Full Moon Madness

The full moon rises and drives men mad, or the other way around as George Carlin once put it – “There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.” He’s a strange man. But strange things do happen on the night of the full moon, and that was Wednesday, February 20, with the bonus of a total lunar eclipse, occurring out here at seven in the evening. The cloud deck that had rolled in off the Pacific parted and the eclipse was impressive. It was also Ansel Adams’ birthday, a photographer who knew a thing or two about the full moon and merits a remembrance. All in all you knew it was going to be a strange evening, closing a strange day.

Two hours before the lunar eclipse there was all that madness on the Keith Olbermann show, Countdown. It was full-moon breaking news, as the video here attests. Countdown was all about that breaking New York Times story – the Times reporting something from way back in 2000 when John McCain was running for president (he does that a lot) – a number of his top advisors now allege that at the time they were convinced he was having a romantic relationship with one Vicki Iseman, a telecom lobbyist, and that they had to “intervene to protect McCain from himself.” It seems to have been a Bill Clinton sort of thing, but successful this time – Vicki was isolated, or contained, unlike Monica.

We find out that everyone in the press corps knew all about the story, but hadn’t run with it. The fellow that broke the story of Bill and Monica, Matt Drudge, had run the item back in December. Everyone knew. But this was the story the Times held until the night of the full moon. Anyone can speculate – both McCain and Iseman both deny it, McCain called the Times and complained, but there must be more to it as the Times is not a scandal sheet and that more will come soon, or the Times initially spiked the story so McCain could win Iowa and New Hampshire (they like the guy), or they ran it now to ruin him now that he’s the sole remaining Republican in the race (they hate him and hate all Republicans), or there are ethics issues with the guy who is running on his ethics, particularly regarding lobbyists and pork-barrel spending, or its nothing and there are no ethics issues, or maybe Mike Huckabee won’t quit the race because he knew this was coming, or Mitt Romney suspended his campaign instead of ending it altogether because he set it all up, or didn’t.

It must be the full moon. The only fun thing reported with the Crooks and Liars video grab of the Countdown show was from Jane Hamsher – No jokes about “lobbyists” and “pork.” Yeah, right. True Conservatives can rail about the Times more now, or bring back Slick Mitt and dump the troublesome old coot McCain – David Letterman had already laid into McCain, saying he looks “like the old guy at the barber shop,” or “a Wal-Mart greeter,” or “the guy who is always early for the ‘Early Bird Special’,” or “the guy at the supermarket who is confused by the automatic doors.” Things were turning sour for the war hero. Beware of the full moon.

Of course on the night of the full moon Hillary Clinton, after losing ten states in a row to Barack Obama by wide margins (by seventeen points in Wisconsin the night before), was in Manhattan raising money. The Reuters headline says it all – Hillary Clinton Ridicules Rival Barack Obama. Her two fundraisers were Upper West Side events, both at the Dakota, Central Park West at 72nd – where John Lennon was shot. She must like to tempt fate on the night of the full moon.

But she’s on a roll here, in spite of the polls. Our friend, the high-powered Wall Street attorney, who didn’t attend as he was busy all day in his office high above the hole in the ground that used to be the World Trade Center, sent a comment on this new attack mode:

So after a day of all Hillary all the time am I to understand her uplifting message to rally the troops goes something like this:


“There is no good in the world. All is evil. If someone tells you otherwise they are lying which is in and of itself evil thus proving my point. Only I know how to deal with evil and anyone who says otherwise is lying and also therefore evil. Since only I know how to deal with evil leave it to me to deal with the evil liars who say there is good in this world.”

That seems to be about it. But then what some of us found really odd is that she even decided to step up her ridicule of the guy she seems to think is an empty suit with the pretty words, or whatever. Earlier in the day she had specifically said he had “a campaign about a campaign” – there was nothing there and Americans should “get serious” about who should be the next president. The quoted words are hers.
So to review – her opponent has more votes, more delegates, broad support within and outside the party that she cannot match, and on the same day got the endorsements of the Teamsters, and her approach is to almost explicitly call all of those people, his supporters, fools and dupes,  The theory seems to be that a cold dose of reality, a slap in the face, like in the movie Airplane, will win them back – they wake up and say, “Thanks, I needed that.” That seems to be the idea. In the movie
that was a joke. She didn’t get it.
That approach seems a tad unwise. When faced with a hostile force, what looks like trouble, taunting them and calling them fools is just asking for trouble – see George Bush and “Bring ’em on!”
It would be wiser to approach this with a strong “this is who I am, what I have done, what I could do” campaign. If people decide that’s what they want, fine. If not, that’s also fine. But to do that you have to have a strong “ego sense” or whatever you wish to call it – all that stuff about accepting who you really are, realistically, and being okay with it. It’s called being an adult, you see.

But then there are all sorts of adults. Rick, the News Guy in Atlanta, put it this way:

Would it be wiser to approach this with a strong “this is who I am, what I have done, what I could do” campaign? “If people decide that’s what they want, fine. If not, that’s also fine.”

She may have figured she tried that already, and it wasn’t working, which of course, she would figure, would not be so fine after all.

In other words, “Screw adulthood, it’s all about realpolitik, 21st century American style.”

Or it could be less Machiavellian and more interesting than that. See The Supervisor, the Champion, and the Promoter (What psychological personality tests reveal about Clinton, Obama, and McCain) from Emily Yoffe – it explains quite a bit. Emily Yoffe is the author of What the Dog Did: Tales From a Formerly Reluctant Dog Owner – but she’s okay with humans.

She’s done this once before – applying the principles of personality assessment, based on the theories of Jung, to candidates George Bush and Al Gore:

Forgive me if it sounds like gloating, but here’s what my research revealed about the personality type of the future 43rd president of the United States: “They are decisive and little bothered by second thoughts and self-doubt.” “Since [they] do not reflect very much on their errors or analyze their mistakes to any great extent, it is difficult for them to learn from their errors, and so they can become caught in a loop, repeating their mistakes.”

Okay, okay – she wins,  It may be time once again to apply the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to the presidential candidates. You can read all about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator here. The four poles of personal style – extravert and introvert and all that – and the sixteen personality types and four overarching categories: Artisans, Guardians, Idealists, and Rationals. She has links to all you need to know. Yes, some think it is all silly but it is used by corporations, the military, and government “to understand different leadership styles and the dynamics of working in groups.” Some of us know it’s used by marriage counselors.

Maybe you know it:

Finding out your personality type requires answering dozens of questions such as, “Do you find visionaries and theorists a) somewhat annoying [or] b) rather fascinating?” and “When finishing a job, do you like to a) tie up all the loose ends [or] b) move on to something else)?”

Yoffe couldn’t use questionnaires, so she went to the public record. She figured that would do.

So it comes down to this – Hillary Clinton is a Guardian (type ESTJ) and what is known as “the Supervisor” – steadfast, cautious, methodical.

Here’s Yoffe:

They are the reliable, detail-oriented people without whom organizations and society fall apart – which is something ESTJs won’t hesitate to point out. “[T]heir first instinct is to take charge and tell others what to do,” says Keirsey. They are “devoted public servants, seeing their role in government … in almost sacred terms of self-sacrifice and service to others.” This service is an obligation, not given “freely and joyously.” As columnist Richard Cohen observed about Hillary, “Whether she meant to or not, she has presented herself as a model of caution, of experience hard-earned and not enjoyed. …”

In this case “self-esteem is greatest when they present themselves as dependable, trustworthy or accountable in shouldering their responsibilities.” Thus Clinton says she’s “ready to be president on Day One.” Then we’re told that half of our presidents, from George Washington to George H. W. Bush, have been Guardians.  See Harry Truman with “the buck stops here” – something Hillary Clinton likes to quote.

But it gets better:

Guardian leaders are not the big thinkers or the bold doers (although they can take bold action if they carefully conclude that’s what the circumstance requires). They have, says Keirsey, “a stabilizing and consolidating effect.” In a New Yorker profile of Hillary, George Packer wrote that her now-infamous remark that it took a president to realize Martin Luther King’s dream reflected Hillary’s belief that “the Presidency is more about pushing difficult legislation through a fractious Congress than it is about transforming society.”

And they like specifics:

Keirsey says they will listen politely to “theoretical or fanciful” conversation – what an ESTJ surely thinks of as a certain other candidate’s gasbaggery – then “shift to more concrete things to talk about, more solid and sensible topics” using their ability to call up at will “an enormous fund of facts.” (Ever heard a Hillary speech?)

And that is why her health-care initiative as first lady went nowhere:

ESTJs like nothing better than digging deep into the specifics of a system and batting out proposals with trusted staff, then presenting the perfect fait accompli to a grateful public. As Kroeger points out, ESTJs can be stunned when the plans fail: “Having packaged the argument so neatly and precisely, how could anyone possibly disagree?” Keirsey says this blindness comes from the concrete-thinking ESTJ’s pronounced weakness at the abstract arts of strategy and diplomacy. Hillary neither foresaw the attacks by competing interests nor had the people skills to win over her opponents.

Actually it’s very masculine, and Yoffe covers that too. But then it gets wild:

The Guardians’ steadfast posture also applies to their marriages. Keirsey writes that they are “extremely loyal to their mates and feel obliged to stand by them in times of trouble and help them straighten up and fly right. As a result, Guardians more easily than any other temperament can be hooked into becoming the rescuer of troubled mates.” (Bill Clinton is an ESFP, what Keirsey calls “the Performer” – “thriving on the excitement of being on-stage.” ESFPs are also “inclined to be impulsive and self-indulgent, which makes them vulnerable to seduction.”)

And there’s more:

Kroeger writes that ESTJs “do not cope well when things don’t go as planned.” They have a “short fuse when anything suggests they are losing control. The ESTJ can become loud, rigid, domineering, and can induce a great deal of stress within anyone nearby.” If Truman was “Give ‘Em Hell Harry,” then the current ESTJ seeking the highest office could end up nicknamed “Go to Hell Hillary.”

Perhaps Barack Obama now knows this.

Of course in this system he’s an Idealist (type ENFP) or “the Champion.”

That’s easy:

ENFPs, says Keirsey, are “filled with conviction that they can easily motivate those around them.” Champions work to “kindle, to rouse, to encourage, even to inspire those close to them with their enthusiasm.” Idealists “usually have a tongue of silver” and are “gifted in seeing the possibilities” of institutions and people. Here’s Obama on leadership: “[W]e need leaders to inspire us. Some are thinking about our constraints, and others are thinking about limitless possibility.”

But there’s a downside:

This ability to move people through imagery and rhetoric carries a danger for the ENFP, says Keirsey- a belief in “word magic.” “Word magic refers to the ancient idea that words have the ability to make things happen – saying makes it so.” This is the basis of the critique of Obama by his less-soaring opponents. Hillary complains that people ask her to “give us one of those great rhetorical flourishes and then, you know, get everybody all whooped up.” (As if she could.) Says John McCain, “To encourage a country with only rhetoric is not a promise of hope. It is a platitude.”

Still, he is a classic catalyst, and classically introverted:

Idealists are deeply introspective. According to Keirsey, their “self-confidence rests on their authenticity,” which makes them “highly aware of themselves as objects of moral scrutiny.” Idealists, such as Thomas Paine, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr., tend to be leaders of movements, not office-holders. If Obama is elected, not only would he be the first black president, but according to Keirsey, he’d be the first Idealist president. (Kroeger speculates that Lincoln may have been an Idealist.) Idealists are rare in any executive position. In a survey Kroeger did of the personality types who make it to top management, less than 1 percent were ENFPs – while almost 30 percent were Hillary’s type, the ESTJ. But the 16 types are not evenly distributed in the population and ENFPs themselves are rare – Keirsey estimates only about 2 percent of people are ENFPs. Kroeger says the ENFP can be an effective boss. “At their best they bring a refreshing alternative style to top management and decision making.”

No wonder he seems so odd to the other politicians.

John McCain is, however, an Artisan (type ESTP), the Promoter:

The ESTP is, according to Keirsey, “practical, optimistic, cynical, and focused on the here and now.” If the ESTP portrait gives you a feeling of déjà vu, it’s because George W. Bush is an ESTP, too. They are a common presidential type: Both Roosevelts, JFK, and LBJ were ESTPs. “Artisans need to be potent, to be felt as a strong presence and they want to affect the course of events,” writes Keirsey. They hunger to “have a piece of the action,” “to make something happen” whether “on the battlefield” or “in the political arena.” So many politicians are Artisans because “politics allows not only for maneuvering, excitement, and risk – but for powerful social impact.”

That fits, as does this:

“Artisans also make everyone else look like amateurs when it comes to improvising survival tactics,” writes Keirsey. Their wily ability to make do in dire circumstances makes them “successful scroungers as prisoners of war.” Newsweek describes how “McCain survived in prison camp by sheer cussedness.”

Artisans “are not threatened by the possibility of failure in themselves or others, so they are likely to take risks and encourage others to do the same.”

Ah, George and his war, and John and his lovely lobbyist – it makes sense now.

And add this:

Grand theories are not for the ESTP. “No high-flown speculation for the Artisan, no deep meaning or introspection. [They] focus on what actually happens in the real world, on what works, on what pays off, and not on whose toes get stepped on.” This is how you get labeled a “maverick” and “Sen. Hothead.” This is why the Wall Street Journal writes, “Mr. McCain’s great political strength has also been his main weakness, which is that his political convictions are more personal than ideological.”

Keirsey says Artisans “are the world’s great risk-takers. They delight in putting themselves in jeopardy, taking chances, facing hazards.”

… When times call for careful planning, or consistent, long-term management, you don’t call on the ESTP. Keirsey writes that they “may be careless about details” or “they can be unprepared at times when preparation is called for, and can spring the unexpected on colleagues.” “They are like firemen who, having nothing to do set fires so that they can put them out.”

You’ve now been warned (see the item for even more detail). It wasn’t just the full moon.


About Alan

The editor is a former systems manager for a large California-based HMO, and a former senior systems manager for Northrop, Hughes-Raytheon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Perot Systems and other such organizations. One position was managing the financial and payroll systems for a large hospital chain. And somewhere in there was a two-year stint in Canada running the systems shop at a General Motors locomotive factory - in London, Ontario. That explains Canadian matters scattered through these pages. Otherwise, think large-scale HR, payroll, financial and manufacturing systems. A résumé is available if you wish. The editor has a graduate degree in Eighteenth-Century British Literature from Duke University where he was a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and taught English and music in upstate New York in the seventies, and then in the early eighties moved to California and left teaching. The editor currently resides in Hollywood California, a block north of the Sunset Strip.
This entry was posted in Hillary Clinton, Keith Olbermann, McCain, Obama, Presidential Hopefuls, Psychology, The Primaries. Bookmark the permalink.

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