May 1, 2006

Psychology Watch: The Obvious Boy For Next Secretary Of Defense


Do you know adults that emotionally never graduated from short pants?  Are you familiar with the expression “boys will be boys?”  Do you wonder why only Senator Dodd looks embarrassed?

Without a better way of understanding such things, most people attribute the Lieberman – Bush attraction to a combination of political expedience and shared ideology.  However, I think it’s more psychological than that.

When you look at relationships — be they marriages, or the working kind — you tend to find people with generally equivalent degrees of moral and emotional development.  (To understand “delayed” moral development, you need only look at the way this country has been governed over the past five years.  For example, you find a lot of black-and-white thinking, such as “good” versus “bad” and “us” versus “them”;  a preoccupation with authority and obedience; and dramatic, self-centered acts mostly rationalized after the fact.)

Delayed moral advancement tends to go hand-in-hand with the lower rungs of emotional maturity.  In kids trapped in adult bodies, you tend to see silliness substituting for wit; awkwardness in the place of poise; passion masquerading as love; aggression covering for strength; and rituals standing in for originality.

In practical terms, such people usually derive comfort and security from a simpler, more uncomplicated social existence — often through immersion in the softer, safer side of domestic life, and/or greater interest and involvement in the world of young people, children and animals.

Liebermankidsa  Liebermankidsb

Liebermankidsc  Liebermanbushkidsd

This is the profile you find when you study a Bush, Rumsfeld — or Lieberman.

When the Senator says he will run as an independent if he gets knocked off in the Democratic primary, he’s not making a thoughtful judgement, he’s throwing a hissy fit.  When Lieberman cozies up to Bush and the two embrace in the Senate chamber, the best analogy is not two mature gay men so much as innocent and excited children recognizing a possible new playmate from the other side of town.

It’s no surprise that Lieberman’s Senatorial photo gallery (website) happens to include so many babies, children and other acts of silliness (like the shot above).  In the Constituent Meetings section, for example, except for one mom, you’d think there wasn’t a person to serve in Connecticut over the age of 13.

No, Ned Lamont is not running against a grown up.  He’s running against Joey, Barney’s friend, who is interested in spending more time at Georgy’s house if the bad Donald turns out to be grounded for a long time.

Update 5/2/06 9:31am PST:  Not to say The BAG had anything to do with it, but the Lieberman staff has updated the “Constituent Meeting” section.  Yes, there are more grown ups there now (a flood, actually, with the sudden appearance of several group shots).  True to form, however, in addition to new military pics — often capturing the brave man-child — we now have more kids, too.  Love those boy scouts!


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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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