Ah, the Donald ! Creating hysteria for some and heartburn for others. His Hairness has the voting public just where he wants them. On the edge of their seats and just waiting on his next utterances. Now some are outraged. Some are indignant. Some are downright giddy. And all of those are good things. I love a little turmoil here and there. It gets people thinking which is of course what I try to do.
It reveals so many things about all of us. First and foremost is our love of the sensational. Trump has been on no less than five national programs in the last few days. Everybody wants him as a guest in the hope that he will say something outrageous that will cause everyone to tune in. This is the car wreck or bloody carnage that our intellectual curiosity thrives on…sort of.
It shows how shallow we all can be. Fox is mortified by the treatment of their anchor, Megan Kelly until it makes sense for Roger Ailes to kiss and make up with DT and then invite him back. That’s a story in itself. Andrew Cuomo on CNN’s morning show is fawning all over him to thank him for coming on. Now either we are vapid or just starved for something to watch during the summer reruns? It beats tuning in the Kardashians but in some ways it is so similar.
The debates showed everyone with some sort of following whether it was prime time or the kid’s table version. Rather than being depressed I think it is kind of cool. Anyone can run. Political philosophies aren’t black or white. Take a little from the Column A playbook and mix it with some thing from Column B or C or D. There are no really pure conservatives or liberals except for maybe Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz. I dare any one of you to say you ascribe to every single tenet on either side of the spectrum. Gotta have a little wiggle room.Or should I say some original thought on our part.
To get attention lesser candidates bring up the unthinkable in debates. Immigration, entitlements, abortion,the NSA. On the trail everyone deftly avoids them. Hilary re the Pipeline or the Transpacific Trade Pact? “I’ll get back to you later” she says, “after I have had time to study it in more detail”. Social Security and Medicare changes get relegated to the back bench until Christie and Hukabee go at it. But these are the things we should be discussing and hearing where the speaker and not handlers stand under the pressure of live TV.
On a broader scale this just points up how incredibly diverse we are as a nation. I have often held if we weren’t the USA we could be up to 8 different countries. Yes, each with their own languages or dialects. Y’all and Fuggedaboutit are different parsings of this thing we call the English language. There is no way Los Angelinos can identify equally with the difficulties of the rural South. Cleveland is a long way from Santa Barbara except they are both on the water. And that is just who we are.
We want the candidate to play to the base and yet somehow be palatable to the middle, the independent and undecideds. I am not sure it can be done. You either stand up for what you believe in or whore it up and play to anyone who will listen. This is not arriving at a new conclusion. You still feel the same way you always did but you have to suck it up and be electable no matter how.
This in my mind is why Bernie and the Donald are selling. Sanders is a full bore Socialist. He is not hiding but rather bragging about it. Trump is crass and arrogant but he doesn’t mince words. As uncomfortable either one makes you the reality is that people want to hear what you think and not some speech writer or interest group. It would be incredible if this caught on. I watched Carly Fiorina on Morning Joe after the debate. She was engaging and straightforward. I hope she gets her day in the court of public opinion. Ditto so many others. I believe this could change the nature of politics but then again I am an incorrigible optimist.
I hate two things about the process. The evasive BS that gets put out by the office seekers and a commentator or pundit that wants to interpret for me what I just heard. In either case I am not as dumb as I look. I wish they would sit down and have a beer or take a long walk with us so we could find out what really makes them tick. We won’t need Bill O’Reilly or Wolf Blitzer to tell us how it really is.
As Churchill said, democracy is not perfect but given the alternatives it is the best system we can hope for. After all this only 50% of us will vote. That means whoever is elected will have around 25% of the populace in his or her camp. You can blame the Electoral College or gerrymandering or general disgust with the system. Or we can blame ourselves for not speaking up and asking the right questions and have us lay down the ground rules. Maybe the Donald is right. We should be abrasive and push back. We have a great country and maybe we should trumpet it.
Ted the Great
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others. People with this disorder often believe they are of primary importance in everybody’s life or to anyone they meet.
Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
In order for a person to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) they must meet five or more of the following symptoms:
▪ Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
▪ Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
▪ Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
▪ Requires excessive admiration
▪ Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
▪ Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
▪ Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
▪ Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
▪ Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
I will let you apply the above to any one in the candidate crowd where you think it is appropriate. Maybe many.
Obviously Napoleon or Henry VIII fit the mold. But what about FDR, Churchill, Gandhi and yes Bill Clinton?