I Don’t Understand These Humans

Chris Lee, the Congressman who used his real name to respond to a Craigslist ad, and resigned because of it, was also apparently using his real name when posting an ad on Craigslist for a “passable TS/CD (transexual/cross-dresser)”. Lee, who represented NY-26, and Eric Massa, who represented neighboring NY-29, were both married with children, and apparently used their job as excuse to get their freak on.

If you’re a married guy who needs to fulfill some non-heteronormative needs on the side, is Congress your best career choice? Both of these guys were very successful in their chosen careers, and both could have gotten some kind of consulting gig that required a lot of nights out of town. Instead, they’re hiding out in disgrace, ducking interviews and trying to save their marriages.

And consider the case of Donald Rumsfeld, who spent the last couple of years of his retirement grinding out a doorstop score-settling, self-justifying memoir, and is now appearing on every television show on the planet. ABL posted the most hilarious example of Rummy’s foray into low-rent media, but this guy is shaming himself all over the place. Perhaps the most humiliating is Mrs. Alan Greenspan’s commission of journalism, while the most puzzling is his appearance on the Daily Show.

Rummy doesn’t need the money, he’s got nothing to sell except the same lame lies and evasion that he’s always had, and nobody wants to watch him explain how clean his hands are on WMD, and how Colin Powell deserves all the blame for Curveball. Yet there he is, 78 years old, debasing himself on shitty talk radio and basic cable.

I’ve been watching politicians closely for a long time, but I really am no closer to understanding what makes these people tick. All I know is that it’s something far different from what drives me and the people I know.






58 replies
  1. 1
    cat48 says:

    I haven’t been able to tolerate watching Rummy, Bush, or Cheney interviews. Just change the channel; still too soon!

  2. 2
    Mudge says:

    These are the humans who run the country. I think I’d most like to have a beer (make that wine) with Nancy Pelosi, she might be most like the people I know.

  3. 3
    aimai says:

    If you take shame and self knowledge and, yes, love for other people out of the equation you pretty much get the behavior you’ve described.

    Agreed on Pelosi. I’d like to meet Obama and Pelosi, and probably Harry Reid too. They seem pretty human to me.

    aimai

  4. 4
    Alex S. says:

    The pressures of public life must be enormous. But the lust for power is stronger.

  5. 5
    cathyx says:

    I think it’s really hard for a “normal” person to understand people with some sort of mental affliction. And that’s basically why you can’t figure it out.

    My dad has a similar mental affliction. I always thought he had many personality similarities with George Bush. I grew up with him, could predict his reaction to everything, yet I could never really understand why he thought the way he did. It never made sense to me, in a common sense kind of way.

  6. 6
    General Stuck says:

    Typical wingnut, making a case as the Grim Reaper draws closer, to the ticket takers at the Pearly Gates. It’s a less serious case than say a Nicolae Ceaușescu, trying to bullshit his way out of an imminent firing squad, while his equally evil wife sat crocheting her funeral shroud.

    But it is the same in that you can’t shame the shameless, you can only point out the nature of their crimes, and hope to get better leaders next time.

  7. 7
    El Cid says:

    @cat48: I just couldn’t watch his bullshit self on the Daily Show.

  8. 8
    rikyrah says:

    I knew there had to be more to this guy. I was like, ‘ he’s resigning over THIS?’

    well, it always comes out….

    Karma continues to be undefeated.

  9. 9
    cathyx says:

    @aimai: That first sentence nailed it. Shame, self knowledge, and love for other people is exactly what my father lacked.

  10. 10
    piratedan says:

    I wish that there was some glimmer or nuance of behavior that allowed us to see the chinks in their facade. Some element of self-doubt or openness to the possibility of their own failings. How foreign it is to me to watch those folks go through life and the decisions that they make with without any compromise to any other worldview but their own. I bet they sleep well at night too.

  11. 11

    If you’re a married guy who needs to fulfill some non-heteronormative needs on the side, is Congress your best career choice?

    Extramarital “heteronormative” romps aren’t good for the old political career either.

    But they’re hypocritical assholes. What more do you need to know?

  12. 12
    Mike Kay (Chief of Staff) says:

    I don’t know if Tranny trolling is so bad, I mean Coulter’s not a bad looking tranny.

  13. 13
    Cat Lady says:

    I just assume that they’ve all got daddy or mommy issues, and instead of having enough self awareness to seek therapy, they seek attention. It doesn’t matter what kind of attention they get. They’re all just id, and the GOP is the country’s id.

  14. 14
    Phyllis says:

    They don’t or can’t live authentic lives. Eventually the pressure will either cause one to break free to live that life, or a split with reality.

  15. 15
    SBJules says:

    @aimai:

    I have met Pelosi, well I shook her hand after she talked to our local women’s political committee, and yes, I think she’s smart & normal! I’d like to meet Harry Reid; I’m a lapsed Mormon & I’m somehow proud there is a democratic Mormon in these times. And I’d be as giddy as Bill Russell (I always thought he was so tough) to meet the President.

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    Donald Rumsfeld hasn’t changed. The person that disappointed me was Powell because he did not quit. Powell admits that he used faulty information but he still resigned under pressure from the administration. Powell was willing to stay with the Bush administration.

  17. 17
    El Cid says:

    This bizarre sexual behavior was forced upon these delicate psyches by the liberals’ attack on heterosexual marriage.

  18. 18

    I suspect that the Rumsfeld (and similar memoir peddling) is total inside baseball stuff. It isn’t really about selling his memoir to the public but about using a public memoir as part of a campaign to convince insiders. It’s all about reputation management and score settling among villagers, not about convincing the proles of anything.

  19. 19
    Mike Kay (Chief of Staff) says:

    what is it about politicians from Louisiana: both Vitter and Bob Livingston like to wear wet suits had literally have the shit beaten out of them?

  20. 20
    HRA says:

    The biggest lie they ever spout is “for our children and grandchildren” and yet, when they are outed, have they thought of their own children and grandchildren? I cannot stand hearing or reading that sound bite for I know it is false and preying on the ones who are duped by it and other recent statements more often than not in our country.

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @piratedan:

    I bet they sleep well at night too.

    That bring this song to mind. I would apply the sentiment in it to all the Bush Admin people.

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    I think you have to have a big ego to be a politician these days, and if you lack tremendous self-discipline or something else in your life to ground you to reality, you end up with the type of people you describe in your post.

  23. 23
    Sly says:

    Rummy doesn’t need the money, he’s got nothing to sell except the same lame lies and evasion that he’s always had, and nobody wants to watch him explain how clean his hands are on WMD, and how Colin Powell deserves all the blame for Curveball. Yet there he is, 78 years old, debasing himself on shitty talk radio and basic cable.

    Out, damned spot! Out, I say!

  24. 24
    Superluminar says:

    Well, there are men who think they are men, and women who think they are women, and then there are the men who think they are women, and the women who think they are men. And there are also the men who don’t the faintest fucking idea about how to run a war.

  25. 25
    PIGL says:

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen: these people are not hypocrites. “If they had even believed in the existence of virture, they could have at least have aspired to hypocrisy”.

    They are psychopaths.

  26. 26
    agrippa says:

    Narcissists. That may be a nice way to describe them. They are shameless and maximum selfish. I expect that they think that the problem is caused by other people.

  27. 27
    alwhite says:

    Its all ego, “ITS ALL ABOUT ME DAMMIT!”

    Therein is the nut that not only causes them to think its OK to cheat on their spouses but their inflated opinion of themselves also allows them to think they can rule an empire by force and that there is no way they could be wrong about anything – ever.

  28. 28
    me says:

    I don’t think the Daily Show appearance was puzzling. Lots go people go there to sell books. The Opie and Anthony show, now that’s puzzling.

  29. 29
    Cat Lady says:

    @Superluminar:

    there are also the men who don’t the faintest fucking idea about how to run a war.

    You go to war with the psychopath you have, not the psychopath you want straitjacketed later.

  30. 30
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Crazy people acting crazy.

  31. 31
    Dick Move says:

    Rumsfeld is the worst kind of Authoritarian. Time to pimp Bob Altemeyer’s The Authoritarians some more. It’s a great book, it’s free, and it’s on the internet. Everyone should read it.

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

  32. 32
    Scott says:

    Ya know how we keep saying that Washington and the entire concept of the Village is wired for Republican control?

    Maybe it’s not so much “wired for Republican control” and more “wired for control by sociopaths.” Potayto, potahto, I know — but it says something when the national media is as psychopathic as the politicians…

  33. 33
    ornery curmudgeon says:

    Bah. Oh yes, let’s please suss out the nuances in a war criminal’s mind. Pfft.

    Wanna contact your inner disgust? Pretend he’s Ralph Nader, the man who tried to tell the nation that the Dems were complicit, was proved right, and is hated beyond reason by … wait for it … Progressives!

    Nader gets much more active, vocal and dismissive hatred from ‘teh Left’ than they give Rumsfeld, Bush, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Cheney or any of the cast of characters from the Right. I mark it down to cowardice anymore.

    This kind of empathetic attempt to understand people’s motivations and mindset should be given to those who actually have tried to to help humanity — few as they are — instead of wasting it on the tares.

  34. 34
    bemused says:

    Massive egos. They are always, always right, no matter how many times they flip flop on any single issue and are incapable of admitting mistakes. There is no possibility of them “getting over themselves” when they have no capacity to be shamed.

  35. 35
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Mike Kay (Chief of Staff):

    I don’t know if Tranny trolling is so bad, I mean Coulter’s not a bad looking tranny.

    Although terms like “tranny trolling” or “tranny chaser” are often unavoidable in this context, I still feel you should know that the word “tranny” is roughly equivalent to calling a black man “boy”.

    Transgendered people tend to strongly dislike being called a “tranny”, and you usually see the term used in sexual contexts (Hot Tranny action!!!) that are exploitive and serve to marginalize transgendered people. It would be helpful if you did not use the word.

    Thanks.

  36. 36
    Scott says:

    I dismiss Nader more because he pretends to be progressive while actually being a union-buster whose every move seems to end up benefiting Republicans instead of anyone vaguely to the left…

    Nader worshipers = Ron Paul worshipers

  37. 37
    piratedan says:

    @bemused: I don’t have a problem with folks “flip-flopping” on issues. That generally speaks to the notion that people are processing facts and are changing their minds based on the information at hand. What drives me absolutely around the bend is when they look you in the eye and state that this was their position all along and deny with every fiber of their being that they were wrong, mistaken or ill-informed. we all make mistakes, for some reason these folks have a pathological need to always be right, even when confronted with evidence proving otherwise.

  38. 38

    @PIGL: I disagree. Those dudes would LOVE to be that interesting, but the pay isn’t that good. They are at best, perverts. Their kick is telling people what they can and can’t do and then going out and doing a few of those things.

  39. 39

    @ornery curmudgeon:

    Nader gets much more active, vocal and dismissive hatred from ‘teh Left’ than they give Rumsfeld, Bush, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Cheney or any of the cast of characters from the Right.

    Say goodnight, Gracie.

  40. 40
    Mike in NC says:

    I really am no closer to understanding what makes these people tick. All I know is that it’s something far different from what drives me and the people I know.

    Rummy is merely the latest Bush regime hack to pass the buck for his own misconduct. Now he gets to hang out with Cokie Roberts and George Will at Village cocktail parties, where they’ll hang on his every word, and maybe write some nice things about him.

    Cheney ought to have a book out by the end of the year, too.

  41. 41
  42. 42

    He has nothing left to debase. He’s in “make everyone else look worse than me” mode.

  43. 43
    PeakVT says:

    The old white guys who ask to be in charge are never at fault. Doesn’t everyone know that by now?

  44. 44
    Bob says:

    XXX Congressman Lee.

  45. 45
    JosephP says:

    I just watched the Andrea Mitchell (i.e., “Mrs. Alan Greenspan”) interview with Don Rumsfeld.

    I think she did the best job of any of the Rumsfeld interviews I’ve seen of exposing his bull crap. I especially like her holding his feet to the fire over his mendacity over the definition of “stovepiping,” his pretending not to know top CIA official Tyler Drumheller, his claim not to have read authoritative Iraq books by people like Thomas Ricks, his claim not to have undercut General Shinseki, his role in the disbanding of the Iraqi Army, etc.

    Rumsfeld does have his talking points well rehearsed, but with a bit of preparation it is not hard to expose his revisionism. Mitchell is to be commended for the rare instance of real journalism.

  46. 46
    Tim says:

    Damn,I don’t care how he rolls, Chris Lee is HAWT.

    I wish I knew him and I wish I was a tranny.

    Oh, also, too, and furthermore: I definitely believe that on some level, this guy WANTED to get caught. His Craigslist trolling was just so reckless.

  47. 47
    sukabi says:

    I’ve been watching politicians closely for a long time, but I really am no closer to understanding what makes these people tick.

    They’re level 3 sociopaths that haven’t quite earned their serial killer badges yet… but they’re working on it.

  48. 48
    Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937 says:

    “Both of these guys were very successful in their chosen careers”

    Chris Lee was successful at inheriting a business and then selling it to a large conglomerate for millions. I don’t know how much skill that entailed. He is a Richy Rich lazy rubber stamp Republican legacy ala Bush.

  49. 49
    Nellcote says:

    @JosephP:

    Rumsfeld does have his talking points well rehearsed, but with a bit of preparation it is not hard to expose his revisionism. Mitchell is to be commended for the rare instance of real journalism.

    Rummy etc. have their talking points and they don’t expect to ever be challenged. The frustrating thing about the Mitchell and the village is that they’re capable of being better and yet so seldom are. If Rummy’s such a tough guy he should go on Maddow’s show.

  50. 50
    brewmn says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    The truth is, that almost all of the hate directed towards Nader by liberals is only expressed when some purity troll ambles in and starts with the ” if only we had elected Nader in 2000, we wouldn’t be having all these problems” schtick.

  51. 51
    feebog says:

    Nader gets much more active, vocal and dismissive hatred from ‘teh Left’ than they give Rumsfeld, Bush, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Cheney or any of the cast of characters from the Right.

    And rightfully so IMHO. This is the guy who said that there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush and proceeded to take 3.5% of the vote in Florida in 2000. Had Nader not run, Gore would have cruised to victory in Florida. For those of us who lived through the hell that was the eight years of the Bush admininstration, may I just say Fuck You Ralph Nader.

  52. 52
    JWL says:

    “Chris Lee, the Congressman who used his real name to respond to a Craigslist ad, and resigned because of it, was also apparently using his real name when posting an ad on Craigslist for a “passable TS/CD (transexual/cross-dresser)””.

    Well, that explains his faster-than-a-speeding-bullet resignation.

  53. 53
    Sasha says:

    Like the rich, politicians — they ain’t like your or me.

  54. 54
    DougW says:

    Pelosi, Hillary, Barack & Harry for cocktails. Anytime.

  55. 55
    grumpy realist says:

    Snerk! We all knew that the other skeletons in the closet were going to start falling out as well….

  56. 56
    robuzo says:

    @PIGL:
    More from Vonnegut on this topic:
    “no, we haven’t been invaded and conquered by Martians. We have been conquered by psychopathic personalities who are attractive.” http://www.alternet.org/story/14919/?page=entire

  57. 57
    Goggles Pisano says:

    Rumsfeld wasn’t/isn’t a politician was/is he. I thought he was just an appointee like McNamara. I KNOW that Rumsfeld WAS/IS a lying prick and so much more.

  58. 58
    bob h says:

    All I know is that it’s something far different from what drives me and the people I know.

    It may simply be mental imbalance.

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