The Dysfunctional President: Inside the Mind of Bill Clinton
Paul Fick, Ph.D.
|Dr. Fick is a clinical psychologist who has studied
the public statements and actions of President Clinton
and has come to some startling conclusions. Specifically,
that the President suffers from a syndrome characteristic
of certain Adult Children of Alcoholic parents. This
gives him a strong tendency to lie, to be by nature
indecisive, to create and thrive on chaos, to deny
personal responsibility and indulge in self-destructive
When Bill Clinton was four years old, his mother married Roger Clinton, Sr. His stepfather was a violent alcoholic. He assaulted Clinton's mother. When Bill was fourteen, his mother and stepfather were divorced. One year later they remarried.
Fick claims Clinton responded to his stepfather's alcoholism and violence by assuming the "Hero Role." He excelled in school and was characterized as an "over-achiever" in all of his activities. This behavior is designed to deny the reality of the family's dysfunctionality. While the Hero is often honored and rewarded for his behavior, the underlying guilt and resentment results in the creation of chaos and in self-destructive behavior that undermines his success. Clinton's continual staff changes, lies, excuses, indecisiveness, and sexual obsession are among the obvious evidence of his dysfunctional personality.
Clinton is driven to be what others want him to be. His continuous observation of opinion polls during and after the campaign is characteristic of this propensity. "The reporters and pundits who have watched Bill Clinton for years marvel at Clinton's uncanny ability to make himself over into whatever image appeals to voters." (Meredith Oakley, On the Make - The Rise of Bill Clinton, as quoted in The Dysfunctional President, page 16.) With respect to the United States' involvement in the Gulf War, candidate Clinton said, "I guess I would have voted with the majority if it was a close vote. But I agree with the arguments the minority made." (page 22). "There is no Bill Clinton. That is, he has no principles that he will stick to when the going gets rough. His great passion is to be popular." (Columnist Nat Hentoff, page 52)
Clinton's indecisiveness results in potential disastrous foreign policy positions. "When military planners put together the aborted plan for invading Haiti, among the major factors taken into account: Bill Clinton's indecisiveness. The mission was constructed so that if - as happened - Clinton canceled or postponed the invasion, all the units could be recalled right up to the H-hour." (page 26)
Clinton's lies are perhaps the most observable symptom of his dysfunctional personality. "The belief that all presidents fudge the truth will not work with this president. Clinton lies to the public not only for political expediency but also because lying is what he knows. He cannot help but lie. For Bill Clinton, denial and lying are the result of learned behavior in childhood." (page 31)
Clinton is comfortable in the chaotic world he grew up in. He seeks to create chaos around him. The fact that this impulse can have negative effects on national policy is clear in his attempts to make sweeping changes in systems such as health care. The costs to the country of the president's disorder are staggering.
I would have been disappointed with the book had it merely portrayed Clinton as a victim of his stepfather's alcoholism. But it does not. Fick clearly states that the each of us is responsible for our own behavior, regardless of our background. When told by a patient, "My behavior is because of my alcoholic father," Fick responds, "That's good that we've identified the source of your problems. Now, what have you done about it?"
I've never understood why anybody could have voted for a lying philanderer for leader of the free world. This book helped me have compassion for Bill Clinton, though it fueled my concern for America as a people. It underscores the failure of our educational system to create people who can think (and thus vote) critically (as evidenced further by the outcome of the Menendez and Simpson trials). If we can't educate our children to make intelligent decisions in a complex world, we're buying into a dismal future.
Copyright 1996-1999 © by Craig Rairdin. All Rights Reserved.