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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
The Reverend Wright is back in play. A group of Romney supporters has recently placed, then pulled, an ad related to the controversial clergyman and his relationship with President Obama.
Governor Romney has taken the “high” road, as strategy would dictate. Nonetheless, the issue of Wright is still relevant. It is relevant as a political issue, and it is relevant as an example of the psychological defense mechanism of denial.
For those few who still don’t know about this, the issue relates to a video of Obama’s long term pastor, who married him and Michelle and who led the congregation Obama attended for about twenty years. In the video, Wright is seen clearly and repeatedly saying words such as, “Goddamn America.”
First is the question of what he meant by that. America is complex, so what exactly was he damning about America? The land? The system of government? The racial balance of power? Let’s keep that question in mind, as the rest of the story unfolds.
Second, the link between Obama and Wright was strained when the story broke. Wright would not disavow his sentiments. He went (or was sent) on the talk show circuit, apparently as an attempt to smooth his positions and humanize him. However, Wright was true to his sentiments and instead of backing off and showing himself as a loyal “American”, he continued to promote his view. That was too much for the Obama camp and, ostensibly at least, Obama disavowed a connection with him going forward. Since, Wright has drifted into political obscurity.
Third, to understand the implications of the situation, which is what is denied, not just by the Obama camp, but by many Americans as well, one has to put himself or herself in the position of young Obama, walking into a church, and hearing anti-American rhetoric. What would you do? Think about it. Put yourself in his position. Would you sit there and not return? Would you call the FBI? Would you leave immediately, or would you return again and again? Think about it, for that was the situation young Obama was in.
Fourth, if one is to be president of all the people in a country, how can he have any part in asking God to damn even a part of it. Damning is far from criticizing.
Now back to the first issue, what was Wright damning, and what was not so bad about being a part of it for young and older Obama? Basically, given the racial context involved, it was the mainstream, the non-black, non-colored, white establishment AND ITS VALUES. That’s what happens when one is angry at not belonging. There is the tendency to go beyond just belonging. There is the tendency to continue expressing anger by casting down that to which one wanted to belong, or at least that which one did not want to be excluded from or overpowered by.
Here, the reality principle is at hand. Does one allow the pleasure of expressing anger to hold sway over the reality that the result will be neither for either? Put more simply, do two wrongs make a right? That is part of the issue at hand.
The other part is the denial on the part of the American populace. Remember, denial as a defense mechanism in anyone who is not psychotic is denial not of the reality, but of the implications of that reality. The alcoholic father doesn’t deny he drinks. What he denies is the implications of his drinking, such as domestic violence or embarrassing behavior at his daughter’s wedding.
So, what is Romney to do? Given his strategy in the primaries, he will distance himself from implying what the populace denies. This is because facing the implications of condoning damning of one’s country, which some would call treason, is too much for the populace to face. If Romney is smart, and he is smart, he will avoid confronting the American people with their defense.
Whenever one is confronted with a defense, one gets angry and rejects the confronter. After all, defenses, denial included, exist to protect us from anxiety. Confronting them, i.e. saying they are just a defense, strips away the barrier to anxiety, leaving the person feeling anxious, scared, worried, and all the other shadings of anxiety. It feels bad to be scared, so the reaction often is to attack whoever made you feel bad. That is why Romney must steer clear of confronting people. That is why he will take the “high” road.
The interesting thing here, however, is that he seems not just to ignore the confrontation, but to have convinced his supporters to ignore it. Perhaps Romney sees the implication of the confrontation, implications he cannot deny. Perhaps he sees the issue as being taken as religious or racial, and not patriotic. If so, the danger for him is the backlash. That is, he does not need his own religion brought into the fray.
He also does not need yet another distraction from what most believe is the main issue of the campaign, which is. . .the economy, stupid!
Barack Obama’s recent endorsement of gay marriage is his latest political move. The question is why and why now.
Clearly, the issue has been on the table for a while, i.e. a matter of discussion. Could Joe Biden’s “slip” on Meet the Press merely have brought the issue to the fore, with Obama unable to hedge on it anymore? On the other hand, was the “slip” not a slip at all, but a trial balloon? Whatever the case, Biden’s remarks seem to have emboldened the gay/lesbian activists to pressure Obama to come out of his political closet on the issue.
Whatever the case, the move is risky for Obama. After all, many states have banned gay marriage. In those where it has passed, the numbers in favor were not overwhelming. Thus, Obama risks losing the middle on this issue, while he may have energized the gay constituency in his favor.
Another question is, “Why now?” Well, if Biden’s statements were truly slips, then Obama’s hand was forced. On the other hand, Obama likely has lots of polls showing which states will react which way depending on his stand. If that is the case, and the polls indicated he’d not lose much by declaring, doing so was not so risky. That is, he measured the risk before taking the step.
But why could he not have waited longer, until the height of the election season, when gay/lesbian energy would be important and when he could measure the likely reaction more accurately? If the polls changed, he could just defer his declaration.
The answers are not clear. Obama is certainly a risk taker, albeit a calculated, disciplined one. For example, he took a big risk in the Bin Laden murder and won.
On the other hand, it just could be that Obama saw private polls that were very worrisome. Perhaps he needed the gay/lesbian support, fearing erosion of general support. If so, declaring now was more an act of desperation.
The answer will unfold, as we approach the conventions and the polls.
The important thing for the educated voter is to realize that either risk or desperation could be at play.
Vice-President Joe Biden’s interview on Meet The Press revealed one of the strategies the Obama campaign will be using in the upcoming general election: Splitting.
Biden insisted the Republican Party was not itself, but had been taken over by the Tea Partiers. He then minimized the outlandishness of such a possibility by saying the Democratic Party in 1972 was taken over by the liberals and that take-overs occurred as a matter of course in American political parties.
Whether his assertion was commonplace or not, the end result is an attempt to split the GOP. If main stream Republicans really believe their party has been “taken over”, they will be focusing some of their attention on their innards, the Tea Party, instead of the presidential race. If they really believe they have been taken over by the Tea Party, they will feel at odds with it and, if Biden is successful, less likely to support their party as intensely.
Splitting the other side is a strategy Republican Newt Gingrich touched on in one of the debates during the primary season. He pointed out that unemployment in higher than average in the Hispanic population and much higher than average in the African-American population. His rhetorical question followed: “So, what has Obama done for you?” That would be an attempt to split the AA voter from the President.
In psychiatry, splitters are dealt with, not just endured. They are dealt with by the two apparently split sides (main stream and Tea Party Republicans) confronting the splitter (Biden) and telling him clearly they are not split. Rather they say, they are of a single mind.
So, the GOP strategists need to see the splitting strategy on the wall, before it gathers steam. Then they have to counter it.