Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Trump FailBlog: Notes on the First 2020 Presidential Debacle… er “Debate”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Current White House Occupant managed to shoot himself and the GOP in the foot again last night (Tuesday, 29 September 2020) with his unmitigated bullying and verbal abuse at the first Trump-Biden Presidential Debate. No doubt, GOP candidates in so-called “down ballot” races will appreciate his effort for making the party look so appealng. </sarcasm>

True to form, and likely knowing that he couldn’t succeed against Biden – an expert debater with 36 years of Senate experience – Trump took a “burn it down/scorched earth” approach and succeeded in destroying the debate, format and forum, by repeatedly interrupting his opponent, the Democratic candidate Joe Biden, and the Moderator, in order to prevent his opponent from cogently responding.

Trump even verbally attacked Moderator Chris Wallace, Fox News Anchor, several times. In the history of American Presidential debates, that has never happened. At one point, Wallace found it necessary to sternly ask Trump to allow his opponent, the Democratic Party’s Presidential Nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, to answer the question, and Trump rudely interrupted him. The exchange was:

WALLACE: “Mr. President, I’m the moderator of this debate and I’d like you to let me ask my questions.”

TRUMP: “I guess I’m debating you, not him. I’m not surprised.”

To characterize the GOP candidate as undisciplined, unbridled, unhinged, out-of-control, and even rude throughout the 90 minute episode, would be diplomatically generous on all counts. Interestingly enough, his performance was oddly reminiscent of Russian tactics during World War II in which the Russians and their army retreated as the German Nazis advanced toward Moscow – colloquially termed as a “scorched earth” policy – in August/September/October 1941. Knowing that the Nazis were approaching, the peasants and others decided to evacuate their towns and cities, burning everything that could possibly be useful to the enemy as they departed. Moreover, it was Hitler’s ill-fated decision to invade Russia, in conjunction with the Russian tactic, that marked a turning point in World War II for the Nazis, which depleted their strength, and resolve. And ironically, Trump’s scorched earth approach to the debate may similarly prove to be the turning point of his candidacy, and presidency, marking the beginning of his end.

Republican strategist Alex Conant confirmed Trump’s failed “burn it down” approach by acknowledging that Trump undoubtedly knows that he’s behind in numerous national polls, and among voting groups whose support it critical to his success, especially in “toss up/swing” states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska (District 2) North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – women, college educated voters, independent voters, suburbanites, and others – and said, “I think he recognizes that he is behind. He badly needed to knock Biden off his feet. He needed Biden to make a really bad gaffe that would be what everyone was talking about today, and that didn’t happen.”

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate Tuesday, September 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Needless to say – though it should be stated – both campaigns agreed to the terms and rules of the debate beforehand, which consisted primarily of a 2-minute uninterrupted response time to a question from the Moderator.

Psychologically, among mental health professionals, and other healthcare professionals, it’s strongly suspected that Trump suffers from a deep-seated pathology which very well could have begun in childhood. Trump’s parents, his father Fred especially, was not particularly renown as a philanthropic, warm-hearted, or caring person. And, for whatever reason, he took particular interest in Donald, and groomed him for the real estate business, through which Fred became a renown multi-millionaire in New York City.

Again, while it’s not known for a hard-cold fact, based upon the abundance of readily observable evidence, it’s strongly suspected that Trump suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is characterized by many of the bizarre character traits and behaviors which Trump consistently demonstrates.

In very simple terms, Dr. Leon F. Seltzer, PhD, a clinical psychologist and author, describes a few traits and behaviors consistent with Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

“Narcissists are notorious for ruthlessly manipulating others to gain a strategic advantage over them. Yet they’re exceptionally vulnerable to being duped themselves because of their powerful psychological defenses, which—if recognized—can be vigorously used against them.

“To adopt a common expression: “The bigger they [think they] are, the harder they fall.”

“To feel stable and secure, the narcissist’s self-aggrandizing sense of superiority depends on others’ constant confirmation. And this need to have their alleged five-star glory outwardly validated is precisely what makes them dependent on others, rendering them vulnerable to those who, calculatingly, would corroborate their “specialness”—but only to achieve their own ends. Moreover, many times these ends amount to nothing more than avenging themselves against the narcissist who, in the past, callously exploited them, and by doing so left them with powerful feelings of anger and resentment.

“Having been taken advantage of and inhumanely objectified, these victims felt not only exploited but demeaned, insulted, even humiliated—and all because of the narcissist’s egregious lack of empathy. So, in the simplest of terms, the DSM’s terse overview of the most distinctive narcissistic qualities suggests the interpersonal dynamic that accounts for how the narcissist’s manipulations can lead to their victims’ retaliatory counter-manipulations.

“While growing up, future narcissists had many reasons to doubt whether they were good enough. Neglected and ignored, or constantly disparaged and berated by their parents, they were held to unrealistically high standards of behavior. And their caretakers were quick to judge them whenever they failed to live up to such unreasonable, perfectionist expectations. As a result, they couldn’t help but feel defective, not okay, and insecure, doubting their fundamental worth as humans. In most instances, neither did they feel cared about or wanted—as though they were factory seconds, to be tolerated but not respected or loved.

“The narcissist’s marked lack of accurate empathy for the feelings, wants, and needs of others is all too well known. But what is less appreciated is that this deficiency represents an unfortunate consequence of their growing up so preoccupied with their own frustrated needs, and emotional distress generally, that they could never develop sufficient sensitivity to others. Intensely driven to succeed, or at least see themselves as successful, their focus inevitably became myopic, pathologically self-centered. Others simply weren’t in their line of (tunnel) vision.

“Their parents’ deficiencies in being able to adequately nurture them, and so make them feel loved, [is] a prerequisite for self-love. This is why they need to prove themselves constantly, arrogantly claiming superiority over others that can make themselves feel “good enough” to be loved. But ironically, it serves in time only to alienate these others.

“This indicates why their artificially bloated sense of self is so fragile. Given the enormity of their defenses, they regard themselves not on a par with, but above, others. Yet they’re mortally threatened when anyone dares question their words or behavior. Ancient fears about not being accepted are never that far from the surface, which is why narcissists must forever be on their guard with anyone who might disbelieve or doubt them. For any external expression of doubt can tap into their own self-doubts.

And this is why, though they can certainly “dish it out”, they just can’t “take it” themselves. Obviously, if the child self was unequivocally convinced about their basic acceptability—adequately integrated into their adult self—they wouldn’t need to boast about their accomplishments, or vehemently debate anyone who took exception to their viewpoint. But narcissists see their best defense as mandating a good offense.”

Of particular note to illustrate the case in point, throughout the term of his presidency, the past 3 years (the 2020 function was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic), Trump has been conspicuously, and deliberately absent from the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, an annual fete/comedy roast of Washington insiders and those who cover them. His appearance at the 2011 event was characterized by his sullenly sulking, and staring straight ahead when he was the butt of jokes by Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers as host that year, and in 2016 when President Obama gave his final address at that function.

And in 2019, Trump ordered his administration to boycott the event. Throughout his administration, he instead attended campaign rallies the nights of the dinner at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 2017, in Washington, Macomb County, Michigan in 2018, and at Green Bay, Wisconsin in 2019, when for the first time in the White House Correspondents Association’s history, the after-dinner comedy routine was replaced with a history lecture by 70-year-old historian Ron Chernow – the author whose biographical work on Alexander Hamilton inspired the “Hamilton” musical – who quipped, quoting late comedian Will Rogers who said that the United States has arrived at a point where “people are taking their comedians seriously and their politicians as a joke,” and that his talk was a “20-minute sedative.”

Once again, while not confirmed, based upon the abundance of readily-available evidence, it is strongly suspected that Trump may have a learning disorder such as dyslexia, which would account for his frequent inability to properly pronounce well-known words like “Yosemite” – which he mispronounced as “Yo – Semite” during a White House Press Conference – as well as his stilted, slow, reading from prepared scripts or texts, and the peculiarly inconsistent phrasing he has given to the same.

It could be the case that during his childhood, Donald J. Trump was ridiculed by others for the learning disorder, and that his father Fred quite likely could have glossed over it, encouraging young Donald to “get over it,” or some other such behavior, as well as offered “rough-and-tough” guidance on how to deal with those who ridiculed him. From there, a myriad host of character traits would have developed, which would account for his Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Everyone wants to be accepted and loved, and when children are ridiculed and mocked, they typically do not develop wholesome responses.

Fortunately, people can change from bad to good. Consider, for example, Trump’s longtime friend Howard Stern. Formerly known as a “shock jock” in New York City, who himself has significantly aggrandized himself, he has frequently spoken of, and admitted that long-term psychotherapy has helped him to transform himself into a much more likeable human being. And Stern does have Trump’s ear. It’s highly doubtful, however, that at this late stage in his life, that Trump will embark upon any such thing as psychotherapy.

“Republicans say President Trump missed a golden opportunity to change the course of the Presidential Election at this week’s debate, heightening pressure on the incumbent to radically alter his strategy and style in the final stretch to appeal to the independents and women he’ll need to win over if he hopes to secure a second term.

“They say the game-changing moments were there for the taking but Trump’s aggressive posturing got the best of him. The debate effectively collapsed around Trump’s cross-talk, which was a huge turnoff to many viewers at a time when the president is desperately trying to make up ground in key battleground states.

“That’s deeply frustrating for Republicans, who believe Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would have looked rambling and been prone to more mistakes if Trump would only have allowed him to carry on.”


The “alternate” translation, and more accurate headline for that article is:

Trump Shoots Self In Foot… Again

Ostensibly aided beforehand by former Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former Republican Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, when news questioners asked both for their remarks to news questioners on Trump’s “performance,” they were significantly guarded in their responses.

“Trump spent much of the debate interrupting and talking over both Biden and moderator Chris Wallace, and when ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos asked Christie if this was the debate they prepared for, Christie responded, “No.”

“On CNN, Rick Santorum, the former Republican senator from Pennsylvania, was asked by Anderson Cooper if he was “proud of the president tonight.” Looking slightly terrified, Santorum said, “I thought the president was going to come out hot, and as I predicted, he came out hot.” Santorum laughed a little after he said this, and Cooper responded, “It’s not even funny. Are you actually proud of the president of the United States?” Santorum replied, “I think the president overplayed his hand tonight.””

And then shortly later, when questioned by Gloria Borger of CNN, in a bizarre and disturbing admission, Rick Santorum actually defended Trump’s White Supremacist supporters.

RICK SANTORUM: I would say the Democrats owe a lot to Chris Wallace, because Chris Wallace asked those two questions, not Joe Biden. It was Chris Wallace who asked those two questions —

BORGER: Yes he did.

SANTORUM: And he asked — and he asked them for a reason, because he asked two questions where he was asking the president to do something that he knows the president doesn’t like to do.

BORGER: Which is?

SANTORUM: Which is, say something bad about people who support him. Right?

BORGER: What, declining violence?

SANTORUM: Well, talking about — yeah, the White Supremacists, number one.

When given ample opportunity during the first so-called “debate,” Trump specifically declined to denounce the hate group “Proud Boys,” instead preferring to tell them “stand back, and stand by.”

The following link is a Clark County (Washington) Sheriff’s Office Memo on an Internal Affairs case dated August 10, 2018 about a former employee who was dismissed for violations of Sheriff’s Office General Orders for non-discrimination and anti-harassment as a member of the “Proud Boys Girls” subgroup. In the opening paragraphs of the 16-page document, it states in part that, “The FBI categorizes the Proud Boys as an extremist group with ties to White Nationalism.”

Download document from this internal site:
Clark County (Washington) Sheriff’s Memo – former employee dismissed for violating General Orders

Of Trump’s refusal to condemn racism and White Supremacy, the Senate’s solitary Black Republican, Tim Scott of South Carolina, said, “White supremacy should be denounced at every turn. I think the president misspoke, and he needs to correct it. If he doesn’t correct it, I guess he didn’t misspeak.”

Gianno Caldwell, a Black conservative political analyst and author of “Taken for Granted,” said of Trump’s refusal and behavior that, “There were a number of missed opportunities for President Trump but especially when you talk about condemning white supremacy, that’s a slam dunk. He’s done it before. He designated the KKK as a terrorist group. He released his platinum plan for African Americans, the First Step Act, the opportunity zones. He didn’t mention any of that. … I’ve been of the mind Trump would win no matter what he says or does, and that could still happen. But there are a lot of folks who support him that are not feeling very good right now. I think he’s put himself in a real tough spot.”

Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney said to reporters assembled nearby that, “I thought it was an embarrassment last night, the debate,” as he walked into the weekly Senate Republican luncheon.

North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis, who is embroiled in a difficult campaign to keep his Senate office, said sarcastically of the debacle that, “Uhh, it wasn’t a Lincoln-Douglas debate.”

Alaska’s Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski said of last night’s debacle that, “It was awful.”

Amy Koch, a Republican and former Majority Leader in the Minnesota State Senate, said, “Trump just overwhelmed and it was too much. It was over the top and rude and it felt desperate and bullying. He blew it. He did nothing to improve his standing with independents, women or suburban voters. In fact, he may have gone backwards with disaffected Republicans. He needed a strong performance and the opportunity was there and it was all lined up for him to knock it out of the park and he just whiffed. You don’t have to change everything about his strategy or style, there’s an authenticity there he can hold on to. But he needs to be prepared and to talk about substantive things and have his facts in order and appear presidential. Two more debates. Five more weeks. He can turn it around. The ingredients and ability are there but it’s on him to do it.”

But the saddest, and most telling remark of all came from GOP strategist Colin Reed who said,

“Everyone knows that Trump is a counterpuncher. What he needs to do there is go out and be something voters think that he’s not: Presidential, and a Commander in Chief. He needs to approach it as something different than his daily press conference or rally.”

“He needs to … be something voters think that he’s not: Presidential, and a Commander in Chief.”


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