Monday, November 9, 2015

The Pathology Party: Carson's Habitual Lying and Trump's Narcissism

by Nomad

Accusing your political rival of a mental illness, especially a violent one, is a bold step, but such an attack- regardless of how true or untrue- can also backfire.

Republican candidate Donald Trump recently went into psychologist mode in an interview Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor." His patient was none other than his rival in the 2016 presidential race: Dr. Ben Carson.
Trump's free diagnosis really didn't have anything to do with medical compassion.

Trump- who until now has been a strong believer in public opinion polls- has seen his numbers on the decline while Carson's rise. 
As of the end of the last month, a national poll released Tuesday morning from CBS News and The New York Times announced that Carson had become the top-ranked contender for the Republican presidential nomination. Carson now has the support of 26 percent of Republican primary voters, four percentage points ahead of Donald Trump.
Now, Trump says polls don't matter so much. 
Privately he was ready to give Carson a political flying bodyslam.
Speaking to host Bill O'Reilly, Trump went after Carson's violent childhood, accusing him of having a mental problem that he might not be able to bounce back from. "When you suffer from pathological disease, you’re not really getting better unless you start taking pills and things," Trump said of Carson.
The only pills Carson admits to taking are quack cancer cures that have an embarrassing tendency to produce flatulence. Not a particularly welcome special effect for a candidate. 

Fibbing with the Carsons
Last weekend, Dr. Carson erupted with a lot more than foul-smelling gas. On Saturday, Carson had what many have called his "meltdown moment" when he confronted the press about his mythomania.
He came out in macho bravado- except for his silly falsetto delivery- against all who dared to question the validity of his tall tales, in particular, the claim about being offered a scholarship from West Point.

Of late, many of his over-stretched yarns have come under a great deal of scrutiny and most have fallen into the "pants on fire" category. Even in the press conference, Carson could not stop fibbing when he claimed the Washington Post had debunked the West Point allegation. (Unless this qualifies as debunking.)

All this must have been highly entertaining for the highly competitive Trump. The rest of the world just stared on and blinked in disbelief as Carson claimed that Obama was never put through such a rigorous vetting. 
(Seriously, Ben? The vetting process for Obama has gone on for about 8 years now.)

Nearly at the same moment, Trump was discussing another invention that Carson has repeatedly told (and wrote about in his book.) Carson's story about his violent urges in his youth which included violent attacks on his nearest and dearest was part of Carson's "sinner redeemed" series.
Trump told Bill O'Reilly:
If you think about what Carson is saying.. he hit his mother with a hammer. he hit a friend in the face with a lock...he tried to kill somebody with a knife. And he says he suffers from pathological disease. I don’t think it’s small ball if you have somebody that admits that he suffers from pathological disease."
Actually, Carson never quite admitted to having a pathological disease, as far as I can say but Carson did use the word "pathological" in a very careless way. 
Especially for a doctor.

It might sound like pure Trump, but the remark is an echo from something Lindsey Graham said about Carson last month. Compared to Trump's overkill, Graham's take is amusing and disarming, so to speak.
"On our side, you’ve got the number two guy tried to kill someone at fourteen. And the number one is high energy and crazy as hell. How am I losing to these people?”
Well, Lindsey, I guess it's because voters are actually familiar with your brand of politics. Nevertheless, Graham simply could believe that his numbers were so abysmal. 
Why, he was flabbergasted.
“And I’ve tried to murder no one, ever. So this should move me up a little bit...Well, the day’s not over. But as of right now, nobody.”
In the end, all of the GOP campaigns are not bringing much glory to the Republican Party. 
So, for good Dr. Carson to give Trump's cranium a sharp wack with a ball-peen at the next debate wouldn't raise too many eyebrows.
Given what the public has seen from the debates, we are all but immune to further shocks.

The Problematic Pathology of a Mogul
Trump's self-serving diagnosis of Carson may not be short of the mark but talking about pathological mental illnesses puts Trump in a glass house.

Anybody with a pair of eyes and good hearing knows that Donald is a big orange beach ball full of ego. If a person could fly to the moon by tooting his own horn, Trump would be making real estate deals on the lunar surface.

All jokes aside, however, Trump's egomania goes beyond the norm, Way beyond and perhaps into a pathological state. Is that an exaggeration? 
Maybe, but maybe not.
Let's consult some authorities, shall we?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is "a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others."

Now, you might think this is a new-fashioned classification of mental disorder. That's what I thought too. In fact, it's been a psychological diagnosis since the late 1880s. In the 1960s and 70s, this disorder was taken much more seriously.
Narcissism was even back then linked to a sense of inferiority and over compensation. As one source puts it, "behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism." 

A person with NPD may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious They often monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior. That's most of the world.
Check on that, too.

Trump's Temper Tantrums
Patients with NPD may become hostile or impatient when they do not receive special treatment. That reaction can lead to severe mood swings.

Ask ex-wife Ivanna about that. She claimed, reportedly to a close confidante, that in a fit of rage he pulled her hair out and raped her when they were not so happily married. All this gossip was revealed in published in the 1993 book, Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump, in which author Harry Hurt III.
The book reads like a cheap bodice ripper so take it for what it's worth. If you need to know, according to the stories, it was forcible oral sex. That, she added unnecessarily, was the first time they had had sex "in more than16 months." 

For some people, a $10 million settlement, 45-room mansion in Greenwich, Conn., $300,000 annually in child support, $350,000 in alimony and other perks can make all things forgivable. 
That was a long time ago. All this supposedly occurred in 1989.

Now she sings a different song.
Officially she has denied the rape ever happened, despite the fact the allegation was found in a deposition, presumably given under oath.

Today the ex says that she only felt "violated"- as if rape isn't a violation. Still, you will no doubt be relieved to know they are pals again in a distant sort of way. Ivanna claims- until she retracts it- that:
"Donald and I are the best of friends."
In an effort at damage control when this story resurfaced a few months ago, Trump spokesperson/legal counselor Michael Cohen claimed that the media was now misrepresenting what Ivana meant all those years ago. What she really meant to say was that she “felt raped emotionally.” 

With lawyerly authority, Cohen also declared in response, “You cannot rape your spouse.” Totally false, legally speaking, at least in the state of New York.

Is it true or not, who knows but I do wonder, if this story is true, what could make a person act with such uncontrollable anger. He must have had some excuse, right?

According to her divorce testimony, Trump was furious about a plastic surgeon she had recommended. I guess this is what people who have the best of everything fight about.
Botched plastic surgeries and bald spots.

Since people with NPD believe they are not above the rest of the humanity, they may insist on having "the best" of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.

And when they don't get that special treatment, they pull out a clump of their wives' sticky dyed hair and "violate" her mouth.

Still, in fairness, despite all of this textbook psychology, it's really a disorder that is hard to diagnose. Not because it is hard to find.
Some could legitimately argue is not a disorder but more like a character trait.
That's especially true when we see examples every place we turn.
Especially in the world of politics, but also in the entertainment (if that's not the same category).

Even though, experts claim that NPD is rare, it seems like most of the Republican Party is presently suffering from the same affliction. It could be the official mental disorder of the GOP, right up there with pathological lying and kleptomania. 

And that would make The Donald gravely disappointed. 
For a man who demands that the world loves him as much as he loves himself, for a man who requires us to appreciate his uniqueness as much as he does, it would be frustrating for him to learn how unremarkable and common his anti-social way of thinking actually is.