February 09, 2012

'Obama on the Couch' author needs work himself

Obama on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the PresidentObama on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President by Justin A. Frank

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First, the author is a neo-Freudian; the analysis may be marginally more scientific than original Freudianism, but only marginally so.

Second, a fair amount of the insight needs no special psychiatric skills, just a good general working knowledge of human nature.

Third, while the idea of Obama's "splitting" is good in general, and especially on racial issues, the idea that he's been "splitting" on socioeconomic issues has little political basis and plenty of political evidence to undercut it, going all the way back to 2003,  when Vernon Jordan then took Obama, not yet even a U.S. Senator, on a dog-and-pony show in front of a bunch of Wall Streeters and got two thumbs up.

In short, the Obama after the election was the real deal. For Frank to not even consider that in his analysis? A big oversight, or blind spot.

The other insights, denatured from the neo-Freudian background, are still good enough to give this book three stars, not two, but only barely. And, I do wonder if the author doesn't have a bit of "battered Obamiac sydrome."

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