When I was working as an intern for CNN in DC back in 1996, I attended a conference at George Washington University, about the Health of US Presidents. I went there with Jeff Levine, who at the time was the CNN Health & Medical Correspondent.
The health of the POTUS has been debated and studied since the creation of the Presidency and in the past few years Presidential candidates have gone public with their medical conditions even if they are not required to as medical records are protected by federal law.
Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan voluntarily released their medical records last August.
Randall Gaz, the physician who released Romney’s certificate stated “there are no physical impairments that should interfere with his demanding political career as President of the United States”.
According to Dr. Gaz’s physical, Romney “has shown the ability to be engaged in multiple, varied, simultaneous activities requiring complex mental, social, emotional and leadership skills.”
We have no clues to dispute Dr. Gaz’s conclusions, however a physician doesn’t need a complete series of blood tests to appreciate a subject’s medical conditions, especially if you are not interested to an organic situation albeit to the subject’s mental and psychological health status.
A good physician should be able to understand a subject’s medical history from his habitus, his appearance, his posture, his walk, his character and his general attitude and behavior, especially if the subject is somebody whose life is under the spotlight and it goes under continuous scrutiny.
Nobody forbids us from developing a diagnosis based on observed behavior, so we want to report here some public stances by Mitt Romney on different issues which might be considered relevant to suppose his physical should include a psychiatric test too.
I want you to consider a few facts about Mitt Romney’s ambiguous stances and his continuous mind-changing behavior.
In the fall of 2004 Mitt Romney learned that the Massachusetts Legislature would be considering a bill the following spring that would permit the cloning of embryos in lab research seeking a cure for diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. As one Romney senior strategist told New York Times columnist Robert Draper: “I think the governor was predisposed to be in favor of stem cells.” But all that changed, Romney would later claim, on the day in November 2004 that he met with two Harvard researchers and thereafter decided not only to oppose embryonic cloning but also to reverse his long-stated support for a woman’s right to have an abortion.
Romney attributed his conversion to an interaction with Harvard University biologist Douglas Melton, an expert on embryonic stem cell biology, although Melton vehemently disputes Romney’s recollection of their conversation
In fact the Harvard participants do not recollect Romney showing any concern. On the contrary, they remember Romney saying that “he was proud to be governor of a state where such important work was going on”.
Their first inkling that Romney felt so strongly about what he remembers being said came more than a year later, when he began publicly explaining his new stance on abortion.
Another mind-changing event happened with the Auto Industry bailout: “I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.” That’s what Mitt Romney said on the American Auto industry, despite having written a New York Times op-ed in 2008 titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” in which he said if GM, Ford and Chrysler got a government bailout “you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye”.
On September 17 in a leaked video taped with a hidden camera, Romney argued half of Americans will vote for President Obama because they rely on government support: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what”. Romney says in one clip. “There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing”.
Two weeks later on October 4, Mitt Romney said he was “completely wrong” when he argued that nearly half of Americans were “victims” and dependent on government.
Romney changed his mind again.
He held the same mind changing behavior for a number of other issues: from the President’s economic stimulus: “Well, I frankly wish that the last Congress would have dealt with the stimulus issue and that the president could assign that before leaving office. I think there is need for economic stimulus (January 2009, CNN).
Then he changed his mind: “I have never supported the President’s Recovery Act, alright, the stimulus! No time, nowhere, no how!” (September 28, 2011, a town hall at St. Anseim College Goffston, NH)
On Abortion: At the beginning he was pro-choice: “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard.” (2002 Massachusetts Governor debate) Then he became pro-life: “First of all, my view is that the right next step in the, in the fight to preserve the sanctity of life is to see Roe v. Wade overturned and then return to the states and to the elected representatives of the people the ability to deal with, with life and abortion on their own.” (December 16, 2007, Meet The Press).
On Ronald Reagan: “Look I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush I am not trying to return to Reagan-Bush” (1994, Debate with Ted Kennedy).
“The principles that Ronald Reagan espoused are as true today as they were when he spoke them.”(May, 2010, Annual Reagan lecture).
On Global Warming: “I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that.” (June 3, 2011, NH town hall meeting).
“‘My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” (October 28, 2011, Pittsburg event).
On Assault Weapons: “I would have supported the original assault weapon ban.” “I signed an assault weapon ban in Massachusetts.” ( December 16, 2007, Meet The Press).
“Yeah, I don’t support any gun control legislation, the effort for a new assault weapons ban, with a ban on semi-automatic weapons, is something I would oppose (February, 4, 2008, Podcast interview).
On the Auto Industry Bailout:
“The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse. I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.” – (February, 2012, a Detroit News op-ed)
“I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet.” “So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back” (Romney, May 7, 2012, an interview from inside a Cleveland-area auto parts maker).
Last August, Romney went to Europe for his promotional tour and he visited England to attend the Olympics.
After having attended the Olympic Games in London, Mitt Romney told NBC News he saw “a few things that were disconcerting” about London’s preparations. “The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging,” he said. He also noticed that some things about the preparations were “disconcerting”.
His remark prompted a sharp rejoinder from David Cameron. “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world,” said the Prime Minister “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere”.
The comment by Prime Minister David Cameron was directly referring to Mitt Romney as he organized the 2002 Winter Olympics in the state of Utah.
After the London incident, Governor Romney went to Israel, where he caused a stir when he said in a speech that “it is a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel”.
Aside from angering the Palestinians, the problem with referring to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is that, officially, the United States – like the majority of the international community – does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Instead, it considers the city’s status an issue to be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians, who claim East Jerusalem – seized by Israel in the 1967 war – as their capital. Indeed the United States keeps its Embassy in Tel Aviv.
At a breakfast fund-raising event in Jerusalem, Romney said he couldn’t help but notice the “dramatically stark difference in economic vitality” between Israel and “the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority,” and he concluded, “Culture makes all the difference”.
By defining Palestinian economic struggle as caused by “cultural reasons” Romney forgot to consider the many restrictions that Israel maintains over the Palestinian community. Romney’s comments were suddenly blasted by Palestinian leaders as “racist” but in our opinion, we are keen to define Romney’s comments as simply insensitive or better “callous” but we will be back on this later.
It was a major surprise when Romney went to Poland and met with Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarnosch, probably the world’s most famous Union. Indeed back in the U.S. Romney has been supporting continuous attacks against Trade Unions and workers rights and it sounded at least strange his meeting with a world famous Union’s leader like Walesa.
Last year on Veteran’s day GOPs candidate Mitt Romney stated: “ we should privatize veterans’ health care” in front of an astonished veterans crowd. Veterans groups swiftly condemned the proposal, and the day after, in an interview with the Nashua Telegraph Romney himself backed away from privatization.
Last August 31 Mitt Romney visited storm-battered Louisiana, where he drove through a town that was flooded by Hurricane Isaac. Romney and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) spent close to an hour meeting with first responders and local officials. Romney shook hands with National Guardsmen outside the U.S. Post Office and talked with a local resident, Jodie Chiarello, 42, who lost her home in Isaac’s flooding.
“He just told me to, um, there’s assistance out there,” Chiarello said of her conversation with Romney. “He said, go home and call 211.” That’s a public service number offered in many states.
Chiarello said she will likely seek some other shelter because her home was submerged in the flooding and she cannot use her home phone to call public assistance. However Romney did not offer her a quarter to make the call.
In fact it’s really hard to understand what a Republican candidate’s presence would have meant in a Tornado ravaged area, plus we are not talking about an average Republican, we are talking about a callous subject like Mitt Romney.
A few more pearls here:
On September 12, 2012, four consular officials got killed at the American Embassy in Benghazi, Lybia. Mitt Romney decided to exploit the event and held a press conference on the subject during which he affirmed the Obama Administration “sympathized with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt”.
“The embassy in Cairo put out a statement after their grounds had been breached. … An apology for America’s values is never the right course. … The statement that came from the administration was — was a statement which is akin to apology and I think was a — a severe miscalculation.”
In addition to the gratuitous statement what caused great concern in the audience was the creepy smirk Romney had on his face while leaving the podium.
During his campaign tour, while in Pittsburgh, PA, on April 17, 2012 Mitt Romney, visited a local bakery and looking at some cookies on display he said :”I’m not sure about these cookies. They don’t look like you made them. No, no. They came from the local 7/11 bakery, or whatever.” —
The owner of the baker later told MSNBC he was offended by Romney’s remarks.
On January 2012 Mitt Romney, while advocating for consumer choice in health insurance plans said: “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” And on the same occasion he also said: “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.”
On Sept. 22, 2012 Mitt Romney, a 65-year-old man with two advanced degrees, has no idea why they don’t let you open airplane windows mid-flight, according to his own remarks at a fund-raiser in Beverly Hills, Romney stated: “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem.” –, suggesting it would be a good idea to crack a window at 35,000 feet-
Indeed the picture that comes out from these “incidents” is the image of a man whose knowledge of reality is limited to the boundaries of his own existence because he is completely unable to understand anything that lies outside of himself. In practice he’s got not consciousness as he’s completely focused on himself and totally unable to feel “the other”- I would borrow Rimbaud and Jean Paul Sartre’s words here by saying that for Mitt Romney “the other is hell”. Although Mitt Romney is not a French poet nor an American philosopher, so he’s got to care about the others because he’s running for the office of President of the United States.
The leading force in Romney’s personality is mainly a Callous and Unemotional (CU) traits, a persistent pattern of behavior that reflects a disregard for others, a lack of empathy and generally deficient affect.
Young adolescents with higher levels of CU traits were more likely to engage in direct and indirect forms of bullying . Indeed we are aware Mitt Romney was involved in frequent bullying episodes while at school when he and his pals cut the hair of a schoolmate, or when in college he dressed up like a policeman and pulled people over “for fun”.
According to TV producer Robin Madden, a former friend of Romney during his time at Stanford:
“He told us that he had gotten the uniform from his father,” George Romney, then the Governor of Michigan, whose security detail was staffed by uniformed troopers. “He told us that he was using it to pull over drivers on the road. He also had a red flashing light that he would attach to the top of his white Rambler. We thought it was all pretty weird. We all thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty creepy.’ And after that, we didn’t have much interaction with him.”
In another story during Mitt’s high school days in Michigan, Mitt would pretend to pull his friends over while they were on dates.
Piling up all these episodes, they lead our diagnosis to a single coherent picture: Mitt Romney’s personality is a typical narcissistic subject characterized by a callous unemotional traits, that combined with his impulsivity, grandiosity and sensation-seeking behavior are all typical of a bipolar disorder. Indeed we find it difficult to understand why a Presidential candidate visiting a foreign country that is also its greatest ally would ever criticize its organizational capabilities. Unless you have a narcissistic impulse that constantly leads yourself to emphasize yourself because of your grandiosity attitude as Romney’s claim about the Olympics did not bring any advantage to his campaign quiet the contrary. This is grandiosity, a strong narcissistic impulse you can’t stop. Romney’s inner leading force is an unstoppable narcissistic instinct to magnify himself and this force has no other aim than celebrating Mitt Romney without taking into consideration what the consequence of such an impulse would or could be.
According to Eysenck, the term impulsivity reflects a maladaptive behavior pattern governed by motor activation, precipitate behavior lack of planning, snap decisions, and a tendency to act without thinking . Certainly it’s not the best picture for a Presidential candidate….
From a biopsychosocial standpoint, Moeller et al define it as a predisposition toward unplanned quick reactions to internal or external stimuli, where the individual does not foresee the negative consequences of this behavior for himself or for others. This is the worst part of the picture, because we all know any President’s decision has an immediate impact on the lives of millions if not billions of people on this planet.
The definition of impulsivity is a complicated matter; in fact, impulsivity is not clearly defined. This lack of specificity has given rise to disagreements in the literature as to how to define it and measure it and in the specific case of Mitt Romney a Psychiatric test would be absolutely necessary to implement the diagnosis and to obtain a more defined clinical picture.
The one we redacted here is not a clinical picture but it reveals a personality that is completely “closed in itself”, where the subject is completely unable to take a decision because he is incapable to foresee what the consequences of his actions could be as he’s driven by an inner force that is also an “unstoppable force”, like an engine without a wheel, he doesn’t know what is the right direction to take because he’s got no idea what the consequence of his actions would be, it’s just “a force without brain”.
Being this the clinical picture it is really hard for me to understand how this man could have gone so far in politics and business because in both fields you need to be able to forecast the future and changing mind more often than you change socks is definitely not a winning policy both in politics and business.
Certainly the United States of America at this time needs anything but impulsivity nor sensation seeking.
Our personal opinion is that America at this very moment needs more than ever a steady guide and direction and maybe Mitt Romney isn’t the best choice for the American people.