Last night Donald Trump successfully read from a teleprompter and performed unexpectedly well at resisting his usual impulsivity. Political pundits waxed enthusiastically that he'd reached a presidential level, that he'd appeared presidential.
Excuse me. But there are plenty of five year olds who can read and who can maintain their impulsivity for seventy minutes.
Trump is such an historically impaired, pathological person (malignant narcissism, impulsivity, weak vocabulary, arrogance, mean, thin-skinned, vindictive, dishonest chronic liar) that the bar for him to do well has been set historically low. Functioning like a well behaved five year old gets him a pass on the newly lowered presidentiality test.
Trump appeared to be on drugs throughout the speech, with blunted affect and a glazed eye look, which may explain his enhanced impulsivity control.
Almost all of what he said was a regurgitation of what he's already said and which Republicans routinely cite in their policy playbook. Yet Trump's supporters are saying, in interviews today, that he did great and said the right things.
Well, he did a lot of lip service to right things. But there were many half truths and more promises that won't be kept. The half truths are particularly dangerous because they have the potential to lull low information (Fox News audience) people, especially his less educated supporters, into a feeling of safety.
I don't blame Trump's supporters. A huge portion of them voted as much against Hillary as for Trump. Now that he's their man, they are going to look for evidence that further reinforces their decision. Reading a teleprompter and staying calm for 70 minutes appears to have been a huge breakthrough.
There's speculation that many Trump supporters voted for him because they wish to be like him. Seeing him achieve the functioning of a five year old is something some of them can do. So they can be presidential too. It feeds into their fantasy.
It is laughable that Van Jones almost wet his pants with excitement that Trump was finally presidential. Appearing presidential is not just about reading a speech with nothing new that totally serves party lines. Appearing presidential is about being a real leader, taking difficult, noble stands based on a high level of integrity. What a concept-- one that's totally outside the realm of possibility in Trump world.
Anyway, it's a good thing that Trump was able to function like a well behaved five year old. We want our president to have success. The trick seemed to be that reading from the teleprompters worked like Adderal or Ritalin on Trump. The thought of adding another drug to Trump's already heady cocktail of medications would be awful. But this is a drug-like influence. Can they built a teleprompter into Trump's Twitter feed system?