OBAMA ON THE COUCH by Justin A. Frank


Inside the Mind of a President
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A psychoanalyst attempts to analyze President Obama's failure to fulfill the hopes of his supporters.

Frank (Psychiatry and Behavioral Analysis/George Washington Univ.; Bush on the Couch, 2004) suggests that the differences between Obama the candidate and Obama the president are products of his troubled childhood. Obama's conciliatory attempts to win over his political opposition, writes the author, reflect the stress he faced growing up as a biracial child raised by a single (white) mother. Frank believes that Obama feels a compelling need to unify the country because of his attempts to resolve his own conflicted sense of identity. He suggests that Obama's famous line in his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention—“There is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America”—not only catapulted him into the national spotlight but expressed his apparent subsequent inability to stand up against enraged detractors such as the Tea Party. As a child, the president was forced to repress anger at his father for deserting the family, and toward his mother for not providing an adequate home, and this has left him unable to “manage to confront the destructive hatred directed against him.” Taking his analysis a step further, Frank writes that he is hopeful that, “By ordering and overseeing the successful raid on Osama bin Laden…Obama gained invaluable and unprecedented experience in confronting and expressing his [own] murderous impulses.” This will hopefully prove helpful in freeing him to confront his internal opposition and rid himself of “father figures” like Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke.

Psycho-babble mixed with occasional insight.


Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4516-2063-4
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Free Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2011


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