Scrutiny of Mitt Romney’s Character Reveals Psychopathic Tendencies

People tend to associate the word psychopath with serial killers or other violent criminals. The word conjures up images of anti-social monsters who are unable to fit into everyday society. This makes sense since everything in our media teaches us that psychopaths are predatory murderers. Indeed, experts on psychopathy have estimated that up to 25% of prison populations include people who could be labeled as psychopaths. However, people with psychopathic personalities are not exclusively found among criminals. In reality, they are often described as “charming” and quite normal, even functioning in high profile professions. Recently, Sherree DeCovney made controversial headlines by making the assertion that as many as 1 in 10 financial services workers on Wall Street were psychopaths, which was probably an overestimation.  But, DeCovney was on to something. There are many highly successful people who can also be observed to have psychopathic tendencies, and recently, evidence has been piling up that one of them is none other than presidential wanna-be Mitt Romney.

There are three major patterns of qualities that characterize a psychopath: 1) interpersonal conduct such as dishonesty, narcissism, and arrogance, along with a marked lack of consideration for the rights and well-being of others 2) affective deficits such as lack of empathy or guilt, and 3) impulsiveness or risk-taking. Based on established criteria, psychologists estimate that approximately 1% of the population or 3 million people could be classified as having a psychopathic personality. However, these are people who meet the cutoffs for diagnostic criteria, which make it seem like people either have it or they don’t.  Psychopathy doesn’t work that way. It occurs on a continuum with some people having none at all and others having the range from a few tendencies to a full blown diagnosable personality disorder. James Silver, co-author of “Almost a Psychopath: Do I (or Does Someone I Know) Have a Problem with Manipulation and Lack of Empathy?” explains,

“Almost psychopaths differ from true psychopaths not in the types, but, rather, in the frequency and intensity of their remorseless and damaging behaviors.”

It would probably have been more accurate for DeCovney to have stated that Wall Street employees had a greater than average overall tendency toward psychopathy than to suggest that so many would fit the diagnostic criteria necessary to be labeled with the actual personality disorder.

James Silver and his co-author, Ronald Schouten, explain in their book  that people who could be described as “almost a psychopath” are quite plentiful. They estimate that up to 15% of the general population fits the profile of people who use manipulation to get what they want and who lack empathy or a capacity for guilt, all while displaying grandiosity, egotism and disregard for others.

Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital, a company that operated a business model nearly exclusively built on firing employees, canceling pensions, loading businesses with debt, taking millions in profit, and walking away. His claim is that he saved businesses but nearly a quarter of those Bain Capital touched went bankrupt; this occurred even with previously healthy companies. Countering the notion that Romney and Bain Capital were venture capitalists who developed new jobs, Aaron Goldenberg, wrote:

“Mitt Romney was NOT primarily a venture capitalist. A venture capitalist invests in early-stage businesses with the hope that they grow and prosper…By contrast, Mitt Romney was primarily what is affectionately known as a vulture investor. Bain Capital invested in failing companies with the intention of either restructuring their business or stripping the business and selling its assets.”

Goldenberg goes on to say that while what his company did may not have been evil or immoral (which is debatable), it was absolutely predicated on the belief that eliminating jobs was the best way to go even when bankrupting businesses could have taken other measures. It shows that Romney’s track record as a job-creating businessman is abysmal. It would take a  hardened heart to look in the mirror each day, knowing that your business was in the business of forcing people out of their livelihoods, regardless of the justification. But, in and of itself, this fact doesn’t prove that Romney is a psychopath. Instead, an alarming anecdote shared by Rachel Maddow on her show does point to Romney’s issues with lack of empathy or remorse.

On May 10th, Maddow played an excerpt from an interview with Romney in which he relayed a story from his past along with many inappropriate chuckles:

Romney:  “I have a few connections with the State of Wisconsin. One of the most humorous I think relates to my father. You may remember, my father, George Romney, was the President of an automobile company called American Motors. And as the President of the company, he decided to close the factory in Michigan and move all the production to Wisconsin…they had a high school band that was leading each of the candidates, and his band did not know how to play the Michigan fight song. It only knew how to play the Wisconsin fight song. So every time they would start playing, “On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin,” my dad’s political people would jump up and down and try to get them to stop because they didn’t want people in Michigan to be reminded that my dad had moved production to Wisconsin.”

This was Mr. Romney’s idea of funny, people losing their jobs and getting upset when being reminded about it.

In the same segment, Maddow discussed two of Romney’s other psychopathic behaviors, the recent revelation that he forcibly held down another teen in high school and cut off his hair as he cried and screamed and the now famous story where Romney strapped his dog to the roof of his car in a kennel for hours in defiance of Massachusetts law as he drove 60 miles per hour. In both cases, she played Romney’s “apologies” for the incidents, in which he laughed inappropriately throughout each.

These incidents and the insincerity of the apologies that followed them provide some of the strongest evidence of his psychopathy. In the case of the attack with the scissors against his classmate, Romney claims to have no memory of an occasion that still haunts the eyewitnesses to the event. Nevertheless, despite not remembering it, he also claims he must not have done it because the boy was presumed gay, because no one talked about homosexuality in the 1960s, despite evidence to the contrary. It takes a remarkably callous and disturbed individual to forget causing another human being to scream out in terror, let alone to have instigated the incident at all. With regard to the abuse of his dog, the story takes a particularly disturbing twist when one learns that his dog appeared to have developed diarrhea as a result of stress and fear. In response, Romney simply hosed off his SUV and continued the trip with the dog still atop the roof.

There is abundant evidence that Romney doesn’t maintain any strong convictions, but rather forms opinions in service of his ultimate political goals. For example, where he once promised to be “better than Ted Kennedy on gay rights,” he now promises to be the most regressive Republican presidential candidate on gay rights in over a decade. The money he donated to Planned Parenthood has morphed into promises to shut them down. This sort of deceit is characteristic of a psychopath.

Showing that he also displays the impulsivity characteristic of psychopathy, there were recent revelations about his repeated issues with losing his temper, including to the point of two skirmishes with law enforcement. Here he repeatedly shows contempt for people in positions of authority, even getting himself arrested for directly defying the instructions of an officer. If he weren’t an incredibly wealthy man, one wonders how often his flaunting of laws the little people have to follow would have gotten him in trouble.

While Romney may not display the level of psychopathy necessary to be considered diagnosable as a psychopath, he does fit what Silver and Schouten call, “almost a psychopath.” He demonstrates a lack of empathy, no remorse or guilt for past assaults or mistreatment, a high degree of narcissism, and a capacity to ceaselessly lie and manipulate to get what he wants. If there was any doubt, his inability to stop laughing while recalling these events, when others have been harmed, proves this is a man with a  highly questionable character.

37 Replies to “Scrutiny of Mitt Romney’s Character Reveals Psychopathic Tendencies”

  1. The figure for the population at large having psychopathic tendencies is 1%.

    For Wall Streeters it’s 10%.

    The definition fits Romney to a TEE. Especially that utter inability to think from another’s viewpoint. Arendt called it a facet of the banality of evil.

  2. Romney is a sociopath who is being actively supported by other sociopaths, like the Koch brothers, ALEC, and the clueless likely voters whose hatred for this president is a good motivator in inducing them to vote against their own interests. These folks and their lemmings are devoid of the kind of empathy for, and connectedness with, those they consider other that would induce them to vote for inclusive, helpful policies rather than those promoting the every-man-for-himself mentality.

  3. Nice job…I would like to see a “chain of evidence” between sociopaths and people being raised in an aberrant, secretive cult environments; I think the stats would be of interest…

    People who dwell amongst the “true believers”,
    (see Fesstinger’s work, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_Prophecy_Fails)cult groups tend to have the same induced personality types (especially leader/elite members) as they have to adopt a secondary persona to cover their actual selves in order to belong.

    In order to fit the rigid, unobtainable goals set by cult rules/laws, “true believers” must learn and practice “divine deception” (lying about cult practices/leader to hide the truth), learn to obey authoritarian leaders regardless of legality as the means justify the end results ($$$ for fearless leader), and, laugh inappropriately at while denying bad behavior (proving you’re a positive, happy camper).

    Although, some would argue that a good charismatic cult leader has an uncanny manner of “showing” empathy just at the right moment, Mitten’s lacks that quality.

    That is why the GOP knows they have failed again (as they did with Sister Sara). The GOP’ers keep trying to find/breed that perfect charismatic Pied Piper to “lead” “Merikans into believing that, if THEY say it, then, it’s must be the truth…much easier work for republicans to let women lie on their backs as means of production
    than to actually educate themselves on policy, history and governance…as W said on his job, “It’s hard, real hard…” obviously, his “charisma” didn’t work hard enough for him…

  4. No reason why psychopathy, sociopathy, malignant narcissism, and Machiavellian personality can’t be comorbid. As for holding that little blond schoolboy down at bladepoint…well, about that throat-cutting room…

  5. In fact, the comorbidity of psychopathy/sociopathy with malignant narcissism and Machiavellianism has been called the Dark Triad. I suspect Rott has it, but that the truly dangerous Dark Triadists are his puppeteers.

  6. I’ve been saying that for months. willard is a sociopathic, pathological LIAR. Not fit to be dog catcher..especially not poor doggie catcher!

  7. Ms. Foster and the commenters should be ashamed of themselves: the article is contemptible. It’s on the level with the several hundred psychiatrists who in the 1964 presidential campaign signed a public statement saying that Barry Goldwater was crazy, without having met him, let alone examining him.

  8. Are you saying he wasnt crazy? I dont think he was. However Mitt is a serial liar and the technology of the mind today is much further along than when Mr Goldwater was in ofice. You dont have to know someone to know they are not right

  9. Come on, people. I expect this kind of stuff from Fox News. I have higher standards for our side. This “analysis” of his personality is based on nothing real. These people have never spoken to him, much less met him. Let’s stay above this juvenile crap and stick to the issues. Putting this kind of thing out there only adds fuel to their fire.

  10. All I know is I listen to Romney – practically everyone of his speeches. The man is a LIAR. Now whether it’s due to some psychological condition, I don’t know. I fact-check all the time. Mitt Romney is a LIAR. Now you can contribute his lies to whatever.

    As far as Barry Goldwater, well considering that practically then entire country rejected him other than some southern states, you can all him whatever you like.

  11. Character IS part of assessing the person running for the office of President. I suppose their are people who don’t care that Mitt Romney the candidate is a known liar. People in his party call him a liar. Newt called him a liar. Factcheck.org calls him a liar. The Washington Post has pointed out his lies (I don’t like the Washington Post). The man tells lies in the same sentence. Perhaps people need to LISTEN and not just have a knee-jerk reaction, when someone points out that the man has a problem with lying and his reaction to certain situations.

  12. As far as Barry Goldwater goes, I assuredly remember him, and although he looks sane compared to those who came after, there were aspects that gave us serious doubts about his good sense. All the same, he did not fit a psychiatric profile. This man does.

    1. He lies incessently and inconsistently. Pinned down, he evinces no shame but lies again.

    2. He evinces a glibly smiling persona with no real affect.

    3. His course of conduct shows a trail of victims towards whom at the time he showed no pity and for whose fate afterwards he has shown no remorse. They range from schoolmates and pets to entire communities of thousands.

    4. He can neither give credit to an adversary nor accept criticism for himself. On the contrary, he is altogether too likely to take credit for other people’s accomplishments and blame them for his own shortcomings.

    5. Most eloquent of all is the instinctive reaction of others to him. Four years back, when he was in a debate with a large number of other candidates on ABC, they began, one by one, to give him looks of astonishment and loathing. These were members of his own party and utterly not liberals.

    For further information on this personality type, I refer you to “Snakes in Suits”, by Robert Hare.

  13. The “issues” are this. When a man is ordained with magical powers at the age of 12, and given power and authority over his own mother, combined w/a narcissistic personality, and boatloads of money and privilege, he tends to believe he has the “right” from God to say and do whatever he wants. You people need to look long and DEEP into Mormonism. This man believes he is fulfilling a Prophecy and how he gets there doesn’t matter. Mormonism calls it “lying for the lord”. The ends justify the means, no matter what.

    FYI, I’m a proud ExMormon and the Gr. Gr. Gr. Granddaughter of Brigham Young…talk to the Exmo’s journalist, if you want the goods on this mans behavior. It’s rampant in the men “the church”. (but not all of the men!)

  14. this makes you want to sob

    According to Latter Day Saint belief, the golden plates (also called the gold plates or in some 19th century literature, the golden Bible)[1] are the source from which Joseph Smith, Jr. said he translated the Book of Mormon, a sacred text of the faith. Some witnesses described the plates as weighing from 30 to 60 pounds,[2] being golden or brassy in color, and being composed of thin metallic pages engraved on both sides and bound with one or more rings.

    Smith said he found the plates on September 22, 1823 at a hill near his home in Manchester, New York after an angel directed him to a buried stone box. Smith said the angel at first prevented him from taking the plates, but instructed him to return to the same location in a year. In September, 1827, on his fourth annual attempt to retrieve the plates, Smith returned home with a heavy object wrapped in a frock, which he then put in a box. Though he allowed others to heft the box, he said that the angel had forbidden him to show the plates to anyone until they had been translated from their original “reformed Egyptian” language. Smith dictated a translation using a seer stone in the bottom of a hat, which he placed over his face to view the words written within the stone.[3] Smith published the translation in 1830 as the Book of Mormon.

    Smith eventually obtained testimonies from eleven men, known as the Book of Mormon witnesses, who said they had seen the plates.[4] After the translation was complete, Smith said he returned the plates to their angelic guardian. Therefore, if the plates existed, they cannot now be examined. Latter Day Saints believe the account of the golden plates as a matter of faith, while critics often assert that either Smith manufactured the plates himself[5] or that the Book of Mormon witnesses based their testimony on visions rather than physical experience.

  15. Link please…

    False equivalency and nonsense.

    Republican “swift-boating” of presidential candidates as mentally and morally unfit to serve has been a hallmark tradition going back to Teddy Roosevelt…he was a “party traitor” you know…

    Yes, and psychologist tried to warn the public about “Tricky Dick” too, and unfortunately, found him out a little too late…we’ve learned a thing or two since then, old man, and that is, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck (or a cultist). Mitten’s quacks like a quack!

  16. These traits fit 95% of republicans in office, so he won’t be alone, if he wins (puke). The author says he’s close to being a psyco, but not yet. Well, when and if he is elected, that will be the tipping point because he will have become the messiah and believes the world now belongs to him. I think he is the most hated unelected man in America now. Obama is #1, but not by his own making. I wish nothing but the worst for Romney and his cohorts.

  17. Yes. This is what I have been saying from the beginning. No one will listen. Many people would prefer to have a Republican psychopath than a centrist Democrat with heart and integrity. Now that’s crazy!

  18. I’m a psychotherapist. This has been my concern from the beginning. it’s not politics; it’s the scary character history. And his behavior. You may be misinterpreting the word. Look at material like “The Sociopath next Door” and “benign sociopathy”.

  19. PLEASE, let’s not let this person become the leader of the free world!
    The thought frightens the sh*t out of me!

  20. Those who deny that the DSM has value are doomed to be destroyed by those who fit the descriptions therein. Nonetheless, Romney isn’t a psychopath, he has Antisocial Personality Disorder.

    Those who will be voting for Romney are those voters who have never heard of the DSM and are used to authority figures determining and undermining their future. That fits the brain model for tens of millions of voters. They’re heavily influenced by superstition, have a love of being lorded over by powerful personalities, and have no use for Google searches.

    I know people like that. They don’t mind people crushing their lives. In fact, they have a desperate need for OTHERS to tell them what’s so and what’s not so. Thinking is so hard for them that it’s easier to believe anyone who sounds like they know what’s going on.

    All you have to do is watch Romney in action. His radiant smile doesn’t hide his obvious inability to connect to real people about real things. The anecdotes that have been collected during this campaign about his past and his present – anecdotes where he shows his personality disorder – are obvious to anyone who has the ability to match what he says to the criteria in the DSM.

    A vote for Romney is a vote to crush your soul.

  21. “Antisocial personality disorder” is the rubric under which, in American practice, psychopathy, sociopathy, and the most virulent manifestations of malignant narcicissm are subsumed; in Britain, “dissocial personality disorder” is the more common term. I rather favor the latter, as “antisocial” sounds like the basically harmless geek who almost never gets invited to parties and has a miserable time if he does. In either case, we are talking about blind selfishness, vanity to the point of grandiosity, a total lack of empathy, and a pleasure in successful Machiavellian maneuvers; let us add phoniness and a profound conviction that all other living things are inferior to oneself and entitled to exist only as long as one finds them useful. In any event, if observation of a subject indicates he (or she) has these traits, this is not someone to entrust with power.

  22. Sherree DeCovney, the author of the studies on Wall Street bankers, took the trouble to interview them, document their behavior, and review many clinical studies.

    The conclusion is very clear. Bain was a viper’s nest led by a psychopath detached from reality. They took value OUT of the system, like pirated pillaging a coastal village of farmers. They offered no valuable service and made no useful products.

  23. Sherree DeCovney interviewed literally hundreds of investment bankers, including the Bain anti-capitalist abusers of “other people’s money”.

  24. Not really, everyone knows this pathetic specimen of humanity is a stranger to the truth who will say anything he believes will convince more fools to cast their votes for him. Shame of it all is that there are those who are gullible enough to believe his lies. God help us all if he were to become President!

  25. I know about psychopaths Unfortunately, they keep me from gettting things done.. like running for President. FBI’s been doing it siince 2002… something about disliking freedom and representing the interestsof citizens instead of corporations and foreign governments… see http://www.charlesrehn.net for more info

  26. One could criticize us for playing armchair psychiatrists, but geez, the evidence is just everywhere to see this time. This is about the best compilation of the whole issue I’ve seen so far, one that even the least informed about this topic can grasp. Anyone who denies the evidence is either blind or stubbornly toeing the republican party line, and I’d advise them to take another look. A guy like this in the most powerful office in the world is a very dangerous proposition, when you consider the effect he could have on our own population as well as that of other countries re: wars, etc.

  27. Get the vote out. The Dems must have a high turnout for this election. We cannot afford to let a psychopath into the highest office.

  28. I am no psychologist but it doesn’t take Albert Einstein to figure Romney is a pathalogical liar who cares naught for the 99%ers and will say anything to convince a gullible public to honor him with their votes and pave his way to the White House. Hopefully there are enough folks capable of intelligent thought who will see through him and cast their votes in another direction.

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