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Hillary Clinton: "Deranged Narcissist?"

Labels as Name-Calling

Considering the media’s open-mouthed infatuation with Obama—whom some have called the “pet rock of the white liberal elite”—it shouldn’t have been too surprising to hear CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin call Hillary Clinton a “deranged narcissist.” But it was (even to his fellow talking heads, who reacted with genuine shock). It got me thinking about a lot of things—the recklessness and irresponsibility of commentators who fill time with pabulum, the weird reflex hatred of all things Clinton, etc. Is Hillary deranged? No. Is she a narcissist? Doubtful. There may be a little entitlement there, as one often finds in narcissists, but anyone with the audacity to run for the most powerful office in the land needs to have a strong sense of self-love. They have to feel as if they “deserve” the position. But as for other elements of the narcissistic spectrum…

Narcissists do not listen. Hillary does, as many on the campaign trail have commented on.

Narcissists lack empathy. Hillary does not. She spent her adult life, as she has said repeatedly, toiling on behalf of the working poor, on things like universal health care for those who lack the money to find coverage on their own. Let’s face it: narcissists are not big on public service. They serve themselves, they don’t serve others.

Narcissists are supersensitive to criticism and prone to “narcissistic injury.” Clinton’s the polar opposite. She gets up, brushes off, and moves on.

Toobin’s not a psychologist, of course, and he was using the term narcissist loosely. Still, as I have written in an earlier post—my first—labels get us nowhere if our aim is to really understand someone. They can be a form of name-calling, an accusation more than a diagnosis. And that’s what Toobin was doing: name-calling.

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