Paul and Mitch Faustus and their Excellent Bargain

Yesterday David Brooks put it well: the Reagan-loving Republicans in Congress have made a Faustian bargain with Donald Trump, who is no Ronald Reagan, in hopes that he will sign their pet legislation—and that the chaos that always surrounds him will somehow be manageable. (See discussion about 6:30 into the video.)

Aardvark thinks the bargain indeed had a faustian quality, but that it will prove to be far worse than that for Paul and Mitch Faustus. In the story, Faust at least got to seduce the fair Gretchen, and to enjoy some of the wealth that the Devil had promised. But I don’t think that, in the end, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are going to get very much of what they want. But they will still go to hell, anyway, having made a worse than Faustian bargain.

They have forgotten that he who sups with the devil must have a long spoon. And—as I’m sure he would be the first to point out—no one has a longer spoon than Donald Trump.

David and Mark also debated (see video beginning about 5:15) whether Trump’s incessant fabrications arise out of Orwellian manipulation of the truth or are, instead, the fevered product of a man with a five year old mind. David opted for the five year old theory.

This is, of course, a subject on which I have had much to say, by way of crackerbarrel psychology. David did not share his reasoning, but I suspect it’s much the same as mine: most of the time, the lying isn’t done in a clever enough way to reflect some underlying Orwellian manipulation. Most of the time, it’s like the lying done by a five year old who has just eaten the blueberry pie and still has berries all over his face. But I am afraid that ingrained delusional thinking rather than mere arrested development may be the more accurate description.

That said, we know he can be devilishly clever some of the time.