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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sociopath Alert: Newt Gingrich (Part II)

This blog made the case last May that Gingrich is a sociopath. That view has not changed.

Last Thursday, when CNN's John King asked Gingrich about his ex-wife Marianne's allegation that he had asked for an open marriage, Gingrich declared that he was "appalled" that King would begin a Presidential debate like that.

But Marianne's claim had in fact gotten a lot of publicity, and was something that Gingrich would have to address sooner or later; King merely gave him the opportunity to do it sooner. Yet Gingrich said that for ABC to have aired that interview two days before the debate, and for King to have brought it up, was "as close to despicable as anything I can imagine."

Gingrich then slyly shifted the issue to how the media protects Barack Obama. Gingrich is, of course, right that the media does focus on Republican faults in a lopsided way. And there is a lot of conservative resentment about that, which Gingrich cleverly tapped into. But his outrage -- when he plainly did have an affair -- is reminiscent of the way Bill Clinton waved his finger at that group of journalists and angrily declared, "I did not have sex with that woman."

Sociopaths act outraged when accused of something they are guilty of the same way non-sociopaths do when falsely accused. Most non-sociopaths cannot imagine acting that way if guilty, which is why they get fooled by sociopaths.

This is not a brief against extramarital sex. Some would say that such betray a lack of character. But plenty of non-sociopaths stray -- roughly 60% of married people, according to the polls. What betrays sociopathy is the outrage mustered when caught.

Another Gingrich-ism was to say that he was hired by Freddie Mac as a historian. But as Romney pointed out last night, they don't pay people $25,000 a month for six years to be historians. And, if Gingrich was a historian, why would he be reporting directly to the firm's chief lobbyist?

True, Gingrich didn't register as a lobbyist himself. He undoubtedly made it clear to Freddie Mac that he didn't want to be labeled as such to protect his political future. But Freddie Mac obviously would not have hired the former Speaker if they hadn't wanted his influence. For Gingrich to deny this is just the sort of lawyerly evasion sociopaths specialize in.

What may betray Gingrich's sociopathy most clearly is that he is simply never seems to get nervous, even in the debates. He thinks well on his feet, never gets flustered, and is always glib. It might seem unfair to attribute good performances to sociopathy, but such nerve is in fact a sociopathic hallmark.

Republicans watch Gingrich's masterful debate performances and think, wouldn't it be fun to have this guy dismantle Barack Obama the same way he did some of the moderators.

The problem is, although sociopaths are great performers, they are dissemblers as well. And in the fishbowl of Presidential campaigns, lies have a way of being exposed.

It would be sort of cool to watch Gingrich eviscerate Obama. But if the Republicans are smart, they'll choose the more electable Romney.


Anonymous said...

Read your article about the sociopathy of Bill Clinton and thought it was very good, concise and to the point. Made the case for it in a convincing, factual manner.
Lots of dishonest people use the gimmick of acting morally outraged when the inquiry starts to sniff around in areas where incriminating things might be buried. It's a way of deflecting the direction of attention and injecting some emotion into things so as to throw people off. Can't be questioning someone's honor, can we? It's a common tactic, especially when some heat is being felt.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Thank you, and you are 100% correct about the moral outrage tactic. Sociopaths are always feigning some emotion in order to manipulate: sometimes it's outrage, other times compassion, other times admiration. But the common denominator is that they're all false, and calculated to advance the sociopath's interests somehow.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about Gingrich-however,I find your reasoning, when compared to the Clinton post, to be flawed. Many nonsociopaths act glib in the face of stress in an attempt to diffuse the situation, lots of nonsociopaths use "spin" against their opponents, even when they are guilty. Neither of these mean much by themselves. It's better to look at someone's entire career in order to determine whether certain traits indicate sociopathy.
(Sorry for commenting so late, I just thought it necessary to point this out).

John Craig said...

Anon --
No problem about the "late" comment, actually there's no such thing, I'm happy to get comments at any time.

I wasn't using Gingrich's glibness as the 'tell" of his sociopathy so much as I was using the fact that he simply never gets flustered. Most people, i.e., most non sociopaths, can get discombobulated or put off their game when in an uncomfortable or extremely stressful situation. Sociopaths like Gingrich never do. He is always cool, calm and collected. Those are qualities we want in a leader, especially a President, but they are also qualities that sociopaths tend to have. You could also call that quality sangfroid, or having "nerves of steel," or being unflappable; but they add up to pretty much the same thing, a guy who doesn't feel stress. And the extreme example of that is a sociopath.

I agree, by the way, that looking at someone's entire life is a better way of judging sociopathy. But sometimes a few snapshots is all it takes. Gingrich's justification for his affairs, by the way, which I think I put in the original post about Gingrich's sociopathy (this was part II) was remarkably similar to Bill Clinton's. His lack of nerves --- as well as his incredible nerve -- is also remarkably similar to Clinton's.

Anonymous said...

If he were ever voted into office, could Newt Gingrich be a decent President, despite being a sociopath? Could any sociopath actually be a good leader to his/her country?

- birdie

John Craig said...

Birdie --
Yes, it's certainly possible. I happen to agree with Gingrich politically, and I also think he's a brilliant guy. So, sure, he could steer the country i the right direction. His sociopathy would undoubtedly emerge in certain telling ways, but that wouldn't necessarily stop him from being a good President.