Monday, October 15, 2012


Watch Biden, Axelrod, Gibbs, and Carney blame the State Department and the intelligence community for the failures that led to the attack and the conflicting storyline that emerged afterwards at the link.

This brings up the psychological phenomenon of deflecting blame, which is a form of scapegoating; and which, in psychiatry, is considered a form of projective identification and/or psychological displacement (see here for a discussion--both are types of denial).

In order to avoid feeling bad about something, a common defense is to transfer or displace responsibility and blame to someone else, or to a group. The most common example of scapegoating is "anti-semitism"; and blaming the Jewish people for all sorts of evils has become a well-established and psychological mechanism in the Arab and Muslim world to deflect awareness of their own cultural and religious inadequacies. It also allows them to believe they are "peaceful" and "loving" people with a "peaceful" religion, since all their own hostility and rage is displaced onto the evil Jew.

The definition of a scapegoat is "one that bears th e blame for others; one that is the object of irrational hostility."

Scapegoats are common when the psychological defenses of denial and projection are being used. Projection, to quickly remind you, is the psychological process of attributing one's own unacknowledged or unacceptable feelings, thoughts and behaviors to others.

The Arab world has this defense mechanism down pat. One of the expressions of a shame culture is the rampant psychological projection and refusal to accept responsibility for the atrocities committed in the name of Islam. Not only are we regularly subjected to imams, religious leaders, and leaders of Muslim states stating even now that 9/11 or the London bombings were not committed by Muslims; they also regularly blame the Jews for such acts. In this way they can avoid the shame of taking responsibility for evil.

Now, let's move on to the Obama Administration, and President Obama himself; who never met a bad outcome for his own beloved policies or ideology that he couldn't blame on someone else.

It is the same psychological mechanism as scapegoating.

Projective identification is the more immature (or primitive) aspect of the defense mechanism; one that children routinely use ("Not me!")


As you can see from the Family Circle cartoon, it's a way for a child to deflect blame and remain innocent of the charges leveled against him (or her) by an angry parent.

Usually, for a child, this is an unconscious process (and perfectly normal, I might add); but if it is observed in an adult, others may rightly begin to wonder if the person is out of touch with reality.

Adults are more sophisticated (unless they are also psychotic) and they tend to use psychological displacement , a more neurotic defense mechanism. It can be unconscious or done with full consciousness, since self-deception is a key feature of avoidence of responsibility and the assignment of blame to others.

Obama has spent the last four years blaming his predescessor for his troubles. He has spent the last four years blaming Republicans for being "obstructive" (despite the fact that he had a majority in both houses for 2 years; and despite the fact that he vowed he would "bring us together). Obama has found relatively willing scapegoats--i.e., people who would fall on their swords for his sade--in all those he threw under the bus along the way.

Now Hillary Clinton has taken "full responsibility for the security situation in Benghazi"; and thank heavens! a full investigation is ongoing, the results of which will be available sometime after November 6. But Hillary knows full well that "the buck" doesn't stop with the Secretary of State. It stops with the Commander in Chief, who was AWOL in Las Vegas (or was it on the golf course? I forget. I just know he wasn't attending his security briefings because they're such a drag to his superior intellect).

But I can say with full confidence after Benghazi and the death of our Ambassador and other Americans on 9/11/12, that Clinton and President Obama (her putative boss and the Commander in Chief where the buck ultimately stops) have had their 3 AM wake-up call; and they have been found unprepared and inadequate for the job. Think "deer in the headlights"....

Instead of keeping America safe in reality; they are more concerned with appearances. "Bin Laden is dead" they proclaimed and the terror threat presumably vanquished. 9/11/12 just did not fit into either of their narratives. So what's a good leftist to do? DENY, PROJECT, DISPLACE! Anything but the truth; anything but accept the consequences. Move along, nothing to see here, and it's all Mitt Romney's fault for politicizing it all.

Reality is such a bitch.

[other cartoons by Paul Nowak here)


Always On Watch said...

Dr. Sanity,
You and your readers might be interested in reading this excellent commentary about Benghazi -- from the perspective of a lieutenant commander in the USNR. The commentary is appropriately titled "Inconceivable."

waltj said...

OK, so Hilary says she'll put that elbow out in the strike zone and take one for the team. Only took a month plus, but better late than never. Last I checked, though, the buck doesn't stop in Foggy Bottom, but about 7/10 mile to the ENE. And projection/displacement are very unappealing traits in leaders.

T said...


there is a blog post over at Ace of Spades by DrewM. He offers another interpretation of Hillary's capitulation. He suggests that she is signing on to Romney's criticism of Obama's leadership by her standing up as the adult in the room. he further offers that Hillary has given Romney a substantial weapon with which to corner Obama, perhaps in tonights debate.

The link is :

Scroll down to the post posted at 9:02

Dr. Sanity said...

I agree with that analysis, T. It has just the sort of subtlety I expect from the Clintons. This way she can indeed be the grownup in the room as well as the "victim" of Obama'sincompetence.

49erDweet said...

Thanks so much for your clarity and analysis.

DA said...

Re: Andrew G. Hodges, M.D., author of “The Obama Confession: Secret Fear, Secret Fury"

May i ask your thoughts on the essence of this book ? i would value your comments about the validity of Hodges' "between the lines" approach.