Trump is not a narcissist, but he plays one on TV

Real narcissists don’t laugh at themselves.

So it’s interesting that Donald Trump is now seen as a big, heartless bully by millions of people. But in this video he had Miss USA and Miss Universe, both gorgeous, each equipped with a big bucket of ice water, while The Donald faced the camera and let them throw gallons and gallons of ice water over his head.

It’s true that he didn’t get a big laugh out of it himself, but he sort of shrugged and looked pathetic. All that ice water over his expensive orange comb-over.

That’s not the only ridiculous public joke Trump has played on himself. It’s part of his Apprentice script.

We know that Trump started out as a selfish brat who could have turned into a mega-narcissist -- the real kind, a man who has no psychological boundaries, no empathy, no capacity to laugh at himself, and no ability to get over humiliations.

But his father Fred Trump made him go to military school where humiliations are everyday fare, like Marine basic training.

Four years of that tends to squeeze the egomania out of people.

Trump learned.

One secret of his showbiz career is that after provoking his audiences by looking like a bully, he also makes himself the butt of the joke at the end of the show. In the upshot, women especially get to feel like winners.

Trump is a sort of self-made Archie Bunker, which is why he gets loyal audiences that keep coming back for the next show.

By now he’s (deliberately) provoked millions of women by his nonsense in this campaign, and his wife and kids have been telling him to stop being a jerk -- in public, on stage, and on TV.  

That is not a coincidence. It’s the basic plot of The Apprentice reality show, which is now running all over the world.

Trump isn’t a masochist, and he doesn’t surrender quickly -- you have to draw out the drama to keep people hooked -- but finally he’ll sort of, maybe, halfway admit that Melania and the kids were right. 

In the new phase of the campaign this gag will be run over and over, until people who are mad at him right now will start to laugh. It’s funny and it’s good showbiz. Trump has made a lot of money with this psychodrama, because he received strong, sustained audience ratings. 

His “regular New York guy on the street” act is half-serious (because he makes some good points) and half a joke. You can’t take it at face value, as our pundits seem to be doing.

Trump’s television audience understands him a lot better than our highbrow folks. But then again, George Will doesn’t spend a lot of time watching reality TV.

Ex-narcissist Donald Trump has made a lifelong gag out of his own emotional journey as a teenager, back to the time when Dad threw him out of the house.

There are months to go in this campaign, and Trump is also posting policy papers -- short ones so far, but they will get better -- so that even National Review’s Jonah Goldberg (currently in deep despair) will start to see how it works.

Conservative pundits are yearning to be listened to, and after showing his independence Trump will do exactly that. He always negotiates from strength before doing a deal.  So there’s a lot of chest-beating and Archie Bunker boasting, while our celebrated NR folks are being ignored.  Which is obviously driving them bananas. 

When the time comes he will make a deal with them, too.

I don’t mean to say that Trump is only a joker. He is an extremely shrewd business guy, and that means building reliable relationships -- because to settle a deal you have to get to a win-win for both sides, or the deal will ultimately collapse. You don’t want to motivate people to start cheating the moment your back is turned. At some point both sides need to feel safe.

Trump’s military school background shows when he talks about Iraq and Syria. His ideas on trade are at least worth debating, which is what the US Congress is actually supposed to do. Normal presidents are constitutionally obligated to follow Congress and the Supreme Court.  BH Obama is really an extreme exception in American history, and if that kind of extremism becomes normal, this country will never be the same again. 

If Trump starts to imitate Obama there has to be a huge voter revolt. But Obama and Trump are not the same person. Obama is not a people person. He isn’t comfortable walking around New York joking around with people. Obama is constantly afraid of being laughed at.

DC politicians are failing to stand up to him today, because Obama and Valerie Jarrett spread fear and intimidation. Professional politicians may tell themselves that all those unilateral power grabs can be reversed next year. Whether that’s true or not we will have to find out.

Most of Trump’s provocative words are going to change into reasonable ideas. Trump is right that NATO is obsolete; we have been paying for Europe’s defense for decades, while their welfare states cannibalized their military to buy votes (including millions of Muslim votes). 

Europe has a kind of hostile-dependent relationship to us. Their media constantly smear the United States, knowing we’ll never throw them out of the house. But there is nothing wrong with having 300 million Europeans pay for their own defense.

Even Chelsea Clinton has said that O’Care is not sustainable, presumably speaking for Hillary and Bill. Trump says he wants to “repeal and replace” O’Care. That could be done, but the devil is in the details. So far Trump’s health insurance ideas are standard fare, and probably not enough to deal with our badly shaken medical economy. Individual Health Savings Accounts are under-utilized so far, but they could be made more attractive. Special provisions have to be made for the poor, and for people with preexisting conditions.  Accelerating deficits have to be damped down. Trump and  his good buddy Rudy Giuliani are certainly aware of all that.

     Russia is building up its armed forces, but their oil money is going to run out fast. Putin won’t be able to keep throwing money at impressive war toys that will never be used. He has built up a scary-looking war machine, and much of his Syrian campaign showed off weapons that Russia can’t afford to keep building. Launching cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea is hardly cost-effective for stamping out Syrian terror gangs, when he can use old-fashioned bombers for the same result.

Putin’s real problem is that the price of oil has crashed and it’s not likely to come back -- not with so many nations searching for domestic shale that will last for years. Putin has put on a huge demonstration of military muscle, but he’s using a sledgehammer to hit scattered Jihadist gangs that instantly go to ground. Russia has a lot of experience with Jihad terrorists in Chechnya, and their basic policy is to terrorize them with massed artillery, regardless of civilian casualties.

Russians are masters at power bluffs, but Putin is also a realist. He needs US cooperation to stay safe from Iranian nukes, which are dangerously close to Russia geographically. Putin would be crazy to allow the next Ayatollah to aim massed ICBM’s at Moscow. So Putin will sell nuclear plants and missiles to Iran -- but only under pervasive Russian control, one way or another. 

The Iranians may laugh at us, but they don’t laugh at Putin. They could end up dead, and they know it.

After Obama the Saudis will be looking for US protection again. If a sensible US administration comes in, the Iranians, who act like suicidal maniacs, will have their bluff called. If the US and Russia cooperate to face them down, they will back down. The big challenge will be to keep them down for the long term.

A lot of this is common sense, as Americans understood it during the Cold War. Trump lived through that time, including his four years of military school. He can’t possibly be as ignorant as he pretends to be.

So far, Trump has psyched out the One Party Media, then millions of women, and a lot of conservative writers.

Now watch him reel them in.

Don’t believe his BS (which he knows is BS).

Keep an eye on what he really thinks, which is not hard to guess.

Rudy Giuliani is probably a good source on that. 

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