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Obama And Leadership

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The Republicans criticize Barak Obama for not showing leadership. What they continue to miss is that most non-Republicans really don’t care about leadership. They might say they do, but they continually support Obama and other political “leaders” who do not show leadership.

Basically, there is no leadership if there is no followership. Obama’s supporters support him, because they have no place to go – at least right now – but they do not follow his lead.

The recent State Of The Union message is a case in point. Obama said that if the Congress did not act, he would go it alone. That’s not leadership. Leadership in his context is convincing Congress to follow him. If he cannot get Congress to follow him exactly, he must compromise a bit, to reach the point of a leader/follower relationship.

Well, why do his supporters still hang in there – apart for there being nowhere else to go? It is because there is an unconscious element to what he does that resonates with our first leaders, our parents. All figures of focus, whether political, entertainment, or sports, have this, whether they want it or not. That is, we transfer to them what we expected our parents to be like. When he says, “Hey, kids, if you don’t take out the trash, I’ll do it myself,” it resonates with how many parents would respond to us when we didn’t do our jobs, as Obama accuses Congress of. Of course, there is an implicit addition to the parent’s taking out the trash him/herself – that is that we’ll suffer in some other way, that we were bad, etc.

That’s why Obama continually gets away with not mobilizing Congress and for not executing the laws he’s the chief executive of. He’s like our parents. He scolds, and we take it, because unconsciously he resonates with parents. Oh, we say unconsciously, our big brother Congress is gonna get it now!! It’s parenting, but it’s not leadership.

He gets elected, but he doesn’t get followed – because he parents, he doesn’t lead.


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Columnist Michael Graham misses the point in his article on Hillary Clinton, “No Record To Run On”, in the January 17 Boston Globe – and elsewhere. His article is in response to Time Magazine’s cover story lauding Hillary.

Graham shows how Hillary has not accomplished much. He considers this a negative, but he misses the point. Accomplishments don’t matter to lots of people. Accomplishments matter to the establishment and to conservatives and to Republicans. However, they do not matter so much to the disenfranchised, for whom accomplishment is seen as either working against them or as something other people do.

Remember, Barack Obama had no accomplishments, at least none at the national level, and he was elected. JFK actually did not want to be associated with any accomplishments before he ran. After all, you can’t please all the people all the time, so what one does becomes a negative for lots of people.

What really counts more than accomplishments and competency and judgment and intelligence is loyalty. Would you rather have a medium IQ’ed staffer who was totally loyal to you or a genius with a mind of his or her own. Right. The former. That’s something the establishment, conservatives, and Republicans would agree on.

So, whom will Hillary be loyal to? Well, we have an idea, but we cannot be certain. What she is, however, is a woman. She will see things through a female’s eyes and react with a female’s heart and values. Whether this is better or not does not matter. What matters is that females will rightly assume she’ll be loyal to female values, at least more loyal to them than a man will be – can be.

So, Hillary having no record to run on is likely to be a plus – less people to displease.

I’ve written about another person who doesn’t get that. He’s not a Republican, but he is a member of the establishment. He is John Kerry, whose presidential aspirations are pinned on accomplishing lots as Secretary of State. Even if he does, he’ll not get the female vote. Hillary will, because she’s more likely to be loyal to female values than he is. Period.

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The press tracks John Kerry’s moves – and marvels over how many there are. But why so many, and what’s his goal?

This thing about “serving” aside, Kerry is similar in position to only one person, Hillary Clinton. Both ran for president recently. Both have associates around them who would benefit if their star becomes president. These associates are likely to encourage their patrons to stay in the game.

Hillary distanced herself from her boss, Obama, by announcing she’d leave his administration after one term. This was when Obama’s slide was in process and his willingness to run again in doubt. Kerry at the time was cozying up to Richard Trumka, the union boss whose support all the Democrats needed. They were  working on an employment initiative at the time. Both were positioning themselves to replace Obama, but he then announced he was not dead by declaring his candidacy for a second term. Hillary and Kerry retreated for another battle.

In any case, both Kerry and Hillary are still very much in the game. Hillary distanced herself from Obama by resigning, while Bill created ties and dependencies with Obama in the election. She now had it both ways. Nice.

Kerry now has to run against Hillary – and he is starting by trying to show he can be a better Secretary of State. For example, if he can get a couple of big wins from all his attempts, he’d be the better. . .person. One big win would be brokering an Israel-Palestine peace treaty. There are others. If he can do just two or three deals versus her accomplishments, many would believe he could be a better President.

Now, if being a better president, rather than a more likeable or a more ideologically aligned president, is what people turn out to want, he’s got the nomination.

So, that’s why Kerry’s running so hard. To be better than Hillary. To beat her at the Secretary of State game.

Well, some insist he wants nothing more than a Nobel Prize. Nobel Prize? Sure. That would be great in itself. However, even more, it would be proof he was better than Hillary.

That’s what John Kerry is running for, the presidency.

BTW, how’s his wife doing? Heard she had a stroke.

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Congratulations to Charlie Baker!

Baker is the GOP candidate for governor of Massachusetts. He is a very competent manager, who has often been misunderstood – because he has misunderstood. He has misunderstood the messages he gives.

When he talks about his family, for example, he preaches to the GOP converted. They share his family values and thus favor him for being a stable, loyal, caring family man.

Unfortunately, the message he gives to those NOT converted is not, “Wow, what a guy!” No. They hear, “He’s criticizing me for not having a family” or “Big shot. Thinks he’s better than me” or other similar negative messages.

This is because Baker has not understood that the huge part of the electorate he must reach and convince he is for them are NOT necessarily family people. They’ve never had or never valued having traditional families. These include single people, feminists, gays, and African Americans who have children but not traditional, Charlie Baker type, families.

What he has to do is figure out how to address these voters, without losing his base. As soon as he gets this, he’ll do it. He’ll craft his sound bites to do it, he’ll phrase his answers to reporters to do it, and he’ll be able to debate his eventual Democratic opponent to do it. This is because he is competent.

Well, in the Boston Herald of October 16, 2013, he finally hit a homer. He criticizes Massachusetts Democratic governor Deval Patrick, an Obama loyalist, for something Patrick cannot change without undermining Obama’s strategy of letting government services disintegrate during the shutdown. For example, Baker criticizes Patrick for not showing leadership like other governors, who used state money to keep some Federal services going. Since Patrick is paralyzed in this regard, by his need to follow Obama, Baker can criticize him without concern of Patrick’s changing course.

Nice, Charlie, finally.

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Barack Obama sits and watches, as the kids are misbehaving, again. Please read that again, slowly.

That’s the unconscious perception of us all, that our president is like our parent. So, when the president does something, it is best he/she does it as a parent would.

The press, consciously, sees this as a struggle between equals, the President and Congress. After all, don’t they have the same power in the Constitution? Yes, but what about the unconscious of each and every American. The players are lining up like parent and fighting siblings.

So, here’s how Obama will likely play it – I say this, because he gets it, whether intuitively or from his advisers. He gets the dynamic.

If Obama fights with Congress as if they are equals, he may win, but he lowers himself in the public’s eyes. Instead, without saying so, he must act like a parent would – but whose parent?

Well, though all of our parents were different, there are some constants. Dad would give a little, chastise the kids for acting up, and go about his business. Mom’s do the same, though sometimes they are more open about their emotions. Whatever, Obama is the parent. He could act like Mom or Dad, though Dad would be more natural, for he is a dad.

So, he’d say something like, “Ok, Ok, you can stay up later and watch TV, but you still have to do your homework (or eat your vegetables, or whatever). If he doesn’t give a little, he’s not so parental, at least not 21st Century parental.

And if he pulls it off, he’ll enhance his position as parent/president. That’s his perfect solution – to give in a bit, chastise both “children” for fighting, and insist they carry out their child-role properly in the future.

Some would say he is already doing this, and they’d be right, because he gets it!


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About two years ago, before Barack Obama announced his candidacy for a second term, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry were positioning themselves to be his successor. That was my blog about vultures, circling the Obama carcass. Obama, however, was not dead, arose, and declared his candidacy. Hillary and Kerry backed off – for then.

Now, Hillary has spent lots of time and effort, aided by her husband Bill, positioning herself to be Obama’s successor. But what about Kerry? Remember, he, too, is a recent presidential aspirant, with an inner circle of people who must be encouraging him to stay in the fray and play.

Wasn’t that a major reason Kerry wanted to be Secretary of State? Oh, was it because of his longstanding interest in foreign affairs, his chairmanship of the Senante Foreign Affairs Committee, whatever? That played into it, but. . .

But let’s read  below the surface, folks. Kerry’s still alive and kicking, as are his presidential ambitions.

So, why chose Secretary of State? How perfect! It’s consistent with his background, and with his chance to one-up Hillary, to show he’s the better – man -the more presidential one.

To do so, of course, Kerry has to hit a few home runs. One would be to secure a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. If so, he could even win a Nobel Prize, and have a great victory over Hillary.

Oops. Problem. Obama supports the Palestinians a bit too much for a deal. Oops, Iran has made Israel’s fear of its neighbors that much stronger, too strong to consider the notion of peace with them. Oops, Egypt erupted and shifted the focus from Israel and Palestine to, to, to something else.

So, Kerry will have to work harder, to find a nice little crisis to cure. Little crises win big prizes, too, you know, if really cured.

Good luck, John!

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Ever notice how dysfunctional the American political family is? Democrat and Republican, Mom and Pop, they fight without knowing their real goals.
Ever wonder why history repeats itself, even though there are easily enough historians to recount it? Ever wonder why you can’t defeat an enemy you can’t see?

That’s it, you know. They can’t defeat the enemy they cannot see, a phrase of Sigmund Freud, so they just, well, fight over what they can see.

Over a hundred years ago, creative medical genius Sigmund Freud elaborated on creative philosopher  Georg Hegel’s assertion that there was an unconscious subfunciton of our minds, called the unconscious. Memories, drives, thoughts, and other mental stuff was “contained” in it – and we were unaware of it. Each of us functions this way. There are aspects of ourselves we have no conscious awareness of.

That would not be so relevant, except these unconscious “things” we are unaware of have great influence over us. In fact, they have more than they would if we were aware of them – for then we could defeat them.

So, how does this relate to the dysfunctional American political family? Well, for one, they don’t fight over helping the victims, the little guys, vs not helping them. No, they fight over helping the little guys vs it’s costing too much.

But isn’t that a well-worn theme in family life? The traditional wife, caught in the nest with “in the nest” values, wants all the children to get the best. The husband, caught with “outside the nest” responsibilities and values, says, “Honey, that costs too much!”

It’s not liberal vs conservative, and it’s certainly not Democrat vs Republican, though it seems like that on the surface. So, what is it? It is the dynamic we are unaware of that keeps us from resolving the issues. Not surprising, because how can we resolve issues we are unaware of? How are we able to defeat an enemy we cannot see? How are we to avoid repeating history, if we do not see what the unconscious story was?

No, it is the issue of “in the nest” values vs “outside the nest” values that is going on.

This occurs when societies provide enough food and other resources, so that outside the nest activity is not that important. Hubby then can stay home with the kids, wife depends less on the hubby, and her values rise. Let’s give the kids more, because we have more. Let’s help the little guy, the victim, the uninsured, because we have enough to go around. However, hubby is not all that secure with his ability to keep bringing in the food and resources. He gets nervous when too much is spent, and not enough saved, for it is he – traditionally – who has to provide.

That’s what they are fighting over, folks. And until they get it, they’ll keep fighting – just like dysfunctional couples who cannot resolve their differences, because they are unaware of them.

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The tragedy in Aurora Ohio has shocked America. Though a single episode, people will demand preventive action.

The current reflex solution is to control guns, which really means to limit guns.

But PsychePolitics suggests a different perspective. Just ask yourself what would have happened if one, just one person in that entire movie audience had a gun and used it. Really, stop reading and ask yourself.

Isn’t there a possibility–if not a probability–the shooter, even with his body armor, would have backed off? Do you really NOT think there would have been less than 12 deaths and 51 injuries?

And this shooter was the only one in recent memory to wear armor. What about the shootings where the shooter was unprotected? One gunshot would certainly back him off.

More, put yourself in the mind of any shooter, robber, mugger, rapist: If you thought there were even a 10% chance a prospective victim had a gun, would you maybe think of another way to express your anger, delusions, whatever?

Well, the population is afraid of what they don’t know – guns in this case. But should we pander to emotion – or ration – in solving problems?

If gun laws were better thought out, if instead of giving in to the pleasure principle – in this case the pleasure of reducing fear/anxiety – we might be better served by educating our public in handling guns, in gun safety. Then, more people would own guns – AND THERE WOULD BE A COLLECTIVE DETERRANT TO ALL VIOLENT CRIME, not just Aurora type shooters.

So, the inevitable question is why our political leaders don’t even suggest we look at guns and criminals from a different perspective – AS DOES PSYCHEPOLITICS.

Well, politician political leaders risk losing the votes of gun fearing voters – even if they tried to suggest it to private focus groups to test it. It is too risky for an active politician political leader.

But what about our non-politician political leaders. Yes, politics goes on even between elections and outside of Washington.

I am referring to the PRESS. On political TV shows and in political newspaper columns, all kinds of ideas are tossed around. Why doesn’t even one of our political commentators try a unique perspective?

We’ll get into the psychology of non-politician political leaders in future posts.

For now, all we have is me and average citizens, willing to suggest novel, logical solutions to persistent problems.

You know, psychiatrists and psychologists are known for avoiding suggesting direct solutions for their patients. However, when a patient is dangerous, we take actions.

Hopefully, some of you will do the same!! Don’t lie on the therapist’s couch! STAND UP AND SPEAK UP!

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Incumbents certainly have important advantages over their challengers. For one, they have name recognition. That means constituents have some kind of relationship with them. It doesn’t matter if they’ve never met. This is similar to the relationship we have with celebrities. We never meet them, but we have a relationship with them. We even cry when they die.

More, incumbents have had at least one term to solidify these relationships with their constituents. They attend church dinners, ball games, whatever.

They also can give a variety of favors to them, like government contracts and inside information about what’s going on in government.

Note, I did not say anything about the job the incumbent did. Though that is generally the focus in an election, it does not decide elections.

None of this is unknown. It takes place at the conscious level. We, or at least most of us, are aware of it. However, there is more, a factor that we are unaware of. It is not a large factor when rendered conscious. Then it can be dealt with by our adult, rational minds, and accepted or discounted.

At the unconscious level, however, the way we see and relate to our leaders has another dimension, a hidden one. We are not aware of it. It is our relationship with our parents.

When we were little, inside the nest, we saw our parents in some common ways. They were all-knowing and all-powerful. They gave, and they withheld. Most important, they took care of us.

As we enter the world, first in school, then work, there are people who also take care of us. Though it is care-taking to a lesser extent, it is care-taking. These people are our teachers and our bosses. Despite all the aspects of our relationships with them, whether we love them, hate them, admire or detest them, the relationship with them resonates unconsciously with the relationship we had with our parents.

This is also true of our political leaders, incumbents. Whether we like them or not, admire them or not, vote for them or not, they are, to an extent we are unaware of, like our parents.

So, unless a challenger is able to overcome this advantage incumbents have, he or she will not get us to reject them. After all, it would be like rejecting our parents.

The successful challenger generally addresses this problem intuitively. However, intuition is not always reliable. Rather, if the challenger takes this relationship into consideration, whether in phraseology or embedded comments addressing it, he or she leaves the incumbent with an important edge.


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Political commentator Charles Krauthammer put it succinctly, when he described the double standard between Democrats and Republicans. He was referring to the ease with which the establishment media write reams about Mitt Romney’s supposed bullying as a teenager, while at the same time a few words about Barrack Obama’s adult choice of reverends is criticized as too strong and off limits. Krauthammer is really smart and perspicacious, and I am not saying that just because we went to the same medical school.

In any case, the next question and the one that is not asked every time this double standard arises, is, “How come?” Most people dismiss it as just politics. While it is politics, it is not just politics–conscious politics, that is. Rather, it is unconscious politics. So, here’s the why, the perspective that ties together, that explains lots of what seems illogical and unfair to Republicans and why the Democrats can continue the practice unchallenged.

The reason, which I have developed in other writings, is that the two American political parties are at this time unconsciously taking the roles of the mother and father of two generations ago. This should not be that surprising, as the leaders of both parties grew up about two generations ago.

In any case, the Democrats are identified with the Mom and “in the nest” values, and the Republicans with the Dad and “outside the nest” values. Please don’t disagree until you see the writings in the book PsychePolitics–How To Read The Political Mind and the videos I hope to post shortly.

What can Moms/females/little guys do that Dads/males cannot? They can strike out, as they are identified with the fair sex and the weak. They don’t see that they can hurt that big, powerful male, who travels outside  the nest. Dads, on the other hand, are not supposed to stike back at a woman. Even more, Dads are, in our culture, not supposed to strike out at the weak. This goes for children, too, those little guys.

The puppy can scratch at the adult dog endlessly, but the adult dog does not strike back–unless it really hurts. The same phenomenon exist for humans. Think about it. I don’t have to convince anyone. Just think about it. Isn’t that the way things are? The cultured male doesn’t retaliate against the barbs or bangs of a female–or the little guys.

So, that is why the Democrats can adopt this double standard, and contemporary American society, the press included, doesn’t find it unfair. From the perspective of the family and inside the nest values, it is perfectly fair. The underdog, child, little guy, fairer sex can’t really hurt the adult, so what’s the problem? And, from the cultured male/GOP perspective, there is the prohibition against striking them back.

As long as the Democrats are identified with, are like, Moms (and little guys), and as long as the Republicans are identified with the Dads/males/powerful, this–and other–double standards will exist.

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