Service of Bullying on and off the Political Stage

September 15th, 2016

Categories: Bully, Politicians, Politics, School

While the drastic impact and deadly repercussions of children bullying children is sadly so often in the news–a story in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal advised what to do if your child is a target–bullies of all shapes, sizes and ages have always existed.

My father didn’t speak much about his military service or later war experiences but one of the few stories he shared was about a bully in his basic training squadron. The fellow lost his terrorist status the morning the troops were lined up to receive an injection. He fainted when it was his turn. Amen.

Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor, professor and author knows something about being bullied. In a September 9 Facebook posting he wrote: “Because I’m very short, I was always bullied as a kid. I discovered that the best defense against bullies was to taunt them into revealing the weaknesses and insecurities that had made them into bullies.”

He continued, “After watching him for the past year, I’d guess [Donald] Trump’s weakness and insecurities have to do with his not feeling very intelligent, not feeling respected in the circles in which he craves respect, and not feeling he’s the man his father wanted him to be.”

Reich admits to the guess—his degrees and experience are not in the area of psychiatry. However with on-the-job training as a target he goes on to suggest a way to deflate the presidential candidate who flummoxes even the most high profile, experienced news people to silence when confronted with his bombast. Reich wrote: “Trump isn’t basing his candidacy on policies or facts, which the media are trained to probe. Trump is selling alpha-male strength and power. It’s a hoax, of course. Trump is just a garden-variety bully. But the media aren’t trained to expose this kind of hoax. In fact, the more Trump can bulldoze and belittle his interviewers, as well as Hillary Clinton, the more he appears to show strength and power.”

The solution? Reich suggested: “So questions from the media (and comments from Hillary) that provoke him in these areas will, I believe, cause him to expose the sham of his alpha-male strength and power.”

I’m not sure where Reich came up with his guess about Trump’s relationship with his father but the other two insecurities seem to fit. Do you agree? Have you known/worked with/been to school or lived with bullies? How have you dealt with them?

Tags: , ,

8 Responses to “Service of Bullying on and off the Political Stage”

  1. David Reich Said:

    You know how I feel about Trump. I have disliked the guy since way before he was a candidate, just because of his bullying.

    I can’t analyze him, nor do I care to, but Reich’s assessment seems right on. It’s very sad that Trump’s big mouth and lack of class seems to have enabled other wannabe bullies to spout their venom and hatred, which I’m sure come from their own insecurities.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Have you noticed low-life types in midtown Manhattan carrying hateful homemade signs? In the past few weeks I have seen this as well as people wearing Tee shirts with nasty slogans. In opening cans of hateful rhetoric he has validated other bullies to flaunt their dark sides.

  3. Martha Takayama Said:

    Reich is brilliant and his analysis of the most ludicrous bully of our era seems very sharp. We can’t know for sure what motivates Trump.

    He definitely exudes maximum insecurity and bottomless wells of ignorance constantly. He is incapable of processing even the most simple of questions. When pressed to focus on awareness about anything he speaks in barely comprehensible phrases normally totally unrelated to what has been asked.
    With regard to ignorance, it appears that he is unaware of anything anywhere that is not related to himself and his clan. When he lashes out with his meaningless iterations he repeats his phrases two, three or even more times in a sort of incantation as if to make them more real or to divert his listeners. I don’t have any respect for his father and have no interest in what the father son relationship might mean for him. Is he not reprehensible enough to reflect his fathers values?
    My personal experience with bullies is more limited than Robert Reich’ s. I do remember, however, that the disproportionately threatening boy in my seventh grade class also fainted dead away after receiving his flu shot! I was very tall and thin (skinny) for my age and occasionally subject to gentle mocking. I remembered the two “tough boys” who tugged at my school scarf while I was waiting alone for a ride. However, I am horrified at what we hear today about young people and adolescents as well as adults bullying. Social media have provided new sources for bullying and no recourse for denial or making amends..

    Tact, manners and realistic exchanges of ideas seem in short supply Trump’s behavior seems to go beyond self-promotion into the realm of the disturbed. It is important to notice that he has all the posturing, declaiming and remarkable inability to not lie that have characterized our most notorious 20th century dictators.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    As has been often pointed out, Trump is a superlative marketer and salesman. Our citizens are not educated to think as much as to react to advertising and promotion. Give them a chant like, “We need a successful businessman to turn this country around,” and that’s what people believe. Forget about how he became successful–people are stepping up to declare they weren’t paid for their work or that they paid plenty for an education at Trump University and learned nothing–or if he really is. Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t think so.

  5. hb Said:

    Homer in the “Iliad,” using Odysseus, the canny one, and Nestor, the wise one, as his principal voices, goes to considerable lengths to explore why the historical figures about whom he is writing behaved as they did.

    Sinclair Lewis, in his weak, panicked and even mildly hysterical 1935 novel, “It Can’t Happen Here,” warns his readers that a Hitler could rise to power in America and shows how.

    I have much respect for Secretary Reich, although our politics are quite different, but the issue now is not “How?,” but what do we do about it.

    Trump has touched a nerve. White men who want no part of a society, culturally, politically and intellectually dominated by a coalition of women and those of non-European cultural origin, are attracted to him — flame to moth. His despicability as a bully, or whatever else you, accurately, care to call him, falls aside.

    Hillary Clinton has shown herself to be haplessly flawed as a potentially competent and trustworthy leader. The only third party candidate worth mentioning is a self-confessed drug addict and there is nothing in the Constitution that even hints at what should be done if “the people” freely chose to elect Trump to be their next president.

    I think the answer is obvious. Clinton should withdraw and the Democrat party, as they did in Senator Eagleton’s case in 1972, should replace her with either Kane or Sanders, either of whom is capable of doing an honest job of trying to run the country.

    The alternatives to this solution are unthinkable.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Robert Reich does suggest a solution to burst the bully’s bubble: “Questions from the media (and comments from Hillary) that provoke him in these areas** will, I believe, cause him to expose the sham of his alpha-male strength and power.” **”weakness and insecurities have to do with his not feeling very intelligent, not feeling respected in the circles in which he craves respect, and not feeling he’s the man his father wanted him to be.”

    But you are right to note that his solution, which might save a few media in their interviews and even Hillary in the Clinton/Trump debates, won’t make a whit of difference to his fans because they are supporting him for reasons that have zero to do with a US President’s job.

    Here’s hoping that “the people” come to their senses and fast.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    Bullies have been around for centuries. Trump is not unique, but what causes him to stand out is his perfection of the “art.” It’s that ability to scare that may well launch him into the presidency. Over and above that he appears to be a grade A salesman and con artist. He’s tricked millions out of banks, customers, suppliers et alii, and victims appear to come back for more.

    Remedy? None, unless the media deigns to give equal attention to the opponents. That’s not about to happen — they’re having way too much fun.

  8. jmbyington Said:


    Your prediction gives nightmares.

    I wonder if the media is having fun. They look like fools when he plays them and they are too smart not to know it. Supposedly Matt Lauer’s boss was whispering in his ear and he didn’t want his questions to slam Hillary and gloss over Trump. Who knows the truth. I think the publishers and network owners are behind their covering most of what normally producers and editors wouldn’t give house space to much less air time.

Leave a Reply