May 6th, 2016

Trump, Clinton, and pathological lying vs. strategic lying

Pathological and/or compulsive lying is not the same as ordinary lying. Ordinary lying is strategic and episodic, and the person doing it usually realizes he/she is lying. There is a reason for the lying, a reason an objective observer can easily understand. The lie can be about the liar him/herself, another person or persons, a group, or something that occurred.

Pathological and compulsive liars certainly exercise that sort of lying. But sometime they just lie for the sheer fun of it, or to pile it on, or even for no discernible reason. And they tend to be the most convincing liars because they either don’t have a conscience to begin with, or they have lost all sight of truth and falsehood and think anything they say is okay because they said it.

Sometimes they even justify to themselves what they do because they have a basic assumption that everybody lies in exactly that way—that no one should be trusted, ever. So they think they’re just doing what all people (except perhaps the most naive of patsies/marks) do.

Politicians are often strategic liars to one degree or another—some to a great degree and some to a much lesser degree. In addition, some are pathological/compulsive liars, but this is much more rare.

Right before he quit the race but after Trump made his scurrilous Enquirer-inspired conspiratorial charge about Cruz’s father and Lee Harvey Oswald, Ted Cruz had this to say about Donald Trump:

I’m going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump. This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology textbook, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying.

He accuses everybody on that debate stage of lying. And it’s simply a mindless yell. Whatever he does, he accuses everyone else of doing. The man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a narcissist. A narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen.

Donald Trump is such a narcissist that Barack Obama looks at him and goes, ‘Dude, what’s your problem?’ Everything in Donald’s world is about Donald. And he combines being a pathological liar, and I say pathological because I actually think Donald, if you hooked him up to a lie detector test, he could say one thing in the morning, one thing at noon and one thing in the evening, all contradictory and he’s pass the lie detector test each time. Whatever lie he’s telling, at that minute he believes it.

I think that is one of the most astute and insightful analyses of Donald Trump’s character I’ve ever read, and I’m surprised that it came from the supposedly psychologically clueless Cruz. Of course it didn’t “work” in the sense that it did absolutely nothing to stem the Trump tide.

The reason Cruz’s words were so applicable was that Trump’s attack on Cruz’s father was gratuitous and completely unnecessary in the strategic sense of winning. Everybody—everybody—knew by the time Trump made his statement about Cruz’s father that Indiana was absolutely in the bag for Trump, as was the nomination. He was going to get to the magic 1237 number and that was that. No, he smeared Cruz’s father either because he believes the charge (which Trump denied the very next day, so we can eliminate that explanation) or merely for fun, because he sometimes likes to grind his opponents and their families into the dirt and give his followers fun stuff to write about on Twitter.

I suppose you could call that a purpose. But it sounds like a form of sadistic play to me, an end-zone celebration where you stomp on your opponent’s head in your exuberance at your own wonderfulness. And in this case he knew that no one would call “foul,” or if they did there would be no penalty at all.

Note also how Trump’s reply to Cruz only proved the truth of Cruz’s charges against Trump:

It is no surprise he has resorted to his usual tactics of over-the-top rhetoric that nobody believes. Over the last week, I have watched Lyin’ Ted become more and more unhinged…Today’s ridiculous outburst only proves what I have been saying for a long time, that Ted Cruz does not have the temperament to be President of the United States.

As Cruz said, “Whatever he does, he accuses everyone else of doing.” Indeed.

So, why am I bringing this up now? After all, it’s over. Cruz (who was not my first choice, but who I would have been happy to see as president) is kaput as a candidate. Trump is triumphant. Get used to it. Or, alternatively, at least support him because he will prevent Hillary Clinton from being president, and you know how bad she is.

Yes, I do. But do I—or do you—actually know how bad Trump is? Because what I see from him is extremely bad, and it is characterological. Those things don’t change.

When I write that one of the biggest problems I have with Donald Trump is that I don’t believe a word he says, that is a problem. A huge (one of his favorite words) problem. For me it could be an insurmountable problem. For a lot of other people it’s obviously not a problem at all. They pick and choose, and they believe those statements of his that they like and disbelieve the ones they don’t like. If he walks back one of their favorite policies of his—why, he doesn’t mean the walkback. If he contradicts himself in the same paragraph and denies that such a thing even happened (who are you going to believe, him or your lying ears?), why he’s just a master persuader. You get the picture.

When people state they want to hear what Trump has to say about this policy issue or that one, I ask “why?” What difference does it make what he says? Or, if they say they like this or that position of his, I think “So what?” How do you know he means it? You don’t.

Look, I understand the “Stop Hillary at all costs!” cry. I get it, I really really really do. I am wrestling with this decision, and I will probably continue to do so for quite some time. But Donald Trump’s basic character will not change, no matter how presidential he may try to be or how much he calms down.

You might also say that Hillary Clinton is a pathological liar, too. She is most definitely a liar, but I see her lies as strategic (even the ones about Benghazi are very very strategic). Maybe that’s not much of a distinction, but I’ve never heard her do anything similar to the statements Trump made about Ted Cruz’s father, or even the “Lyin Ted” routine.

You might say that his lies are about trivial matters and hers (for example, Benghazi) are about important ones. I would answer that that’s only because she has dealt with much weightier matters in her life—policy and foreign affairs—and therefore has much more important things to lie about. I don’t have a moment’s doubt that, if Donald Trump becomes president, he will lie about things both trivial and weighty.

I also know Hillary Clinton’s record as a politician and office holder. She is a known entity, albeit one with whom I disagree on almost everything. Trump is an unknown entity in that regard because he’s never held a single political office, even a low-level one. His supporters cite his unpredictability and unknown-entity quality as being in his favor—he couldn’t be worse than she is and there’s a chance he could be better. But that has no persuasive logic for me. He could actually be worse than she, and that is what gives me pause.

89 Responses to “Trump, Clinton, and pathological lying vs. strategic lying”

  1. Steve D Says:

    The difference is that Clinton strategically mixes up truth and lies and adds some half truths when it suits her. So you can’t determine the truth from what she says. If someone is a pathological liar (lies all the time or for fun), their dishonesty cannot serve any strategic purpose; in fact they reveal the truth every time they open their mouths. It’s the opposite of what they are saying.

  2. Dennis Says:

    Neo has Trumps number. Unfortunately, the existential threat to Western Civilization is Islam and has been ever since Islam was invented by Mohammad. We already know that Hillary will continue Obama’s policies and will do everything she can to promote the spread of Islam throughout Western Civilization. For all his faults, I think that Trump does understand that Islam is bad and will not promote it.

  3. Wooly Bully Says:

    I disagree with you about Hillary’s lying, which I think is also pathological. Remember her lie about being under sniper fire? What was the strategic value of that? William Safire called her a congenital liar back in the early ’90s, which at the time I thought was an exaggeration, but seems to have been confirmed by her subsequent history.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    Wooly Bully:

    Her sniper fire lie was a strategic lie to make her appear to be courageous in dealing with danger. And it was about her own exploits rather than being a defamation of someone else, unlike Trump’s insinuation about Cruz’s father.

  5. Nick Says:

    Neo made a comment recently about lies and reality TV. I said that there was no difference between them.

    Hannah Arendt talked about the intellectual environment which enabled the rise of totalitarianism. She said it required an extreme skepticism and an extreme gullibility simultaneously. The ability to believe nothing, and to treat everything as the truth. I think it’s a kind of situational belief, where we believe whatever fills the immediate need, but dismiss it as false the moment it’s no longer required. You have to put “three branches of government” in a cell right next to “Cruz killed Kennedy”, and activate only the cells you need at the moment.

    I suspect that’s second nature to a society raised on TV and now computers. For the next ten seconds, I’m going to click on an app, and the most important thing in the world to me is popping balloons with arrows. Thirty seconds later, I’m watching clips of an actor I’ve seen play a villain, playing a hero. A minute after that, I’m writing fan fiction where his villain character from his old show is the good guy on the new show. While I’m doing that, I’m debating global warming models.

    One thing that’s really struck me – or, let me stop there and say that this is something I remember from the first season of Survivor. I didn’t watch the show, but a friend did and we discussed strategy. It came down to a final vote between two people, and the consensus was that one guy was a rotten person but he played the game better, so people voted for him. Maybe that made sense if you watched the whole show, but I’d never heard that kind of thinking before. Now, I’m reading it in a variety of articles talking about this election.

  6. Nick Says:

    As for believing something while it’s convenient, I remember this from the late 1990’s, with the Lewinsky scandal and the OJ trial. There were groups of people who were answering polls in certain ways at the moment, but within six months or a year, the numbers changed, as people allowed themselves to admit the truth. Or maybe it wasn’t even the truth they were admitting; maybe they were reverting back to skepticism on principle, without even considering whether what they believed then or now was correct. I now no longer need to answer “yes”, so I’m going to answer “no”.

  7. F Says:

    Anyone who has worked with a boys’ youth organization, like the Boy Scouts, has seen 12 and 13 year olds with the same personality defect as Trump. They lie because they haven’t thought at all about the consequences of what they are about to say. They open their mouth before engaging their brain, as the saying goes.

    I think Trump is in that category. His comment about Cruz’ father served no purpose whatsoever, just as his comment about blood coming out of Megan Kelly’s “wherever”. Something you say to be clever, and a little “edgy,” and then are a little surprised that people notice and shake their head in disbelief. Still, you have that moment of celebrity and that gives you a warm glow inside.

    I have watched many boys outgrow that as they begin to realize their words have consequence and they have to live with those consequences. I don’t think Trump outgrew that stage.

    Unsurprisingly, his comment about building a wall and getting Mexico to pay for it, which was an example of an unscripted verbal ejaculation, played well to the masses. Better than even he could have expected. People began to listen to what he had to say and there was a something for different people every week. He caught fire and the rest is history.

    Is this any way to govern a country? Of course not. Is it better for a country to be governed by a corrupt, venal woman with no love for the country? No. So the horns of the dilemma are festooned with two unpalatable choices.

    I continue to hold out hope that Hillary will step aside, either because the FBI investigation is too painful for the party to ignore or because of some health issue. The question then will be, will Biden step up? I could find myself pulling the D lever if his name is behind it. Not, though, for Elizabeth Warren.

    Otherwise, who knows? I can’t in good conscience stay home, but it will be unbelievably difficult for me to vote for 13 year old Trump.

  8. BullMoose Says:

    Trump is all bullshit. He wants to look like a Republican, so he played at talking like a Republican. A liar, despite be a liar, knows the truth. A liar accepts that some things are true, some things are false. A liar believes in objectivity.

    Trump does not care about the truth-value of his statements. He’s beyond such things. He’s a relativist.

    He only cares about how he is perceived. He wanted to be perceived as a conservative. Trouble is, he isn’t and he doesn’t have a voting record to prove he is anything.

    If he had just claimed to be a conservative, we could just say, “Yeah, he talks the talk but has he ever walked the walk?” He would have never survived. Trump knows this. His solution, going full crazy, paid off. Our attacks never seemed to stick.

    That said, I haven’t really seen Trump or cable networks working their magic. I work in China. All I know is what I read online, I can’t even watch him on Youtube. I count myself fortunate, actually.

  9. Nick Says:

    China, huh? Great place. Strong government.

  10. Oldflyer Says:

    Good Lord, It is bad enough that we are staring down the barrel of Trump or HRC. Please do not throw Biden into the mix.

    If one is going to discuss liars, Biden is a good place to start. I am sure he lies strategically, I also believe that he is a congenital liar. In my opinion, Biden is a first class example of what is wrong with the Senate. He achieved “elder statesman” status by repeatedly winning in a very small state (we know how hard it is to defeat an incumbent Senator in any case). This gave him much more influence on the national level than either his ability, or his accomplishments, warranted. Then, compounding the problem Obama for his own reasons elevated him to VP. Some people find his buffoonery endearing; I just find it nauseating that he has status in this country.

    I will say this with certainty; I would never vote for HRC, nor would I ever vote for J. Biden.

  11. IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses Says:

    I see ZERO evidence he coukd be worse.

    HILLARY PLANS TO USE EXECUTIVE ORDERS TO ATTACK GUN RIGHTS. And she plans to be much more assertive about it than Obama…

    So either shes going to succeed… And we will be that much closer to a dictatorship, or she will fail, and will initiate the second Civil War… Which will weaken America.

    Both ways, she wins, as the treasonous Bitch From Hell she is.

    Whatever you say about Trump, whatever stupid Libtard ideas he believes… I don’t see ANY evidence to support the notion that Trump hates America.

    PostModern Libetalism is ALL ABOUT hating Western Civ and destroying it. Destroying The United States would be a major coup for these swine.

  12. expat Says:

    Trump doesn’t hate America. He thinks it is a vauable tool to enhance his status. That is not to say he wouldn’t sacrifice its basic principles, allies, and ordinary people if it served his purpose. He would call America a loser if the people stood up to him.

  13. Nick Says:

    I was listening to Mark Levin a few days ago, when a caller said that “you need to understand that Trump loves America and wants to make America great again”. Levin was all over him: Who said he didn’t? Who’s going around accusing Trump of not loving America? The guy laughed and said he shouldn’t have said that, then went on to some other talking points.

  14. Tom Says:

    I loved this piece by Harsanyi:

    It’s essentially how I feel, I also loved Ben Sasse’s post on FB:

  15. Tom Says:

    My apologies, I see you already wrote about the Sasse letter.

  16. blert Says:

    Trump simply does NOT profile as tyrant.

    Whereas Hillary DOES.

    Tyrants come out of very troubled families.

    Hillary’s father was (obviously) an abusive alcoholic — just like her.

    NEVER elevate a person to the national leadership that has had a horrific childhood.

    It really IS that simple.

    Caligula (Germanicus)
    Alexander (plainly he assassinated his father — what love ?
    et. al.

    Hillary Rodham

    Bill Clinton

    BOTH the progeny of alcoholics, alcoholics early in life.

    Knock off the hand wringing about Trump — when the alternative is Stalin in a pants suit…

    With lesbian rage
    Class enemies

    On and on it goes.

    Donald, by comparison, is a spoiled adult

    To vote for Hillary is to check in to social Dachau.

    Donald has ONE overriding attribute: the Senate will not shield him, whereas it absolute would shield Hillary.

    Think about it.

    The fact that Donald is a flibbertigibbet is a PLUS. It means that he will NOT have the drive and stamina to fully run the nation into the ditch.

    Whereas Hillary is obsessive — a wonk — exactly like Stalin.

    Both LOVE to drone on with policy papers… and extract revenge.

    It’s notable that Hillary has attained the Democrat nomination by non-democratic means.

    That’s a TELL.

    Donald at least can build buildings, employ tens of thousands.

    Hillary destroys nations.


    The nation is BUILT to survive flibbertigibbets.

    It is not built to survive Hitler, Stalin, Mao…

    The one saving grace of Barry is his laziness.

    BTW, as he rolls to a stop expect ever more insane EOs and EMs.


    I have it easy. My vote can never count.

  17. Bill Says:

    Excellent post Neo – you’ve nailed it.

    “Knock off the hand wringing about Trump — when the alternative is Stalin in a pants suit…”

    First off, it’s important to learn some history about Stalin. I’ve spoken personally with people who’s grandparents were loaded on boxcars by Stalin’s thugs with 30 minutes of warning and exiled to the ‘stans (with a VERY large percentage dying along the way) for 50 years before being allowed to return home after communism failed and seeing all their former property in the hands of others. They had to live in huts with barely anything. Now that they’ve managed to rise above again, a guy Trump seems to admire is again sending tanks into their country.

    I’m not saying Hillary isn’t bad – no way I’d ever vote for her. But why people dismiss the idea that Trump *might* be *worse* I will never know. He shows just as much if not more inclination to authoritarianism as she does. He just has never had the reigns of power.

  18. Nick Says:

    Blert – Upper middle class (or higher) upbringings –
    bin Laden

  19. Sexton Beetle Says:

    Whoever wins in November, Americans will have to depend on Congress finally getting a backbone in order to preserve the constitution.
    Clinton would have the MSM, the entire Democratic Party, and Obama’s example helping her, Trump would not, and could probably be kept in a legal straitjacket. So, you have an easy choice, even if Trump would make Obama the second-worst president ever.

  20. J.J. Says:

    Hillary’s lying started very early. See this about her lying ways on the Watergate investigation:

    She has been lyin’ Hillary for a very long time. We have been frustrated by the media being unwilling to call Obama on his lies. She has had a get out of jail free card from the media for 44 years. She is also someone who can lie very convincingly because she believes the lie at the time she tells it.

    Bill is a liar on the same level as Trump. The difference is that he’s very likable. Bill has been described as a “charming rogue.” Even though he was and remains a pathological liar who could pas a lie detector test, people still give him a pass because he’s a “charming rogue.” Surely Hillary has learned a lot from him. They both have a very low opinion of the ability of citizens to hold them accountable for their lies.

    Hillary’s disdain for Arkansas State Troopers and Secret Service agents has been documented in books by those who were targets of her abuse. Prima facie evidence of an authoritarian personality who uses power and position to abuse others. I haven’t seen any similar revelations of abuse of employees by Trump. Maybe there are some, but they aren’t out there yet.

    I cannot, at this point, say such a thing as Hillary only tells strategic lies whereas Trump lies just because he can. I think both have a long history of both kinds of lies.

    That we are discussing this topic in relation to the leading presidential candidates just shows how far the culture has descended into prevarication.

  21. brdavis9 Says:

    Did I miss something the past few days, since Cruz called it quits after Indiana?

    Is there a viable third party on the horizon somewhere whose existence or at least announcement I missed?

    I can see something of the point of this discussion …if I were a Hil’ tactician trolling con’ groups.

    Otherwise …wtf!?!!

    Is this supposed to accomplish something edifying?

    Please, enlighten me what I really learned different here?

    What is the political benefit?

    Yeah. None. What I thought too.

    Jeezus, everyone. Give it a rest. We frickin’ lost.

    Again. So what’s new? – The boat more crowded this iceberg?

    (Welcome aboard. I saved you a seat, an oar, and a bucket. Row or bail, at your convenience. You can eat the dead guy in the front, if it’s to your taste. No thanks, I’ll pass.)

    Circular firing squad: Ready? Aim. Fire.

    …I’m gonna spend the rest of the afternoon gardening. And shaking my head in disbelief every time I’m unable to not think about this.

  22. Sharon W Says:

    Sexton Beetle@ 3:07, that is exactly the reason I will vote for Donald Trump and a straight Republican ticket, though I share the opinion of all that he is not Presidential material and have thought that from the time he went after Cruz early in the primary. Even if the chance that our other 2 branches rediscover their reason for existence is 0.01% with Trump, I know that it is that much more than would be the case with a President Hillary (or any Democrat in that office.)

  23. neo-neocon Says:


    This is a blog. At a blog, topics are discussed. The blogger sets the topics, although on the comments threads people can veer off into other topics.

    This blog is not a propaganda organ. This blog is a reflection of the thoughts and interests of the blogger and the commenters here.

    I’m the blogger, of course. I explained in the body of this post why I wrote this particular post (other than, of course, the fact that the topic interests me, which is a given because I’ve chosen to write about it). I wrote the following because I anticipated a comment or comments much like yours:

    So, why am I bringing this up now? After all, it’s over. Cruz (who was not my first choice, but who I would have been happy to see as president) is kaput as a candidate. Trump is triumphant. Get used to it. Or, alternatively, at least support him because he will prevent Hillary Clinton from being president, and you know how bad she is.

    Yes, I do. But do I—or do you—actually know how bad Trump is? Because what I see from him is extremely bad, and it is characterological. Those things don’t change.

    When I write that one of the biggest problems I have with Donald Trump is that I don’t believe a word he says, that is a problem…

    His supporters cite his unpredictability and unknown-entity quality as being in his favor—he couldn’t be worse than she is and there’s a chance he could be better. But that has no persuasive logic for me. He could actually be worse than she, and that is what gives me pause.

    In case you haven’t noticed, I am wrestling with the question of who to vote for in the general, and whether to vote. So are a lot of commenters here. This is one of my musings on the subject, and it is designed to address (in part) what it is about Trump that makes me hesitate to vote for him. I think that was explicit in the post.

    You write:

    I can see something of the point of this discussion …if I were a Hil’ tactician trolling con’ groups.

    Otherwise …wtf!?!!

    Is this supposed to accomplish something edifying?

    Please, enlighten me what I really learned different here?

    What is the political benefit?

    That last sentence being in bold was YOUR emphasis, not mine.

    Let me make it even more clear, if possible: This blog is not a propaganda sheet for Donald Trump nor the Republican Party, nor anyone else for that matter. I am not a political operative. I am trying to puzzle out a bunch of things, and one of the most pressing ones at the moment is what to do about the dreadful, dreadful dilemma a lot of people will face in November.

    Trump fans don’t face a dilemma, and neither do Hillary fans. But people who detest them both are struggling with the decision—and that includes people on both sides of the divide. If you’ve made your decision, fine. Nowhere have I denigrated people who decide to vote for Trump (I may even decide to do that myself; I can’t imagine voting for Hillary).

    Your snide snark is misplaced and extremely annoying. But if it’s political propaganda you’re looking for, there’s no dearth of other places where you can find it to your heart’s delight. I didn’t make a political switch in order to be a kneejerk shill for any party, and I’m not planning to start now.

  24. stu Says:

    I hope that Trump’s thoughtless comment about discounting US debt was a strategic lie and not designed to create economic chaos. One can only imagine what the spike in interest rates on US debt would be if his flippant comment became actual policy. If we thought we had an underperforming economy during the Obama years, we would be shocked how savage a downturn we would experience if discounting US debt became official policy.

  25. neo-neocon Says:


    There have been previous discussions here about this “Stalin in a pants suit” claim. I agree with you—and take a look at the comments section here and here.

    It’s a facile comparison that says nothing, but is meant to tell us that of course Hillary is worse. It’s about as brilliant as the comeback “No, it’s Stalin in a pantsuit versus Hitler in a comb-over” would be.

  26. jack Says:

    Well I have decided I will vote for Trump and here’s why.

    I worked as a serviceman for local elec utility for years. There were dogs in many many yards that I had to go into to do my job. Some would bark and some would bite.

    I HAVE been bitten by the Clintons before. I know exactly what I’ll get when I open that gate and go into that yard with the Clintons. Trump has never bitten me so I’ll take my chances on a dog that that hasn’t bitten me instead of a dog that HAS and I know will again!

    This may sound ludicrous to some of you but it’s just that simply to me at this point.

    About this whole “lying” topic. The electorate has decided that ALL politicians lie. BO has lied more than most IMO when he really didn’t have to … the media had his back … no problem. Hillary won’t be any different.

  27. Dennis Says:

    stu Says at 5:34 pm
    “I hope that Trump’s thoughtless comment about discounting US debt was a strategic lie and not designed to create economic chaos.”

    I view that statement by Trump about defaulting on US debt as the most scary comment he has made so far.

  28. Eric Says:

    “What is the political benefit?”

    Sussing out solution, prescription.

    Since the apparent choices – the Left’s Clinton and the Left-mimicking alt-Right’s Trump – are poor choices, the political benefit of this discussion is laying the conceptual groundwork for engineering a better choice than the social political market currently offers.

    It’s our pioneering heritage. Progressive, inventive, constructive activism founded this nation. It’s the essence of America and American leadership of the free world.

    “Jeezus, everyone. Give it a rest. We frickin’ lost.”

    There’s no such thing as permanent defeat for activists. There’s only social dominance or insurgency. The activist game is iterative where losses are a teaching device on the learning curve.

  29. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Obama has repeatedly proven himself to be a congenital, pathological liar. That he may appear to be less of one than Trump, is I suspect strictly due to his Alinskyite training. There are indications that he was carefully mentored with extensive, broad based support from the Left.

    In this respect, Trump is the equal (same dynamic) and opposite (crony capitalist) reaction to Obama’s pathology.

    There is I believe a viable third explanation for Trump’s malicious and apparently unnecessary attack upon Cruz’s father. And that, is that it was carefully calculated to get Cruz’s goat and, it did.

    I can’t recall where but someone in Trump’s campaign let slip Trump’s intention to enrage Cruz, having seen that attacks upon Cruz’s wife had resulted in an emotional response from Cruz. The insider said something to the effect that it had worked with Cruz’s wife and that Cruz’s Dad would be the next focus of an attack, designed to create the arguable impression of an ‘unhinged’ Cruz.

    Cruz’s justifiable disgust allowed Trump to fallaciously claim it as proof that an “unhinged” Cruz did not have the temperament to be President.

    Trump employed that despicable attack as his coup de grâce. He wanted not just to win in Indiana but use that win coupled with his attack to get Cruz to quit. And apparently, it worked.

    FWIW, the “coup de grâce” translates as the “stroke of grace”, which in medieval times was a killing blow of a sword, delivered in mercy to a mortally wounded foe who had acted honorably. It’s typical that Trump’s coup de grâce’ was entirely dishonorable. Not only does he not apologize, it’s doubtful that he even recognizes the gravity of his offense.

    All of this said, I continue to believe that Trump is a Caesar type but because the time is not yet ripe for a Caesar, I expect him to pave the way for the emergence of a Caesar.

    There is now NO viable path forward that can result in the survival of the republic. We will either follow Rome’s path or Lenin’s.

    I chose Rome’s, as it offers far more wiggle room.

  30. Dennis Says:

    Geoffrey Britain at 7:33 pm has picked out two scenarios which come from ‘Western History. The left hates Western Civilization so much that they have something much more diabolical in story for us. It is an entirely new culture imported from the Middle East complete with Sharia law and never ending tyranny.

  31. LTEC Says:

    Most politicians believe what they say, when they say it, or at least they try to. Just like actors (usually) try to believe what they say — it’s called the “Method”. And I believe that Hillary lies for a reason.

    As far as Hillary’s “lies” about sniper fire or Sir Edmond: almost certainly these were sincere false memories. Otherwise, there would be no (non-pathological) reason to say them, since they would immediately be proven false.

  32. Nick Says:

    “We frickin’ lost.”

    No. I’ve lost before. Losing is when someone like McCain gets the nomination, or someone like Obama gets the presidency. This is different. This is closer to “we are frickin’ lost”.

    I can’t vote for Trump or Clinton. Not “won’t”, but morally “can’t”. I cannot commit a fundamentally immoral act in order to accomplish a good end. And that’s assuming I could be persuaded that keeping Clinton out of office was better than keeping Trump out of office. At this point in my life, I would probably vote for any Republican the party chose for the presidency – but if they’re not going to choose a Republican, I feel no obligation. If the word “Republican” ceases to have any meaning, I’ll vote for only those candidates who reasonably represent what that party used to stand for.

    What are the practical political benefits of it? I’ll tell you this much – right now, Paul Ryan has an opportunity to expand the party’s base and establish the conservative agenda for the future. He can demonstrate the party’s ideals and inspire the next generation of voters. And he won’t do it by endorsing Trump.

  33. Nick Says:

    What I’m expecting out of a meeting between Trump and Ryan:

  34. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    I do not believe that the Marxist Left’s goal is an Islamic West.

    I am not speaking of the liberal, “useful idiot”, multiculturalist, left.

    I do believe that the hard-core Left and Islam are unofficial, temporary allies. Each using the other to advance their own agenda. They are ‘laying off each other’ and protecting each other because they both view the Western right as the greatest obstacle to the advancement of their agenda.

    Predators recognize another predator. Each is contemptuous of the other. There’s no doubt in my mind that when either Putin, the Chicoms or an American Marxist “Supreme Leader” decides that the time has come… that Mecca and much of the Ummah will cease to exist. When it comes to competing totalitarian systems, there truly, “can be only one”.


    Most politicians lie by telling part of the truth. They do believe the part of the truth that they state and simply ignore the critical part of the truth, that left unacknowledged, misinforms while moving the narrative forward.

  35. Arnaud Amalric Says:

    Blert has it right.

    However I have given up on this topic.

    Neo is an assiduous collector of rationalisations for her lower brain stem tingles about Trump. Of course she sincerely believes that she is even-handed. Don’t we all.

    Nothing any of us can say will change her mind.

    The big mistake many sophisticated people mistake is to actually believe that a degree of civilization attained means that we humans actually *are* rational and civilized beings. We are not. We play act at it until the contradictions (Hello Hegel) start poking through the flimsy gauze of our happy thoughts. This is one of those times.

    It’s amygdalae all the way to the line, Boys and Girls.

    We’ll all just have to wait and see.

  36. Steve D Says:

    ‘Her sniper fire lie was a strategic lie to make her appear to be courageous in dealing with danger.’

    Maybe; maybe not…

    Hard to say.

    However, strategic lying seems worse to me; immoral rather than amoral.

    ‘I do believe that the hard-core Left and Islam are unofficial, temporary allies.’

    Philosophically speaking they have the same agenda.


  37. geokstr Says:

    I heard a Trump clip on the radio today that “he didn’t know if Cruz liked him or not…”.

    Lessee now, Donald, you’ve been brutally assassinating his character for about eight months now, every day, calling him “lyin’ Ted” without any justification, buying into your BFF’s rumor-mongering, sleazy supermarket tabloid about 5 mistresses, saying everybody in the Senate hates him before calling him a member of the Establishment, saying he’s bought by Goldman Sachs, criticizing his wife’s looks, now this Rafael/Oswald crap again from your slimy BFF and much more, all with no evidence whatsoever.

    But you still think he might like you?

    Do you think this is the WWE, where you can say all sorts of terrible things about your opponent if it fits the agreed upon story line, but hey, no hard feelings because it’s just entertainment?

    What happened with Ben Carson anyway? Was it some form of Stockholm/battered wife syndrome that drove him to his knees or what?

  38. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    I can certainly respect a refusal to commit a “fundamentally immoral act” in hopes of accomplishing a good end.

    Wherein we disagree is in your apparent assumption that aligning oneself with Ryan is not a “fundamentally immoral act”. Ryan serves ‘mammon’ as does all of the GOPe and serving mammon is a “fundamentally immoral act”.

    But moral considerations aside, Ryan has zero chance of creating a viable third party, though I’m doubtful that he has ever seriously considered any such thing.

    “Paul Ryan has an opportunity to expand the party’s base and establish the conservative agenda for the future. He can demonstrate the party’s ideals and inspire the next generation of voters.”

    Paul Ryan has already demonstrated his priorities and establishing an actual conservative agenda for the future isn’t even a distant consideration. He’s already spit on the party’s ‘ideals’. But he does seek to expand the party’s base. By ‘inspiring’ Hispanic illegals, the demographic that the GOPe envisions as a replacement for its former conservative base.

    If you consider Lenin to be less of a threat than Caesar then we fundamentally disagree as to the gravity and consequential reality of the threat each represents.

    Robber barons cannot even approach Marx. Robber barons and Caesars seek to dominate the world. Marxists to “fundamentally transform” the world with ‘new men’ fit for a utopia where mankind can become its own god. Robber barons seek to control your body and possessions, Marxist seek to control your mind so completely that you eagerly agree that 2+2=5…

  39. OM Says:


    You may be a genius, but profiling Hillary and Trump is pretty much the same as predicting the future: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” — Yogi Berra.

    A person has to realize his/her limitations…

    And Arnauld, pop psychology about human behavior and motivations is pretty weak tea. Neo uses her brain and I appreciate it.

  40. parker Says:

    Trump rally at 7 PST at county fairgrounds 4 blocks from the son’s house. Lots of auto and pedestrian traffic in this normally quiet neighborhood. Somehow, I can’t see Oregon’s 7 electoral votes going to the lying donald in November.

    Beautiful day in the land of the mighty ducks. Took 3 long walks with 1 yr grandson on my back while son and daughter inlaw were at work. We fly back to flyover country tomorrow after a week of spoiling our little golden hair boy. Love seeing son, daughter inlaw, and 2 grandkids, but ready to be back in Iowa and weeding in the garden. BTW number 6 (a grandson) due on July 4. Extra fireworks ordered for what may be the last Independence Day.

    I will vote for the Libertarian nominee, easy choice when the msm/soros billions carpet bombs the djt campaign for 4 months with its twitter, facebook, blogs, and airwave B-52s. The ‘pantsuit stalin’ and slick willy need not lift more than a pinky finger to put the real wacko bird down for the count.

  41. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    Of course he wanted to get Cruz’s goat. He does that all the time with everyone he’s having any sort of conflict with, and he did it long before he entered politics. In fact, getting people’s goat is one of his major motivations almost every time he opens his mouth.

    But that’s not strategic lying; that’s part of his general character flaw. I disagree that defaming Cruz’s father was specifically strategic and designed to get Cruz to drop out. You’re arguing backwards because you know that shortly after, Cruz did drop out. But previously Trump had attacked Cruz’s wife, for example, and Cruz’s religion, his veracity, etc., and Cruz never faltered and certainly did not drop out. Why would this attack make Cruz drop out, after those didn’t? That makes no sense, and you are saying it just because in fact Cruz did drop out. But do you really think for a moment that Cruz dropped out because of Trump’s charge about his father? Of course he didn’t. In other words, had Cruz won the Indiana primary and Trump had nevertheless made the charge, do you think Cruz would have still dropped out?

    Of course not. Cruz dropped out because he lost the primary, big time. He knew it was over in the electoral sense. He also knew that unless Trump failed to get 1273 votes, there was no hope for a contested primary. That’s why he dropped out.

  42. BullMoose Says:

    The idea that there is no viable path forward for our republican institution of government is absurd. Given the choice between Caesar and Mao, the appropriate response isn’t casting a ballot. The appropriate response is to shoot twice.

    Sometimes words are not enough. Sometimes action is required. The appropriate act at this moment is the formation of a new political party.

  43. KLSmith Says:

    Guess you saw that Jeb and Lindsay Graham are never trump. That says a lot.

  44. neo-neocon Says:


    I’m not sure what you’re assuming it says.

    The GOPe leaders are having to make decisions. Some (and I would guess the majority of them, in the end) will support Trump or at least vote for him. Some will not.

  45. BullMoose Says:

    If the majority of the GOP leaders end up supporting Trump, they’ll being putting party before country. I think a sizable minority of the GOP will find it difficult to forgive, unless they spearheaded the effort to introduce closed primaries.

    I’ve been told Cheney has come out for Trump. I find that very disappointing. I hope he’s just a trial balloon. I do not believe Trump can win the general, but imagine if he did. It’s terrifying.

  46. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    No neo, I obviously wasn’t clear enough but I’m not reasoning from a conclusion. We are in agreement that Trump always seeks to get an opponent’s goat. I agree that Cruz’s sole reason for dropping out was his loss in the critical Indiana primary.

    Trump’s smear of Cruz’s father was strategic, not as a tactic to get him to drop out but to paint Cruz’s temperament as unsuited for the office to those susceptible to that pitch. Cruz reacted with a much harsher verbal response to the attacks upon his wife and father, than he did when attacked on his religion or any other previous subject.

    That reaction is to Cruz’s credit. He considered those attacks beyond the pale and he reacted with passion. That speaks well of Cruz but it played right into Trump’s ‘wheelhouse’.

    Thus, it did serve Trump’s purpose, which was to allow him to make the false charge of Cruz’s inherent unsuitability to the specific group which he was targeting … And that group were those Indiana voters previously inclined to vote for Cruz but who had been deeply disturbed by Cruz’s actions in Colorado.

    Regardless of the legality of Cruz’s actions, many people’s perception was that Cruz had, at the least, unfairly benefitted. That it was an unjust outcome and a perfect example of what had gone wrong in the political process.

    And while I cannot know, I strongly suspect that the size of Cruz’s loss in Indiana had a lot to do with Colorado. My intuition is that Trump’s attack subconsciously brought to the surface, that recent concern about Cruz for many Indiana voters.

    I know it’s hard to give the devil his due but I suspect that Trump sensed this would be so, not out of smarts but animal cunning.

    IF I am correct about this, then it did lead to a bigger victory for Trump. So, the size of his loss as much as losing a state that early on, Cruz must have felt a certain confidence in winning, led to his dropping out. Thus, Trump’s attack was an important factor, ‘dirty pool’ for sure but giving a ‘death blow’ to Cruz’s campaign.

    You might consider the proposition that despite all of Trump’s character flaws and, above the advantages that an outraged electorate provides… lies a very crafty man, one who uses his bombastic demeanor, as often as it uses him.

    Trump did not get to this point simply through being at the right time and place, nor simply by telling the mob what it wants to hear. It takes a certain level of cunning to be a successful demagogue.

  47. KLSmith Says:

    neo: I’m assuming it says they think the GOP has been hijacked by a man not fit to hold the office. I’m sure most will fall into line. However, when #41 and #43 and Romney make a point of saying they aren’t endorsing/going to the convention, I think it says they are very troubled. Maybe it’s not a big deal but I don’t think anything like this has happened for a while and it seems pretty significant to me. Will it make a difference? Who knows, but I’d guess not much. Maybe it’s like the tree in the forest when no one is there. Maybe it will only make a noise the donors can hear.

  48. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    My point is that the smear was gratuitous; it was already clear Trump was going to win the Indiana primary by a mile. It was the day before the primary (or the morning of? I can’t recall exactly). The primary’s outcome was not the least bit in doubt. He didn’t have to appeal to any voters about anything anymore.

    It was piling on. It was for fun. It was celebrating in the endzone. It was kicking a man who was down (actually, kicking his father). Pathological, sick, and not for any strategic reason whatsoever. It was habit. It was characterological. It was the act of a compulsive liar and a sadist.

    Trump performed slightly better than the polls in Indiana, but only slightly. The polls had Cruz way way WAY behind by the time Trump made his statement. It was unnecessary except as sadistic compulsive grinding an opponent’s family into the ground.

    As for “crafty” and “cunning,” at no point have I ever indicated I don’t think Trump is smart as in “clever.” And yes—“crafty” and “cunning” would do very nicely, too. Hitler and Stalin, Chavez and Castro, just about all the tyrants of history have been crafty and cunning. What care I if Trump is, too?

    And I have a different interpretation of Cruz’s reaction. He let loose with both barrels, IMHO, because he already knew the jig was up, he was going to lose Indiana, it was over. So he could say what he really felt. I don’t think he thought the smear on his father was any worse than anything else Trump had done in terms of lying and insults, either towards Cruz or towards other people. Cruz knew that he could speak his mind, though, at that point, because he was virtually certain he had already lost.

  49. neo-neocon Says:


    I agree that, at least as far as I know, it is unprecedented.

    But Trump is unprecedented.

    However, I think very few Republican leaders will follow suit. Politicians aren’t known for their principles. It will certainly be interesting to see, though.

  50. KLSmith Says:

    Elliott Abrams has an interesting article at the Weekly Standard entitled, “When You Can’t Stand Your Candidate”. The candidate being McGovern in 72 when Abbrams was a Scoop Jackson democrat. With some lessons we might learn from that experience.

  51. KLSmith Says:

    one “b”

  52. Nick Says:

    Geoffrey – I should have been clearer. I’m not looking to follow Ryan, and I’m not endorsing everything he’s done as Speaker or before. I don’t expect him to form a new party. I want him to state what a Republican candidate should represent, and I want him to put party principles over short-term political expedience. I expect that doing so will cause a dust-up that will illuminate the difference between Trumpism and conservatism. I further expect that the act of standing for principles over expedience will send an inspirational message during a cynical campaign. If Ryan is the spokesman for Republicanism for the next four years, the party and the country will be better-served than if Trump is.

    The only complication in my scenario is that some people are going to view a Trump/Ryan standoff as solely about immigration. They’re going to see Ryan as standing for the GOPe. They can paint a perfectly consistent picture of Trump as anti-immigration hero, and I can’t think of a thing that would convince them otherwise. To me, though, Ryan is much closer to the conservative Republican idea than Trump.

  53. Glen H Says:

    I think under your dichotomy Trump is a strategic rather than a pathological liar. He sees that his lies both enhance his stature with the public and diminish the stature of his opponents. Here is a good test of what kind of liar he is. Let’s say that at some point the public start to turn on him for some of his over the top stuff. Trump will sense this – he has an uncanny feel for the mood of the crowd. What will he do? A pathological liar will continue lying – that is what they do. A strategic liar will quickly turn to something else. My sense of Trump is that he will stop on a dime and quickly try something else.

    Contrast this with a true pathological liar – Bill Clinton. The only explanation I can come up with for some of his repeated behavior is that he likes to put himself into situations that he has to lie himself out of, because he is good at it, and it is fun.

  54. Nick Says:

    I see Walker and Ryan criss-crossing the country for candidates. Trump being asked to have his rallies in other people’s districts. Christie playing to empty houses. I see ads with scripts like this:

    “Hello, I’m Senator Ted Cruz, and I want to talk to you about my friend, Congressman John Doe. Doe has done wonderful work in Congress, promoting a pro-growth agenda and supporting our national fight against Islamic terrorism. We need people like John in Congress. Now, John’s opponent has been saying some bad things about him, trying to connect his message with that of Donald Trump. Let me make this clear: in all the time I’ve known John, his wonderful wife Jane, and their children Janet and John Junior, I’ve never heard him endorse Donald Trump and his dangerous agenda. This is a time for good people to rally together and support principled candidates, and I don’t know of anyone better than John Doe.”

  55. Nick Says:

    Glen – I remember an article (National Review?) during the Clinton years that compared him to Johnny Carson. People would laugh at his monologue, because it was funny, but Johnny was at his best when a joke bombed. People looked forward to it. It was like he enjoyed seeing how close he could get to losing the crowd, because no one was batter at winning them back with sheer force of will.

  56. Big Maq Says:

    Lying is not the measure by which to compare Trump vs Clinton.

    The difference is really unpredictability vs predictability. We can count on Clinton going a certain direction. We cannot (and, really, nobody can) predict where Trump will go – his lying, in type, frequency, and magnitude, coupled with rather little detailed discussion (from him) about the details of his proposals leave us no clear picture.

    Plus, his aggressive / authoritarian stance at various times across a range of issues, personal and national, raise red flags.

    With Clinton, we need only look at Europe to see where she and the Dems will take us. Some version of UK, France, Germany, or Sweden, etc.. Or, even, Canada.

    Yes, she’s corrupt, but within the confines of her delivering something like this for her supporters. Probably not much different than many European national leaders.

    Terrible – no. Not what I/we think is the right direction for the country, but not an immediate disaster, just continued slow decay for our nation.

    Trump is a different story.

    Uncertainty = risk. Red flags = threat.

    Those are not conditions under which an economy flourishes, and allied/friendly nations are cooperative.

    However, those are conditions ripe for tyranny.

    Trump is as close as anybody of a “burn it ALL down” candidate (short of an actual Chavez, Castro, etc.), in all its possibility.

    IMHO, he is closer to a “crazed” version of Kirchner of Argentina (or Marcos of Philippines?), only the results would have much wider impact, given the importance of the US internationally (economically and politically).

    Clinton would set up back years.

    Trump would set us back generations – if we could be recover at all.

  57. blert Says:


    Carson had his writers deliberately script bombs — and the riposte.

    He wasn’t making his sally up on the spot, no not at all.

    This tack was also used within his skits with Ed.

  58. OM Says:


    Regarding lying strategic and pathological, do you have any thoughts regarding the Rhodes – Obama disaster in US foreign policy and the press?

    A continuation of the Knave or Fool inquiry?

  59. BullMoose Says:


    Trump’s lies are strategic. He does it to dominate the news cycle and get free press.

  60. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    You make some good points, especially regarding Cruz knowing that the race was lost and it freeing him to speak his mind.

    I do disagree that Trump’s smear of Cruz’s father was simply sadistic cruelty. I don’t think that was Trump’s primary purpose but I imagine that he enjoyed that aspect, as a side benefit. I think he views ‘piling on’ as the political equivalent of ‘follow through’ in a golf swing.

    “It is not enough for me to win. My enemies must lose.” David Merrick


    “I want him to state what a Republican candidate should represent, and I want him to put party principles over short-term political expedience.

    The only complication in my scenario is that some people are going to view a Trump/Ryan standoff as solely about immigration. They’re going to see Ryan as standing for the GOPe.”

    Ryan will have no more trouble stating “what a Republican candidate should represent” than did Boehner or than does McConnell. Skilled lip service to the rubes is a political requirement for the GOPe.

    Putting party principles over short-term political expedience assumes, IMO wrongly… that the party’s actual ‘principles’ are distinguishable from “short-term political expedience”. They are one and the same for the GOPe. Whatever is best for the GOPe is best for the country.

    To dispel the common perception that Ryan is for illegal immigration and the GOPe, all Ryan has to do is bring bills to the floor that clearly oppose illegal immigration (much stronger mandatory penalties for employers) and clearly oppose those GOPe interests that favor “short-term political expedience”. He has yet to do so and it is highly unlikely that he will ever do so on any consistent basis. Those who serve mammon, rarely repent.

  61. Bill Says:

    What kind of dire straits have we come to when quibbling over whether the avalanche of lies from a merciless, sadistic blowhard are pathological or merely “strategic”.

    My thoughts on the commenter above’s take was that the Rafael Cruz smear was strategic to sway last minute voters: if significant numbers of people are being swayed by loopy conspiracy theories like that we are well and truly doomed.

    Trump lies habitually because he’s a habitual liar. He bullies because he’s a bully. That’s who he is and he’s seventy years old and not going to change. I don’t like habitual liars and bullies (and not so long ago most other people didn’t either) and so I’m not voting for him. And there’s nothing “strategic” about that.

    We get the government we deserve…

  62. Bill Says:

    After re-reading my last comment I think I’m pathologically bad at grammar… 🙂

  63. Bill Says:

    “Skilled lip service to the rubes is a political requirement for the GOPe.”

    The rubes can go take a flying leap. They nominated their strongman authoritarian.

    I want a new party.

  64. Bill Says:

    I take back that last comment. It was unkind – my apologies.

    I’m a little salty about all that’s happening and probably need to gain some perspective.


  65. Nick Says:

    Geoffrey – Boehner and McConnell hardly ever make the principled argument for conservative policies. The rare times they do, they’ve failed to back it up. Take the recent urine spray to come out of Boehner’s mouth. He’d support a collectivist novice over a conservative senator because he senator wasn’t nice enough to him? Where were the principles in that, John? Nobody liked working with you, which is why you’re unemployed. Now you’re endorsing a golf and texting buddy for president, even though the guy is the most ill-mannered buffoon outside a Pauly Shore movie.

    A political party is a coalition with overlapping interests. Articulating and progressing towards those interests is its job. If increased immigration is in the coalition’s interests, let those who support it convince the coalition. Likewise, decreased immigration. Likewise, whatever. I’m just not sure if (and if so, why) you meant otherwise.

  66. Strand Says:

    Right there with you Bill. I read the thread last night, feel the same way. Would just like to add that at the time of the Cruz father smear by Trump–Trump did not know that Cruz would drop out. However the main reason Trump made this outrageous claim was to dominate the news cycle. He has a symbiotic relationship with the press–he says something outrageous, the media covers it, then the media gets an uptick in ratings, and Trump gets cheap publicity. Then Trump gets credit for running a lean operation in terms of personnel and money. He also gets the added bonus of people going of on tangents about the Kennedy assassination–and their knowledge of that–which most anyone feels they have a preformed opinion on–and what is not discussed is the very real concern that Trump would be a foreign policy nightmare, or has disastrous economic policies– especially if all of his various remedies were combined at once.

  67. Strand Says:

    Trump really has a reliance on conspiracy theories, and I think it might just be for the reason that everyone can be an expert on that just like sex –which is why sex (or conspiracy theoriy) “sells” and gives a story–as they say– “legs”.

  68. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    “if significant numbers of people are being swayed by loopy conspiracy theories like that we are well and truly doomed.”

    What? The 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections didn’t convince you of the gullibility and stupidity of the average voter? That same majority that has now presented Americans with the choice of Lenin or Caesar?

    “I want a new party.”

    I have long suspected what neo recently declared, there aren’t enough conservatives to elect a President they can fully support. In fact, Cruz just proved that suspicion to be factual.


    Sorry, I was referring to the lip service to conservative principles that RINOs express, when running for election… once they’re in office and between reelection campaigns they do indeed rarely ever express those sentiments. And why would they? The deception has served its purpose.


    Good point about Trump’s desire to dominate the news cycle and the benefits that confers upon him.

    I’m not at all convinced however that he would necessarily be a disaster on foreign policy or the economy. That of course might be true but it is IMO, far from certain.

  69. Nick Says:

    Strand – Trump lacks an absurdity filter. Everything he does and says reveals that. The part of the brain that tells you and I that conspiracy theories are nonsense – his just doesn’t work. He buys young wives and writes his name across the skyline. He’ll build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. He has water and steaks and resorts that are the best in the world. You throw the worst insults you can think of at him, and they don’t phase him, because he has no understanding of impropriety or unreasonableness. People use the term “shameless” as an insult, but in his case it’s an accurate description. If the subject of hand size comes up, he’ll tell you that he has a decent-sized penis.

    Maybe this is something I never realized before, or never really thought about. We’ve had discussions around here about whether he’s stupid. I’ve always maintained he is. It’d be more accurate to say that he has no idea what he’s doing.

  70. neo-neocon Says:

    Just a clarification—

    The lies of compulsive and/or pathological liars aren’t completely untethered from reality or any purpose whatsoever. They are not random; most such liars don’t go walking around saying the moon is made of green cheese and they know it because they were born there, for example. Their lies have a general purpose. It can be merely to make themselves seem more important, or to make their perceived enemies seem worse, or to amuse the listener, or some other very basic purpose.

  71. neo-neocon Says:


    I was with you there almost to the end. But I think Trump DOES know what he’s doing. I also think you are correct that he lacks the usual filters and judgments. But notice that this is what his supporters like about him. It is his signature, his schtick, and has been for his entire life. He’s outrageous, and he knows it and trades on it. People love it. It’s one of the main reasons for his celebrity, and the reason that in this campaign as he becomes more outrageous his support goes up rather than down.

    So it is both his nature (and I believe that he really believes many conspiracy theories, although not the one about Ted Cruz’s father) and it has been positively reinforced throughout his life, so he accentuates it.

  72. Nick Says:

    Knows what he’s doing stylistically. Has no idea what anything means. Or to put it another way, what he says and does is consistent with how he views reality, but not consistent with reality.

  73. Nick Says:

    It wouldn’t occur to him to think about whether or not he believes the Rafael Cruz conspiracy theory. He wouldn’t know why someone would ask himself that before repeating it.

  74. The Other Chuck Says:

    Trump lacks any sense of morality. Ted Cruz said:
    The man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him. I wish he had elaborated on that because it is the most crucial reason NOT to support him.

    It isn’t his philandering or divorces we’re talking about nor his vindictiveness and personal attacks. It is his inability to see a distinction between good and evil. He believes that you can bargain with a mortal enemy bent on your destruction. Take Obama’s Iran deal as an example. Instead of rejecting any compromise with a country ruled by a death cult, like Iran, he only criticized the deal that Obama made. It was a bad deal. He could have done better. Better at what? Signing Israel’s and the West’s annihilation pact? His shallow amorality revolves around money. How much did we give vs. how much did we get. In his tiny world of real estate that is all he knows.

    He’s worse than a fool. He’s an amoral jackass of a fool who get us all killed.

  75. The Other Chuck Says:

    …who will get us all killed.

  76. Ymarsakar Says:

    Just as in 2012 and 2008, Americans are distracted by smoke and mirrors. Focusing on individual Dear Leaders, instead of on the strategic and logistical moves of the Leftist alliance.

    I have long suspected what neo recently declared, there aren’t enough conservatives to elect a President they can fully support. In fact, Cruz just proved that suspicion to be factual.

    To me, it just proves the power of the Left’s operational reach in open primaries.

  77. Dennis Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    May 6th, 2016 at 8:28 pm
    I do not believe that the Marxist Left’s goal is an Islamic West.”

    At one time I may have agreed with you but the way things are working out I have changed my mind. Here are a couple of facts which show that the ultimate goal of the left is indeed an Islamic West.

    1 London has just elected a Muslim mayor with a strong Islamic supremacist connections. There are no leftist leaders standing up and saying NO this is not what we want. At the behest of the Left, white Europeans who support Western Civilization are rapidly being replaced by foreign Islamists who will institute Sharia law throughout England soon.

    2. Angela Merkel knows full well that many of the migrants she welcomed into her country have ties to ISIS and will kill her citizens but she persisted anyway. She must know that the only way to placate them is to allow them to institute Sharia law in Germany.

    “There’s no doubt in my mind that when either Putin, the Chicoms or an American Marxist “Supreme Leader” decides that the time has come… that Mecca and much of the Ummah will cease to exist.”

    Neither Putin nor the Chicoms are representatives of Western Civilization and are not part of the Western Leftist movement. Neither of them wants to destroy their own civilization – so yes – they might eventually destroy Mecca and much of the Ummah. A Marxist “Supreme Leader” in the USA would probably embrace Islam much like their fellow European Marxists/Socialists leaders whom the American Leftists love to emulate.

  78. Big Maq Says:

    “I have long suspected what neo recently declared, there aren’t enough conservatives to elect a President they can fully support. In fact, Cruz just proved that suspicion to be factual.

    To me, it just proves the power of the Left’s operational reach in open primaries.” – Ymarsakar

    Disagree. It shows that every party is really just a coalition of folks with enough overlap in agreeable ideas to hold them together.

    Trump has shown that there is a group within the GOP who were probably never really felt strongly about any of the ideas that were common.

  79. Dennis Says:

    I think Cruz would have done very well in the general election. The problem was that Trump staked out a plurality among a highly divided group of candidates and rode that advantage hard. Also every gross comment and slander promoted by Trump was echoed, explained, justified, and supported by a large portion of so called principled conservative media including unfortunately the big enchilada himself, Rush Limbaugh.

  80. Ymarsakar Says:

    Disagree. It shows that every party is really just a coalition of folks with enough overlap in agreeable ideas to hold them together.

    The Coalition of white KKK nationalists in the Democrat party has been kept on a leash for some time now. When they moved to back Trump, because black violence and Latino numbers scared them, it wasn’t because the Democrats had an overlap in “agreeable ideas” holding them together.

  81. Big Maq Says:

    There are a lot of assumptions packed into Ymarsakar’s statement.

    Not sure which party the “coalition of white KKK nationalists” were in “before”, if they changed at all this cycle, and if they even have significant numbers.

  82. brdavis9 Says:

    I gardened all weekend (well, I checked back in briefly to see if anyone noticed: apparently so), hence my belated response.

    @neo I am not a political operative. I am trying to puzzle out a bunch of things, and one of the most pressing ones at the moment is what to do about the dreadful, dreadful dilemma a lot of people will face in November.

    Trump fans don’t face a dilemma, and neither do Hillary fans. But people who detest them both are struggling with the decision—and that includes people on both sides of the divide

    And where did I ever say you were a “political operative”? Perhaps, for once, you read way too much, in exactly the wrong way …because you missed my point.

    My actual point was clearly stated, in the second sentence:

    Is there a viable third party on the horizon somewhere whose existence or at least announcement I missed?

    Everything I wrote after that was focused on drawing attention to the importance – now – to the answer to that question.

    As for “political operative”.

    Get a grip here. I’ve been reading your blog almost from the beginning. And commenting for years.

    Telling me you’re not a “political operative” – if I hadn’t already discerned that – would hardly be useful: if I don’t know by now – if I wasn’t long ago assured of that – I’d hardly have stayed, and would hardly be worth replying to.

    What you are though (and of course “amongst other things”: do keep in mind, it was me who coined the “come for the politics, stay for the dance” recognition of how special your little corner of the ‘net is: that was said with respect then, and remains so now), is a conservative …pundit? or operative? (I’ll grant you your use of “operative” in that sense, at least) …but what you aren’t is stupid.

    (If I have only assumed you were a Conservative – with a capital “C” – first, than I am obviously an idiot, and my apologies …and acknowledgement that I certainly didn’t see that coming, and need to examine my obvious lack of observational acuity. Sorry. I’m outta here, sorry for the rudeness and I’ll quit bothering you.)

    My comment was on point. The snark was deliberate.

    Because whether anyone thinks that it matters in the least in the political sense whether we’re dealing with a pathological vs. strategic “liar” isn’t going to change how conservatives vote, and the stark choice conservatives have this fall.

    It’s going to be Trump vs. Hillary. Period.

    (Hence the “…did a viable third party announce” …qualifier.)

    And. You. Agreed! “I may even decide to do that myself; I can’t imagine voting for Hillary.”

    And it is not helpful to conservatives to go all #NeverTrump (on the contrary: it is destructive to us in particular, since Trump has pretty much proven GOP politicians don’t need the conservative “base” to win a primary: and every other GOPe politician worth his salt just went “Uh” over that …only the GOPe …and the Dems, of course …are benefiting from this kind of “circular firing squad” thing amongst conservatives …the GOPe doesn’t give a crap: the donor class are seriously considering “third party” in the arcane corridors of hidden political power …which was all the more dismaying to me when you felt you were making a point disdaining “political operative”: you missed it, totally …my point I mean).

    But I saw in the thread …the same tired crap. The same over-wrought emotional disdain for the loutish Trump. The same superior morality signifiers to differentiate your (“your” in the general grammatical sense, not “you in particular”) superior discernment from the know-nothing peasants with pitchforks propelling the clown to victory.


    Because …I don’t see how anywhere in this that there’s a change in the old, equally tired truism – especially for conservatives – in the acknowledged truth (utterly banal truth, yes, but truth all the same) that “not voting or voting a third party vote is the same as a vote for the other guy”.

    That hasn’t changed just because you are disdainful about Trump being the GOP choice.

    Counting political angels dancing on the head of the political pin (i.e., is Trump a more egregious liar than Hillary) is …just …stupid for us ecclesiastical political nerds.

    I’m an ideological conservative. A Cruz guy.

    So what? at this point. Cruz lost. No use in crying over another lost opportunity (i.e., for conservatives). And it’s counter-productive.

    That is my point.

    Now. That out of the way.

    To join in (and be responsive to the “issues” of your post).

    …what about as alternative whether Trump is being a “liar” at all?



    Trump. Says. Outrageous. Things.

    On. Purpose.


    (Oh, he might “lie” too – and probably does in the sense of “who don’t lie” – but that’s not evident from anything anyone has remarked upon here.)

    The real question isn’t “does he lie” (or worse: what motivates him to lie, and are his lies due to pathology or politics), but rather “what is the purpose of the outrageous things he says”?

    And the entire GOPe missed that somehow.

    (FWIW1, Scott Adams “got it”, and has analyzed it. Accurately in my view.)

    (FWIW2, Hillary Clinton certainly lies, and on purpose, and not just to say “outrageous things” …she is A liar …and whether it’s strategic or pathological doesn’t matter in the least. Why? Because she’s a political animal unlike Trump and politician’s lie, period. So the whole discussion is pointless for conservatives because we all know she lies for base reasons, and pathology or strategy doesn’t matter a wit as concerns our general acceptance of that fact as truism. And if you’re a conservative who don’t accept she is a liar: that’s so precious and gawd luv ya sweetie.)

    Here. Let me help to enlighten you all (well, not all: @Strand “However the main reason Trump made this outrageous claim was to dominate the news cycle.” and @Geoffry Britain for acknowledging Strand in that).

    Trump has manipulated the media his entire campaign by making outrageous statements.

    And almost no one commenting here has indicated that they have the slightest clue whether that’s due to his persona, his pathology, his inclination, or his brilliance at politics.

    Yep. Could be the latter. Prob’ly is, at least in part.

    (The part I’m not sure about …and don’t think Trump counted on initially, either …was that his outrageous comments also inoculated him from standard political and cultural norms, especially from the perspective of GOP “operatives” [heh], and insured him against the usual results of the PC gauntlet that has so frightened – and justifiably so, to this point – all the past GOP candidates that have had to run against it …with predictably dismal results.)

    Trump must have (my best analysis) learned at the knees of his spiritual progenitors – who’s job was to put big-budget Hollywood flicks on the lips (and before the eyes and ears) of America – i.e., that there is NO bad publicity.

    You want to get people to talk. And you want to keep them talking.

    (Didn’t anyone else notice last summer how curious it was that Trump seemed to come out with some fresh new piece of outrage sure to incite the hyperbolic media just when the previous outrage was barely starting to die down? At first I was just shaking my head, but as it continued I thought, “This seems to be a pattern with Trump.” It never stopped lol.)

    People talking about you …is the point (especially for press agents of the dynastic studio period of the big Hollywood studios, when they owned the actors & actresses).

    The. Point.

    You have to cut through the noise (even back then). You want to get people talking. If they’re not talking, they’re not going to see your film.

    And what do you think the studio head is going to be thinking about you-as-press-agent, hmm?

    Who don’t talk about Trump? Even now?

    And so the media was played …and didn’t apparently notice (i.e., their own failure) …and ain’t that just delicious dearie.

    I wasn’t (and am not a) fan of Trump’s …politics? Hell, I dunno what his politics are beyond what most political nerds typically suspect.

    So don’t typecast me. (Granted that I’ve said often enough “let it burn” …but mostly in recognition that the GOPe seemed oblivious to the doom approaching them.)

    What I readily acknowledge though is the Trump Method was Something New in Politics …and it was effective.

    One last thing.

    Trump was in town this past weekend. I went to the rally …there were about 10K people in the exhibit hall. All kinds of people; a veritable smorgasbord cross-section of Americana on display. (No, I didn’t stay. It was an opportunity to appease my curiousity.)

    But the one person in the crowd there who stood out to me – and I got a video clip of it – and who makes me think that the polls, which have been crap so far, and I suspect remain unreliable and unimpressive crap as far as their ability to predict the outcome this fall …was the young millennial kid all tatted up and with his spike hairdo …who was VERY enthusiastic about almost everything Trump said (none of which was anything new to any of us).

    If Trump’s “message” can reach kids like that, Hillary doesn’t have a prayer.

    And #NeverTrump is just whistling past the graveyard.

    It’s a New Thing.

    And good, bad, or merely different will play out as it will.

  83. neo-neocon Says:


    It seems to me that you missed the point of my reply to you.

    I was responding to your bolded “What is the political benefit?” My point was that when I write a post, it is not necessarily or even primarily focused on political benefit, because I am not a political operative and my goal here is to air my thoughts and provide a forum for others to do so as well.

    I was rhetorical; I’m well aware you don’t think I’m a political operative, but my point is that your question seemed to indicate you thought I should function as one.

    As for the rest, I find way too many people (and your comment is included) trying to explain something that is obvious. Donald Trump’s offensive and outrageous remarks are multiply determined, both done for effect AND expressive of who and what he is. They have long long predated his entry into politics; this has been his m.o. for many decades. I’ve written a ton about him, and at no point have I indicated I don’t think he’s clever, strategic, and calculated in addition to being offensive, narcissistic, and a pathological liar. He is all of the above. I have seen plenty of people on the right—plenty!—acknowledge that his courageousness is quite manipulative and purposeful, as well as his being his nature.

    I have always given him “credit” in that way. I don’t think, for example, I’ve ever used the word “clown” or “fool” to refer to him, except in 2011 in the sense of being a knowing jester, a “fool” in the classic sense (which has little to do with being stupid).

    Some people have said otherwise about Trump, but not me.

    I also have had a non-condescending attitude towards his supporters, particularly the more thoughtful ones on this blog. My criticism has been directed towards the group of his more lemming-like, troll-like supporters, who are also numerous and are very actively trolling around the blogosphere. I am not condescending to people who don’t fit that description and yet who support Trump.

    To prove just how extremely seriously I’ve taken Trump during this election cycle, and how early I did so, see this post from last August. That was awfully early in the game, and I wrote this:

    Anyone who reads this blog knows that I’m not a Trump supporter, but that I also get his appeal. Watching him speak at length, I “got” it even more. He makes all other politicians look boring and stilted (hey, many of them are boring and stilted). He makes it all sound so simple—just as Obama did, but in a completely different direction and with a completely, and I mean completely, different style. Populist appeal is a neat trick in a man who’s a multi-billionaire and who grew up in enormous wealth and graduated from Wharton. But he’s got it, and although I’m sure he carefully nurtures it he manages to make it look natural.

    From the start of Trump’s rise in the polls I’ve taken him very seriously as a phenomenon. I haven’t understood those who casually asserted “He’s never going to win the nomination.” I’ve long thought he could, because the force of that appeal is obvious, and he’s somehow made himself immune to being criticized for anything he says. His niche is “the more outrageous, the better,” and the more extreme his utterances the more his supporters seem to like him—although not all of what he says is extreme, of course, and some is just common sense.

    If I were one of the other Republican candidates I’d be very very scared. And if I were one of the Democratic candidates I’d be scared, too.

    I wrote that back in August.

    As for third party, as I’ve said in other posts I think that it’s one of the few years that dissatisfaction with BOTH candidates give a third party a possible viability. But I wouldn’t bet on it at this point. However, I can imagine that it could gather steam as time goes on.

  84. brdavis9 Says:

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Rhetorical excess can be a problem, eh lol? My bad.

    …and now I am happy again. (I do recall that last paragraph in the August article, as being one of the reasons I started taking Trump much more seriously btw.) I’ll try and behave with a bit more decorum.

    And I guess I could have should have added for conservatives to clarify things, woot.

    …and we can agree to disagree on the import of the “pathological” at least lol.

    I’m kind of uncaring really, past that point of the discussion: I’ve pondered since my early teens what would make any normal person strive for the presidency (in times of relative peace: I do make a possible exception for the exigencies of times of encompassing war) …or political power, period.

    …and – ever being the pessimist – I arrived then at “pathology” as the rational response to the question (if monetary inducements weren’t muddying the stream), and the intervening decades have given me no reason to reconsider.

    Heh: I obviously don’t place politicians high on my “possible beer drinking buddies” list either.

    They’re all lumped into the “despicable douches” category when I’m at my most reflexive. And/or irritated.

    …aaand I tend to think more highly of the ones who gracefully lose (prob’ly why you can almost make book that if I’m for one, they’re fated to lose lol). I thought it nice of Cruz to pay homage to Reagan’s …’76?? …speech, after Indiana.

    And beyond Trump being a non-politician, I’ve never had much respect for what I read of ‘im in the news. (“Crass” would have been high on my list of adjectival descriptions, if I was disposed to say anything at all. Making me a snob of sorts, too, I s’pose.)

    But …what do I know? His kids seem to love him at least (if they don’t, I haven’t read it).

    And to his credit, he’s made this cycle particularly interesting (even when more-than-ordinarily frustrating).

    Anyways. On to the next subject, O’ Eldest One.

  85. Richard Saunders Says:

    I don’t think “lies” is an adequate word to describe what either Hillary or Donald does.

    The Evil Empress is a leftist and uses the leftist definition of “lie” and “truth.” To her, anything that advances the leftist cause is the “truth,” anything that retards it is a lie.” Therefore, “I did nothing wrong in having a private server,” is “true,” and “She told us that they died because of a video” is a “lie.” It’s neither strategic or pathological — it’s political.

    The Donald is a 12-year-old who happens to be a real estate developer. On the playground, you can say things like “Your mother is so ugly, they must have hit her with the ugly stick,” or “Your father was standing next to Lee Harvey Oswald,” without the slightest concern that those statements are lies — they’re just 12-year-old boy banter.

    The tax plan, the border, the Iran deal positions are just his opening offer. They really don’t mean much — he admitted so over the weekend.

    Don’t confuse in your mind what these two say with what we regard as “truth” — congruent with observable fact — or “lie” — known not to be congruent with observable fact. Our two sterling candidates each have a completly different understanding of the meaning of the words.

  86. Big Maq Says:

    “It’s neither strategic or pathological — it’s political.” vs “just 12-year-old boy banter”

    Couldn’t disagree more.

    Clinton’s lies fit a pattern, an object, a narrative. In a word – predictable.

    By comparison, Trump’s lies are off the scale in their type, frequency, magnitude, and (importantly) no regard for consistency nor concern for contradictions. In a word – chaotic, not merely 12 year old boy stuff. Not even close (unless your experience is working with boys sent to reform school).

    One is a character flaw, from habit and a reinforcing environment, while the other seems a personality disorder.

  87. neo-neocon Says:


    Friends again 🙂 .

    Did you see this, by the way, about Trump and his children?

  88. neo-neocon Says:

    Big Maq:

    I agree.

    By the way, regarding lies, I don’t know whether most people have seen this story. There was a similar story recently where Trump said he’d had a “nice” talk with Rubio and the Rubio people denied there was any such talk at all, “nice” or otherwise. Can’t find the link right now.

  89. brdavis9 Says:

    @neo – besties 4evs luv. 🙂

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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