Friday, September 2, 2016

A Psycho Election: Anxiety vs. Depression

What makes Hillary run?

This morning Peggy Noonan shared an epiphany she had watching Hillary deliver a speech in New Hampshire. I don't think that it explains very much, but I like it anyway:

If she weren’t here, she’d be in an empty house in Chappaqua, N.Y., the focus of no eyes—not important, not glamorous, no aides or staffers. I thought: She needs to run, it’s this or reruns on Bravo. I thought: This is why you pick up that there is no overarching purpose, theme or mission to her candidacy—because there isn’t. There is only her need—not to be powerless, not to be away from the center. It’s not The America Project, it’s The Hillary Project.

From this Noonan concludes that Hillary is the depression candidate. She adds that Trump is the anxiety candidate. By her slightly dubious version of these psycho categories she means that Hillary is the same old thing, a tired remnant of yesterday. And that the Donald is the new kid, the one who has no qualifications or experience, whose every appearance makes you afraid of what he is going to say and whose possible presidency makes you dread the future.

She concludes that Mr. Anxiety has an advantage over Ms. Depression because anxiety is a more awake state. There is some truth to that. When you are depressed you have pretty much given up and when you are anxious you are fearing what’s coming next.

Of course, when you are anxious you are not optimistic about what the next day will bring. You might be anxious to greet the new day, but as the term is used in psychiatry, it means that you are awaiting punishment for a crime of word, thought or deed. Raskolnikov was anxious. He was not depressed.

And, to be fair, when you are depressed you might very well throw tantrums, the better to buck up your flagging self-esteem. Freud once noted that depression was anger turned against yourself. He was wrong about that—depression is learned helplessness—but he pointed to the fact that people who are depressed often try to cure their condition by striking out in anger. The correct term would be impotent rage, because it’s better to be enraged and to hide your impotence than to show the world that you are helpless.

Take this as a cautionary note: one should be careful using grand psychiatric categories.

As for the rationale behind the Hillary candidacy, I find it intriguing that Noonan pictures Hillary alone in her house in Chappaqua, watching television. That is, without a husband and without Huma. But, now that Huma is going to be single, perhaps she can move in to Hillary’s place in Chappaqua, to keep her company. As of now, it appears that Hillary and Huma share a suite when they travel for the campaign. Hillary is effectively never alone. Her shadow is always there.

If I may disagree with Noonan, I think that Hillary has a “darker purpose.” She is running in order to vindicate and validate her life. She entered into a marital arrangement with Bill Clinton in order to advance herself, to gain power for herself and to advance the cause of feminism. When you sell out at that level,  you are sorely in need of a large payoff.

Hillary’s main qualification for the job is that she is female. She is yet another in a string of unqualified candidates who owe their jobs to affirmation action and diversity quotas. She has never really gotten any of her big jobs on her own. If her name were not Clinton she would have been working for some government agency or NGO trying to save the world.

Hillary’s candidacy is cultural politics at its worst.

Noonan suggests that Hillary is depression because you know what you are going to get. If you imagine that you are going to get Bill Clinton, think again. The irony here is that the great champion of women’s rights and female empowerment is riding her husband’s coattails. And this suggests that she cannot possibly run the country or the government on her own. Hillary’s resume and much of her life looks, to most Americans, completely fraudulent. She has the advantage of having an army of eunuchs who are willing to lie for her.

These facts make the email scandal salient, an overt expression of something that people have suspected all along. I think that most people are more worried about putting a fraud like Hillary, someone whose claim to be strong and powerful is pure posturing, into a position where her manifest weakness will invite aggressors.

Hillary’s surrogates keep saying that she is tough enough for the presidency. They thought the same of Barack Obama, one of the weakest presidents in memory. Foreign leaders never respected Obama and they surely do not respect Hillary.

And that spells a general anxiety about the nation’s prospects. Putting the military in the hands of someone who is weak and ineffectual—we’ve done that already. How is it working out?

So, I would say that Hillary generates more anxiety than Trump. It may be the case and it is almost surely the case that Trump does not possess anything remotely resembling a qualification for the office of president. Noonan herself debunks the comparison between Trump’s trip to Mexico and Nixon’s trip to China.

She wrote:

A Trump supporter told/spun me that it was a Nixon-to-China moment, which it was not. Nixon knew exactly what he was doing and why, the diplomacy of it had been long and secretly arranged, and it wasn’t driven by immediate political need but by America’s strategic requirements.

And yet, Trump did go to Mexico. Hillary did not. Trump traveled to Lousiana, Hillary did not. Trump puts himself out there in front of the press. Hillary refuses to do a press conference.

Trump would be foolish if he was not afraid of winning a job he is unqualified for, but he is looking a lot less afraid than the dowager empress of Chappaqua.

Hillary is pretending to be confident and in command. But, by avoiding all difficult situations she is looking like a coward. And that makes people anxious.

Surely, Trump is more bluster than courage, but, compared with the feckless Hillary and our current coward-in-chief, he looks like a tower of strength. Thus, as a cure for anxiety.


Anonymous said...

She entered into a marital arrangement with Bill Clinton in order to advance herself, to gain power for herself and to advance the cause of feminism. When you sell out at that level, you are sorely in need of a large payoff.

One of the more astute observations I've read about her in quite some time.

Brookside said...

Some of the women that are the most loyal to Hillary are fake feminists themselves.
The most strident ones are also dependent on their husbands income. They have the time to puff themselves up about their brilliance and complain about being a woman all at the same time. Of course they also berate their patient husbands at the drop of a hat.
If this election weren't so serious it would be comical.

Sam L. said...

Ares to refute in 3, 2, 1....

Trigger Warning said...

I've always admired the First Civil Union. Hillaree! never was up to Bill's high standards, as described in Confederate Railroad's hit song...

But I've admired her vibrant [ahem] fantasy life, from the Half-Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, to dodging sniper fire, to the presence of Chelsea (her love-child with Kermit the Frog) being present at the WTC.

It's why I'm voting for her: pure entertainment value.

Ares Olympus said...

The more I read about politics, the more it seems like everyone simply sees what they want to see.

I'm anxious about the future, but Trump doesn't ease my anxiety. Hillary is a status quo candidate, which also doesn't ease my anxiety, especially her interest in foreign interventionism.

Ultimately I don't know what this country needs, and I'm willing to accept we've been on a 40 year wrong path. We had our chance to ween ourselves off fossil fuels, and like Trump's bluster, we doubled-down on that path, and we made lots of great toys, but nothing that tells us how to live on less energy, just how to live well on more debt.

How does any president change any of that? Carter tried with his "Crisis of confidence" and Ronald Reagan told us its morning in American, and people like positive delusions that keep all benefits in the present and all costs into the future. So it seems like we have a 40-year unwinding ahead.

But that's all just me, and maybe large things never fail because we can always make them into a larger failure, like the gambler who plays double-or-nothing, and doubles his bet every time he loses a round. It's guaranteed winning strategy, as long as you never break the bank, or exceed the number of atoms in the universe.

AesopFan said...

The invaluable J. E. Dyer comments on Noonan's article:

The whole thing is good analysis, but this is the conclusion:
"Trump’s supporters propose to not be held down any longer by a regimen of enforced brooding over past sins – a regimen that never reaches an end-state. This isn’t about perpetuating injustice. It’s about having hope and a future, which no one can have who won’t let go of the past. That truth of human life constrains politics and government, as much as it does everything else. Politics has no power to transcend it.

If you don’t like Trump’s take on the end-states for a good future, come up with your own. But don’t tell people their only options are to choose between depression and anxiety. They’ll just reject your premises and do something else. And they’ll be right to."

Col. B. Bunny said...

** it is almost surely the case that Trump does not possess anything remotely resembling a qualification for the office of president **

The usual liberal snark casually dispensed. Here's a qualification, he bested every one of his rivals most of whom possessed qualifications to be president that no doubt impressed the heck out of you.

And, news flash, Trump's not afraid of winning. Absurd

Sam L. said...

There are two ways to wean ourselves off fossil fuels: go Nuclear, or starve a goodly percentage of us. Wind and solar can't operate around to clock. Hydro can, but I've read that Oregon does not consider its dams "renewable". If we keep saying "You Can't Do That", then starvation looks likelier.