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01 June 2008


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"There are many such people among us," and probably a dramatically higher proportion of them in the US Congress than in the general population, even higher in the Senate...

How else can you explain our elected "representatives'" infatuation with being stewards of the greatest Empire the world has even seen?

This is why I sometimes think that we should choose at least one branch of Congress by a lottery system instead of elections--a random group of people could hardly have screwed it up worse. They would be more likely to take their role as servants of the people more seriously, and they would probably have the capacity to see reality for what it is.


Narcissistic is the nicest thing one can say about him. Sociopathic seems more apt... ill-will thrown in with the ignorance & general personality disorder. {It takes a special kind of person to be drawn to him by charisma.}

Bush has given Constitutional Democracy AND Christianity a bad name - quite the accomplishment!

Farmer Don

Col. Lang,
I have tried to post a couple of times from this computer.
One was to the effect that it isn't a good idea to elect a president that has spent a couple of years in a cage.
The other was that Scott McClellan was only doing his job and what was all the fuss about.
Both may have been poorly written, or over-simplified, but neither appeared on your blog.
Were these deleted by yourself, or are they filtered out because I'm using different computers to try to post?
Don S.

Charles I

Narcissists require only that good men do nothing until it is too late. . . .


Colonel, I remember some months ago I mentioned Bush's "Commander-In-Chief Uniform" and you questioned whether I was serious, only to find that the damn fool had actually been photographed wearing one. It demonstrated an incredible amount of insecurity on Bush's part, not to mention the stupidity of his entourage--like the Ruritanian uniforms that Nixon dressed the White House staff in, which were more appropriate for a High School Marching Band (where I believe they wound up).

Another disturbing aspect of Bush's personality is the painting which he insists on calling "A Charge To Keep." Bush liked this inspirational painting so much that he brought it into the White House from Texas and shows it to visitors. Bush's interpretation of the painting is that it shows a Methodist circuit riding preacher riding through the wilderness spreading the Word of God. But what it really shows is a desperate man on horseback fleeing for his life from a posse, which is in the picture. The painting was originally commissioned to illustrate a story about a horse thief in a magazine. One can only imagine the reactions of visitors who are told by Bush that the painting is an inspiration to him--when they realize what it really is. Do they slavishly agree with him that 2+2=5 or do they just nod and smile at his nonsense? That would depend on the visitor, I suppose. Unlike those who prudently agreed with the excesses of Prince Vlad The Impaler (or Dracula), these visitors need not fear the rude intrusion of a stake as a reward for their honesty, however inconvenient to the Great Man. It would be charitable to assume that they were unaware of this weighty consideration at the time.


He is a sociopath, and I believe that is compatible with NPD.

He is no different than Ted Bundy.


Arabic is probably rich with more colorful epithets than NPD.


I think he is a sociopath. Here is a http://www.buzzflash.com/articles/interviews/049>discussion. I don't think the NPD label covers the kind of evident delight in causing pain. (I see his torture policy as being justified by the fact that pain is being inflicted on a large number of people innocent or otherwise.) But whatever the label, we are being led by a very disturbed person.


The narcissistic personality disorder may be the way this mediocre person avoids the Randolph Churchill syndrome: Spending a lifetime reinforcing the fear that you will never be a great man like your father. True, George H.W. Bush is no Churchill, but he's no slouch for a dad either.
Maybe we miss the point about Dubya. His "moral clarity" and claim to have been called by God to the Presidency is one way to shed the baggage of zero accomplishments before the age of 40. Remember the Bible tells us that Moses was slow of speech and no standout before he stood before the burning bush. I know lots of average people who claim God has a mission for them.


You are being too generous to Mr. Irrelevant. I know a lot of people who exhibit all nine traits and many have advanced in their chosen fields because they possessed first-rate intelligence.

Bush is a Charlie McCarthy character who perhaps cannot dress himself without assistance. He was selected and has been propped-up by the king makers because he could (and still can) be manipulated like play-dough.

When the president of Poland was visiting the United States a few weeks back, I heard Bush on NPR express his view of “security” for Poland. Listening to him without the benefit of an accompanying visual is scary. The man sounds like a 10 year-old mimicking the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

My hope is that your list will be amended to include: 10. Low intelligent quotient.



Why do you claim to invite discussion when you ban any comment that you doesn't follow your prejudices?

Patrick Lang

Mr. Bonelli

The last time I refused to publish one of your comments it was (if I remember correctly):

1- illiterate.

2- lacking in comprehension of my post.

3- personally insulting.

You are welcome to try again. Consider this training in rhetoric. pl


I've been studying NPD for the last five years after running into two in business and one in private life.

I'm not sure we have enough information to label Bush as a sufferer of NPD, the missing bit is what he does with people who are no longer of any use to him. Does he discard them like rubbish? If so, then he could well have NPD.

The rest of the symptoms seem to be there, the sense of entitlement manifests itself as the "laws are for little people" attitude and contempt for the Constitution.

You see this in other narcissists like Martha Stewart (breaking insider trading laws) and of course the late Leona Hemsley ("taxes are for little people").

Any time you see an outwardly rich and successful high profile person doing something stupidly criminal to the point you find yourself saying "now why would such a fine, rich and successsful person do THAT????" you are probably looking at a narcissist exercising their huge sense of entitlement.

The grandiosity and lack of empathy are obvious.

There are a lot of these bastards around in senior management positions because they are often very intelligent and hard working, and of course they are always "managing up' or sucking up to the boss to get that next promotion.

Once in a senior management position, they hire other narcissists, because they love people sucking up to them, they get rid of anyone who is competent enough to be a threat to their self image, and then generally cause organisational mayhem.

The reason we have an epidemic of them is because of our own idea of hiring on "merit" instead of race, class, social background, affiliations, schools etc., and narcissists do "merit" very very well.

Of course in the old days, when we hired our friends or fellow club members, we had had the opportunity to observe them for years and knew which ones to avoid, because narcissists give themselves away if you watch them for long enough.



I guess it was the snarky comment about this site being a BDS echo chamber that caused you to consider me illiterate and insulting. I stand by that comment.

You mentioned "hungry for adulation". I don't think Bush could reasonably be accused of this, to the contrary, I think he has been far too tolerant of blatantly partisan criticism.

I also note that you replied to my full name, not just my "handle". Although I really don't care if anyone notices this, I do think that it shows a cavalier disrespect for my anonymity.



It seems that you have decided not to publish my response to your last reply.

I will be frank and say that I am disappointed. I have enormous respect for you, and in this time when all the press is starting to say that Al Queada is on the run, I am constantly searching for facts that contradict this current thinking.

Your website would be one that would provide this alternate viewpoint. Unfortunately, the commenter's and yourself seem to be so seeped in BDS that there can be no rational duscussion of what is fact and what is denial of reality.

I guess I'll just spend my time on Belmont club and Longwar journal. At least there my comments get published.

Maureen L.

FWIW, yr. niece, about to get her doctorate in Clinical Psychology, has opined that GWB may have APD rather than NPD- Antisocial Personality Disorder (apparently the new name for someone who displays sociopathic affect) as opposed to Narcissistic Personality Disorder. She said she's seen quite a few in her yrs. as a clinician, & GWB fits right in there nicely.

Jon T.

What put me beyond the edge of concern into sadness for George W. Bush were two things: (1) the Time magazine article where he claimed God told him to invade Iraq and that Christ had stopped his alcohol consumption, and (2) the way he handled the Karla Faye Tucker mercy plea based in her having found Christ. He mocked her. I am asked to be forgiving. This is a challenge. Blaise Pascal suggests I sit alone in a room for a half hour. Would our narcissitic culture heed those two suggestions, forgiveness and silence.


Col. Lang:

Whew! What a topic.

Before going any further I think it would be helpful to take a paragraph from the DSM-IV-TR on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) that might help clarify what we’re talking about.

The DMS-IV-TR states on page 717 in its Differential Diagnosis section for NPD: “Many highly successful individuals display personality traits that might be considered narcissistic. Only when these traits are inflexible, maladaptive, and persisting and cause significant functional impairment or subjective distress do they constitute Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”

Said differently, one can be all screwed up but if one is successful no one will really care. Consider the adulation Alan Greenspan received prior to the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Was there an NPD element in his seeing no need to have the Federal Reserve regulate that market? Most certainly.

This also applies to Bush. Over the seven years of his presidency, there has been a growing cultural and social disapproval of his job performance and his ability to lead the country successfully. His current approval rating is at or below 30 percent and about 75 percent of the country believes that Bush is taking it in the wrong direction.

The magnitude of the Bush-generated events that have created these widespread attitudes of disapproval now allows folks to wonder whether there is something psychiatrically wrong with Bush and will he do it again. That is, we are now asking what’s making him do these goofy and irrational things (could it be NPD?) even though before we may have argued that he was a competent and rational leader who was protecting us from harm. So now we’ve begun to worry that he might go off on another narcissistic tear like bombing Iran.

Whether we need to give him a psychiatric diagnosis, however, is another matter. The key to understanding this kind of diagnostic thinking is to ask what treatment the diagnosis dictates.

This brings us right into the bailiwick of Dr. Thomas Szasz, a psychiatrist who before the advent of successful medically based psychiatric treatment argued that all psychiatric diagnoses were a product of cultural and social expectations because they are not caused by any real medical disease. (Wikipedia)

Of all the psychiatric disorders, only the personality disorders continue to fall most easily into Szasz’s catchall. For example, schizophrenia has a genetic basis and presumably will someday be treatable medically for this reason; depression and anxiety have bio-chemical bases which can be treated successfully using medication; and the adjustment disorders can be related to specific external events which allows them to be successfully treated using behaviorally based psychotherapy and adjunctive medication.

But the personality disorders show little or no relationship to such biologically based determinants. So the treatment for personality disorders continues to be dictated by the social/cultural consequences of the patient’s functional impairment or the family’s and patient’s subjective distress. Ever tried treating an older adolescent male who insisted on bringing his motorcycle into the family living room because it was too good to stay outside? And, who would angrily beat up on anyone; mother, father, siblings who said or did otherwise?

Regardless, despite the ambiguity of the personality disorder diagnosis, like pornography everyone knows a personality disorder when one sees it. I think that’s the case with the NPD diagnosis for Bush. In Szasz’s terms, there is no medical basis for Bush’s behavior. Given his power, however, there are enormous negative cultural and social consequences if he is allowed to behave in the future as he has in the past.

Crazy, however, is not part of it. Illegal, however is. Our society needs to shift its thinking from looking for a psychiatric rationalization for Bush’s behavior to acknowledging what has been apparent for some time. He has been violating the laws of the country with impunity and he needs to be stopped.

Patrick Lang


Anyone who is really concerned about anonymity should not post here. I consider a desire for the anonymity that reflects the old "New Yorker" cartoon about how "on the internet no one knows you are a dog" to be a form of cowardice. What you want is to be anonymous so that you can insult, defame and ridicule rather than argue?

I thnk you are probably just another neocon propagandist.

I am a liberal? A liberal who believes in; states rights, federalism, is against abortion (it should be returned to the states as an issue), against gun control (life NRA member), want a constitutional amendment for a balanced federal budget, is against gay marriage? What else? Oh yes, I think Bush and the neocons are idiots in foreign policy.

It is true that I am religiously enjoined against capital punishment. Some of these people I would "do" myself, but I respect the teaching of my church on this. I would also want to see some form of affordable health insurance for all. I have it. Why should not others?

Iraq- AQI. They were defeated last year. I have written that and said it any number of times. What is left is Shia politics.

Respect me? What a joke. pl

Nancy K

I'm not so sure that Bush is Narcissistic, I think it more likely he has feelings of inferiority, with good reason, so he demeans and belittles those he views as superior to him.
An ignorant president can be very dangerous as he or she can be easily manipulated, ie Bush and the Neocons.
Hopefully our next president, who ever it is, will not be duped into being a puppet and will have the intelligence and integrity to meet the challenges this country is facing.

Stephen Calhoun

Good stuff Pat. If Bush ticked off all 9 elements he still might not meet the criteria in a technical sense. fwiw

"As with most personality styles, only a fine line separates normality from pathology—in this case, normal self-confidence and an artificially inflated sense of self-worth." (T.Millon:2004)

People with NPD are insufferably self-centeredl and grandiose. 'Walking godlke among mere mortals.'

The most disturbing psychological moment for me was when Mr.Bush could not answer the question, "What was your biggest mistake?"

This was a moment of profound disassociation. Is it possible that it never occurred to him that he was capable of a mistake?

Yes, to what Paul, Maureen, Anval, have contributed. Bush does approximate what's termed the Elitist Narcissist. (Recall the mission accomplished moment.)

Again, from Millon, "their own needs, instead worshipping the infant. As a result, the child failed to learn that others are separate beings with their own desires. Cognitively, narcissists substitute imagination and daydreams for reality. Their past, present, and future are colored by these imaginings, all adding to their glory. Other cognitive processes protect narcissists’ vulnerabilities, such as their refusal to test hypotheses, because their ideas must be innately correct. They are also prone to black-and-white thinking and focus on small differences between themselves and others."

Short of NPD, these cognitive features could still be in play to some extent. The in-group at the top is self-reinforcing, so it's possible to talk about a narcissistic leadership group.

(Google: "Manfred Kets de Vries" | narcissism | leadership)

Mad Dogs

When queried about whether he has "Narcissistic Personality Disorder", Junya replied:

"You know, the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don't remember."

Ahem...Junya? Now pay real close attention son. That is "Narcissistic", not "Narcotics".

To which Deadeye replied: "So?"

Leila Abu-Saba

A blog is like a private living room, not a public square. No one has the right to free speech at any individual's blog. You don't like the host's rules, you don't have to read or post.

And if barred admittance, remember, it's the host's privilege. The rest of us are guests here.

J.T. Davis

Alnval... Ever tried treating an older adolescent male who insisted on bringing his motorcycle into the family living room because it was too good to stay outside?

If it was a $20,000 -$25,000 Harley and he lived in the kind of neighborhood where 3 or 4 brawny fellows in a pick up truck could be gone with it in less than 30 seconds, it might be less neurotic or obsessive than it seems on first impression. It may be the most valuable and expensive thing he'll ever own. I'm not defending it but I have seen it and by that I mean I've known guys like that (HA's and HA wannabes) and Harleys do disappear that quickly if left out overnight in some neighborhoods.



I say all kinds of nasty things, and Col. Lang still publishes my comments. If I were you, I'd have an inferiority complex. (which, BTW, is different from NPD).

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