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Friday, July 30, 2010


“Harry, I have a gift.” —Barack Obama


Some months ago a friend of mine proposed the notion that Obama was possessed of some physical and psychological quirks that might indicate the presence of Asperger’s Syndrome (high-functioning autism).


Before going on to discuss this possibility, strong caveats are due: (1)  I am not a mental health professional of any kind; (2) Even for a professional, “diagnosis-at-a-distance” is usually a bad practice, and (3) it appears from what little I’ve read that Asperger’s is a difficult diagnosis to make.


What emboldens me to say anything at all is that an article entitled “A Shrink Asks: What’s Wrong with Obama?” by psychotherapist Robin of Berkeley (American Thinker, June 11, 2010, A Shrik Asks: What's Wrong with Obama?), has gotten considerable attention on the internet.  Of course, all sorts of other unqualified people have freely commented on the piece.


The commentators seem to have settled on Asperger’s Syndrome, even though that is only one of the possibilities discussed in Robin’s paper, and that in an almost dismissive manner.


I contacted Robin and pointed out that there were at least a couple of strong Asperger’s symptoms that had not been considered: (1) Obama’s almost legendary clumsiness.  His inability to throw a baseball is well documented.  He has actually bowled a 37 during the time of his campaign.  His basketball ability pretty much kept him on the bench in his youth and, as far as I can tell, no video footage of his golf game exists.  (2) Verbal glitches—possibly the reason for the ever-present teleprompters.  Without them, he tends to generate long, rambling and disconnected monologues.  In my opinion, his famous “corpse-man” mispronunciation has not been adequately explained.  In grade school, “corps” is used as an illustration of the non-English manner in which French “borrow-words” might be pronounced.  Furthermore, it seems incredible that a person with Obama’s education and political background would not have come in contact with such expressions as Marine Corps, corps de ballet, or Drum and Bugle Corps—among others.  Could this be symptomatic of autistic rigidity and inability to generalize into other contexts?


And, finally, there is his infamous inability to relate: Old people should take pain pills instead of expensive medical treatments.  He giggles when asked about the economy.  He opened a presentation with a shout-out before announcing the Ft. Hood shootings.  Then there are his vacations, golfing, partying and fundraising during the oil spill.

A major symptom of Asperger’s Syndrome is an inability to pick up on social cues and to adjust emotionally to a situation.


Contrary to all the Conservative commentators, Obama may well not be narcissistic at all, but simply manifesting a typical feature of autism.


I passed on my thoughts about this to a very liberal friend of mine, who remonstrated with me for “picking” on Obama when “he already has too many problems to deal with.”  A couple of days later, I received a stammering e-mail from her telling me that she had related my speculations to a close friend of hers who actually works with autistic people including those with Asperger’s.


The opinion of this professional was that it was “likely” that Obama had the condition.


The public has become much more aware of autism in recent years, but is probably not so well acquainted with the variation known as Asperger’s Syndrome.  Its sufferers are well aware that they have a problem, and it is probably hereditary.  It may or may not be of significance that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reported that:



“President Obama [announced $5 billion in NIH grants that would] include the largest-ever investment in an Obama administration priority that has so far gone mostly unnoticed: autism research.


President Obama has made autism a focus from the first days of his presidency. Less than a week after he was sworn in, my department’s Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee released its first-ever strategic plan for government autism research. And President Obama has backed this plan by adding $1 billion to his budget for autism over the next eight years. Altogether, the federal government will provide nearly twice as much funding for autism research in the upcoming fiscal year as we had just three years ago.”


*  *  *


A person who suffers from Asperger’s read an earlier draft of this article, and made the following comments:


As someone who has Asperger's Syndrome, I think it's very possible Obama also suffers from the condition, too. The only thing holding me back from coming to a firm conclusion is the lying.  Obama is a serial liar, as I'm sure most reading this would agree.  People with Asperger's generally find it nearly impossible to tell a lie. Also, we do have empathy for people, we just have a hard time expressing it. That's something I myself have worked very hard on through the years. Obama, in my humble opinion, is just plain rotten, and doesn't give a flying hoot about anyone or anything. So, he may have some sort of malfunction, such as Asperger's, but I believe it's just as likely he is plain old evil.


Enormous trouble has been taken to erase Obama’s past, so we may never have the information necessary for a reliable diagnosis, just as we lacked information for evaluating him as a choice for president.  Is President Obama a Manchurian Candidate of demonically clever construction?  The perfect leader for destroying the country with no consideration for the people, for their traditions, or for their children?

A Shrink Asks: What's Wrong with Obama?

Click here to email your elected representatives.


As to Obama’s medical records, see:


Dennis Stillings on July 31, 2010 at 12:51 am
Avatar for B

I am quite certain Obama has Asperger’s. My husband was diagnosed with this disorder (after much effort on my part to find the doctors who could diagnose him). He was able to masquerade for a while but then became a very different person at some point. I felt very askew as he was very adept at spinning facts or stacking facts in a different order then reality so that his version on the surface seemed plausible. But if you were the only direct recipient of the circumstances (as he tangled the truth) you were hard pressed to get others to grasp that any adult person would even think as he does. He had no concept he was lying. My sister too (undiagnosed) I’m sure has the Aspie gene. She has told me that I was out of line in suggesting that she was to consider others feelings in family situations (she refused to let our relatives come over to the house after my mother’s funeral stating that they might stay to long and her husband may want to go to bed early… he wouldn’t be able to sleep even in distant bedroom… so she put up a fuss (meltdown) and my father gave in. She later told me that when she had a goal to achieve that she saw to it that she would use every skill in her skill box to attain that goal. I suggested to her that this was wrong if she didn’t take in to account others feelings. Her response, “Well, that is just ridiculous… I should have the right to attain my goal”. As for Obama, I did not vote for him. I told several people that I saw clear Asperger traits… and I live with the same or similar emotional disconnect type of being in my husband… Obama is crystal clear to me ... I consider myself an expert… I managed to get my psychology degree and have read every book under the sun on this disorder. I have worked with children 0 - 21 years of age as a nanny and teacher much of my life… I’m certain that Obama’s medical records are probably unavailable because they hide this truth. Michele stays distant because it is so emotionally painful to remain close. They are emotionally like a small child betw the ages of 18 months to 6 yrs. They utilize their adult skills…and just go forward believing that they should be able to use their skills as they see fit and you are interference if you suggest otherwise. They have never grasped the concept or the purpose for honestly reigning yourself in and authentically examine their own behavior… they examine their behavior as it relates to their goals and our interference.  If a caregiver or spouse can stand firm fair, friendly most of the time and constantly clarify they may let in a bit of social/emotional understanding of others. But most of the time they see things from only a perspective that represents their ideas and feelings, goals… they haven’t been effectively helped to reign themselves in… to learn that others have feelings too that they need to be incorporated into situations. I say it this way… What they can’t feel they cannot see. Then what they can’t see isn’t real to them so they don’t wish to see. They are in a catch 22 situation that every child must be willing to push themselves thru to grow and mature into a person who is capable of realizing that others feel as well. I feel too that we are not in a war in the Middle East about religion, race etc. etc… but a battle betw people that have Aspie traits vs. those who have come thru their developmental stages whereby they are able to have a balance of both intellectual IQs as well as Social/emotional IQs. And this is a battle that has been going on since the beginning of time… the reason that empires have failed… their always comes a break down when Aspies attain absolute power… It just can’t work…. Some group has to become the indentured group (the group that Aspires have little to no ability to see how they are minimalizing the others feelings). I am beginning to grasp why Jesus was considered a savior… he was capable of communicating to an intellectual Aspires a clear academic version that could be grasped with just the right placement and balance of emotional information to help them incorporate and assimilate the new language of being social/emotional/intelligent.            I do hope our President can grow into an authentic grasp of feeling what it is like to be in others shoes. And his learning curve sometime at a pace that seems too little too late.

B on September 30, 2010 at 01:47 am
Avatar for Aspergence

When they get ahead autistic people rise to the head of any field they are in. It shouldn’t be all that surprising. And then consider the people who started America were all trying to get away from “mainstream society” back in Europe, and there’s plenty of evidence that the main Founding Fathers were autistic. I’d bet that most of America’s presidents were autistic.

You really should try learning about autism. Autism at its most basic is a problem where the brain doesn’t filter out any information. Everything including the social difficulties come out of this key factor. And we do care about people, we just have trouble reading your emotional signals.

A political autistic person will be thinking first and foremost about things relevant to politics, so a career-oriented political autistic could be disastrous whereas a justice-oriented political autistic would be great but to be effective he’s gotta have both to some degree. Personally I can’t think of a single president who was clearly neurotypical, hate to burst your bubble. The really bad presidents were more career-obsessed, the good ones justice-obsessed, although some bad ones were justice-obsessed but things just didn’t pan out right and other forces had too much influence. Obama is dealing with that problem now.

Personally I want a president who bats for America. If we have an autistic president whose obsessed with the goal of improving things in America what could be negative about that? I think we need such a president.

Aspergence on September 8, 2011 at 08:02 am
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