Kunstler sees the psychology of the Democratic primaries

Summary: Most reporting of political campaigns is dreck, empty calories to fill the empty hours of the passive. But some provide insights. Some provide entertainment. A few provide both, like this by James Howard Kunstler about the psychology of the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries.

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The Tranquilizer

James Howard Kunstler at his website.
Reposted with his generous permission.

A mental health assessment of the Democratic Party suggests that identity politics had lately turned into an identity crisis. Years of staying woke finally produced hallucinations and violent outbursts. It was time to medicate the patient. Enter, stage right, the Tranquilizer, smiling Uncle Joe Biden, the perfect agent to quell an acute case of adolescent rebellion.

Mostly, the rank-and-file don’t seem to know what to make of Uncle Joe’s arrival on the scene. It’s as if they popped .5 milligrams of Xanax a half an hour ago and all the intersectional strife that seemed so urgent last month just up and flew out of the room, like so many leaf-nosed bats from a frightful cave of winds. The chemical rush Uncle Joe provides is reflected in his impressive polling numbers, lately cresting near 40% against his closest pursuer, Bernie Sanders – the reincarnation of my 10th grade math teacher, and hence a figure of horror and loathing – at about 18% in the polls. The rest of the presidential pack just slogs down-low through the sucking muck of single digits. Many of these are women candidates in a party determined to produce the first president of the female persuasion. What’s up with that?

The salient psychodramatic feature of the Democrats’ relationship with Mr. Trump is that he represents Daddy’s in da house, a situation so alarming as to provoke a nearly three-year-long fugue of patricidal fury among his detractors. In fact, he’s an order of magnitude worse than Daddy… he’s more like Ole Massa – living in that big White House – lumbering out the south portico in that terrible capitalist business suit… the very cutting edge of oppression and misogyny. Of the Democratic women running for president, so far only Elizabeth Warren has gone after Mr. Trump with any real passion – and then, like some stereotypical housewife trying to brain him with a frying pan. It just bounces off his thick skull, and he moves on.

I call Mr. Trump the Golden Golem of Greatness for a reason (several really) but mainly for his seemingly implacable demeanor. He’s exactly like that folkloric figure from the mists beyond the Pale of Settlement, an animate hunk of impassive clay communing with spirits of the dead, blundering blindly about the land, scaring little children and turning the peasants’ blood to ice-water. You might even say he was conjured up by the very deacons of Wokesterism who now tremble at his every thundering footstep.

Uncle Joe Biden is surely the antidote to all that. He served eight years under the Wokester Deacon-in-Chief, Mr. Obama, and cheerfully endured his ritual castration, rendering him harmless to all who must-be-believed, and other sub-categories of the aggrieved and oppressed. At 76, he is way older than anyone (anyone serious, that is) who ever ran for President before, perhaps bordering even on feeble, and that’s another plus: he couldn’t hurt a fly. At least not here in the States. He has no plans, apparently, to try to make America great again – but he still has a hearty appetite for international adventuring that might redound to the benefit of the US War industry and its handmaidens on K Street and Capitol Hill.

And, of course, Uncle Joe goes through these palliative motions of bringing tranquility to the Democratic scramble, his smile fixed, teeth gleaming, hair perfect, hand a’pumping, as ever more information emerges about the spectacular effrontery of his international money-grubbing while vice-president. He did what in Ukraine in 2014?

And Uncle Joe’s son, Hunter, walked away with how many millions of dollars after being appointed to the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings? Uncle Joe even bragged to the Council on Foreign Relations about how he browbeat Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko into firing their equivalent of Attorney General, who was about to look into this fishy Burisma deal.

Editor’s note – See Politifact’s gentle Biden-friendly analysis. The Nation gives a more balanced assessment. Here is the NYT’s report (I love this coy note about Joe’s son: “It is not known how Mr. Biden came to the attention of the company.” These things just happen.)

And then there was the even bigger windfall after Uncle Joe paid a call on China and Hunter’s shadowy company, Rosemont Seneca, landed a billion dollar private equity deal (whatever that means) from an equally shadowy company fronting for the Chinese government.

Ed’s note – These charges are from Peter Schweizer’s book Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends (2018). Here are articles in the WSJ and Weekly Standard about this.

All of which means that Uncle Joe Biden’s career as the Democratic tranquilizer may have about the half-life of that Xanax tablet. The four pillars of the legacy media – The New York Times, The WashPo, CNN, and NBC – don’t want to touch these stories, but they are already out there, and nobody can stuff them back under the carpet, not even the mighty censors of Twitter and Facebook.


Editor’s afterword

“Hegel says somewhere that all great historic facts and personages occur twice, so to speak. He forgot to add: ‘Once as tragedy, and again as farce.’”
— The opening of Karl Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1869).

The fall of the Weimar Republic was a tragedy. We are flouncing down the same path, making the West into Clownworld. There is no excuse for this.

James Howard Kunstler
Photo by Charlie Samuels.

About James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler (Wikipedia) worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, before working as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he began writing books on a full-time basis. Kunstler is the author of 12 novels and has been a regular contributor to many major media, writing about environmental and economic issues. He is a leading supporter of the movement known as “New Urbanism.”

He has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth, Cornell, MIT, and many other colleges. He has written five non-fiction books. See more about the most recent one below.

See some of his recent posts about America. They’re all well worth reading!

For More Information

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see all posts about the Democratic Party, about the left wing of US politics, about ways to reform America’s politics, and especially these …

  1. Visions of America if the Left wins.
  2. The Democrats will open the borders & make a New America.
  3. The Left goes full open borders, changing America forever.
  4. The Left pushes America down a slippery slope – about reckless social engineering.
  5. The Left can win in 2020 and dominate US politics.
  6. 2020 will continue the revolution that Trump began.
  7. The Democrats will own America. Their past will sink them.
  8. The Left hates America and will destroy it.

About Kunstler’s most recent book

Too Much Magic.
Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation.

Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation
Available at Amazon.

From the publisher …

“Kunstler’s critically acclaimed and best-selling The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century (2005) quickly became a grassroots hit, going into nine printings in hardcover. Kunstler’s shocking vision of our post-oil future caught the attention of environmentalists and business leaders alike, and stimulated widespread discussion about our dependence on fossil fuels and our dysfunctional financial and government institutions. Kunstler has since become a key commentator on the future, profiled in The New Yorker and invited to speak at TED and other events.

In Too Much Magic, Kunstler evaluates what has changed in the last seven years and shows us that in a post-financial-crisis world, his ideas are more relevant than ever.

“‘Too Much Magic’ is what Kunstler sees in the bright visions of a future world dreamed up by overly optimistic souls who believe technology will solve all our problems. Their visions remind him of the flying cars and robot maids that were the dominant images of the future in the 1950s. Kunstler’s idea of the future is much more sober: he analyzes the various technologies (vertical farms, fracking, corn ethanol) suggested as overnight solutions to the energy crisis and finds none that he thinks will work long-term to cure a society dependent on gas-guzzling cars, in love with an inefficient ideal of suburbia, and unwilling to fundamentally change its high-energy lifestyle. Kunstler also offers concrete ideas as to how we can help ourselves adjust to a society where the oil tap is running dry.

“With vision, clarity of thought, and a pragmatic worldview, Kunstler argues that the time for magical thinking and hoping for miracles is over and that the time to begin preparing for the long emergency has begun.”


7 thoughts on “Kunstler sees the psychology of the Democratic primaries”

  1. Robert Glenn San Socie

    JHK nails it again. The DNC seems Hell Bent on giving the GOP a blowout in 2020. Hard to beat the GOP with PC. You can not fan the flames of change with nice.

  2. Larry, shouldn’t we agree on rather “Psychopathy” of Dem. primaries? What is sane about rehashing a by-gone with mighty skeletons in his closet to quench deranged youngsters??

    BTW, what is going on?
    There were at least two other replies and these vanished.

    1. Jako,

      ” shouldn’t we agree on rather “Psychopathy” of Dem. primaries? ”

      Psychopathy is “s personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited, and egotistical traits.” That hardly describes the Democrats (except in the eyes of the opposing tribe, who see themselves as angels and their foes as demons).”

      “rehashing a by-gone”

      That’s often been said and proven wrong. Such as Churchill.

      “with mighty skeletons in his closet to quench deranged youngsters??”

      I doubt that many care about Biden’s scandals except people who would never vote for him.

      “BTW, what is going on?”

      Nothing remotely as weird as the GOP nominating Trump – and then winning. These things are just business as usual in Weimerica.

      1. All what I meant was just agreeing with the article in pointing out the sorry state of US politics, this time on the subject of the so called Democrats. Their obvious fracture(s) along the political (directional) and generational seams and their (IMHO futile) attempts to mend those differences by bringing a senior (NPI) official from the past.
        While I don’t think Mr. Obama’s presidency was “enlightening,” I would vote for Biden, in 2020, if I were a Yank, as I still regard Mr. Trump’s “win” as due to voting against the alternative.

        BTW, Mr. Biden will be in 2020 about twelve years older than Churchill was in 1940; and his corruption may not discourage die-hard Dem’s, but it is a dangerous weakness to be explored and exploited by the incumbent person.

        Psychopathy = the condition of being a psychopath;
        Psychopath = [psychology] a person who has no feeling for other people, does not think about the future, and does not feel bad about anything they have done in the past (Cambridge).
        And it would be difficult to find a “100%” psycho…

      2. Jako,

        Calling large numbers of people whom you don’t like “psychopaths” assumes that you are pretty super duper. Which I doubt. The leaders of the Republican and Democratic Parties – from county chairpeople to the ones in Washington – are regular folks, like the rest of us. That is, if the average joe and jane was given such power – they would act much the same.

        There are a few who are weird (in any one of a thousand and one ways), just like in any group of people.

        “does not think about the future”

        That’s quite false. People in the lower socio-economic strata tend to live in the now. Not so those on top. I’ve worked with both groups, and know this from personal observation.

  3. Its an amusing and caustic piece – reminds one a bit of the late great Hunter Thompson in full flow.

    76 is too old for a President. Don’t dispute this in the abstract, ask someone who has been there, they will tell you. And if he is 76 now, he will be in his eighties during his term. Its a different country. You can remain fit, you can be alert, you can think clearly. All of those things.

    But you can’t manage under real and continued stress. And for sure not at eighty.

    I guess there have been one or two exceptions. The Prussian general Blucher. The Imperial commander, Tilly. But they were very, very unusual. Golda Meir did pretty well. But women last better.

    Its a very bad bet in times which are not going to get any easier.

    Its very surprising that the Democrats are not turning to Hillary. One had expected her to keep running into her nineties.

    1. Henrik,

      I wonder if many consider Sanders a serious candidate. But then, we elected Trump – so perhaps we’ve lost our collective minds.

      “I guess there have been one or two exceptions.”

      None of those are exceptions, in the sense of running a nation or war at age 83 (as Sanders will be in 2024). The years those people left office:

      • Tilly: 73.
      • Blutcher: 73.
      • Meir: 76.

      “Its very surprising that the Democrats are not turning to Hillary.”

      Her appeal was that of a sure winner, put into office by our ruling elites. Sanders’ insurgency showed that she was a hollow candidate. Trump’s win proved it. Also, she ran one of the least competent presidential campaigns in modern history – perhaps since McGovern. Mostly content-free feel good ads, reflecting her confidence of victory.

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