I think CBS News reporter Major Garrett comes closer than anyone else to illuminating the spinning clockwork gears inside the Black Box that is the brain of the Megalomaniac In Chief.
By David Grace (www.DavidGraceAuthor.com)
What Makes Sammy Run?
In 1941 Budd Schulberg published his very successful novel, What Makes Sammy Run.
The Amazon blurb describes the book as “. . . the story of Sammy Glick, a man with a positive genius for being a heel, who runs through New York’s East Side, through newspaper ranks and finally through Hollywood, leaving in his wake the wrecked careers of his associates. . . .”
The novel is told from the point of view of Al Manheim who observes firsthand Sammy’s constant deceitful and despicable behavior and wonders at the source of the twisted, evil spring that powers Sammy’s toxic personality.
“What makes Sammy tick?” Manheim asks himself. “What makes Sammy run?”
A lot of people have spent a great deal of time writing about the Megalomaniac In Chief (the MIC) in an attempt to answer a similar question:
“What makes Donald run?”
Much of that commentary has, I think, somewhat missed the central truth that explains his conduct. I’m just as guilty of that as anyone else.
CBS News’ Reporter Major Garrett’s New Book About The MIC
CBS News’ reporter Major Garrett has just published a book about the MIC — Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride — The Thrills, Chills, Screams, and Occasional Blackouts of an Extraordinary Presidency.
Garrett, I think, comes closer than anyone else to illuminating the spinning clockwork gears inside the Black Box that is the brain of Donald Trump.
The Goal Is Winning. The Strategy Is Manipulation.
After reading Garrett’s introduction, my theory is that the key to understanding the MIC’s conduct in any particular situation is to continuously remind yourself that everything he says and does is geared toward manipulating whomever he is dealing with into acting in a manner more beneficial to him.
He’s been called a compulsive and pathological liar. I think that’s slightly off the mark because it implies that he lies for the sake of lying, and I now don’t think that’s exactly correct.
I think he is totally and completely unconcerned with whether or not anything he says or does is true, honest, decent, caring, generous, mean or despicable.
Those concepts don’t influence his conduct one way or the other. His sole interest is in manipulating others into acting in ways that are beneficial to him through the use of any and every tool at hand.
A carpenter building a doghouse has no philosophical preference to a bolt over a screw, a router rather than a power drill. He’ll use whatever available tool that he thinks will best do the job.
The Donald’s Manipulation Tools
In his constant pursuit of gaining an advantage, the MIC’s tools are flattery, threats, insults, lies and promises of rewards, whatever he thinks will move others to act in ways that will benefit him.
For him, every human interaction is a competition, a battle, that he is determined to win no matter which of those psychological implements he may employ.
Truth, honesty, accuracy, decency, and reality are all as irrelevant as the carpenters choice of nails or screws in the MIC’s anything-goes pursuit of gaining an advantage.
A Con Man Of The Highest Order
To understand and, to a degree, predict the MIC’s conduct, I think you need to view him the same way you would a totally amoral man who has decided that he wants a particular woman. He may shower her with flattery, lies, presents, threats, insults, abuse, apologies and promises as may, from moment-to-moment, appear to be effective in getting and keeping her under his control.
He’s the cheating boyfriend trying to seduce, control and then abandon every sexy woman he meets. He’s TV’s Charlie Harper on steroids.
He’s the affable, friendly guy at your church, Lion’s Club, or brother-in-law’s wedding who happens to mention that he can get you a 15% return on your money if only you’re smart enough to stop letting those greedy bastards at the bank screw you over with their stupid, low-interest savings accounts.
When he delivers the first few checks it’s all sunshine and roses. Then, when you try to get your money out, it’s a string of excuses — the bank’s closed because of a broken water pipe, the wire transfer was foiled by a computer virus, his secretary’s at the hospital with a parent recovering from a heart attack, he’s in Peru but he’ll issue the check as soon as he gets back from his business trip.
His conduct may seem irrational and confusing, perhaps even malevolent, until you realize that everything he says and does makes perfect sense when viewed with the knowledge that he’s just swindler who will unapologetically do or say anything in the pursuit of getting and keeping other people’s money.
He’s the Shaman of the south-of-the-border cancer clinic selling hope and snake oil to dying supplicants.
Think of the MIC as the ultimate con man.
Understanding The MIC’s Apparently Chaotic Words & Deeds
If you want to understand why the MIC acts the way he does or predict how he’s going to act in any future situation, first figure out what he wants from whomever he’s dealing with and then ask yourself, “What would a really, really good con man say or do to get that result?”
Do that and you will understand the genesis of the MIC’s every word and deed.
If you’re curious about the nature of the immense and tireless spring that powers the MIC’s personality here’s my opinion of what that would be:
Pathological, unrepentant manipulation in the service of megalomania.
–David Grace (www.DavidGraceAuthor.com)