Republicans love to tell us, “It’s about character”. Never their own, mind you.
John Edwards is a slimeball for cheating on his wife.
But Newt Gingrich is not a slimeball.
Simple enough for the simple-minded ideologue. We’ll look at an explanation for this in a moment.
Willard (Mitt-the-Snip) Romney led a group of fellow prep school bullies in taking down a fellow student and forcibly cutting his hair, while the victim screamed for help.
Everyone in his posse remembers the incident, except for Romney, for some reason.
“I don’t remember that incident,” Romney said, laughing. “I certainly don’t believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual.”
So Mitt remembers the individual, but not what he did to him?
“Back in high school, I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that,” Romney told Fox (R)’s Brian Kilmeade. Romney added: “I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far, and for that I apologize.”
We note that he offered the typical Right Wing lame excuse for an “apology” laced with mitigating terms like “if” and “might”.
Well, “if” Willard can’t remember his bully behavior, then he “might” not be smart enough to be president. And if he lied about it, he’s not moral enough to be dogcatcher.
But we already know that.
Former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean’s 2006 book titled “Conservatives without Conscience” gives us valuable insight into the dark recesses of the radical right-wing mentality. Authoritarian personalities like Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh dominate their ideology.
They are bullies.
John Dean summarizes in a 2008 BuzzFlash interview:
In post-World War II, a group of social scientists were very concerned or very interested to find out if what had happened in Italy and Germany under Mussolini and Hitler could occur in the United States. They initially undertook their work with a little bit of empirical study, but mostly relying on Freudian psychology. And they did conclude that there is clearly an authoritarian personality. They issued their report in a book by Adorno and others that was called “The Authoritarian Personality”.
This research has really never been totally refuted. But other social scientists were critical of it because of its Freudian basis. So they quickly began studying to see if this personality type held up based on pure empirical study, by which I mean anonymously asking people questions that would reveal their personality types, their attitudes, their dispositions, and what have you.
The work on authoritarian followers showed a personality that is easily submissive to authority, be it political, religious or even parental. They submit quickly, and once they do, they become very aggressive in pushing that world view of that authority. They become submissive because they find great comfort psychologically in submitting. It helps them remove the ambiguities of life. And if they’re frightened by events, then this gives them a sense of security. And they’re typically very conventional in their lifestyle.
There are also, however, a lot of very negative traits which I’ve outlined in the book. They are very self-righteous. They are not self-critical. They have very little critical thinking about their own behavior. They are often nasty and mean-spirited. They are bullies. They are prejudiced. And the higher they test on these questionnaires and scales, the more conservative they are. You don’t find people on the left testing the same way. It’s very interesting. You cannot get even statistically significant numbers of people on the left that fall in this category of followers.
On the other side are the leaders. They are typically men whose desire in life is to dominate others and to be in charge. They are very aggressive when they do so. They are highly manipulative. They are also people who have absolutely no appreciation of equality of others. They see themselves as superior, and they are amoral in their thinking. They, too, have a host of other negative traits that are in many regards similar to the followers.
It’s not a very pleasant personality type, but it is certainly there. And it has certainly been established scientifically and corroborated and confirmed, time and time again. And this is clearly the core of the conservative movement.
‘The core of the conservative movement”. Amen.
Dean relied on Professor Bob Altemeyer of the University of Manitoba for much of his reference material. Professor Altemeyer has generously made his book available for free online.