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“There Aren’t Two Donald Trumps”: The Only Trump We Need To Care About Is The One Totally Unqualified To Be President

Remember when then-Sen. John Edwards ran for president on a platform of two Americas, one rich and one poor? Former Presidential contender Ben Carson has offered a variation on that theme: two Donald Trumps, one bombastic and one thoughtful.

Last week, Carson endorsed Trump’s run for the presidency, throwing his weight behind the billionaire’s rise to the Republican nomination. In his endorsement speech, Carson said, “There are two different Donald Trumps. There’s the one you see on the stage, and there’s the one who is very cerebral, sits there and considers things very carefully, you can have a very good conversation with him.” Carson was also insistent that the country would soon start to see more of this other side of Trump.

It’s a great theory, but one that is very much untrue.

After the insults that Trump hurled at him during the campaign, Carson’s support for him is a bit surprising. Perhaps he’s angling for a role in a potential Trump administration or perhaps he’s just not ready to step out of the limelight now that his campaign is over. Maybe he saw an opportunity for the front-runner to carry his ideas forward– according to The Hill, Trump said Carson will have a “big part” in his campaign.

Whatever the reason, Carson’s message appears to be part of a new strategy on Trump’s part to combat criticism that he’s not serious, thoughtful or of the right temperament to be president. The event with Carson came on the heels of a Republican debate that some described as “subdued” and Trump’s performance during it as “measured” and “restrained.”

It’s useful for Trump that he’s finally realized he has an image problem. It’s interesting that his campaign may be acknowledging that even if its current tactics propel Trump forward to the nomination, they won’t play well in the general election.

But the two Donald Trumps message is just smoke and mirrors. There aren’t two different versions of Trump. For those who take the leadership of the country seriously, running for president is an awesome opportunity and a serious business. If the cerebral side of Trump existed, we would have seen it before now because that is what making your case to be leader of the free world demands.

If there were two Donald Trumps, he wouldn’t have based his campaign on racist rhetoric and vague policy proposals. If there were two Donald Trumps, his campaign events wouldn’t inspire protest and violence. If there were two Donald Trumps, his ascendance wouldn’t be threatening to divide the party he’s called his own. There truly only is one Donald Trump, and he’s the one we’ve been seeing all along. He’s the one that should never be president.

 

By: Cary Gibson, Government Relations Consultant with Prime Policy Group; Thomas Jefferson Street Blog, U. S. News and World Report, March 14, 2016

March 15, 2016 Posted by | Ben Carson, Donald Trump, GOP Primaries | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Strategic Lessons Have Been Learned”: Whatever Happens To Hillary Clinton’s Campaign, It Won’t Be ‘2008 All Over Again’

It’s understandable that Hillary Clinton supporters are feeling nervous now that Bernie Sanders appears to have overcome an autumn swoon in the polls and is showing strength in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

But that doesn’t completely justify Paul Kane’s Washington Post piece on Friday describing Team Clinton’s jitters as “a sense of deja vu from 2008, when Clinton’s overwhelming edge cratered in the days before the Iowa caucuses.” For one thing, the momentum has seesawed back and forth in the Clinton-Sanders race. It’s hyperbolic to say there’s any cratering going on. And looking back to 2008, the element of surprise at Clinton’s showing is apparently stronger in the rear-view mirror. The early leader in Iowa was John Edwards, not Hillary Clinton. And Obama was leading in an ABC/Washington Post poll as early as July.

Another major difference is the key dynamic in the Obama-Clinton contest, wherein his Iowa win instantly moved the bulk of African-American voters from her column to his after this demonstration of viability. Kane’s piece suggests the same thing could happen to Sanders, but the analogy is questionable unless there are vast numbers of self-described democratic socialists lurking in Clinton’s columns in the post–New Hampshire states, waiting for a sign.

But the biggest difference is in Clinton’s own team. It could not be 2008 all over again without Mark Penn, the ubiquitous pollster-strategist who offended just about everyone (including his many detractors in Hillaryland) and hogged media attention. By all accounts, in fact, the whole Clinton operation, under low-key campaign manager Robby Mook, is massively less fraught with rivalries and negative vibes. And the strategic lessons of 2008 have surely been learned; there is zero chance Clinton will neglect to devote resources to small-state caucuses, where Obama, nearly unopposed, offset her Super Tuesday wins.

One echo of 2008 that could be heard if Sanders manages to wrest the nomination away from Clinton is the reemergence of the PUMAs (short for “Party Unity My Ass”), women angry that their candidate had been repulsed in favor of a significantly less experienced man. And indeed, the anger could be more intense without the parallel history-making Obama represented. Yes, Bernie Sanders could be the first septuagenarian elected to a first term as president (and the first Democrat of that vintage to win a nomination), but that hardly seems the same.

Finally, it’s unlikely Clinton will lose in Iowa and then win New Hampshire, which is probably Sanders’s best state outside his own Vermont or perhaps those Bern-ed over grounds in the Pacific Northwest where he’s so immensely popular. But it’s also unlikely, at present, that she will get wiped out in a string of southern states stretching from Virginia to Louisiana the way she was by Obama, unless Sanders shows an appeal to African-Americans that he can only dream about at present.

The more you look at it, the more any 2008 “déjà vu” for Clintonians seems ill-placed. But if Mark Penn shows up at headquarters, all bets are off.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, January 18, 2016

January 19, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic Presidential Primaries, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Guv Loves Himself”: Yes, Chris Christie’s A Narcissist

No one knows exactly how Chris Christie spent every hour of the four days in September when the people of Fort Lee, N.J., were being punked by members of his staff who decided that it might be fun to toss traffic cones on the George Washington Bridge and see what happened. It’s certain the governor wasn’t sitting in any of the all-day traffic jams the stunt caused. It’s certain he wasn’t fretting at home while his kids tried to get to their first day of school or waiting for emergency medical care that couldn’t get through the manufactured gridlock.

But he suffered all the same. And if you don’t believe him, ask Chris Christie.

“I am a very sad person today,” he said at his marathon press conference last week. “That’s the emotion I feel. A person close to me betrayed me … I probably will get angry at some point, but I’ll tell you the truth, I’m sad.”

But sad was only part of it. Christie was tired too, since, as he took pains to mention, he’d had very little sleep the night before. He was also “blindsided and “humiliated” and found it “incredibly disappointing to have people let [him] down this way.” So all told, the governor had a very tough week, thank you very much.

If you got the sense that Christie has seen the unfolding mess mostly in terms of how it affects, you know, Christie, you’d be justified. Google the words Christie and narcissist and you get 3.3 million hits. Salon.com calls his press conference “a mix of narcissism and bullying.” New York Magazine, writes of “The narcissistic drama of Christie’s apology.” In a Washington Post piece, “New Jersey narcissist,” Dana Milbank actually counts the number of first-person references Christie made in his endless presser: I led the field with 692 repetitions; me, my and myself were next at a combined 217; I’m clocked in at 119; and I’ve was last at a still-impressive 67. So, a lot of verbal selfies.

But it’s not language alone that makes Christie the narcissist he is. It’s not his loudness and largeness or personality either, nor is it his history of bullying or his disdainful impatience with those he appears to think of as his lessers — though all of those things are certainly part of the narcissistic profile. I’ve spent the past two years deep in the literature of narcissism for a just-completed book, and if there’s a sine qua non that turns up again and again in the personality of the narcissist, it’s a wholesale lack of empathy — an inability to see any suffering but the narcissist’s own, even when the narcissist has caused real suffering in others.

Some of America’s most florid narcissists have been jaw-droppingly good at this very bad tendency. “How could they f-cking say this? How could they do this to me?” wailed John Edwards when press reports of his career-wrecking extramarital affair began appearing, according to Game Change, by John Heilemann and TIME’s Mark Halperin.

“I don’t believe it, first it snows and now this,” moaned baseball bad girl Marge Schott, former owner of the Cincinnati Reds, when a storm threatened to delay Opening Day and, after the game did start, umpire John McSherry suffered a fatal heart attack behind home plate.

“Others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself,” a teary Richard Nixon counseled his White House staff on the morning after he resigned the presidency — affecting the pose of the wronged leader who was rising above the pettiness of his attackers, rather than the constitutional vandal getting out of Dodge before he could be thrown out.

The utter absence of the empathy app in narcissists like Nixon, Edwards, Schott and, it seems, Christie, is in some ways a mystery, since it’s one that usually gets downloaded and booted up very early in life. Empathy is hardwired in the brain at birth in the form of mirror neurons which, as their name suggests, help us experience what others are feeling in a powerful — and sometimes painful — way.

Researchers cite studies, for example, showing that while crying is always contagious in a roomful of newborns, it’s not the noise that appears to be responsible — at least not always. Babies can distinguish between the sound of a real cry and the sound of a recorded one, and will respond with their own tears mostly to the genuine one — presumably because it’s a sign of equally genuine suffering. “Infants show empathy from the very beginning,” says psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego State University.

Psychologist Mark Barnett of Kansas State University similarly cites the sweet if unscientific phenomenon of toddlers who will respond to the sight of an injured or unhappy adult by racing to bring a plush toy or one of their other favorite comfort objects. It works for them, so why shouldn’t it work for a grownup? “It’s called emotional mimicry,” Barnett says. “It’s not true empathy, but it’s a start.”

Christie did bring his own version of a stuffed teddy to the mayor of Fort Lee, visiting him directly after his press conference to offer his apologies and his sympathy. But it was a small, late and self-preserving gesture, and only to true Christie partisans did it read like real contrition. To most others, it looked like Christie looking out for the man he cares about most, which appears to be Christie.

Narcissism is not all bad. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela may have been among the greatest, bravest, most virtuous men of their era, but if you don’t think they got a deep and primal charge out of being cheered by crowds that numbered in the hundreds of thousands, you don’t know human nature. Diffident people don’t change history. But petty people, self-interested people, people who are very good at feeling their own pain but poor at feeling others’ don’t either. Christie is learning that lesson this week. Like other narcissists who have fallen before him, he may find he’s learned it too late.

 

By: Jeffrey Kluger, Senior Editor,  Time Magazine, January 13, 2014

January 16, 2014 Posted by | Chris Christie | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Don’t Men Like Schwarzenegger, John Edwards Use Condoms?

The revelation that former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a  child a decade ago with a woman who was not his wife—a disclosure that comes  just a couple of years after we learned that onetime Democratic presidential  candidate John Edwards had done the same thing—begs an important question:

Exactly what century are we in?

The issue here isn’t even why a married person would have sex outside his or  her marriage, which is not an infrequent occurrence now or at previous points  in history. It’s not even about how a public person thinks he or she could  behave that way without anyone finding out. Edwards, after all, was castigated  for doing something so reckless and foolish during a time when he was under  intense media scrutiny. But the fact that Schwarzenegger was able to keep this  a secret for the entire time he was in the governor’s mansion is astounding,  and suggests maybe Edwards wasn’t as delusional as some people thought.

But has it not occurred to these men to use a condom? Birth control is readily  available. It’s legal. It’s simple to use. And it limits the fallout from an  affair. Learning of a past sexual dalliance would understandably be very  upsetting to a spouse. Learning that a child was produced from the union is  devastating and adds a living, breathing reminder of the episode, a pain  compounded by the fact that it is not the child’s fault that he or she is a  walking symbol of marital betrayal.

But seriously, if a woman approaches  a man and says, “you are so hot,” as Rielle Hunter reportedly said to  Edwards, does it not occur to the man that she might not mind having a  permanent connection to the candidate a child would secure? And what was  Schwarzenegger thinking when he had sex with someone who actually worked for  the family? Did he not consider the possibility of pregnancy?

Perhaps the use of birth control  adds to any guilt the men might feel; if the episode is planned, it is more  difficult to convince oneself that passion was to blame. It’s sort of the  counter-argument to those who believe that providing birth control to sexually  active young people will give them ideas about sex they wouldn’t otherwise  have. More likely, they are thinking about sex, and while it may not be wise to  engage in sex at a young age because of the emotional implications, the  physical consequences of sex without birth control are far more serious. One  would think adult men would know that by now.

By: Susan Milligan, U.S. News and World Report, May 18, 2011

May 19, 2011 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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