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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Whatever it takes to win

There's been a fair amount of publicity recently about the Cruz campaign's dirty tricks. There was the well-publicized incident where his campaign manager said falsely that Ben Carson had left the race. More recently the Cruz campaign stated falsely that Marco Rubio had mocked the Bible.

The phrase "do whatever it takes to win," evokes a different strategy in sociopaths than it does in nonsociopaths.

When the average athlete is told that he must be willing to do whatever it takes, he thinks, yep, I'm going to train hard every day, eat right, get my sleep, and really push myself past the pain barrier. All of his coach's corny maxims echo in his ears. And when he sees an abnormally muscular champion, he thinks, wow, that guy has really been hitting the weights; that's what I need to do.

When a sociopath hears the phrase, he thinks, okay, that means some Hgh, EPO, and a lot of 'roids; hey, everyone else is doing it, why shouldn't I?

When the average corporate employee hears that he must be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, he thinks, okay, I'm going to put in extra hours, be a real self-starter, and try to have good relations with everybody. When they see how hard I work, they'll want to promote me.

When a sociopath hears that, he thinks, aha, time to curry favor with the bosses, highlight my coworkers' weaknesses and encourage them to self-destruct. Hey, they'd do the same to me if they were smart enough.

When a nonsociopathic politician is told that he'll have to do whatever it takes to win, he thinks, I'm going to get out there on the hustings, shake as many hands as I can, hone my message, and show the voters why I'm the best candidate. Just like Honest Abe.

When a sociopathic pol hears that, his thoughts run more to Saul Alinsky. He thinks, time to mock the oppo for things they've said and claim they've said things they haven't, use push polls, tell all potential donors whatever they want to hear, lie about my intentions, embroider my record, and have every supporter vote twice, if possible.

I'm not saying Ted Cruz is a sociopath. (I'm not saying he's not, either.) I'm just making the point that when most of you are asked if you're ready to do whatever it takes to win, you'll interpret that question differently than a sociopath would.

And that's why sociopaths often win.


Runner Katy said...

Valid thoughts there, and I sure have been thinking he was a sociopath for some time now. He even looks like one, doesn't he? Just his smug grins and such. It rubs me the wrong way, and I've learned to trust my gut. Looking forward to reading more on this from various sources!

John Craig said...

Runner Katy --
I'm not quite willing to say Cruz is a sociopath yet, I just don't know enough about him. He does look incredibly pleased with himself, and is unquestionably at the least an extremely narcissistic personality, but then again so is Trump, and I plan to vote for him.

Anonymous said...


You know me well, and also who I support in this election. Let me just get this off my chest. What made this country great was the constitution and bill of rights. Its not about one man or one party. Both these great documents have been eroded and shredded purposely over the last 100 years. Because we had a "rule of law" and not of men. Everyone senses that we haven't been on the right track for a while and there is genuine anger about one sect of people getting away with everything while the other sect just keeps getting screwed. The real question is who is the best person to turn it around and exactly how do they plan to achieve that goal. The amount of misinformation from the establishment and the message of populism from others is truly annoying. Granted, it is difficult to sort through all the BS to find the "truth", but a informed electorate will make the best decision. Unfortunately in my humble opinion the masses have become lazy and get spoon fed propaganda from a corrupt media, who also has an agenda. We already just had 8 years from an empty suit ( which some of us knew from the beginning ) God help us if we elect another based on how he looks, talks or handles himself in front of the cameras. I would ask all your readers to really look into your choice of canidates ( no matter which one your behind ) and determine if this is the man that will return the country to the rule of law.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Mad Dog

Anonymous said...

John, just wondering (I haven't read your blog for quite a while): Would you rate either Trump or Rubio as sociopaths? I won't bother asking about Carson or Kasich, as I really can't see how a case could be made for either of them being one, Carson least of all. And I already know your view of Clinton).

But while speaking of Carson, what's his, uh, thing anyway (if any)? If I completely disregard his political views, I still find it baffling how someone who's clearly so utterly brilliant and talented within his field of expertise could appear so... dumb, for lack of a better term. He seems very slow to react, not good at responding, almost lazy at debates and during interviews. Is there anything I'm missing about him?

John Craig said...

Anon --
If you haven't been doing your homework, you can't expect me to give you a special tutorial!

Agree, neither Carson and Kasich is a sociopath. I don't know enough about Rubio to have a strong opinion, but so far he hasn't rung any alarm bells. Trump doesn't strike me as a sociopath either, as I said here:

Trump is like a big, spoiled kid, but there's not much subterfuge about him, and that says narcissist-but-not-sociopath to me.

I agree with you about Carson; he always comes across as if a little stoned. I think the Republican establishment was so hungry to have a black candidate in the field that when they stumbled across Carson, who is a likable guy with no skeletons in his closet, they encouraged him to run even though he wasn't ready. And his lack of preparation is apparent at every debate. He hasn't done his homework on foreign policy, and has said things like, the Chinese are involved in Syria, which are a little embarrassing. He reminds me a little of Admiral Stockdale, whom Perot picked for his running mate in '92: an admirable guy, with absolutely no skill as a politician.

Anonymous said...

Interesting take on Carson - he actually does come across as "if a little stoned.". After seeing pictures of the interior of his home (a huge painting of Carson with Jesus behind him), that caused me to wonder about him. My vote is going toward Trump.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
Wow -- a huge painting of himself with Jesus in the background?? That does sound weirdly narcissistic.

Anonymous said...

Yes, if you're interested in seeing the portrait, just Google for it. It never occurred to me that anyone would even dream of having such a painting in one's home.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
Just did. Yikes. The interesting question is, did Carson commission that portrait himself, or was it given to him as a present from his wife or someone else? If the latter, that's fine. If the former, then, yikes…..

Anonymous said...

John--Cruz is obviously a sociopath, just look at his face-looks like a classic villain, facial expressions, his weird hand gestures, his insistence that he might win even though he obviously will never win, his extreme religious views. I agree he's a smart guy with all of his ivy pedigree but there's something very off with this guy. Sociopath is the only explanation. Brian

John Craig said...

Brian --
Cruz does look incredibly pleased with himself an awful lot of the time; the only other guy I can think of who looks so consistently smug is Obama; I wrote a post about that long before Cruz announced his campaign:

I've never associated certain hand gestures with sociopathy (not saying there couldn't be a correlation), nor extreme religious views (I have associated the latter with a lack of intelligence). But yeah, Cruz could quite possibly be a sociopath. Certainly the fact that everybody has disliked him wherever he's gone must mean something.

Anonymous said...

I never thought that Obama would be a sociopath--I also didn't think he was anything else in particular. Now that you've mentioned it, it does make sense because despite his eloquent demeanor, good looks, likability, etc is the utter disregard for the welfare of the US under his ineptitude. In other words, his ultimate goal was winning the election and not for actually making the world a better and safer place as president. He used the presidency to build his ego even though it created huge damage to the world. If that is correct then he would be sociopathic. (I haven't yet read the link). Brian

John Craig said...

Brian --
I agree with you completely about Obama, most people see him as narcissistic, but I think it goes further:

(I'm not even willing to give him credit for good looks or likability, either, to tell the truth.)

whorefinder said...

I remember reading a history book about the actual military actions/maneuvers during the American Revolution (and not about the political things going on).

During the war, New York City was very important to both sides, and had lots of Tories in it. The Americans took it first, but the British dislodged them. Then a massive fire broke out in British-occupied parts of the city.

The author made the point that Washington, while not officially authorizing arson (which would have been contrary to the rules of war at the time as well as gentlemanly conduct) probably secretly ok'd it by gathering his officers together, sighing loudly, and saying something about how nice it would be if the supplies and shops supporting the British suddenly caught on fire *wink wink*. Then some young enterprising officer surreptitiously got some of his rough-types to go light up the city secretly.

Shades of "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?"

Many modern football coaches do the same thing. They never tell their guys to use steroids, or try to injure someone, but make a big deal about his players needing to "do what it takes to win" and hoping the sociopaths among them---and there are a lot in college and nfl football---go beyond the rules, all while giving the coach plausible deniability.

mark said...

Quibble with a point but I think what motivated Obama was beating Romney and less winning in general. I thought the same thing about George W. Bush who wanted to show the smarty pants class who is in charge. Both Obama and Bush seem a bit lazy but competitive. The vision thing was beating the other guy and their vision wasn't much beyond that. Frustrating but common, someone shows extreme energy and engagement in the job interview but 6 months into the job is indifferent and lackadaisical.

John Craig said...

Whorefinder --
That's a great story about Washington, I'd never heard it before. No wonder he was such a successful leader.

I'm sure you're right about NFL coaches. I suspect the same holds true in the military and police departments, too. I've seen a fair number of both cops and soldiers (in particular, Marines, for some reason) who are obviously on the juice. And a 'roided up soldier, who is both stronger and more aggressive, is probably a better soldier, as long as it doesn't affect his endurance or judgment. The same goes for a cop: a more intimidating cop is less likely to be challenged by a perp. And (I think) taking steroids is against the rules in both the military and police. But why wouldn't a superior officer turn blind eye to that, knowing that he's betting a better soldier/cop by virtue of the steroids?

John Craig said...

Mark --
I think you're right about Obama hating Romney, Romney represents everything he hates about America. I'm less sure about Bush. Bush's grandfather was a US Senator from Connecticut and his father was head of the CIA, then VP, then President. George W. Bush himself went to Andover and Yale. If he wasn't a card-carrying member of the Eastern establishment -- the smarty pants class as you put it -- I don't know who was. Keep in mind, that southern accent and shit-kicking good ol' Texan boy act that W put on was just that, an act. I never bought it. In any case, I don't think he had a chip on his shoulder about those who came from a background of privilege.

mark said...

I was imprecise. I meant that George W. Bush frowned on the nerds and the IVY league folks who actually liked to read and deliberate about a decision. My impression is that Bush left Yale right as it was becoming much more demanding to get into. It is much easier for me to believe that W. was a good'ol boy then that that he went to Yale. I don't think anyone even applied to a school like Yale in my graduating class. My main point was that both former Presidents were competitive and had a goal which is different than over arching ambition. Give them a goal and Bush's mind numbing message discipline and Obama's recognition and desire to use top shelf campaign talent made them successful but not on the job.