“Trivial Policy Ideas”

I’m going to launch into some much more detailed analysis of Scottie McC’s book in the next few days. But before I did that, I wanted to establish how deeply Scottie McC is in denial about George Bush–both about his good intentions as a President and his honesty. As I go through the Plame-related and Iraq intelligence stuff, I’ll show how Scottie McC is still fundamentally protecting the President, perhaps as much to prevent serious cognitive dissonance on Scottie’s own part as to protect Bush.

But for now, I just wanted to point out how Scottie McC tends to interpret anything Bush does in the best positive light, even while condemning the same behavior from others.

In Scottie McC’s discussion of the presidential transition, he compares Clinton and Bush in some detail, noting that both got sucked into the "permanent campaign" when in DC. Scottie McC even cedes that Bush embraced the permanent campaign as much as Clinton (which is, after all the point of the book).

There would be no more permanent campaign, or at least its excesses would be wiped away for good. But the reality proved to be something quite different. Instead, the Bush team imitated some of the worst qualities of the Clinton White House and even took them to new depths.

Yet Scottie McC wants to pretend that Bush’s permanent campaign was all in service of a grand agenda, unlike (he suggests) Clinton.

Bush did not emulate Clinton on the policy front. Just the opposite–the mantra of the new administration was "anything but Clinton" when it came to policies. The Bush administration prided itself on focusing on big ideas, not playing small ball with worthy but essentially trivial policy ideas for a White House, like introducing school uniforms or going after deadbeat dads.

Curious that this son of a single mother would insinuate that an overdue federal effort to make sure that families parented by single mothers don’t also have to survive on single salaries was "trivial." The effort to ensure that women could collect the child support due them was fundamentally about families and personal responsibility.

Meanwhile, Scottie McC apparently doesn’t consider efforts that–he admits–the Bush Administration adopted to appease the Christian Conservative base "trivial."

As distinguished from the broad majority political strategy of consistently governing from the center and not catering too heavily to single-issue or narrowly focused partisan constituencies, the 50-percent-plus-one strategy emphasizes catering to ideological purists. For example, Bush appeased social conservatives by forcefully advocating passage of a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages as we headed to Election Day in 2004; on another occasion, he dramatically returned to Washington in the middle of the night from his home in Crawford to sign a federal law transferring the fate of Terri Schiavo to the federal courts, thereby invoking the national government in a controversial issue typically handled by the states.

So in Scottie’s mind, making sure that children receive the financial support of both parents is "trivial," while the Schiavo intervention was appeasement–but somehow not trivial.

There are, obviously, many more examples where Scottie McC insists on attributing Bush’s failures exclusively to the "permanent campaign" rather than any personal failings. But this comparison really stuck in my craw.

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54 replies
  1. dipper says:

    In interviews I’ve heard, this “permanent campaign” he talks about, seems to cover a multitude of sins.

  2. FrankProbst says:

    The issue of gay rights during the Bush administration is a curious one for me. Bush was supposed to be the right wing’s anti-gay-rights savior. In his rhetoric, he stands in sharp contrast to Clinton, whose speeches would make you think of him as the most pro-gay-rights President in history. But if you look at what each man actually DID, it’s not so easy to tell them apart. Clinton signed don’t-ask-don’t-tell into law, which made anti-gay discrimination the law, as opposed to a policy that could later be overturned by executive order. He supported the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which allows the Federal government to ignore the gay marriages that are now legal in a few states. Bush, on the other hand, really didn’t accomplish anything that could be considered anti-gay. And in the meantime, the Vice President’s lesbian daughter went out and had a child, which pretty much killed the gays-can’t-have-children talking point. I’m curious as to what the history books are going to have to say about the two men on this issue.

  3. bmaz says:

    I think it is the cognitive dissonance thing, coupled with the fact that he will probably be working and living in Texas among circles that are still, and will likely remain, friendly to Bush. It looks to me like the transformation of Scotty Mac is still a work in progress though, and he is being both pushed and sucked in by the positive attention from left and center forces. He is already going back on Olbermann again. I think a steady stream of polite, but persistent, confrontations like John Stewart did will force him to give up the ghost on the rationalizations and admit as to Bush what he unequivocally alleges to others. I agree with you, but I can kind of picture where McClellan is situated.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      IIRC from my way-back machine, some of the Watergate bunglers had similarly dragged-out processes of disillusionment. (Erlichman, and to a lesser extent Dean, come to mind.) From his diaries it appeared that Haldeman may have become disillusioned well before Nixon went down. Others, such as Liddy, were incapable of disillusionment.

        • sojourner says:

          I am SOOOOO jealous! I wish there was a way to meet all of the neat people on this blog, and especially Emptywheel… Maybe there needs to be an Emptywheel convention or gathering To me, writing brings out the best of the soul coupled with the knowledge behind the face. Reading BMAZ, RoTL, Mary and all the other brilliant minds here just makes me long to know such writers!

          I propose that the first such event be held in Fort Worth, TX!

          • Minnesotachuck says:

            You missed a great conference! Meeting Marcy was a delicious icing on the cake.

            It’s my understanding that Freepress is going to have videos of all the sessions up on their website within a day or two. Part of my personal “outreach program” is going to be sending the links to the ones I found most valuable to some of my friends, relatives and acquaintances.

    • FrankProbst says:

      I think it is the cognitive dissonance thing, coupled with the fact that he will probably be working and living in Texas among circles that are still, and will likely remain, friendly to Bush.

      The circles that are friendly to Bush will definitely still be here, but I don’t think they’re going to be all that big. Yes, the oil companies are going to love him for their record profits, but the average Joe doesn’t like paying $4 a gallon for gas. He’ll be fine in Crawford, but if tries to move to Dallas or Houston, I suspect that he may be getting “the Ken Lay treatment” from the people here. You have to suspect that Dick Cheney is going to want to go straight back to Halliburton, but I think they’re going to think twice about taking him back.

      • bmaz says:

        Why? With their principle offices and place of business being Dubai, why would they have any concern in that regard? At this point, Halliburton will probably have little business within the United States and will be focusing on Middle East and EurAsian projects and business. It is the coming hotbed for their type of “services” anyway, which meshes nicely with the fact that in about seven months they will likely be persona non grata here. DarthShooter will say “So. What me worry.”

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Wow. Good synopsis.

          OT, and yet not… with respect to the culture of self-referential, solipsistic thinking that McC personifies in so many ways, here’s a video from that conference Marcy attended.

          The clip shows Bill O’Reilly’s producer cornering Bill Moyers. The bullying and inability to negotiate seem so typical of the right wing.
          It would be interesting to get McC’s interpretation of this clip. Doesn’t he recognize how GWBush aids and abets this conduct?

          http://www.crooksandliars.com/…..-medicine/

          • skdadl says:

            Wow. That is one very fine laying-on of hands (by Moyers), rOTL. The rhythms in the way that Moyers speaks, even in a confrontation like that, are just stunning. And the generosity too, even though he knows he’s in a contest.

            Lesson for those of us with anger-management issues (me, eg): in a situation like that, keep smiling, and try to summon up a memory of Bill Moyers’ voice.

            • Minnesotachuck says:

              That video clip has been all over the MN lefty poli blogs and alt media sites. You’re right, skdadl, it is a lesson. I tend to sputter in such situations, then spend the next two days off and on telling myself what I should have said.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Yes, the clip of Moyers handling Bill O’Really?’s producer was top notch. Kudo’s to those involved in capturing it and to Bill Moyers. His reaction was patient, knowledgeable, charming. But he never gave an inch. He never uttered the magic words that O’Really’s producers wanted so that they could edit them into something embarrassing. Democratic Party, please take note.

              Just as refreshing as Bill Moyers’ extemporaneous handling of O’Really’s man was the reaction of the other, real journalists witnessing his performance. They nicely turned the tables and gave O’Really’s man something to remember. Odds are, he’ll be demoted; his performance was third-rate. Best line? From Moyers, denying that O’Really is a journalist: “He’s a pugilist”.

              • MrWhy says:

                Their support of Moyers in his discussions with Porter Barry is encouraging, but following Moyers’ exit, I’m not sure whether I concur with your approval. Worthy of analysis, though.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  I think the post-Moyers’ departure questioning of Parry was appropriate, especially given his inept attempt to ambush Moyers. I thought the questioning was pretty gentle and not personal. I thought it was also satirical, to demonstrate to Parry how objectionable his ambush “journalism” is. But no, as daily journalistic technique, it would not elicit the information needed by citizens. I think, in fact, that was their and Moyers’ point.

                  • sojourner says:

                    I have always loved the movie “Absence of Malice.” Although it was made in a different era, when journalists were more adept at actually investigating and reporting news, its ending was great. Sally Field played a reporter looking for a sensational story. She gets fed information by a federal prosecutor looking to nail an alleged mobster, and uses rather underhanded techniques to “push” her story. The results are tragic. In the end, however, she winds up being a part of the story — something that no true journalist wants to be.

                    I suspect that Mr. Parry is now part of the story… and he will be of no use to The Pugilist.

        • FrankProbst says:

          Why? With their principle offices and place of business being Dubai, why would they have any concern in that regard? At this point, Halliburton will probably have little business within the United States and will be focusing on Middle East and EurAsian projects and business. It is the coming hotbed for their type of “services” anyway, which meshes nicely with the fact that in about seven months they will likely be persona non grata here. DarthShooter will say “So. What me worry.”

          I don’t think Lynne’s going to like living halfway around the world. And I don’t think Cheney is going to be able to leave the country once he’s out of office.

        • Rayne says:

          DeadEye won’t go back to Halliburton.

          He’s not going overseas, apart from Paraguay.

          He’d either end up in the Hague on war crimes, or the French would finally push the EU to prosecute him for corruption while he was at Halliburton. Going back to Halliburton would only make the latter more likely.

  4. Bushie says:

    If Clinton used “permanent campaign”, it was during second term when the Dems had lost Congress and Clinton was on the defensive. He used permanent campaign as an equalizer against a hostile Congress, but not to the depth and breadth of this Regime, even with a friendly or cowed Congress. Bush, Rove, and Cheney use permanent campaign as an effective form of governance/propaganda instilled all through the ranks of political appointees.

  5. bobschacht says:

    Thanks for this, EW.

    I keep also thinking that Scotty’s book works on two levels: superficially saying nice things about Bush, but in describing what he did, he exposes some of Bush’s um, bad deeds. I don’t know whether Scotty realized the significance of what Bush was doing when he did those things, or when Scotty wrote about them, but I think he is either slowly waking up to them, or just maybe being clever about his presentation of Bush.

    Bob in HI

  6. sojourner says:

    Scotty McC just cannot accept that he sold his soul to the devil — that Bush just is not the saviour or hero so many believed him to be. Scotty probably got caught up in the glamour and glitz of power, and he still cannot see it for what it was — a tradeoff.

    Frank Probst, I have been somewhat fascinated by the same issue. I am not gay. I have a few friends who are, and it does not bother me. My personal thought is that the fundamentalist Christian Republicans like to drag homosexuality out to stir up the masses. It is a good way to focus the electorate on something besides the fact that our government is a sham. It gives the politicians a good moral issue to scream about.

    Personally, I am so tired of hearing about who is lesbian and who is gay that I really just don’t care — unless it is someone who has carried out a public vendetta against someone who is, only to find out later that the person pointing fingers has gay proclivities, as well.

    On the morality front, supposedly all sin is equal. So, why don’t adulterers or thieves get equal billing?

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      . . the fundamentalist Christian Republicans like to drag homosexuality out to stir up the masses. It is a good way to focus the electorate on something besides the fact that our government is a sham. It gives the politicians a good moral issue to scream about.

      It’s the matador’s red cape. Distract and piss off the bull all the while preparing to stick it to him.

  7. bmaz says:

    Because these thieves hate admitting that are also gay adulterers; it’s too much for their pin heads to handle.

    • sojourner says:

      Oh, gosh, BMAZ — you mean that there are actually gay people who cheat on their spouses?

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It seems to me that “the permanent campaign” is code for Karl Rove. He was the chief creator of George Bush the successful candidate. Rove had no policy or substantive skills, no loyalty to the rule of law or good governance. He disdained them as self-inflicted handicaps, as unnecessary hurdles limiting the use of public office for personal gain. Moreover, he knew his candidate would lose in any test of intellectual or managerial competence. He deleted those from the president’s job description and the press and Congress let him do it.

    With the permanent campaign, imagery encompasses the alpha-omega of success. When combined with the president’s bully pulpit, and his control over federal investigatory (ie, surveillance) and prosecutorial powers, imagery would be sufficient. It could lead to new heights of power so long as a disciplined GOP controlled Congress and didn’t set the disclosure or performance bar too high, or better yet, joined Bush in raiding the people’s cookie jar. In the end, the press completely and quite a few Democrats joined in that raid, which made Rove’s program unbelievably successful for longer than he could have expected.

    It’s Cheney who took command of the presidency after 9/11, a development that seemed inevitable once he chose himself as Bush’s running mate. Moreover, it fit perfectly with Rove’s image-over-substance program, which enabled Cheney to stay behind the scenes while controlling policy, a goal made easier by his control over government hiring and promotion practices.

    What’s odd is that McClellan, after years of working closely with Bush and Rove, should be suffering such pangs of conscience. It would never happen to the Ari Fleischers, Andrew Cards, Cheneys, Rumsfelds and Libbys. That he addresses them by exonerating Bush but slamming his colleagues is a good start.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Another brilliant packet of insights.

      And I find it interesting that it’s the artists and image-makers like Jane Hamsher who were first to call bullshit on Rove’s artiface. Maybe if more in the press went to film school, they’d have caught on faster.

      (I didn’t go to film school; I’m still catching on and constantly in shock.)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        An observation supported by the fact that the most articulate and accurate critics of Bush are Frank Rich, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      It’s Cheney who took command of the presidency after 9/11, a development that seemed inevitable once he chose himself as Bush’s running mate.

      Hundreds of History and Poli Sci PhD theses will be written over the next five plus decades trying to assess just what Cheney planned and when did he plan it re his hijack of the Bush 43 presidency. FWIW I believe the hijack was well under way on January 21, 2001.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I have to agree. The choice of Cheney and an understanding that he would have an unusual and controversial role “shepherding” Bush in the exercise of his duties must have been “part of the deal” to get the GOP behind Bush. His limited executive abilities, his string of business failures and his mediocre record as governor, were well-documented.

        I think Cheney’s ascendancy was “inevitable” because no competent executive would have chosen such an insubordinate VP or allowed him to accumulate so much power at his own expense. That Bush could interpret his behavior vis a vis Cheney as a CEO properly delegating authority to a subordinate demonstrates how lost in his bubble he really is.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          no competent executive would have chosen such an insubordinate VP or allowed him to accumulate so much power at his own expense. That Bush could interpret his behavior vis a vis Cheney as a CEO properly delegating authority to a subordinate demonstrates how lost in his bubble he really is.

          I think it demonstrates an additional item: how committed and determined Cheney was/is, and how adept he is/was at manipulating Junya.

          Also, I listened to Woodward’s “State of Denial” and at the very beginning, Bandar gets a call from GHWB asking him to ‘tutor’ GWB on international affairs. One can only conclude that Bandar must have colluded with Wolfie, who evidently began also ‘tutoring’ GWB, and brought in Condi. (Both Woflie and Condi evidently from George Shultz/Bechtel).

          So nice of Bandar to know all kinds of dirt on GWB.
          So nice of Cheney to manipulate him so well.

          As much as I despise GWB, he’s such a tool that what his rise to ‘prominence’ reveals about the corruption of the GOP, the media, etc is beyond appalling.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            A former president asks a Middle Eastern prince, with experience in oil, finance and security matters, to tutor his son about how to work in “America’s” self-interest? Not his or the Saudis? That’s a contradiction in terms.

            Either Bush I knew it and his goal was to give Prince Bandar special access to the president for personal and family reasons, or he’s as much of a wealthy nitwit as his son. Possibly, it’s both.

  9. Nanz says:

    Just previous to the release of Scottie’s book I heard Thom Hartmann call Bushco et al a cult. Then the book came out and have been thinking ever since about how someone gets deprogrammed on his own just living life outside the bubble, what causes someone to see the light in the first place, and how long a journey it might be to “normal”. And when I think of how snotty and rude S. was when he was on the job, I have real mean thoughts about him now. And yet- if he is sincere, etc. it is going to take years for him to see the big picture and it will be so painful for him when it sinks in. I think that is why he is defending his beloved leader while trying to reveal what was going on inside. he cant have his cake and eat it too, not with GW.; and will be interesting to follow this. I for one hope it leads to some real solid Fitzmas. Look forward to more by Marcy on this.

  10. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    There are, obviously, many more examples where Scottie McC insists on attributing Bush’s failures exclusively to the “permanent campaign” rather than any personal failings.

    Agree emphatically.

    Per bmaz @7, I’ve had some personal acquaintance with several profoundly tragic, hypocritical Republicans who can’t seem to come to terms with their own sexuality. They spend much of their energy creating and supporting forms of denial and other self-deceptive fictions. Very sad.

    Agree with Bob H; either Scotty’s sloooowly waking up, or else he’s playing a deep game. Either way, as bmaz points out, he’s a work in progress.

    EW, I’m really glad to see this topic highlighted.

  11. GeorgeSimian says:

    I don’t remember Clinton being on permanent campaign. He did more press conferences. If he had no “grand” policies to sell, why would he have to be on permanent campaign? Any Bill Clinton’s nature was that he liked the spotlight. Bush likes to cut shrub on the ranch.

    I haven’t read the book, but I’ve heard a dozen interviews with him by now. He does seem to be in denial. In one breath he says Bush lied and in the next he says he’s a good man, and he doesn’t seem to see that lying makes you a bad man, especially when you lie to the American people.

    • sojourner says:

      “In one breath he says Bush lied and in the next he says he’s a good man, and he doesn’t seem to see that lying makes you a bad man, especially when you lie to the American people.”

      That statement triggered a memory… My mother would tell us what a good man my father was; on the other, he was a raging alcoholic. He died recently, and he did a lot of good in his life. On the other, he terrorized us all when he would get into his angry fits and do very strange things.

      Where I am going is that maybe, just maybe, the Bush White House is similar to a dysfunctional family in which no one will recognize that the alcoholic really has a problem. Instead, everyone walks around and talks about what a good person he is. No one wants to actually say the awful truth out loud, though — that the President has some serious problems.

      I guess in a way that I can identify with Scottie. My father cared about people and did a lot to help others in his life. He had his own pain, though, and he often drank to deal with whatever was eating him. When he was like that, it was bad… Scottie has looked on Bush as someone bigger than life — but he cannot deal with the fact that there is something very dysfunctional present.

      • bobschacht says:

        “Where I am going is that maybe, just maybe, the Bush White House is similar to a dysfunctional family in which no one will recognize that the alcoholic really has a problem. Instead, everyone walks around and talks about what a good person he is. No one wants to actually say the awful truth out loud, though — that the President has some serious problems.”

        In the dysfunctional family field, this is called *denial*. Scotty is deep in denial, if it is not a clever ruse, putting Bush on a pedestal while chipping away at the foundations of the pedestal.

        Bob in HI

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Paul Alexander’s critique of Bush fiddling while New Orleans flooded fits this theme well. He describes a substanceless, opportunistic administration that borders on the sociopathic. (Well over the border in my opinion.)

    ‘The reason the city is going underwater is because the city is corrupt,’ Rove was saying. ‘But don’t blame the Republicans or George W. Bush or David Vitter. We are the white guys in shining armor, and we are going to come in and save the city from years of corruption.’ That was their story and they sold it very well.”

    http://www.salon.com/books/exc…..print.html

    Meanwhile, it was Bush and the federal government’s response that was grossly incompetent – and demonstrably uncaring. It doesn’t even seem to have tried very hard to be competent, only to be blameless. I think that’s more than just Rove protecting the president. I think it’s a choice based on detailed knowledge of how poorly staffed were DHS and FEMA, and how depleted were state National Guards of their best people and equipment to feed the war in Iraq (though I’m convinced Rove would always put political gamesmanship over all else, it’s what he does).

    One win-win for Rove? More outsourcing, including unspecified work for Blackwater in the recovery zone, effectively circumventing statutory restrictions on domestic deployment of the federal army that date from the unCivil War (Posse Comitatus Act), and a trial run for larger, future deployments.

    Scotty was a big part of selling the administration’s imagery – and the incompetent or sociopathic actions hidden behind it – for a long time. Given that Scotty’s book is an early expression of self-assessment, I’d say he’s learned to shave with a safety razor. No qualms Cheney, like a joking Crocodile Dundee, will stick with his Bowie knife.

  13. Petrocelli says:

    I thought Jon Stewart’s interview with Scottie was exceptional. Jon had obviously seen the other interviews of Scottie and kept pushing him on this point … failure to point the finger at Bush43. Scottie eventually got pushed to the edge and admitted that criminal acts were knowingly committed.

    • skdadl says:

      Well deserved, too. And very important to keep this story afloat in the sea of election coverage (or up here, cleavage).

      Did you click through Digby’s link to Think Progress and Daniel Pipes’s latest bloviation?

      During an interview posted at the National Review Online, Pipes said that the U.S. and its allies should tell Tehran to “watch out” for “an American attack”:

      What I suspect will be the case is, should the Democratic nominee win in November, President Bush will do something. And should it be Mr. McCain that wins, he’ll punt, and let McCain decide what to do.

      • masaccio says:

        I suppose I ought to read what the neocons like the evil Pipes think, but I just can’t.

      • Minnesotachuck says:

        After the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in October, 2000, IIRC the Clinton administration purposefully chose to hand the problem off to the Bush 43 rather than to retaliate so close to the end if its term, so as not to limit their flexibility. (Of course, the Clintonites were operating on the assumption that their successors were honorable, competent people.) They promptly ignored it, as they did the rest of the NSC staff’s concerns about the al Qaeda threats. Some analysts suggest that this neglect emboldened and/or pissed off AQ, leading them to go ahead with the 9/11 attacks.

  14. phred says:

    OT, bmaz & EW (& anyone else for that matter), I just saw this over at ACLU Blog. Apparently TSA is planning to deploy a scanner that pretty much shows folks in their birthday suits when they get scanned (check out the pics over there, this is beyond appalling). According to the blog post these are supposed to go into use in a handful of airports (including Phoenix and Detroit) this month. I swear I will quit flying before I knowingly walk through one of those damn things. Has anybody else heard about this? Is it true or is the ACLU just trying to scare me to death? Who knows, maybe TSA has stumbled onto a way to reduce global warming by getting Americans to give up flying…

    Sorry for the OT, but crap this scares me. What the hell have we become? Ok, off to catch up on the thread…

      • phred says:

        Thanks for the link. According to the article only 4% decline the scan — I bet if people saw the pictures that percentage would go up considerably. This is just sickening. I already hate flying — no that’s not right, flying is fine, it’s airports and the police state I hate.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Given George W. Bush’s alcoholism, analogizing his regime with a dysfunctional alcoholic family is apt. The classic myth such families rely on to maintain a facade of normalcy is that the drinker is the one with the problem. Which, of course, is why his or her or their drinking drives the entire family into therapy or the emotional, medical and financial gutter.

    Scotty, in a sense, is like the teenage son who’s ready to acknowledge that the family has an alcohol problem, a good step. But he’s only ready to blame dad’s enablers. Like the alcoholic Bush himself, he’s not yet ready to acknowledge dad’s contribution, sober and drunk, to the family’s plight. He’s still too dependent.

    Sooner or later, with the right help, Scotty may realize that alcoholism is the family’s problem as much as dad’s. He may realize that he’s been wounded like the rest of his political family, and that he owes it to himself to acknowledge that and take responsibility for healing himself.

    Dad may never get there; often he won’t. Even if dry, as Bush claims to be, he’ll never admit he’s an alcoholic (like Bush) and insist on blaming others for his and his family’s problems. Or as does Bush, he’ll use the passive voice, admitting to problems and credit God for her saving grace, but in such a way as to avoid acknowledging his own role in drinking and recovery. That’s a calculus that continues to depend on denial, which prevents healing. The good news is that Scotty’s taken the first step toward breaking that cycle of denial.

  16. wavpeac says:

    Bush/co as a dysfunctional family is very similar to the way a cult operates. A dysfunctional alcoholic family relies on three basic foundational properties.

    One, lies and secrets. All alcoholic families internalize dishonesty. The alcoholic lies about how much they drink and the harm it does. The coda lies about her dependence on the alcoholic and the damage being done, lies to self about facing fears, refuses confrontation or independence. Dances the spiral dance of death with the addict, getting as sick and as unmangeable as the addict. cognitive distortion become prevalent and dichotomous thinking grows. The children lie to themselves about the parent the parent is ALL bad one day and ALL good the next. Lies and cognitive distortions lend themselves to anger and resentments which feed the disease and desire to drink and or depend on others (people, places and things) for comfort. The ability to accurately asssess the self and the environment for effective solutions becomes impaired.

    Two, power and control. Almost all alcoholic families are desperate to maintain the lies. The lies allow the addiction to continue while power and control is used to keep the lies and cogntive distortions in place. By power and control, I mean fear. The addict blows up and gets angry when confronted with consequences. Consequences are given for telling the truth. The truth speaker is the one who is punished. As the truth is denied cognitive distortion related to the constant invalidation are developed. If you see a tornado coming and no one else believes you what do you do?? You get louder, you start to exaggerate, you appeal to emotion. Children in this setting develop a reliance on the emotional part of the brain, they become unable to accurately develop emotion regulation. The family becomes an emotional mess. Tempers flare, yelling, consequences, resentments, cognitive distortion and paranoia develop.

    Isolation: The isolation occurs because all family members as they dance this spiral dance of death begin to engage in behaviors that are not socially acceptable. Like a cult, or the mafia, family members act out and begin having their own shame about the behavior they engage in. They don’t have friends over to the house, they don’t tell people about what is going on, they overly defend the addict or get overly angry. They themselves yell at the addict, when punished lash out at the addict. They do things that go against their values and look the other way. This starts to put others off. The emotionality creates some of the isolation. The addict actively discredits outsiders. The addict makes it difficult to leave the home or be with others because of the paranoia. The children of alcoholics don’t know how to interact socially without drugs or alcohol, they have cognitive distortions about the world that make them more likely to associate with other addicts and co addicts. They attract each other because it is a world others cannot understand.

    There is a reason why sex addiction runs rampant in the alcoholic er republican party. Not that addiction does not exist in the dem party. The dems are the coda’s “taking care of” and “enabling” the addicts. “We understand them”, we don’t want to “be like them”. So we fix, we enable, and we coddle. Underneath most dems is an addict as well of some sort. Hence my obsession to these blogs. But at least I know what it is!!

    The solution is a rigid adherence to truth and flexibile thinking. Consequences and rule of law. Love and discipline.

    Yes we are a nation of addicts and our disease is showing to the world.

  17. wavpeac says:

    I prescribe a 12 step program for the united states of america.

    1) we admitted we were powerless over alcohol/the addict/ the disease and our lives have become unmangeable.

    2) we came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (The constitution!!)

    3) Turned our will and our lives over to the loving care of our constitution.

    4) made a fearless and searching moral inventory.

    Etc…it could do a country good.

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