Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Trump as Tornado: You cannot control either pathology

David Brooks in his NY Times op-ed criticizes conservatives for misunderstanding Trump - in spite of much evidence that Trump is not controllable. Conservatives, Brooks says, are buying into the illusion of unity.

Some conservatives believe they can educate, convert or civilize Trump. This belief is a sign both of intellectual arrogance and psychological naïveté.

The man who just crushed them is in no mood to submit to them. Furthermore, Trump’s personality is pathological. It is driven by deep inner compulsions that defy friendly advice, political interest and common sense.

It’s useful to go back and read the Trump profiles in Vanity Fair and other places from the 1980s and 1990s. He has always behaved exactly as he does now: the constant flow of insults, the endless bragging, the casual cruelty, the need to destroy allies and hog the spotlight. “Donald was the child who would throw the cake at the birthday parties,” his brother Robert once said.

Psychologists are not supposed to diagnose candidates from afar, but there is a well-developed literature on narcissism that tracks with what we have seen of Trump. ...

[Narcissists are] Incapable of understanding themselves, they are also incapable of having empathy for others. They simply don’t know what it feels like to put themselves in another’s shoes. Other people are simply to be put to use as suppliers of admiration or as victims to be crushed as part of some dominance display.

Therefore, they go out daily in search of enemies to insult and friends to degrade. Trump, for example, reportedly sets members of his campaign staff off against each other. Each person is up one day and belittled another — always kept perpetually on edge, waiting for the Sun King to decide the person’s temporary worth.

Paul Ryan and the Republicans can try to be loyal to Trump, but he won’t be loyal to them. There’s really no choice. Congressional Republicans have to run their own separate campaign. Donald Trump does not share.

The problem is that the Republicans have so far been incapable of dealing effectively with Trump. Many of them show a political ambivalence that is breath-taking in light of Trump's vitriol directed at themselves. Our own Arizona Senators are prime examples.

Republicans should repudiate Trump and all he claims to stand for in the most direct and clear terms. The reason is simple. Trump's conservatism is a house of cards based on a foundation of mendacity - lies piled on lies and more lies. Tim Egan, another columnist at the NY Times labels Trump the Lord of the Lies.

If the Republicans buy into Trump, they will stake any hopes for this election on a flimsy foundation of a pack of lies. They will spend years recovering from it.

Following are snippets from Egan.

I no more expect CNN to set Wolf Blitzer’s beard on fire than to instantly call out the Mount Everest of liars. Trump lies about big things (there is no drought in California) and small things (his hair spray could not affect the ozone layer because it’s sealed within Trump Tower). He lies about himself, and the fake self he invented to talk about himself. He’s been shown to lie more than 70 times in a single event.

Given the scale of Trump’s mendacity and the stakes for the free world, it’s time that we go into the fall debates with a new rule — an instant fact-check on statements made by the candidates onstage. The Presidential Debate Commission should do what any first-grader with Google access can do, and call out lies before the words hit the floor.

Sadly, a lot of voters don’t care if a candidate is a pathological liar. But most of us should. It’s up to the debate commission, as they set the rules for the fall, to ensure that truth has a place on the stage.

h/t Paul McCreary for the Brooks reference.

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