Thursday, January 28, 2010

Psychological Vetting for Public Office Candidates!

Psychological Vetting for Public Office Candidates!

The following quote is from Founder’s Quote Daily sent by the

“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate – look to his character….” –Noah Webster, Letters to a Young Gentleman Commencing His Education, 1789


As a practicing psychologist, it is often my duty (and an honor) to evaluate police and fire candidates as to their psychological fitness for duty. Character is very important, but so is the psychological make-up of these men and women in many dimensions.

Is the work of our politicians any less critical to our well-being than that of a police officer, fire fighter or other first responders to emergency situations?

I’ll bet that you can name your own ”rogue’s list” of politicians and they will include both Democrats and Republicans: Public representatives who have lied, cheated, stolen, and publically humiliated their families and the rest of us with their uncontrolled sexual exploits, extramarital pregnancies, and betrayals of their spouses, children and other loved ones. Each example is a deep wound to the viability of our body politic and a hopeful future.

What fool would assume that these misfits would not often betray the best interests of their constituents for their own pleasures and power-gains?

I believe that part of the “vetting process” of candidates for public office must be psychological testing and a clinical interview. Much like the obligatory physical exam administered by physicians, psychological evaluations should be conducted by specially trained Ph.D. psychologists to rule out certain personality disorders and other psychological problems likely to create a hazard to public safety and security.

Why would anyone object? We should insist upon psychological vetting for all candidates for public office.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D. (Dr. Tom), 1/28/10

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