September 25, 2008

Old McCain CW: Heroic Bomber Pilot. New McCain CW: Kamikaze.

Mccain White House

It’s one of the few shots of the White House economic crisis distraction meeting taken today from McCain’s end of the room.

It’s also a good opportunity to call out one of McCain’s characteristic expressions.  Sitting there pretending he’s being constructive just after colluding with House Republicans to blow up intense, three-day-old bipartisan negotiations, that’s the look of the cat that ate the canary.

Like I said in my tweet earlier today (after McCain did-but-really-didn’t suspended his campaign, but before I knew about the House meetings): “After yesterday, you’d think the notion of someone crashing all those fighter planes wouldn’t look all that random.”

Update:  I just finished reading the TPM post by David Kurtz about McCain’s supposedly strange and sudden swerve in casting his economic lot with the right-wingers.  Actually though, the move is perfectly consistent with John McCain’s psychology.

Speaking as a clinician now and not just a visual analyst, what McCain demonstrates time-and-again — as the hallmark of his psychology — is oppositional-defiant disorder.  What McCain gets off on, also reflected in the expression above, is throwing over the status quo.  (Although the disorder is primarily attributed to children and closely fits McCain’s repeated, indulgent descriptions of his earlier acting out, his touchiness, anger and authority issues are all still very much in evidence.)

Without an appreciation for the psychopathology underlying this behavior, people tend to chalk up the swerve-after-swerve in McCain’s career to independence of mind or this ridiculous “maverick” label.  I say ridiculous because what we are seeing play out once more is not a constructive trait but an impulsive pathological reaction — one which manifests itself in a pernicious and destructive way.

For an additional clinical take, check out psychologist Bryant Welch’s piece at HuffPost about McCain’s “authority problem” written just after the RNC.

(image: Tim Sloan/Getty Images/AFP.  White House Cabinet Room. September 25, 2008. Washington, DC)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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