"Trump simply can't resist playground pushback" - Charles Krauthammer, WaPo, 'What Happened to the Honeymoon?'
"The shortest honeymoon on record is officially over. Normally, newly elected presidents enjoy a wave of goodwill that allows them to fly high at least through their first 100 days. Donald Trump has not yet been sworn in and the honeymoon has already come and gone. " - Charles Krauthammer
Finally, a Right wing columnist has been able to own up to why Trump's favorable numbers are taking a dump. Well, for the most part. That is WaPo columnist Charles Krauthammer, the guy I once had to hammer (7 years ago) about his bankrupt claim that JFK was a "supply -side tax cutter."
Anyway, in his latest column, 'What Happened to the Honeymoon?'. after briefly teeing off on the "unbending left" for not falling in line (accepting Trump's legitimacy) Krauthammer gets to the real issue. The real reason why Trump has had no genuine "honeymoon" and his numbers have been tanking the past week or ten days.
As Krauty puts it:
"Trump's own instincts and inclinations (are responsible). A thirst for attention that leads to hyperactivity. He needs to dominate every news cycle which feeds a compulsive tweet habit. It has placed him almost continuously at the center of the national conversation and not always to his benefit".
Indeed. And especially as his many tweets - such as in regard to DNI James Clapper's recent comments to him about the Russian exposure (by former MI6 operative Christopher Steele) - have been found to be bald-faced lies. Thus, Trump's claim that Clapper "denounced" the recent explosive dossier (on Trump's alleged salacious activities in a Moscow hotel) is absolutely false.
In a statement released after their conversation the director of national intelligence actually said: “The IC [intelligence community] has not made any judgement that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions.”
Can Trump not discern the difference between condemning a dossier and withholding any judgment on it? If he can't then we must worry about how Trump will negotiate the parlous waters of state once he gets into the Oval Office. If North Korea or Iran refuses to be signatories to a treaty will Trump take that as an attack?
The next Krauthammer observation is even more illuminating:
"Trump simply can’t resist playground pushback. His tweets gave Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes screed priceless publicity. His mocking Arnold Schwarzenegger for bad “Apprentice” ratings — compared with “the ratings machine, DJT” — made Trump look small and Arnold (almost) sympathetic.
Nor is this behavior likely to change after the inauguration. It’s part of Trump’s character. Nothing negative goes unanswered because, for Trump, an unanswered slight has the air of concession or surrender"
While diehard Trumpsters may love this sort of reactionary behavior, it doesn't comport with strength especially in a President. What it shows is that any twerp, misfit, or non-political person (without political power) can get under the big man's skin and make him freak out. In other words, it shows he is hostage to any insult that comes down the pike and from any direction. Whereas, as philosopher Alan Watts notes in his book 'Does It Matter?', the truly strong personality is able to rest content in its own fortress of confidence and doesn't need to react to every slight perceived or misperceived. This person- personality, has enough mental and psychological ballast to contain and blunt pure emotional response. But....a personality arrested at the infantile or anal stage (as Hornstein notes) lacks the resources for resilient impulse control.
Not to be too blunt, but Trump would be better suited to be a cage match brawler - or inflated, self important billionaire given to chiseling deals - than President of the U.S.
It also opens Trump to criticism that he'd be the last person we'd want in any nuclear standoff. Unlike JFK, who coolly resisted the Joint Chiefs when they insisted he bomb Cuba, Trump would likely comply - especially if he perceived Raul Castro had somehow challenged him.
The part about the behavior being unlikely to change is also disturbing, as it echoes WaPo's Richard Cohen who wrote that:
"Since winning the election, Trump has not moderated his behavior. He still behaves like a brat ..."
This is truly the sign of an infantile, anal-type personality who perhaps (as psychologist Harvey Hornstein once noted) took a longer than average time to get toilet trained. But again, this may also explain Trump's penchant for toilet bowl humor. It might be the type of behavior that fascinates pugilistic types and general Vulgarians but definitely has huge disadvantages in the setting of international policy- where mental toughness is as important as physical. And shooting one's yap off via Twitter is not looked on as a sign of mental toughness.
Krauthammer again - remember these are HIS words, not mine:
"Finally, it’s his chronic indiscipline, his jumping randomly from one subject to another without rhyme, reason or larger strategy. In a week packed with confirmation hearings and Russian hacking allegations, what was he doing meeting with Robert Kennedy Jr., an anti-vaccine activist pushing the thoroughly discredited idea that vaccines cause autism?
But come on, Charles! Anyone with a grain of sense or insight knows that a person who spouts or steeps himself in fake news is also going to be prey for whacknut theories. But I'd say a more stunning defect is just the inability to mount any kind of impulse control or self-discipline. That achievement alone would render Trump less likely to wander off the reservation into all kinds of bull pockey areas, issues.
It is good to know that at least one Right winger has the perceptual ability to see what exactly is wrong with Trump and why his presidency will likely be brief, painful (especially to the millions of Americans it adversely affects) and definitely the nadir in our national history.
Did I say "brief"? Yes, meaning - following Richard Cohen's prescription - Trump is removed under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.
Let us all hope it happens sooner than later!