In a previous post I mused—largely tongue-in-cheek—that prominent Republican pols were mentally ill. I identified myriad examples of Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and other pillars of the GOP exhibiting telltale signs of mental illness including denial, delusion, hallucination, disordered thinking, anger, anti-social behavior, sexual preoccupation, grandiosity, general oddness, and paranoia.

Now, I'm still no clinician, but it seems to my (admittedly biased, brown) eyes that the GOP’s recent (in)actions indicate that they’re collectively afflicted with yet another mental illness…One I had not before considered. 

With John Boehner and company shuttering the Federal Government and threatening to not raise the debt limit ceiling, the GOP are purposely hurting We The People, as well as America's standing in the global marketplace.  And for what?  To draw attention to themselves and sympathy for their issues.

That’s classic Münchausen syndrome by proxy!

To appropriate Wikipedia’s MSBP definition, the Republican leadership are attempting to “fulfill their need for positive attention by hurting their own child [government and citizenry], thereby assuming the sick role by proxy." 

Moreover, with their calls for President Obama to 'negotiate' they are trying to "assume the hero role and garner still more positive attention by appearing to care for and save their child [government and citizenry].” 

So, to recap: The Grand Old Party is having a grand old time abusing their positions of power by hurting their constituents just to garner attention on how sick the GOP is over President Obama's sickness safety net.  Nothing pathological about that.  Nothing at all.    

I’ve long been fascinated by Münchausen syndrome by proxy and I've long thought that the only notable person to have it was Eminem’s mother (per his Cleanin' Out My Closet lyrics). But maybe I was wrong.  Maybe the GOP collectively suffers from MSBP...and we from them.

And maybe Eminem’s next single should be Cleanin' Out My Government

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Copyright © 2013 Barry X. Kuhle. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of Psychology Today and the University of Scranton, or me, or my friends, family, probation officer, gut bacteria, darkest thoughts, and personal mohel.

About the Author

Barry X. Kuhle, Ph.D.

Barry X. Kuhle, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Scranton.

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