I don’t think we need to review the crises that the country faces. We all know that the climate change is upon us, death in the form of #COVID19 stalks our land, and our democracy is being dismantled disenfranchised voter by disenfranchised voter.
I don’t think we need to review the legislation that is pending before Congress that would go along way to addressing and mitigating these apocalyptic trio.
I don’t think we need to review the reasons that this effective legislation is stalled and not being passed in spite of Democratic control of the House, Senate, and White House. We all know that it is because the Republican senators will filibuster any and all legislation up to and including raising the debt ceiling. We all know that the Democrats cannot modify or outright end the filibuster without the votes of all fifty Democratic senators and Senators Joe Manchin (D – Your Favorite Drunk Uncle’s Favorite Democratic Senator) and Kyrsten Sinema (D – Your Favorite Drunk Uncle’s Favorite Girl-on-Girl Senate Fantasy) refuse to budge on the filibuster.
The only thing in question is why. Why won’t these folks reform the filibuster? The cost of NOT reforming the filibuster are entirely dire: The US will default on its debt. It will be an unmitigable disaster. #COVID19 will continue to ravish MAGA Nation and overwhelm our hospitals and morgues with their sick, dying, and dead in spite of a perfectly serviceable vaccine being available. Extreme weather will continue to burn the Western states like some methed-out rampaging John Mayer on an extended come-back concert tour, hurricanes will continue to march across the South like a drunken Sherman leaving the wreckage of housing and people sweltering in electricity-less hovels. And, the GQP will have a clear path to enact their single-party pseudo-democratic minority-rule autocracy transferring all of the nation’s wealth to the 1% as quickly as possible. Those are the only risks of keeping the filibuster.
Even though it is painfully obvious that these are the outcomes, both Manchin and Sinema persist in their resistance to reforming it. The glib reason for their resistance is that they’ve been bought and paid for by the fossil fuels lobbyists, the Koch Bros, and other purveyors of dark money. The superficial answer is that they have to win re-election in a deep red state and very purple one as if the fate of the universe depended on their continuing to warm a Senate seat with their pale hairless fat asses. Just ask Doug Jones and Claire McCaskill about making touch choices while serving in the Senate.
But, it has to be more than just that because when given the choice between the end of the country and the very world as we know it and your reelection, no human being with real live human feelings would respond with, “Meh, where’s that oil lobbyist and his checkbook gotten away to?” The answer has to be deeper and more personal than that. It has to be buried deep in their personalities. It has to be because the are squarely located in the dark tetrad cluster of personality traits. And, this moment gives us a golden opportunity to see these traits in action.
The Dark Personality Trait Clusters
If you are just joining us for our adventures in the dark side , I urge you to consult the linked posts. Because TL;DR, I’ll give a brief primer reusing information from posts pasts — hey, reusing stuff, it’s good for the environment, right?
The Dark Tetrad
The dark tetrad of personality traits consists of these four qualities:
- PSYCHOPATHY is characterized by a callous disregard for the well-being of others, an inability to feel empathy or guilt.
- MACHIAVELLIANISM is the willingness to use deception and manipulation to achieve your goals without regard to the harms they may cause on others. These people frequently use ends justify the means type reasoning.
- NARCISSISM is the overwhelming concern for one’s own self, needs, and well-being without acknowledging the needs of others or understanding that they exist.
- SADISM is the enjoyment of pain in others this can be physical or psychological pain, it can large amounts of pain or minor discomforts that people feel.
Some people claim to be confused by Manchin’s behavior. They see him wringing his hands and clutching his pearls all summer and fretting about the filibuster, the expense of it all, and the concern, very real concern, for all of the issues that Biden and the Dems are trying to address through legislation. They see him negotiating — NEGOTIATING, I tell you — compromise deals that will get ten Republican bills. And, he actually got a skinny infrastructure bill passed with the assurance that the big infrastructure bill that would address climate change and lift people out of poverty would be passed through reconciliation with fifty Democratic votes in the Senate. Ahem, he’s one of them votes. Now that the votes are being taken, he’s crying that it costs too much nevermind that we’ve spent trillions on Afghanistan and gave trillions to the 1%, so obviously, we’ve got a few spare trillion just stinking up the joint.
Who does that? Supposedly, these people work together. Know each other. Have to trust each other. A dark tetrad mo’fo’ does that. That’s who. That’s someone completely unconstrained by a human conscious and feels completely justified in lying cheating and stealing to get what he wants and needs.
Narcissism: Clearly, he loves him all the light that the limes can spare. He’ll grab him a whole fist full or two of them limes and carry them as long as he can. He likes being the linchpin in the Democrat’s legislative plan, and what is more, he loves to be the impediment because he is impo’tent! He’s an impo’tent man, by god, and we are all going to acknowledge it to him.
Machiavellianism: Given that he has been publicly outed by a lobbyist for Exxon as being the gum that the corporation stepped on, he clearly is being duplicitous about his opposition to the larger infrastructure bill. He opposes it because Exxon opposes it. It is as simple as that. But, he can’t come right out and say that, now can he?
The Machiavellian then invents a “reason” to prevent the things he opposes from being achieved. While it isn’t a sudden attack of senatorial institutionalism that we’re seeing here, it is the reason he has always supported the filibuster. He’s always needed it as cover to ensure that Exxon and the other dark money interests he really represents are met. Now, it is the last card in the hand that he’s been dealt.
Pscyhopathy: Voting rights and our democracy can be sacrificed right along with the climate and the habitability of the earth in order for him to make mo’ money. How can you watch the West burn in wildfires, be parched by drought, the South be pummeled by hurricanes, and the Midwest and Northeast drowned in flooding without wanting to do something about it? How can you watch millions be evicted from their homes, struggle to earn enough to live, care for their children, and contribute to society, and suffer and die from preventable infections? How can you watch a 250 year experiment in democracy be flushed down the toilet and the forces of white supremacy be unleashed upon the country without feeling some sense of guilt, remorse, or shame?
You’d have to be one flint-hearted mo’fo’ to stand by and say, “Nope, nothing to be done for any of it. I guess, we’ll just have to suffer, and by we, I mean you, because Exxon, the Koch Bros, and dark money have provided me with the wealth I need to live out my life in supreme creature comfort no matter what is happening in the world.”
He’s a dark fucking personality who is willing to screw the lot of us in order to line his pockets with dark money. This is the explanation of why Joe Manchin opposes the filibuster and the larger infrastructure bill. Everything else that dribbles and leaks from his orifices is just so much flimsy window dressing and distraction.
Senator Sinema is also squarely in the cluster of dark tetrad personality traits. While Manchin is clearly motivated by feeding at the trough of sweet sweet dark money lucre, Sinema may be motivated by something far more idiotic than greed: attention-seeking and contrarianism.
We all saw her bounce down to the front of the Senate chamber in whatever girlish get up she was wearing and do her hippy-hip swish to give a cutesy-pie thumbs down to scuttle the $15.00 minimum wage provision of the #COVID19 relief bill. If that wasn’t attention seeking behavior, I don’t know what else is.
It’s all well and good that she co-sponsored voting rights legislation, negotiated the infrastructure bill over the summer and, just like Manchin, turned around and opposed the reconciliation bill.
So, what gives. How can she put in so much hard work to achieve these legislative goals and still oppose the one thing that will ensure that they get enacted? Could it be that she’s just using the filibuster to mask her true goals? How the fuck do I know. She doesn’t comment on Ye Olde Blogge or inhabit my DM’s, but it does give us something to work with in terms of the dark tetrad because to leave the filibuster in place condemns us to continue suffering from and being greatly diminished by the trio of crises that beset us.
Narcissism: It is pretty clear that she is a narcissist because attention seeking. In fact, I think her whole senate run was just to build her brand. Her positions are all over the map. First she supports voting rights and infrastructure, then she opposes it. Seems like she’s maximizing her time in the news. Seems like opposing the status quo is just away of getting attention.
Psychopathy: The utter lack of guilt, remorse, or shame at sacrificing the health and well being of the American people and our democracy is pretty clear. If she actually cared, she would’ve ended the filibuster so the voting rights legislation that she so proudly co-sponsored in the Senate could’ve passed. Anyone who had any sense of guilt, shame, or humility could not co-sponsor a bill, negotiate a deal, and then keep the very thing that is blocking their passage in place.
Machiavellianism: Nothing shouts Machiavellian louder than bad-faith negotiations. To have assured the progressive caucus that the skinny infrastructure bill and reconciliation bill would both be passed only to oppose it is so Lucy-Charlie-Brown-football.
So, that’s it. That’s what the dark tetrad personality looks like. It sorta looks okay and seems okay, but there’s always something a little off. Then when you scratch the surface, you realize that the surface is completely contradicted by what is underneath… and what’s underneath is the real stuff. The surface is just the lie to achieve their real goals. We’re being taken for a ride with these two. We’ll see if we can actually get anything worthwhile out of them before the ’22 elections, but I’m not betting on it.
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