Social Influence

You’re Endorsing Who?


You’re endorsing who?

Senator John McCain (R-Az) was the Republican sacrificial lamb in the 2008 presidential race (and who elevated the Quitter to a national platform — Thanks Obama!); he ran against W in 2000 as the cray-cray maverick — where is that guy?; he’s been in the Senate since 1986 — and was embalmed in the late ’90’s, and served in the House from 1983 – 1987. He is a major figure in the Republican Party. One of the establishment. Now encrusted with the drying shit of Republican “policies” and “ideas.”

Sunday 8 May

[Donald Trump] “could be a capable leader… [he will] support the nominee.” John McCain, State of the Union on CNN, Sunday 8 May.

3 March 2016

“[I am concerned] about Mr. Trump’s uninformed and indeed dangerous statements on national security issues.” John McCain, written statement 3 March 2016.

McCain is running for re-election and his campaign has criticized Trump’s statements and opinions about Mexican immigrants and Muslims, torture, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Conflicting Opinions

Obviously John McCain is of two, three, four minds about Trump’s candidacy and just about everything else. Other Republican politicians have been making similar statements. In fact Trump has driven most Republicans to shattering their political personalities so that the Three Faces of Eve looks like a vision of sanity.


The many faces of Trump endorsers, supporters, & backers

The question is, how can McCain integrate his personalities? Or, resolve his conflicting views on Trump’s candidacy?

What’s with this question, Calico? Jeez, the guys a politician, he’s gonna say whatever he thinks will get him elected? All politicians are crass craven soulless opportunists. He’s just doing what he always has: talking out of both sides of his ass.

Given how full the pants of the Republican establishment have become, these shifts in opinions cannot be so easily explained. Given the many lukewarm reluctant endorsements of Trump by various and sundry Republicans, like Ben Carson, Lindsey Graham — who has since switched back to not supporting Trump — Bob Dole, and others. People, as in voters, are paying attention this time. There is more at stake here than mere politics as usual. This election has a sense of consequence and being a tipping point.

There must be more going on inside the minds of these politicians than the usual crass craven political opportunism.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive disa-WHAT-onance? Cognitive dissonance is a theory developed by the social psychologist, Leon Festinger in about 1957. Cognitive dissonance is a slippery concept that can be difficult to wrap your mind around. We have to start with another concept — I KNOW right, damn obfuscating academics! — the principle of cognitive consistency.


Malcom X, no sell out!

The principle of cognitive consistency is the social psychology concept that states that people want their attitudes, beliefs, and behavior must agree. Attitudes, beliefs, and behavior cannot be in conflict. And, when we have any combination of the three are inconsistent, we are very uncomfortable. It’s like being a BernieBro and lusting for Hillary. Can you really be a true Sanders supporter and having intense sexual fantasies about Clinton? It’s bound to cause trouble. It can cause some mass confusion and some fierce mommy-daddy issues to surface.

Cognitive dissonance is the Malcolm X of psychological concepts and principles. It is the need, absolute need, to maintain cognitive consistency by any means necessary including irrational, destructive, and out and out cray-cray behavior.

It is the the discomfort of the dissonance that motivates the gyrations and pee-dancing in order to reduce the discomfort or eliminate it all together. So, consider the options: you work in a dead-end job for a low wages with little appreciation or recognition, i.e. you’re a high school teacher! Now and again — when you’ve bounced a check, staggered out of a bar and leered at a student, or had the electric turned off — you come face-to-face with how your crappy career choices have landed you in the pathetic toilet that is your life. You can’t really change your crappy career choices. You can only gild that shit.

The crappiness of your life is here and it’s now. Eckhart Tolle was full of shit, though. Experiencing the here and now is not enlightenment and the seat of power, it is the seat of misery. So, how do you reconcile the two? You can’t change the past and you can’t really change your job and you can’t change how you’re treated or your wages, so you decide that you are passionate about your job and really really care about launching teenagers into college and adulthood and nurturing all the dreams and hearts and minds of the ungrateful rebellious little fucks.

Yeah, that’s it! You’re passionate and willing to wade through the hip-high sewage filled with crocodiles!

Putting Dissonance on a Diet

You can’t change your past and you can’t change the world, but you can change your memories, attitudes, and beliefs! Yeah! And, there are generally three ways of doing so.

(1) Just change your mind! Typically, people just deny deny deny! Remember you can have conflict between attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. Typically, when a behavior conflicts with a belief, kinda like right good Dr. George Alan Rekers co-founder of the Family Research Council accidentally hired a 12 year-old “travel assistant” to help with his luggage from Of course, Rekers is a flaming homophobe losing no opportunity to rant about “the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse (emphasis added).” Note the tell-tale use of desirability. When you’re all conflicted between gay butt sechs and making all the moneys peddling homophobia, what can you do but deny, deny, deny? You say to yourself and anyone who will listen, that you don’t do the homosexual butt sechs, but you really do because the behavior is too difficult to change and giving up the millions of preaching hate is too much to give up. Better to just deny one of them.

Same same with McCain. No no no no no, he wasn’t saying that Trump hurt his chances of winning re-election! No no no no no. He meant that the election is in turmoil. The environment is turmoilly, in general. Not in Trump specifically. McCain can’t make the secret tape of him saying that Trump makes his race more difficult, but he can pretend like he didn’t ever never said it.

(2) Make stuff up! Typically, you look for something that will justify your belief — confirmation bias. For example, you used to think that transgender people were less than human, but now we have to give them rights and recognize their affliction as natural. So, what do you do when you can’t reconcile your hatred of someone who is different with the demands of the Constitution and American way of life that you profess loudly and frequently so that all can hear and KNOW you are a patriot, you make shit up. Sexually perverted mens will dress up at women so they can beat down the doors of a stall and do all the sexual assaulty things to your wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters… but not to your girlfriends.

What is a Republican politician running for re-election in 2016 to do? Trump is the head of your ticket and majority of your states dumb electorate cast their dumb votes for him, but you think Trump is as dumb as a stump and dangerous like a strong wind blowing across the burning tar sands! What do you say after there is actual tape recordings of you saying Trump is as dumb as a stump but you gotta embrace the guy anyway… make something up — “He’ll make a capable leader.” Just hide your barf bag.

(3) Denigrate! Denigrate! Denigrate! One of the things is stupid! It’s better to do the stupid immoral thing that I’m doing while professing a contradictory belief because the belief is stupider than the thing I’m doing. Kinda like Kim Davis Christian extraordinaire and Constitution lovin’ patriot whore, who hates 10% of humanity because that’s what Jesus did and it says so right there in the Bill o’ Rights! Now, she’s all sincerely holdin’ her religious beliefs and not doing her job as ordered by the Supreme Court of the United Fucking States of Fucking Stupid and ordained in the Constitution because that part of it is stupid and her part of it is smart!

John McCain though has a real problem on his hands. Can he really denigrate Trump? Sure, it’s easy! But, can he really? Or can he really denigrate he chances of winning the election? I didn’t think I’d win anyway! Ann Kirkpatrick is a way better smarter more maverickier politician than me and way better for Arizonans, too. Which path does he choose? They both look so good.

Your Drunk Uncle at Thanksgiving Dinner


My favorite drunk uncle, Red Skelton

What can old Leon Festinger the obfuscating academic social psychologist tell us about your drunk uncle at Thanksgiving dinner? He can tell him that no matter how good your uncle gets at do the cognitive dissonance three-step, it may not be enough to keep the heebedie geebedies of conscious away for ever. It seems that this weird trick to keep your heart free of dissonance doesn’t always last for ever, especially if all your doing is denying, lying, and denigrating. And now, you know why your drunk uncle is drunk at Thanksgiving. The drink can drown the dissonance when all the denying, lying, and denigrating won’t.

And, what does Festinger say to John McCain, you may just be putting off until tomorrow what should’ve been done yesterday! These conflicts can come back. and just like endorsing Trump, they may bite you in the ass!

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