CONSERVATIVE THINKERS ARE PILING ON
TEFLON DON HAS FINALLY HELPED TO DEFINE HIMSELF AS CRAZY
Last week the American public came to a morose realization about Republican nominee Donald Trump– maybe he is crazy, insane, Cray Cray, they used fancy terms such as he has narcissistic personality disorder or multiple personality disorder and sleep deprivation but I’m yet to see anyone claim that Trump is hearing voices or he is speaking to aliens, the ones from outer space who travel in UFO or flying saucers. Yeah, those things. It was a brutal week, everything Trump touched did not turn to gold.
He tripped all over himself by refusing to endorse Speaker Paul Ryan and Arizona Sen. John McCain on the very day President Barack Obama called him “unfit to serve as president” and “woefully unprepared to do this job” and wasting a golden opportunity to punch upwards. He engaged in a losing back and forth feud with a grieving Muslim Gold Star mother suggesting her religion barred her from speaking in public. He had an awkward interaction in his rally where he appeared give a baby the boot from his rally. In fairness to Trump, the baby’s mother, who is a Trump supporter, was not offended and still supports Trump. This is the only good news from the very bad political week.
The bad news continued, he accepted a Purple Heart from a soldier and said “I always wanted a Purple Heart, this is easier.” Purple Heart medals are awarded to soldiers killed or wounded in the battle field. Normal people don’t want a Purple Heart, besides, Trump has never served in the military and received several deferments from being drafted into the Vietnam war. He called Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton the devil and then in a manner that only served to draw more attention to questions about his mental state, he called Clinton unhinged and imbalanced. He also made a very demonstrably wild and easy to prove false claim that he had seen an American plane delivering $400 million to Iran in foreign currency, ransom for captured Americans there. All this happened after Clinton had a very successful Democratic National Convention and Trump had a family event dubbed the Republican National Convention. This is how the Clinton Campaign summarized Trump’s catastrophic week.
While the framing of Trump as perhaps a crazy person who lacks the temperament to be president is finally settling in, it did not start last week. It started in January this year, when 22 well-regarded conservatives, including radio talk show host Glenn Beck, wrote a scathing piece in the National Review, a respected conservative publication, denouncing him, his abnormal character such as suggesting he would date Ivanka were she not his daughter and his ideas, describing him as an American Mussolini. While their message alluded to his mental unfitness to be president, they mis-fired by focusing more on tying Trump to Obama’s policies than questioning his fitness to be president. We cannot know for sure if questioning his mental health explicitly would have helped stop his rise and eventual victory in the Republican primary, but the attack did one service for conservatives: it opened the floodgates and allowed Republicans and conservatives to break President Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment to conservatives, “thou shalt never talk ill of a fellow Republican.” The “Trump is crazy” narrative is no longer just a narrative, it is now a widely accepted framing of his state of mind and it is part of this year’s presidential campaign lexicon that is being accepted by respected conservative thinkers. Here are some of their views,
The week they decided Donald Trump was Crazy— Peggy Noonan
The mad scatterbrained-ness of it was captured in a Washington Post interview with Philip Rucker in which five times by my count — again, the compulsion — Mr. Trump departed the meat of the interview to turn his head and stare at the television. On seeing himself on the screen: “Lot of energy. We got a lot of energy.” Minutes later: “Look at this. It’s all Trump all day long. That’s why their ratings are through the roof.” He’s all about screens, like a toddler hooked on iPad.
Here is a truth of life. When you act as if you’re insane, people are liable to think you’re insane. That’s what happened this week. People started to become convinced he was nuts, a total flake.
This is what became obvious, probably fatally so: Mr. Trump is not going to get serious about running for president. He does not have a second act, there are no hidden depths, there will be no “pivot.” It is not that he is willful or stubborn, though he may be, it’s that he doesn’t have the skill set needed now — discretion, carefulness, generosity, judgment. There’s a clueless quality about him. It’s not that he doesn’t get advice; it’s that he can’t hear advice, can’t process it or turn it into action.
There is something very wrong with Donald Trump— Robert Kagan
One wonders if Republican leaders have begun to realize that they may have hitched their fate and the fate of their party to a man with a disordered personality. We can leave it to the professionals to determine exactly what to call it. Suffice to say that Donald Trump’s response to the assorted speakers at the Democratic National Convention has not been rational.
The fact that Trump could not help himself, that he clearly did, as he said, want to “hit” everyone who spoke against him at the Democratic convention, suggests that there really is something wrong with the man. It is not just that he is incapable of empathy. It is not just that he feels he must respond to every criticism he receives by attacking and denigrating the critic, no matter how small or inconsequential the criticism. If you are a Republican, the real problem, and the thing that ought to keep you up nights as we head into the final 100 days of this campaign, is that the man cannot control himself. He cannot hold back even when it is manifestly in his interest to do so. What’s more, his psychological pathologies are ultimately self-destructive.
Trump’s enablers will finally have to take a stand — David Brooks. NY Times
Trump has shown that he is not a normal candidate. He is a political rampage charging ever more wildly out of control. And no, he cannot be changed.
He cannot be contained because he is psychologically off the chain. With each passing week he displays the classic symptoms of medium-grade mania in more disturbing forms: inflated self-esteem, sleeplessness, impulsivity, aggression and a compulsion to offer advice on subjects he knows nothing about.
His speech patterns are like something straight out of a psychiatric textbook. Manics display something called “flight of ideas.” It’s a formal thought disorder in which ideas tumble forth through a disordered chain of associations. One word sparks another, which sparks another, and they’re off to the races. As one trained psychiatrist said to me, compare Donald Trump’s speaking patterns to a Robin Williams monologue, but with insults instead of jokes.
A letter from GOP National Security Officials Opposing Donald Trump– Signed by 50 officials
Mr Trump lacks the temperament to be President. In our experience, a President must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them. A President must be disciplined, control emotions, and act only after reflection and careful deliberation. A President must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.
In our judgment, Mr Trump has none of these critical qualities. He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. He does not encourage conflicting views. He lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate personal criticism. He has alarmed our allies with his erratic behavior. All these are dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be President and Commander-in-Chief, with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Read the letter here.