my reading time is limited for the near term. I also am not organized enough.

            • foodchain says:

              :) :)

            • Kalima says:

              😆 fc, here is another one. : lol : no spaces between the colons and you will get this 😆

              Or : D (no space between colon and D) and you will get this 😀 Have fun!

            • foodchain says:

              Kalima, funny quick story. You put up great “emoticons”, big grinny ones and I wanted to do that so I went on line and found a site, down loaded it and then spent two days trying to delete “searchqu” from my system as it took over my home page and offers no privacy! Ha! I am so old at this. :-) (This is the only one I know)

            • Kalima says:

              No apologies needed fc, I’m rather up the wall myself with personal stuff right now, so I can’t be here as much as I want to be. :(

      • foodchain says:

        That underware thing is creepy

        • bito says:

          fc, and that maybe why Mitt doesn’t want to get near Rev. Wright. Mitt was a bishop in the church and that opens a whole new can-o’-worms for Mitt. He may have had ‘uber special magic underwear! 😉 The Obama camp wouldn’t bring it up but you can be assured that some lefty bloggers would. What exactly DID he do as bishop?

          • choicelady says:

            Bishops come and go -- it’s not like the Catholics. I have a very beloved friend who was a Mormon Bishop, and he’s liberal as the day is long. It’s a rotating position of help to the congregations in your area. It varies widely -- and wildly -- depending on the person. My friend’s tenure is up, so he’s no longer a bishop. It’s not at all what we are used to in the mainline chrisitian communities.

            • bito says:

              Understood C’Lady the point I was attempting to make was: Would Mitt want the Rev Wright and religion subject be even mentioned with his Mormonism? Wouldn’t it just remind the fundies that they consider it a cult, or worse? The conservative RC’s? Turn hold-your-nose voters to stay-at-home non-voters? Romney can hardly afford a loss of 1-3%.

          • AlphaBitch says:

            AND in a church that doesn’t allow open access. I have been in many a masjid, and my haircutter and my physical therapist -- both friendly enough -- are Mormons. But I am not allowed in their Temple. I don’t trust any religion I can’t see up close. Or any “bishops” in those religions.

            • foodchain says:

              My mom always said you could find GOd in your own backyard. They were rural farmers without churches nearby. Not bad and much cheaper. No bosses except the big Guy.

            • bito says:

              Which lacks the most transparency, the Mormon church or Bain Capital? :-)

          • foodchain says:

            BIto, and why did he chose that socialist country of France to convert to Mormonism? The GOP hate France—or love GB

          • Beyond trying to convert French catholics and non believers to Mormonism, I have no idea. I know what he wasn’t doing….fighting in Vietnam.

            • foodchain says:

              Bito, witness the Biden family as a comparison. What good people

            • foodchain says:

              KT, which of them did?

            • bito says:

              Not one Romney has ever served in any military branch of any generation. Mitt in 2008 said his sons were serving by campaigning for him. BS. I don’t like chicken shit-chicken hawks, not at all!

              He was a bishop much later in his life.

  5. AlphaBitch says:

    AdLib: Some years ago, I lived with a psychopathic exchange student for a year, and know the pattern well. One symptom I did not see was the “primitive personality disorder” where the chronological age does not match the psychological age. In our case, the student was 19 but had the emotional maturity of a three year old.

    Think about Mitt with the “who let the dogs out” and the pretend pinch on the butt from the waitress. That type of juvenile behavior is just one more indication you are on to something.

    Sorry -- I can’t read this one. Too close to home. -- AB

    • goleafsgo says:

      AB, I agree with your assessment of Mitt’s “juvenile behaviour.”
      Even his wife has laughingly commented several times about this to reporters. She was trying to indicate that made him more “human”…more likable! Wow!

    • AdLib says:

      AB, often wealth places children in a bubble which resists maturity, so many wealthy people have the personalities of spoiled brats and bullies the rest of us remember from elementary school.

      What is George Bush’s emotional age? What is Donald Trump’s? How mature do most wealthy Republicans seem? Three year olds have the same traits, impulsively wanting to grab whatever they want, only being aware of their own feelings, throwing tantrums when they don’t get what they want..in fact, the only difference between a three year old and Mitt Romney is that Romney stumbles more.

  6. Well done AdLib. These are the traits I see in Romney, from your list;

    Glibness and Superficial Charm
    Manipulative and Conning
    Grandiose Sense of Self
    Pathological Lying (this his his number one trait)
    Callousness/Lack of Empathy
    Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle

    I think there are some pretty obvious traits of narcissism here too;

    Hotchkiss’ seven deadly sins of narcissism;

    Hotchkiss identified what she called the seven deadly sins of narcissism:

    Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.

    Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.

    Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.

    Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.

    Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.

    Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.

    Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other.

    • AdLib says:

      KT, you have hammered another nail into the Romney candidacy, he does seem fully described by your analysis of what a narcissist is. Though he may not be a full sociopath, he sure fits the description of a narcissis.

      Then again, to run for president and think you should make decisions for an entire nation, you would need to have a degree of narcissism anyway.

      Along with my other magic wishes, I would wish for the majority of the public to have the skills of critical thinking. If they simply reasoned that as a narcissit, it’s simple logic that he is unfit to make decisions that put the welfare of most Americans above his own and those he is closest to and thus could never be worthy of their vote.

      I put a bit of energy into teaching my daughter about critical thinking. She may not be Sherlock Holmes yet but she at least knows that kind of deductive reasoning is what she should work towards.

      • AdLib, actually, there is healthy form of narcissism, and then there is the unhealthy type. Romney definitely fits into the unhealthy type.

        Your daughter is lucky to have you for a dad. Critical thinking is so important in life.

  7. Nirek says:

    It is like you are describing “w” all over again.

  8. choicelady says:

    AdLib -- Whew! I have had precisely these same thoughts. It is very scary to watch this man shift and change and exhibit that grandiosity coupled with utter absence of empathy. It’s impossible not to be frightened of the implications and consequences. We saw a great deal of that in W -- and the results were devastating to this nation.

    Some years ago psychiatrist Rober Coles studied children of privilege who exhibited many of these characteristics. We liberals tend to think prejudice comes from a sense of inferiority over compensated for, but Coles showed that they came from an embedded sense of superiority coupled with a lack of connection that creates hyper narcissism, obsession with maintaining one’s own superiority and supremacy over others, and that it led to a disconnect with all others -- even within their own class. Not only is there no empathy there is no sympathy. Coupled with an insistence on being in power and always right, it can lead to sociopathic behavior.

    I think we did not ask this question soon enough of W. It is important to ask it about Mitt because his dysfunction is so blatant. Just today he was asked about another plant Bain had closed, and he refused to talk to those laid off saying he had no knowledge of their situation.

    Hyper capitalists often do not see human consequences. But this hypercapitalist wants to be president. He HAS to see human consequences -- it’s his JOB. To lie, cheat, steal, do harm, and keep smiling as if everything he did is just dandy speaks to a character that is so incompatible with governance as to be truly scary dangerous.

    Is Mitt a sociopath? Only his shrink can tell us for sure, but his lack of a core concern for Americans other than those he “owns” -- his family and those who work for him -- makes him truly unfit to be president. What works on Wall Street is NOT what we need in a leader. The fact we can see these tendencies and are asking this question is the most powerful indication he is the WRONG person for this job.

    • AdLib says:

      Well said, CL!

      It does seem interesting that the one thing the GOP, corporations and the 1% all have in common is pride in sociopathic traits. In fact. They seem to equate success with sociopathic views.

      Bush exhibited the same once in office but he ran as your beer drinkin’ buddy. Romney is running as someone who supports sociopathic behavior. I don’t thInk we’ve seen this before.

      As appalling as it is, I think it will help assure his defeat. You can’t feel close to a sociopath and people do want to like their President. Romney is flatly unlikeable and unsympathetic. As much as elections are about issues, they’re also about wanting to vote for someone and wanting them to win. I think that will mean a loss for Romney.

      • choicelady says:

        Lordy I hope so -- and I must say that of the slate of sociopaths, he IS the most likeable, but put him up against a decent adult with solid values, and…his mask slips.

        He’s getting more and more of the Bachmann Stare (have you noticed?) that glassy-eyed fervor. When he took credit for the GM success, that’s what hit me -- he had that little nervous smile and wide-eyed stare SHE has!

        I know I’ve said before but one of my fave Peanuts cartoons is of Linus standing with his eyes WIDE open and lots of lines around them. Charlie Brown asks, “What are you doing, Linus?” Linus answers. “I’m practicing being a fanatic. And not just any fanatic -- a WILD EYED fanatic!”

        And that was decades before it all came so terrifyingly true. How prescient of Schultz! Now we have a wild eyed set of fanatics running for president -- YIKES!

        • AdLib says:

          Calling Romney the most likeable of the GOP candidates is like calling Dopey the most giant dwarf. Romney doesn’t even come off as likeable to Repubs.

          I love that Peanuts cartoon, you should post it here if you can find it online.

          I don’t discount all the money being spent and anti-Obama MSM spin intended to help Romney stay neck and neck but in the end, I do think Romney’s wild eyed fanatic persona will keep people from ultimately pulling the lever for him.

        • AlphaBitch says:

          CL: A little like Manson, too, don’t you think? That burning vacuousness (is that a word?) that creeps me out. The kind of look that would send alarm bells telling you not to get in the car with that person…….

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