Monday, November 21, 2016

The Psychology of Trump's Cabinet

The Growing Horror
The future darkness is covering the land.
There is no known vaccine.

The next "Trump Tower?"
Abandoned insane asylum,
Buffalo State Hospital, NY
There has been plenty written already about the grotesque collection of strange dead enders with whom the President elect has surrounded himself. Half of this accounting has been little more than hysterical laments about how incredibly awful these dark souls are, and the other half has been filled with continuing dismay and terror concerning what consequences we will ultimately pay for having such creatures in power.

So, if these unsettling developments are to merit a presentation as a post on this blog, we must find observations which might actually add something of value to the dismal narrative. Another depressing repetition of the comments made previously offers not much at all. 

We are well aware of the painful facts. Let's have a shot at truly exploring this phenomenon at a somewhat more primitive level. There's plenty of material.

What is the psychology of this madness? Can anything material be deduced from the mayhem unfolding? Are there clues for a new "understanding" hidden somewhere which can help us by providing a more accurate narrative describing what has just "happened?"

Although this presumption might seem somewhat tenuous, let's proceed anyway. MeanMesa believes this is possible, so let's try to "light it up" a little.

Explaining Trump's Hideous Cabinet Choices
All the choices seem so strangely unusual.

Donald Trump, unlike more rational fellows who have taken this powerful office, apparently has no trusted friends into whose hands Presidential responsibilities might be delegated. At this juncture in the traditional path toward a January Inauguration the press is speculating about which of a President's "favorites" might be selected for Cabinet positions.

In this more normal scenario individuals such as those who had previously cooperated with the President-elect to pass bills through the Congress might be at the top of the list. In this case the President-elect has never passed any bills through the countries legislature, so there are none of these Congressional types presented as actual choices. Further, these "cooperatives" may not have even been in the Congress -- there are plenty of other places such individuals may have occupied, from which assistance might have been rendered -- academics, industrialists, state governments, and so on.

Nonetheless, in the cases of such Presidentially "trusted associates" a "footprint" is on record. The Presidential nomination of such people for powerful positions on a new President's cabinet is routine. They are obviously perceived as "problem solvers," and, as such, are expected to strengthen a Presidential Administration's capacity to deal with unforeseen challenges as well as the tedious task of implementing a President's ideas to accomplish policy goals.

Such nominations have always run the risk of sparking serious political resistance among those who responsible to judge and approve them, but they have never elicited a Senatorial question such as "Why is this nominee before us?

In Trump's case, however, the selections and nominations are awkwardly impersonal. He has never "worked" with any of his choices, primarily because he has never confronted such tasks.

A New Understanding of the Seriousness of "Narcissism"
We've heard the term bandied about a great deal,
 but do we understand that abnormalities in the President's personal psychology
 can present very material problems for the country?

In a more traditional process the President would, at least, be an acquaintance of his nominees. A record of past experiences with such a relationship would go a long way to "answering" the Senatorial question posed previously. This is not to say that Presidents haven't occasionally nominated individuals with whom they fundamentally disagree. They have, but there has always been a somewhat personal "side story" which served to explain such choices. There has been a reason -- political support from a certain, important constituency, proven abilities in persuading problematic legislators to gain necessary votes or even having been a successful lobbyist in previous Administrations.

The important point here is that these "reasons" have had some basis of a personal nature. This need not be "creepy." MeanMesa is referring to even something as insubstantial as "working together on the phone" to accomplish some political ambition. In such cases the President-elect might explain such as choice as "Although we have never actually met, during the crisis, we were able to work together to meet our goal."

All of this may sound a bit flippant, but we can ask ourselves some rather pointed questions about this.

Do we think that the President-elect and racist geriatric monstrosity, Senator Jeff Sessions, had phone conversations during some time that they were both working on some past project? What project? Perhaps it was some effort to create additional sabotage to the Voting Rights Act, Session's obsession for the last few decades. Do we think that Donald Trump ever spoke to the Senator before the issue of his nomination arose? we suspect that Donald Trump, after his Breitbart Chief of Staff, Steven Banon recommended Sessions for the job, asked "Who is this Senator Sessions you've recommended to become my new Attorney General? Why do we want this guy?"

Do we assume that Trump's selection of a disgraced Muslim hating General for his executive intelligence team is evidence of a similar sentiment held by the President-elect? we find this narrative inconsistent with the facts? The new President claims to hold substantial hotel property in Ankara, the Turkish capital. Further, remembering that Turkey is an Islamic NATO partner suspected by many to be profiting from the receipt of crude oil confiscated by ISIS, we now discover that -- after being ignominiously rejected by the Congress from his position as Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA] -- General Flynn started a consulting [lobbying] firm primarily dedicated to the interests of the Turkish state.

General Flynn played pivotal roles in military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. While his skills served him well in those environments, when he was tapped to lead the Defense Intelligence Agency, his shortcomings as a manager and strategic thinker soon became glaring. His grasp on the truth was so flimsy at times that colleagues began mockingly referring to “Flynn facts.”                           [New York Times November 19]

What "value" -- other than his "connections" with the Turkish government -- prompted the President-elect to choose this guy? Did Trump ever even so much as meet this hot head before nominating him? MeanMesa suspects that this choice was another of Trump's ruthlessly pragmatic moves to satiate his Muslim hating, biblical lunatic base.

The important point is chilling, indeed.

The role of the National Security Advisor, General Flynn's new job, extends far beyond the flimsy necessity of placating one's admittedly uninformed voter base. However, in President-elect Trump's eyes, sacrificing any potential benefit which might accompany the appointment of an actually competent National Security Advisor is painlessly "trumped" by the possibility of satisfying his rather fickle political base.

Brain dead Muslim haters represent an important part of Trump's base. Trump has directed the main strength of the intelligence apparatus to feeding this. He has yet to discover that "successfully hating Muslims," no matter how wide spread the practice might become, is an unlikely agenda priority for eliciting any sort of enduring popular support -- especially when the economy is faltering and most of the rest of his Presidency inevitably enters the perpetual "toothache" stage. It will.

General Flynn's re-elevation was made on the suggestion of Trump's "assistant Chief of Staff," Banon. The choice offers essentially no benefit to US national security.

Trump's New "Guide Book" - How To Be An Autocrat
Eliminating the last remnants of a troublesome democracy can be hard work.
The last thing one should consider is having anyone questioning the process nearby.

Donald Trump, tragically lacking any trusted, personal friends or confidants, views the new denizens of this lurching transition not as actual people, but instead, as useful, ideological "markers." There is no close connection between the President-elect and any of them. This should not surprise any blog visitor who is familiar with the clinical features of extreme narcissism. Narcissists have no close friends because -- thanks to their savagely paranoid world view -- they are unable to trust anyone.

The alternative, that is, perceiving such individuals as nothing more than convenient manifestations of their respective ideological positions, allows the "narcissist in charge" to ruthlessly demand behavior which reflects the ideological purity which made them attractive in the first place. Trump has already summarily dismissed potential associates for a troubling variety of insignificant reasons.

In his mind, the tenuous possibility of an individual filling one of these positions relies entirely on the potential for "ideological usefulness." He clearly reserves the authority to instantly "fire" anyone who might dare question his status, yes, just as in his television show. Further, this autocratic inclination to "instantly fire" anyone at any time and for any reason is a momentary thing to be found only during the "settling in" period of the Administration -- it continues for the duration.

The result is that when one of the Cabinet positions finds itself facing a difficult circumstance, the primary attention must still be directed first at self-preservation. Trump is extremely impulsive. The experience of holding one of these cabinet positions will be constant terror, reminiscent of the most unsettled times during the Stalinist period in the old Soviet Union.

Scratching Presidential Popularity
 From Perpetual Chaos and Phobias
For the very weak and unstable no other possibility is visible.

The unquestioned "hall mark" of Donald Trump's "ascension" has been his relentless promise to destroy the status quo.

He has concluded that the politically successful course is based on permanently fracturing the status quo -- anything in the status quo. There is no perception that some things might be worth saving. This is not Trump's personal philosophy showing through, either. He considers this to be the fundamental basis of his rather shaky political support.

Naturally, having a pocket handy and full of those deserving blame is an additional component.

Understandably, Trump considers raw xenophobia to be high among his most successful political assets. The final appetite of his inferiority complex saturated base is a desperate obsession to feel superior to someone -- anyone. The most readily available "someone" happens to be the nearest Mexican, although Sessions will be sure that blacks will fill in when the first blamed minority isn't at hand.

In the awkward event that the mayhem on the domestic front were to relax into something somewhat "normal," the President-elect holds the prospect of inciting another wave of raw Islamophobia in his illiterate supporters as a "stand in" choice. General Flinn should prove quite useful for this necessary "political maintenance" task.

Although Trump may not actually be that much of a racist, he understands that his voter base is. Like other out of touch oligarchs, Trump sees raw racism primarily as a political tool. It will be a constant, dependable source of the chaos his Presidency will require. Happily, for Donald Trump the mentality of his base is quite adolescent. In their "video game" reality they are continuously assuaged by the imaginary relief they derive from shooting some impersonal, animated "opponent."

So long as President Trump can continue to provide an on-going source of such "opponents," the "assuagement" will continue, and Trump's political support -- poll numbers -- will continue. It's a new game, and all the rules are new, too.

Additional Reading
Trump's Strange Cabinet Choices

A final note from a posting on FaceBook:

"Duck Dynasty is going off the air? It'll be fine, I'm sure they're all getting White House positions."

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