Case Study Of Bill Clinton Essay Research

Case Study Of Bill Clinton Essay, Research Paper

Freudian Perspective

Bill Clinton s early childhood did not show many signs of him one day becoming president of the United States. He was from a small town family which was not the usual rich family that is needed to produce a president. The only things that may suggest his drive to become president are the thoughts implanted in his superego(Sdorow, 1995) by the troubles of an alcoholic step-father and the usual troubles of daily life that children must deal with.

Clinton s reputation as a do-gooder and peace keeper may have come from a repressed defense mechanism(Sdorow, 1995) such as displacement(Sdorow, 1995). When Clinton was young and his step-father, who was an alcoholic and sometimes abusive, he may have felt an urgency to help his mother but found himself to small to do so. Later on in life this defense mechanism of displacement may have unconsciously driven him to want to help others. His Rose Garden meeting with Kennedy and his repressed feelings through displacement are probably the main catalysts in Clinton s desire to become president. He may have realized that being the president would enable him to help people which is what he was driven to do by wanting to help his mother.

We can speculate that his alleged womanizing was most likely connected in some way to his early childhood Oedipus Complex(Sdorow, 1995). As Freud would say that all children are attracted to the opposite sex parent we can say in a Freudian perspective that Clinton was attracted to his mother. His alcoholic step-father s occasional tears of violence may have increased his fear of punishment from the same sex parent. This increased fear of punishment may of initiated a greater attraction to other women later on in his life.

We can also speculate that his decision of playing the saxophone was an example of Sublimation (Sdorow, 1995) inaugurated by an unfulfilled desire for the company of woman. This shows that he used a positive way of venting his frustration subliminally by learning a skill. This may also show a connection in his alleged womanizing.

Another defense mechanism that Clinton portrayed in childhood is compensation(Sdorow, 1995). When Clinton had to sell candy he offered to clean the band room instead because he did not think that he could sell the most candy. This shows him compensating for his inability to be a good salesman by doing something he knows he could do better.

In the Freudian perspective everything involving a persons personality is related to sex or aggression. Freud would most likely relate everything in Clinton s personality to his Oedipus Complex and the out of the ordinary situation of having to cope with a step-father. Since repression is the basis of all of Freud s defense mechanisms he would probably relate all of Clinton s current characteristics to repressed feelings from his childhood and early adulthood.

Behaviorist Perspective

In the Behaviorist approach, Behaviorists do not believe in complicating some ones personality. They believe more in the fact that people are what they do and that there are no subconscious implementations such as Freud believed.

A behaviorist would argue that Clinton s desire for the presidency was mainly initiated by his Rose Garden meeting with President Kennedy. Clinton s growing hunger for becoming president would also be connected with his work for the home state senator William Fulbright. This shows that Clinton s aspirations and characteristics would be directly related to the surroundings in which he lived and the occurrence in which he participated. B.F. Skinner s Operant Conditioning theory(Sdorow, 1995) would attempt to show that these events together over time continually positively reinforced(Sdorow, 1995) a desire for politics and eventually the presidency.

Albert Bandura s Social-Cognitive theory(Sdorow, 1995) would argue that Clinton s personal disposition combined with the effects of these events would mold his desires towards politics and the presidency showing a more direct response of characteristics shaped by events. He would also state that meeting with Kennedy influenced his desire for becoming president and working for the senator swayed him even more. Bandura s factor of self-efficacy would also show that Clinton s ability to perform behaviors that are necessary to bring about a desired outcome (Sdorow, 1995) is what brought him to the presidency.

Clinton s do-gooder and peace keeper reputation would simply be related to him being known as a teacher s pet. Everything he tried he would excel at. His peaceful attitude would be shown in his by how he got the nickname “Slick Willie”(Ball, 92) which was by always pleasing people and compromising with everyone. Clinton was born with the last name of Blythe but changed it to Clinton to show support to his step-father and brother. Skinner would say that Clinton was a do-gooder and a peace keeper because of what he did and the way he acted. Rather than saying the events shaped the man he would say that the man shaped the events. Bandura, if we speculate, might say that Clinton had a lot of do-gooder type people around him and was influenced by their behavior.

In regards to his alleged womanizing there is nothing mentioned in the article. We can speculate from a behaviorist stand point that his womanizing was simply an effect of normal young adult behavior. He probably met a lot of girls in high school and college and may not have been very faithful to any particular girlfriend. Behaviorists would simply relate the personality to the way someone reacts in a given situation. Skinner would say that since Clinton fooled around with a lot of women he was a womanizer. This would also bring us to a Skinner assessment that by doing it continually Clinton was positively reinforced to keep doing it and therefore was accused of being a womanizer. Bandura by again correlating the two theories would say that Clinton s self initiative with an observation of fellow peers doing the same thing was a reciprocal determinism(Sdorow, 1995) of Clinton s womanizing tactics.


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