Hello Everyone,

After a long hiatus in writing these commentaries, I can no longer resist writing about the run up to the primaries.  After all, I began these in the run up to the 2008 primaries.

On this single occasion, I feel the imperative to write about the Republican contest.  I do not intend to return to that subject, nor do I expect to write about the Democratic race.

As someone who grew up outside Albany, NY, as a Rockefeller Republican, witnessed the Goldwater debacle, and voted for Reagan twice before settling in as a low-partisan Democrat, I now fear for the health of the Republican Party.  We need two vibrant, well-functioning, centrist parties to make our form of government work.

My go-to conservative columnist, David Brooks, puts it better than I can (see Attachment):

The Republican Party’s capacity for effective self-governance degraded slowly, over the course of a long chain of rhetorical excesses, mental corruptions and philosophical betrayals. Basically, the party abandoned traditional conservatism for right-wing radicalism…

By traditional definitions, conservatism stands for intellectual humility, a belief in steady, incremental change, a preference for reform rather than revolution, a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance and order, and a tone of voice that is prudent, measured and responsible…

All of this has been overturned in dangerous parts of the Republican Party. Over the past 30 years, or at least since Rush Limbaugh came on the scene, the Republican rhetorical tone has grown ever more bombastic, hyperbolic and imbalanced…

Politics is the process of making decisions amid diverse opinions. It involves conversation, calm deliberation, self-discipline, the capacity to listen to other points of view and balance valid but competing ideas and interests…

A weird contradictory mentality replaced traditional conservatism. Republican radicals have contempt for politics, but they still believe that transformational political change can rescue the nation…

In his masterwork, “Politics as a Vocation,” Max Weber argues that the pre-eminent qualities for a politician are passion, a feeling of responsibility and a sense of proportion…

If a politician lacks the quality of detachment — the ability to let the difficult facts of reality work their way into the mind — then, Weber argues, the politician ends up striving for the “boastful but entirely empty gesture.” His work “leads nowhere and is senseless.”

In my many decades, I have known only two or three people I consider to have a “narcissistic personality disorder,” a mental illness.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, and as summarized by the Mayo Clinic, the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features. You can decide for yourself if Mr. Trump suffers from this disorder.

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.

Max Weber’s assertion in his 1919 essay – “the boastful but entirely empty gesture…leads nowhere” — causes me to conclude that Donald Trump’s candidacy “leads nowhere.” I expect that he will not long persevere in the nomination process.  In his own off-repeated claim, voters “love” him as evidenced by the polls.  But, since polls can be as ephemeral as ratings for reality TV shows, I anticipate that Mr. Trump will fade into an historical footnote as soon as his poll numbers begin to recede.

Hopefully, Mr. Trump’s withdrawal will be the first step in breaking the revolutionary fever that unfortunately grips the Republican Party.  And, our democracy will be the better for it.

Please, as always, pass it on.  And, remember that previous Obamagrams are stored on www.obamagrams.com


adobe pdf fileAttachment – Brooks — The Republicans’ Incompetence Caucus – NYT – 10-13-15



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