The Most Dangerous People in Public Life Are the Sociopaths

I suspect that a lot of politicians are narcissists. It takes a certain amount of obsession with oneself to even run for office. But the people I think are most dangerous in public life are the sociopaths.

I have no idea how many politicians are sociopaths (although Dick Cheney does come to mind). But the one that always struck me as the most dangerous was Newt Gingrich. I remember thinking about that when Esquire published a long expose about him in 2010 that included an interview with his second wife, Marianne. She relayed the story about the time Newt told her that he was having an affair with his current wife, Calista.

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He’d just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he’d given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, “How do you give that speech and do what you’re doing?”

“It doesn’t matter what I do,” he answered. “People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”

Newt’s answer on how he can pontificate about family values while he is having an affair should chill you to your bones. And it is NOT because his sex life matters. It doesn’t. His answer wasn’t about hypocrisy – it was the epitome of a sociopath who elevates himself as a great savior, but has zero capacity for self-reflection. That usually means there is also no capacity for a conscience or the ability to feel empathy.

I was reminded of that story when I read about Donald Trump calling Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” for a sexually suggestive photo shoot she did for GQ Magazine. There is so much sexism flying around that one, I’m not even going to begin to unpack it all. Because what struck me was that this is coming from the guy who is married to Melania Trump. It’s actually hard to come up with a link to demonstrate what that means because most of them range from tabloids to soft-porn. But here’s a headline for you: Melania Trump would be the only First Lady to pose in the NUDE and talk about her ‘incredible’ sex life.

It actually feels pretty sleazy even to be writing about all of this. But as was true with Newt Gingrich, it appears as though sociopaths have a pattern of showing their true natures via their sex lives. Donald Trump assumes he can call people he disagrees with everything from “losers” to “bimbos’ while he thinks he is the one person who is actually capable of “making America great again.” In other words, like Gingrich, he thinks he has a message that people need to hear and it doesn’t matter how he lives. That is a sociopath my friends. And we don’t want anyone like that anywhere near the White House.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.