Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Daddy Issues

I was struck by a post at Daily Kos yesterday that detailed Mitt Romney's rather troubled attitude toward his father:

"Writing about Mitt in the Washington Times, conservative columnist Byron York was struck by Romney's pessimism and lack of confidence. But even more striking was the son's acknowledgement that he didn't measure up to the father and the path the AMC magnate turned Michigan governor blazed for him...Romney's poignant confession would have been touching if he had been heading to a therapist's couch rather than the chair in the Oval Office. And Mitt might emerge as a more sympathetic character if he hadn't just spent all of 2012 using his father's rags-to-riches story as a substitute for his own life of privileged detachment."

What interested me about this was the following:  We all know that this story parallels the relationship between George W. Bush and his father, who was in so many ways a more successful man than W.  But the same thing could be said about John McCain, whose father and grandfather were admirals, and whose own career at West Point and in the navy was undistinguished at best.

So, as the Republican party degenerates into irrelevance, the candidates it chose in the last four Presidential elections have been characters with troubled relationships with more successful, and far more palatable, fathers.  What does this mean?  Who knows?  But, it does seem interesting to me.


Jerry Critter said...

Perhaps we have had 4 republican candidates afflicted with afluenza.

the yellow fringe said...

Go on back to Nixon Ford and ronnie raygun, they had some messed up daddies too.

BB-Idaho said...

Regarding "..and whose own career at West Point and in the navy was undistinguished at best." Let's not be tarnishing the US Military Academy at West Point: McCain attended the Naval Academy in Annapolis, graduating 894th out of 899

Green Eagle said...

Sorry, BB- you're right.

Magpie said...

Perhaps it’s a twisted, hollowed out version of noblesse oblige.

Some inner programing tells them they have to live up to the privileges bestowed but being conservatives this of course cannot mean any regard for those less fortunate than themselves. Oh no…

Instead it’s merely the attainment of the office that confers status and satisfies obligation. Like Dubbya campaigned energetically but Woodward described his approach to the actual job as “homework”. Now Woodward thought that was intellectual incuriousness, but perhaps it was more than that – Dubbya actually didn’t give a shit. He got there – ‘mission accomplished’.

Romney was described as soulless – but people wonder whether at some level he actually doesn’t give a shit either.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

It should be pointed out that Bill Clinton also came from a background of family alcoholism and abuse – his father. The relationship between psychology and politics has always fascinated me.

Perhaps those who enter politics have an innate need to fix their own family dysfunction and play out these dramas on the political stage.

Abused children are victimized repeatedly when the guardians of conformity and public morality dismiss their traumas as character flaws and target them for ridicule and scorn, often reducing them to silence.

Issues raised by the eminent Swiss psychologist, Alice Miller, have social and historical implications. Violence is learned in the home. Obedience is a condition of beatitude. Sometimes abused and traumatized children reenact their childhoods on the political stage and turn themselves into tyrants or become the adherents, adulators, and henchman of tyrants and lunatic ideologues. Systemic child abuse is the wellspring of injustice, ignorance, and evil in the world. When we finally treat our children with the dignity, gentleness, and nurturing they deserve, only then can we dream of a world free of violence and tyranny.