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World Association of International Studies

Post Biden's Character
Created by John Eipper on 11/25/20 4:10 AM

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Biden's Character (David Duggan, USA, 11/25/20 4:10 am)

In response to Leo Goldberger (November 24th), I never opined as to Joe Biden's "personality." For all I know, he may be a "nice guy," one you'd like to have a beer with, talk about sports and women with, maybe play golf or tennis with.

I purely put out objective facts: liar as to his record (top half of his class when he was 76th of 85), plagiarist of speeches (Neil Kinnock anyone?), denier of women's truth (Tara Reade), and sporter of hair plugs and dental veneers (just look at the man). Consider too Biden's "over the top" petulance: "lying dog faced pony soldier"; "push-up contest."

Since I'm not a psychologist, and don't play one from the comfort of my armchair, I will only say that a man who persistently lies, gets aggravated, issues challenges or dares, and fakes his appearance has "issues." Within the cauldron of the presidency, these "character disorders" (character is a much more descriptive word than personality) will undoubtedly surface repeatedly.

Fortunately there's the 25th Amendment. And unfortunately we've come a long way from an era when character counted.

JE comments:  Did character ever count in presidential politics, or did we just think it did?  Look no further than to the legendary adulterers:  FDR, Ike, JFK, LBJ.  Scratch a bit deeper and you get the "love" children of Harding and Cleveland.  Might I have discovered something with my back-of-the-envelope stab at psychology:  Presidential Personality Disorder?

Biden should prepare for one thing:  given the divided state of the country, he'll be the most scrutinized president in US history.

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  • Biden, Trump, Psychology (Francisco Ramirez, USA 11/26/20 2:14 PM)
    Like David Duggan (November 25th), I also am not a psychologist.

    But the list of objective facts in David's second sentence even better characterizes the outgoing president: persistently lies (from "I wanted to serve but my ankle spurs hurt," to "I really won the popular vote in 2016," to all the Covid-related lies).  Also, Trump gets aggravated (in person and via Twitter), issues challenges or dares (in person and via Twitter),  fakes his appearance (or do you think that is really the color of his hair?), and denies women's truth. (He is being sued by how many women?) Who can out-compete Trump for over-the-top petulance? How else do you explain the post-election sackings? 

    Trump is a man of sound moral character?  You can defend voting for Trump on many grounds. Moral character is not one of them

    David, you are right about plagiarism. You have to have read something of value to plagiarize. Biden has apologized for his plagiarizing. As a matter of principle Trump does not apologize. Why should he? The True Believers of the Golden Calf have mastered the art of pretending that he has nothing to apologize for, while declaring that they believe in forgiveness. 

    Here is an objective fact: We the people have voted, and the Golden Calf will not be in the White House for the next four years. I am not going to offer you Clinton's  "I Feel your Pain," but I suspect your post-election posts are driven by the sort of pain that distorts judgment. 

    JE comments:  To clarify, David Duggan has never praised Trump's moral character.  Yet by his faint damn of Biden...?

    Regardless, today is a day for thankfulness.  We are thankful for our safe journey to Somerville, Massachusetts, and our son Martin's home.  We'll be here for the next four days.  Dinner is now served...

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  • More on Biden's, Trump's Character (Leo Goldberger, USA 11/27/20 6:43 AM)
    My thanks to David Duggan (November 25th) for making the significant distinction between a person's character, an emphasis on his or her moral judgement and behavior, on the one hand, and personality structure, on the other.

    I have to agree with David's assessment of Biden's character.  Yes, it has on occasion been quite flawed, with obvious lies and self-promoting presentations, now and then, especially when provoked, challenged or angry. And, of course, he might also be in damnation via the Catholic belief system in terms of his views on abortion and such.

    Yet I cannot imagine anyone could compare him, in regard to moral character at least, with someone like Trump--no matter their comparative personality profile. Trump is one of a kind! Thank God...

    JE comments:  WAIS has dissected the 2020 elections in countless ways, but Biden's religion has rarely come up.  It's frankly surprising that in a nation that is one-quarter Catholic, Biden is only the second Roman Catholic to make it to the White House--assuming, still, that Biden makes it to the White House.  Compare this with 6 and 1/2 Catholic Supreme Court Justices.  (Gorsuch alternately identifies with Anglicism and Catholicism.)  About as far as we've come are some commentators criticizing Biden for not following Church dogma, in particular on the hot-button abortion issue.

    Might specific church affiliation no longer be an issue in US politics?  Before I hear the outcry, consider this:  how many fervent Trump supporters can name what church he identifies with?

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    • Trump's Church Affiliation (David Duggan, USA 11/29/20 3:59 AM)
      John E recently asked how many of Trump's supporters can identify his church affiliation.

      Trump was raised at Marble Collegiate 29th & 5th Avenue in NYC, re-re-married (to Melania) at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal in Palm Beach, Florida, and I believe self-identifies as a Presbyterian.

      JE comments:  Presumably Trump's Presbyterianism comes from his Scottish mother?  One WAISly "factoid" I never knew until checking Wikipedia five minutes ago:  Mary Anne MacLeod (Trump) was raised in a Gaelic-speaking home, and English was her second language.

      Theology is not my strong suit, but might we draw some parallels between Trump's character and the Presbyterian/Calvinist tenet of predestination?  Can anyone doubt that DT sees himself as a Chosen One?


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  • Joe Biden's Character (Paul Levine, Denmark 11/28/20 3:31 AM)

    I am beginning to believe that David Duggan (November 25th) does not approve of President-elect Joe Biden.

    First David attacked Biden's "casual Roman Catholicism" because he prized the US Constitution over the dictates of Rome on the matter of abortion. (Why anyone should believe that a bunch of geriatric bachelors and budding pedophiles should dictate what women should do with their bodies has always been a mystery to me.)

    Now David attacks Biden's character in succinct terms:

    "I purely put out objective facts: liar as to his record (top half of his class when he was 76th of 85), plagiarist of speeches (Neil Kinnock anyone?), denier of women's truth (Tara Reade), and sporter of hair plugs and dental veneers (just look at the man). Consider too Biden's 'over the top' petulance: 'lying dog-faced pony soldier'; 'push-up contest.'"

    What a list of accusations! Biden is a liar, plagiarist, misogynist, narcissist, and petulant child. When I perused this list quickly I thought David was talking about Donald Trump!

    Consider: "liar" (where do we start?); "plagiarist" (remember Melania plagiarizing Michelle Obama's celebrated speech?); "denier of women's truth" ("Grab them by the pussy"?); "sporter of hair plugs": (Trump's $74,000 annual bill from his hair stylist?), "over the top petulance" (his refusal to concede the election or allow the official presidential transition to take place for nearly three weeks?).

    Is David kidding when he castigates Biden for possessing in smaller style what are some of Trump's worst character flaws?

    Biden may have his limitations. He was not my first choice for the Democratic candidate. But David's cartoon version does neither the subject nor the author much credit.

    Instead I recommend WAIS members read a complex portrait of Biden by the superb Irish journalist Fintan O'Toole in NYRB. It's called "The Designated Mourner." Happy reading.


    JE comments:  In 2016, Trump supporters "defended" their man by going after Hillary.  In 2020 it was Biden's turn.  As an educator, my biggest grievance with Uncle Joe's character is his plagiarism of the Kinnock speech.  (He also got in trouble for "borrowing" while in law school.)  Shouldn't wife Jill's teacher ethics have rubbed off a bit?

    At least, in Google age, plagiarism has become easier to detect.  It's also far easier to actually do.

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