Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rahm-bo Agonistes: Struggles of a Hypomaniac Chronicled by Suck-Ups

Psychology Today is still Freudian after all these years, and the recent issue about Rahm Emanuel goes adorational quickly:
Emanuel displays many characteristics of a hypomanic temperament. This mildly manic disposition—which is not a mental illness—comes with assets that could propel someone to the top of his field: immense energy, drive, confidence, creativity, and infectious enthusiasm. I have found through interviews and historical accounts that hypomania has animated many leaders, from Alexander Hamilton and Andrew Carnegie to Emanuel's former boss Bill Clinton.[Ed. Note: Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Joseph Stalin would also perhaps qualify as hypomanics...]

But wait, there's more!
ut it also carries a cluster of liabilities: overconfidence, irritability, and especially impulsivity that often pitches the hypomanic into hostility. Drives are heightened and impulse control is weakened, making the hypomanic brain like a Porsche with no brakes. In keeping with his hypomanic temperament, Emanuel doesn't need much sleep and he can't stay still. "He's like a shark that always has to keep moving or he dies," says John Lapp, who worked for Emanuel. And, like Clinton, Emanuel is highly creative, not least because his hyperkinetic mind can't stop generating ideas. "He's an idea machine," Sabato says.

As is Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton and a few paranoid schizophrenics I attended as a hospital orderly in a psych ward a long while ago..... Psychology Today goes into metaphorical hyperspace with the following apercu by author John Gartner:
If you picture the id and ego as a horse and rider, Rahm has a gigantic horse—like other hypomanics. But he's also a highly skilled rider. He's more heat-seeking missile than loose cannon.

Ah yes, but these are caring, loving maniacs and have their hearts in the right place, being Dumborats:
The center of the Emanuel universe was the family dinner table, a boisterous place where all the meaningful issues of the day were hotly debated. While Rahm has called the verbal combat that took place there "gladiatorial," Zeke described it to me as more of a Talmudic debate—the Jewish tradition of argument where one's opponent is viewed as an ally in the search for truth. "It's a sign of love to take someone's view seriously," says Zeke, who has fostered at NIH a style modeled directly on the Emanuel dinner table; he calls it "combative collegiality."

The most important measure of mental health, psychoanalyst Melanie Klein believed, is a capacity to integrate caring and aggressive feelings in relationships. In that regard, the Emanuels grew up extremely healthy. While a great deal of aggression was tolerated and sparked "a lot of competition, a lot of bloodshed, and plenty of fights between the brothers," it was also tempered by the underlying warmth. The warmth factor not only counterbalanced the aggression—this was not The Sopranos—it reduced the hostility that so often accompanies hypomania

Yeah, the old Jewish saw: "What's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable." No hostility there, just aggression against one's worldly goods! But not finished with the brown-nose ass-kissing, the PT folks quote the fishwrap of record, the Liberal Death Star, to achieve a sort of new French-kiss of journalistic groveling.
A strong capacity for good fraternal relationships may help explain the unusually intimate chemistry between Obama and his chief of staff. "In meetings, it's not uncommon for Mr. Obama and Mr. Emanuel to engage in teasing banter," Leibovich wrote in The New York Times [Ed note: aforesaid Liberal Death Star]. When Obama complained during a meeting that Emanuel's knuckle-cracking was distracting him, Emanuel stood up and held "the offending knuckle" to Obama's ear and, "like an annoying little brother, snapped off a few special cracks."

Some heads of state might take offense at such irreverence. Emanuel was nearly fired from the Clinton White House for clashing with Hillary. But Obama, with his team-of-rivals approach, has shown a confident capacity to work with strong personalities. "Obama values truth-telling and bluntness" and he "has a lot of loving-teasing relationships," the Times' Leibovich told me. "The Emanuel dinner table represents his idealized cabinet meeting."

I should have recused myself because one of my daughter's baby sitters in Glencoe or Wilmette did claim to have baby-sat the Emanuel clan decades previous, but upon further reflection, decided not to do so in the interest of bioethics. Read the entire story to catch the reference.

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