Psychologist interprets Herenton's latest actions

Dr. Willie Herenton
Dr. Willie Herenton

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - When former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton pulled a petition Thursday to run for the job he just left, many people were asking the same question: What is he thinking?
To many, Herenton's recent moves resemble a yo-yo. Last year, he said he wanted to be schools superintendent again. He changed his mind. This year, he announced he was resigning as mayor to run for Congress. He delayed his resignation, eventually resigned, and now has expressed interest in running to replace himself.
On Friday, Action News 5 went to clinical psychologist Rebecca Rutledge to get her professional opinion on whether the former mayor's up and down behavior could signal a personality disorder.
"If he is really intending to run for mayor, he has some characteristics of narcissism," she said. "He might see himself as special, entitled, probably does not believe anyone can do his job as good as he can."
On his last day in office, Herenton said, "I've been a fantastic mayor."
He later added, "To come behind me is going to be a hard act."
Besides a personality disorder, Rutledge says there could be another explanation for Herenton's behavior. He's trying to toy with Memphis.
"Either that, or he's just playing a cruel joke on his former colleagues," Rutledge said.
She says narcissism is more common among public figures, who normally refuse to get treatment, claiming others are the ones with the problem. 
Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.