Benjamin Kunkel on Romney
From “Politicopsycholpathology: Neurotocrats vs. the Grand Old Psychosis,” available here at n+1:
In math class they ask you to show your work, so that if you get the wrong answer you can later see where you went astray. In American political life today, you never show your work. So the answer to any question we take to be code for a hidden dream-work, to use Freud’s term for the impacted logic of dreams. In this way, for instance, even Mitt Romney’s pledge to relieve mass unemployment by cutting taxes for “job-creators,” in the question-begging term, seems to refer not to any underlying economic theory, which he would never in any case elaborate, but to a concealed preference for the rich to get richer. Such a motive is not even, however, comprehensibly economic, since Romney himself is so rich already; it could only emerge out of some obscure compound of class-loyalty, self-admiration, cultural nostalgia, power hunger, or other elements altogether. Romney would anyway deny the motive we impute to him, and his denial might be sincere. The point is only that if we listen to his words—or to almost any contemporary political speech—we find ourselves not in the position of a rational interlocutor, but in that of a shrink faced with a patient: here is a someone who either doesn’t believe what he says or says it for other reasons than he gives, and yet whose real reasons and motives are inaccessible to us, and may be to him, too.