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It's All In The Mind - A Psychiatrist's Take On The '08 Presidential Race

Apr 8, 2008
McCain's anger is well known, but it's understanding what led to it that really helps you predict where it might take him. Similarly, we are all familiar with Hillary's do-anything-to-win persona, but only when we learn what fuels it can we understand its power and, therefore, her ultimate fate. This is an understanding that I have gained through a year of study, and that's what my book is all about.

Clinton's recent fanning of the flames around Obama's pastor controversy is, I believe, a good example of an increasingly prominent aspect of her psyche: her self destruct button. The media strung the story out for all it was worth, and Clinton was benefiting nicely by sitting on the sidelines, but she couldn't resist wading in, thereby deflecting a swathe of the unfavorable attention back on herself, and the increasingly evident scorched earth policy of her campaign.

I predict that the heat on Obama from both sides will get a lot worse before it gets better, but the "plague on both your houses" nature of these drives spouting forth from both Clinton and McCain (more Clinton at the moment), will ultimately undermine their own candidacies.

Nothing, of course, is guaranteed in politics but Obama's position is certainly stronger - not just politically or statistically, but psychologically. Obama's uncertainty around his background and fractured identity seems to have practically forced him to undergo a journey of inner reconciliation and exploration during his formative years. This has left him with a degree of self awareness that is rare in a politician, and that's why so many people who have not been involved in politics before have been drawn to him. We may well be in store for a profound renewal on many levels, the likes of which global politics rarely sees.

The words "watch this space" have never been more apt.

Please note: These, and other conclusions I write about, have arisen out of extensive research that I carried out into the backgrounds of the main Presidential contenders. As a practicing psychiatrist I do recognize of course that, given these people are not my patients and I have never sat them on my couch, a full therapeutic analysis may not be possible. Nevertheless, with these public figures (as with others whose analysis I have published), I have a wealth of material that a clinician might otherwise lack. The volume of information - current and past - available on each candidate in the public domain, given the nature of today's hungry 24 hour news media, is vast. I am also able to do something I can't do with my own patients, and that is to observe them in the outside world; in a variety of settings. Studying all of these windows has lead me to some very firm conclusions about how each candidate's mind works, and from that I have started making predictions about how their campaigns (and, one day, their Presidency) might pan out.

That's what my latest book, and the website www.shrinkingpolitics.com is all about. It's not a new concept - in fact the CIA have utilised these methods for years to analyse foreign leaders - but bringing it out into the political punditocracy in this way, is. It's for anyone to contribute, and hopefully it'll act as a dialogue between interested people so that together we can gain a better understanding of those who would be our leaders.

Worth doing, don't you think?
About the Author
Visit www.shrinkingpolitics.com where psychiatrist and published author, Dr Russell Razzaque studies the US Presidential candidates closely in his latest book, "Fit To Be President? Inside The Minds Of The '08 Presidential Candidates". The site also includes a free newsletter and Dr Razzaque's regular blog.
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