Friday, February 7, 2020

The Walter Mitty President

"Trump will say anything to rally his base. He wants to be re-elected."

I don't think that's his primary motivation for saying the things he does, for doing the things, for telling the lies. I think this is his version of self-help therapy, a free-association riff with feedback from the audience instead of from a psychiatrist.

Hear me out.

Being President is scary to him. He knows he can't really do the job, and he thinks that it's a great way to make money and get some revenge on all the NJ and NY people who've made fun of him for the last forty years in the NYPost and elsewhere. "I'm more successful than you are" is *still* a big driver for him.

But his primary motivation for the bullshit? The reaction. Not to motivate the base. He can't see the base, or hear them. When he speaks, he reacts to every reaction, and modifies his next few sentences to maximize that reaction. He's surfing on the attention, twisting back and forth, letting the swells of attention guide his words.

If he says something and doesn't get that immediate scream of adulation, he'll switch to something that does. When he does get it, he riffs on it, milking it for everything it's worth.

He needs that feedback. He's not in control of his speeches; his listeners are. He provides the endless stream of consciousness drivel and the audience guides it with their cheers. The more you praise and worship his awesomeness, the more he gives you. The more attention he gets, the more he gives to get more of it. The attention is the drug that drives Trump. 

A reporter asks one of those leading questions that answers itself; his response is that of the school bully because he doesn't have a good reply. If the reporter asks a real question that pins him down, or makes it obvious that he failed, the network is banned or denied a press pass. Ask a softball question and he's your friend and he calls you at your desk at FoxNews, desperate for more pats on the head.
He needs it because deep down, he knows he isn't good at what he does. He failed at business over and over, going bankrupt, losing money. He knows that he's taken a huge fortune and turned it into a lesser one, and he's scared shitless that SDNY will get his tax returns and prove it.

He sucks at almost everything he's done. His marriages fail, his kids are messed up, he's a laughingstock to any competent person. He is the figurehead who failed at business, failed at family, failed at being President. The people with power couldn't give less of a shit about him as long as he doesn't get in their way; he's the useful idiot.

Border wall? That was never a big deal until he started getting "shocked" faces and bitter denunciations. He threw it up and saw it stick to the wall, and kept right on going. He doesn't care about a wall -- he only cares about "trolling the libs" and getting his fix.

And then he stands in front of a rally and people cheer. For a few minutes, he can dream that someone loves him.