May 27, 2006

Our Tone Deaf Narcissistic Congress Critters

First, let me pay respect to all of the Psychbloggers who have done so much work on the nature of narcissism. Especially Dr. Pat Santy at Dr. Sanity, Shrinkwrapped, Sigmund Carl and Alfred, Neo-Neocon (on Kerry) and many others.

Narcissism is what we say when we are talking about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Note that you cannot (and here I am not) applying a diagnosis to the members of congress. However, there are traits of narcissism and that is what I am discussing. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is agonizingly dificult to treat, it is a persistent pattern of behaving starting in at least early adulthood. The Diagnost And Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association's criteria for someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder is as follows:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance
2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a sense of entitlement
6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends
7. Lacks empathy
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him
9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes
The recent kerfuffle over the FBI using a warrant to enter the Congressional Office of William Jefferson, (D-La.). Denny Hastert, Speaker of the House and Nancy Pelosi House Minority Leader have strongly condemned the "invasion" stating that it was an ursupation of power by the executive branch.

Of course, just because this has never been done before (using a warrant to enter and search the offices of a member of congress) doesn't mean that it is illegal. In fact, if you will recall, the Contract With America contained the principle that

On the first day of the 104th Congress, the new Republican majority will immediately pass the following major reforms, aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the American people in their government:

FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress..." Emphasis Added

So, how does the narcissim fit in. Well, let us look at each of the criteria and discuss them as and if they apply.
1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance: This certainly seems to fit. Congress Critters of both parties seem to believe that they are due more than what the people who elect them think they are due. They are exempt from so very many laws, they can grant themselves pay raises when they want, they don't pay any attention to what is right for the country as a whole... need I go on? Just look at what the Congressional Leadership has blown a fuse over on the search warrant issue.

2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, orideal love: This absolutely fits if you look at the POWER they think they have not subject to what the rest of us lowly citizens call check and balances. And, given the number of ordinary folk who are elected and later retire as multi-millionaires one would even think that they have (fulfilled) fantasies of unlimited success.

3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions): Not sure about this one, let me think on it for a nano-second... Oh, yes, how about not having to pay attention to the outcry about earmarks or budgeting or search warrants or any damn thing else?

4. Requires excessive admiration: Seems to fit

5. Has a sense of entitlement: When the citizens critized the addition of a payraise to the already inflated salary (when you include congressional perks) the members of congress (with a few exceptions) settled back and said "Kiss My ... " and left it in anyway. If that is not a sense of entitlement I don't know what is.

6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends: I need only say Abramoff, Jefferson, Cunningham, Sherwood, Delay, Ney, Mollohan, Foley and many, many others.

7. Lacks empathy: As in our Congress Critters really don't care what happens to us as long as they get to spend our money and say "tough" when we complain.

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him: No comment.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes: Ha, is this one on target or what. Congress-Critters are utterly contemptus in their attitudes and behavior in the frequency that they pass laws to insure their re-election (McCain-Feingold anyone?) ignore expressed desire of their constituents regarding spending (Porkbusters has the lowdown) and perhaps most exemplified by the Good (tongue in cheek there) Senator Trent Lott's comment about getting sick and tired of porkbusters objections to his train to nowwhere attempt to earmark $700,000,000.00.

Having said the above, let's look at the specifics of Narcissistic attitudes/behaviors. Dr. Sanity states (in her well explained series on Narcissism):

Much of the evil that humans do to each other comes as a result of Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Idealism. In the former case, we hear about or know individuals who manipulate, control, subjugate, hurt or kill others and they are able to do this because they do not consider other people as human or separate from their own Self; or because they are so enraged they are not capable of empathy.

We see stories of this happening all the time on the news, frequently exclaiming, "How could someone do that?" The ex-boyfriend who cannot accept that the woman has dared to withdraw her love and so must kill her (and often himself); the serial killer who does not experience others as really human. The pedophile who abuses then murders his child victim. Every petty criminal who believes implicitly that his feelings and desires are paramount and justify his behavior.

The second type of evil is more subtle, and it comes from the the opposite side of the Self. This side also does not see other people as individuals either; and instead sees them only as fodder for the expression of an IDEAL or as pawns for an Omnipotent Object (e.g., a dictator). People with this Idealizing Narcissistic defect (and by the way, such people are also capable of Narcissistic Rage when thwarted) completely reject the needs of the individual and enslave him or her to their IDEAL. Eventually, the enslavement--whether religious or secular--snuffs out human ambition, confidence, energy and self-esteem. These "do-gooders" cause considerable human misery and their ideologies can lead to genocidal practices and unbelievable atrocities on a grand scale, all in the name of the IDEAL or GOD."

As the narcissistic tendencies of being elected to congress advance, the belief that congress can do good by passing any law they want, tends to enslave the public in a total package of "we know better than you do." If you doubt that, take a look at the IRS. Surely we need to pay taxes, but the complicated tax laws are primarily there to feed special interests via deductions and to insure that sufficient monies are available to pay for the pork which in turn gets the Congress-Critter re-elected. Other examples are rampant, take a look at the retirement package for congress. Serve as little as 6 years and get 14K per year Thirty years gets you something like 114K per year. Plus Social Security, Plus 401Ks etc. as Graef Crystal says: "Those who can take care of themselves -- do..."

I'm very tired of the Tone Deafness of Congress. They need to pay attention and to do that, I suggest they get the following:

UPDATE: From Day By Day cartoon by Chris Muir... Great Minds Think Alike... this cartoon was published the same day as this post, and NO, I didn't see Chris' Cartoon first!

UPDATE # 2: Law Professor Robert F. Turner has the low-down on whether or not the "invasion" was legal:

The "Speech or Debate" clause is contained in Article I, Section 6, which provides that members of Congress "shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place." The provision was designed to protect legislators from civil law suits and unwarranted harassment by the executive branch, such as charges of defamation stemming from criticisms of the president during congressional debate. [emphasis added]
I would have thought that our Tone Deaf Congress-Critters would understand the law they are claiming was violated (the Constitutional seperation of powers clause). Clearly, accepting $100,000.00 in bribes is a "Felony." What is it about this they don't understand? Turner goes on:
It is increasingly rare to find a spirit of bipartisanship in Congress these days. So a display of the spirit would have been a good thing to see--especially in a time of war--but for the fact that the issue now uniting Republican and Democratic leaders is an outrageous assertion that members of Congress are above the law, and that the Constitution immunizes legislators who betray their public trust in return for bribes from investigation by the executive branch.
In light of the attitudes held by so many of our legislators, it is no wonder three times as many Americans disapprove of Congress's job-performance as approve, according to a recent Gallup Poll. Those are Congress's lowest numbers since the Democrats were last in power a dozen years ago.

According to Gallup, 83% of Americans view congressional corruption as a serious problem. There is an election coming up in five months, and legislators who wish to survive it might wish to step back and permit the FBI to do its job."

SOUNDS right to me, and even if, with my hearing loss, I'm tone deaf, I'm not TONE DEAF like these Congress-Critters are.

Posted by GM Roper at May 27, 2006 12:12 PM | TrackBack

Say there young fella',in the previous post you had the "FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress..." Emphasis Added" for the ethics(?) proposed by the sainted Newt. who didn't press the issue after he got the majority So I'm also still waiting for that to happen. Actually I am in actual agreement with you on this post. You only left out, and maybe it wasn't germaine, that they, the congress of this United States are now to draw their retirement solely from Social Security. Man! that'll be the day.
How interesting! I do believe that you are seeing that the republican pols have warts also.

Posted by James Melbert at May 27, 2006 03:09 PM

As the narcissistic tendencies of being elected to congress advance, the belief that congress can do good by passing any law they want, tends to enslave the public in a total package of "we know better than you do."

Exactly. Congress has been treating the American citiznes as their personal serfs. The Cynthia McKinney epsisode - narcissism. John McCain insulting the American worker, dissing freedom of speech, supporting amnesty - narcissism. On and on.

Narcissism especially explains McCain's actions. I've read comments where people say, "How could McCain do that? He's a war heroe. He survived POW camp. Perhaps these feed his narcissism. "I'm a war hero, I survived a Vietnamese POW camp. I don't have to listen to these people. I'm better than them."

Narcissism seems to be at epidemic proportions right now.

Posted by DADvocate at May 27, 2006 06:46 PM

Jimmy, that is the difference between us. I have always seen the warts as you would know if you read all my posts on the stupidity of congress, pork busters, open letters to trent lott and congress. You on the other hand have yet to call all out all the multitude of malignancies in the Democratic party. This includes their rank hypocracy regarding the war in Iraq, taxes and the "welfare" state.

Posted by GM at May 27, 2006 08:14 PM

On a specific issue, I think maybe I will stop using my freezer as a bank. Hmmm. Do freezers give interest? Hmmm. No. Why, EXACTLY, would anyone stash $90,000 in a freezer?

Whoops, another issue. Watch the Lefties scream that liberties are being seized by Bush & Co. Right. I predict that Bush and his wife are really looking forward to their ranch in Crawford, TX...and not becoming President for Life a la Castro and others of that ilk. If what I predict is true, why (EXACTLY [again]) does anyone have a problem with a legally gained search warrant being carried out?

Back to the swag. Maybe the Congressman hasn't heard of mutual funds....ya' think? Ha.

Posted by tad at May 28, 2006 09:24 AM

Why, EXACTLY, would anyone stash $90,000 in a freezer?

Maybe he's really, REALLY fond of 'cold, hard cash'? *grin*

Posted by Jennifer at May 28, 2006 08:40 PM

The Congress members who are sceeching about seperation of powers, and Administration power abuse, forgot to mention that the warrant is signed by a judge of the Judicial branch.
Odd, is it not? :^)

Posted by Ben USN (Ret) at May 29, 2006 12:30 AM

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