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Friday, February 2, 2018

Obama, not Trump, was a narcissist


Stung by criticism of Obama as being narcissic, Democrats have taken to calling Trump the same thing.  But narcissism is an actual psychological syndrome.  And it differs from egotism, a common symptom of politicians.  You have to think big of yourself to run for office because the opposition will be making all sorts of salacious, dire, wrongful allegations about you.  Most people would just say To Heck With It, but a pol drives on, desiring to change or advocate for the better of their country. 

            Narcissism is characterized by grandeur and complete lack of humility, ego that shuts out all others, self-worship that makes enemies of all who disagree, inability to learn from mistakes, and thin-skinned of criticism. When Trump picks up the Marine’s hat that blew off in the wind next to the helicopter, but Obama demanded the Marine hold an umbrella over him in the rain, that shows some humility in Trump but calls to question that in Obama. 

            Grandeur means an individual who dreams of his greatness, above all others in history.  The sun rises and sets on his opinion.  He thinks he is the smartest person in every room.  This was quite true of Obama.  Shortly after he became President, Treas. Sec. Geitner told him, “Your legacy is going to be preventing the second Great Depression.”  Obama replied, “That’s not enough for me.”  His cabinet meetings were few and according to former Secretaries, consisted in him doing virtually all the speaking.  Implication: The rest of you are fools. Listen to me. In Berlin, before he was elected, he gave a speech and said, “I’m the One you have been waiting for, the one the world has been waiting for.”  Narcissism is considered to have been the character of a number of hideous dictators of the 20th century--Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein.  These kind of leaders do autrocities with little remorse because in their minds everything is justified to promote them personally.  Of course, in a lesser individual, the delusion of being Napoleon or Caesar is grounds for institutional mental health. They are often incapable of achievement because, in gradeur, they attempt jobs for which they have not assembled skills, the guy who interviews for CEO who can’t read a treasurer’s report.

            Obama wrote not one but 2 autobiographies by age 40. He hardly showed up in the Illinois House for debates.  He only gave lectures that were My Way Or The Highway. When it came to foreign policy, Obama made all his own decisions, according to John Kerry, because he believed only he  understood the issues. When asked which President he was most like, Obama chose Wilson, a character whom historian Forrest McDonald said considered himself “little short of messianic.”

            Contrast this to Trump who addressed Li and China as equals, who loved throwing out packages to hurricane workers.  Trump has shown ability to make connections with people, has a pragmatic problem-solving skill, and is said by almost everyone that he listens a lot when you come into his office.  This was shown in the Immigration negotiations that were broadcast live TV with Democrat and Republican leaders in the White House. 

            Ego that blames all your problems on those you disagree with, who discards old friends and supporters with little thought is another characteristic.  Obama discarded Oprah, Jesse Jackson, and Jeremiah Wright suddenly. When a major supporter, labor leader came to the White House just days into Obama’s Presidency and asked him to reconsider a certain bill because it was adverse to the union’s members, Obama had him abruptly shown the door. He was never invited back.  This treatment was echoed by many others, including Oprah. Using Valerie Jarrett, a lesser-endowed intellect, and Michelle to be his gatekeepers, Obama locked to door to many supporters. Jarrett eventually locked horns with Rahm Emmanuel, a skilled politician, and Obama lost his legislative majority. They had disagreed over advocacy of Chicago as an Olympic destination and support of Solyndra.  Wealthy Jews complained that they gave Obama great sums of money and never heard from him.

            Contrast this with Trump who argues often with Tillerson and Ryan.  He has kept holdover Democrats in his administration thinking he can win them over, only to discover he couldn’t  (Comey).  He relies on Generals for military advice instead of purging them like Obama did. 

            Solyndra and other eco-companies are good examples of how Obama was so cock-sure of his opinion that he never learned—another common delusion of a narcissist.  When Boehner told him that the economy’s problem was uncertain on taxes, cap and trade and healthcare, Obama slapped his hand on the table, “you’re WRONG!” Boehner said after the meeting, “He’s got so little appreciation of how Congress works.  If you challenge him, he’s furious.  He gives you the death stare.  He has no close relationship with any member of the Senate and certainly not in the House.” Pelosi said his relationship with House Democrats was “frosty.”  Harry Alford, President of the Black Chamber of Commerce said, “we are all happy about the symbolism—America’s first black President.  His view of business is that it should be a few major corporations, totally unionized, working with government.” [the very definition of fascism]

            So for good reason, many would describe Obama as a genuine narcissist.  Trump is like that old loud guy you used to have for a boss.  Big ego, caustic comments, but he sure knew real estate (or banking, or farming, or auto mechanics). 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The danger to Democrats


The politics of negativism works when the people feel bad about their situations.  It worked wonders when FDR lambasted the Hapsburgs and Boubons (meaning the rich) as people saw newsreels of Hoovervilles (shanty towns of poor people) and thought Hoover was clueless.  It worked for Reagan when Carter was stuck in malaise with a deep recession going on. It worked similarly for Obama to get elected.  But decrying during prosperity only makes you look like Eeyore, or worse, an out-of-touch wacko.  And that is the danger for Dems this year.  They refused to applaud low unemployment, veterans, and police working against MS-13 when Trump noted it in SOTU.  And if they don’t change their tune, it will start to work against them in the midterms. 

            Already, the generic ballot advantage to the Democrats has fallen from 13% to 5-7% with the passage of the tax reform.  In some ways R’s are lucky.  When I heard that Obama was going to pass a near trillion dollar infrastructure stimulus in 2009, I thought, “Well, that will provide short-term stimulus and the R’s will look bad.”  But it turned out that Obama had no such intents.  He handed out the money to unions like the federal workers and teachers to guarantee full employment for 4 years. “No such thing as a shovel-ready project,” he later told us sheepishly.  As a result, the US economy didn’t take off like a rocket after the recession, but growth languished, 1.7% after June ’09 while inflation was 2.1%.  The public said, we ain’t getting’ ahead, and elected Trump.  Trump walked into office preaching lowered regulation, tax reform, and security—a sure bet to spur growth.  And he cheer-led the markets to new highs.  Then, by doing a tax reform with simply majority for passage, he has brought about 3% growth.  This isn’t magic.  It’s a time-tested method.  Hence the fall in D-advantage in the generic ballot. 

            The Dems have roused their base with Tweet hatred and a tale of how Trump stole the election by colluding with Russians.  But the story grows anemic and false.  Now Trump gives a generic but truly rousing State of the Union.  He gets away with the less-issues presentation because the D’s have hardly any issues and certainly aren’t talking about them.  They are just full of vitriol.  (Boys and girls, what sound does the kitty make? Me-ow.  What sound does the piggy make? Oink.  What sound does the donkey make?  Ur RACIST!)  With Trump offering compromise on DACA and infrastructure, if Dems won’t talk to him, they run the risk of being perceived as a**holes. Moreover, they drive R’s to emotion, to organize, and to Get Out The Vote against them.  When they won’t stand for the flag or the military, many people will conclude “they ain’t us,” just as Trump’s tweets have led D’s to the same conclusion. If this continues, we may see the generic ballot poll drop to neutral. 

            D’s win when they can pin the racist and unfair label on R’s, when they involve thousands of teachers and union members to campaign in the summer, when they outdo R’s on social media, and when they out-raise in funding.  So far the funding has been dismal for them.  The R’s are learning to do social media.  Private sector unions feel left behind by globalism, and are gradually leaning to Trump and the R’s.  They have lost a lot of the fairness narrative and calling half the population racist, a “basket of deplorable” didn’t work too well for Hillary. Their disdain for Christianity has a certain following, but it works against the evangelical vote.  Finally, the mid-terms will be about issues, both local and national.  Minimum wage might be an issue for the Dems, but with huge layoffs in Seattle and San Fran, this has lost popularity.  When people find out about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, billed as free trade, but secretly containing an unelected court that could dictate US policy about environment, copyrights, and health standards, TPP started to look like the EU and a loss of sovereignty.  Environmental issues have languished with many folks as dire predictions have not come true. So what’s left?  Trying to claim it is Armageddon to let people keep more of their own money via tax reform. 

            Usually mid-terms occur when the party who elected a President sees some of it’s programs turn sour.  People back down from voting for them.  It is also a time when traditionally, fewer young and more elders vote.  The old-timers are in the habit.  The youth have a girlfriend and weekend plans that extend a couple days.  And the seniors vote 60-40 Republican.  Add to this the fact that we see a growing trend of Republicans to hate and refuse to answer polls.  What a lot of people don’t realize is that only about 1 in 3 answers a pollster.  The old way of using telephones was easier for someone to answer.  If they got bored, they just hung up.  Now pollsters must rely on internet polls which cannot guarantee that a robo-device doesn’t vote a million times, knows not what party affiliation.  Or they rely on street polling, where respondents are busy, or don’t like the looks of the pollster, or a dozen other things. 

            All of this paints a very real possibility that if the Dems can’t keep their base steamed up about impeaching Trump, they may not make much gain in November.  We’ll all just have to watch.