Steve Bannon demonstrates the level of egotism present in the White House. There is nothing wrong with having an ego; we all do to one level or another. But, if one tries to squeeze too many strong egos into a limited space, there has to be some expectation of unpleasant issues arising. Steve Bannon does not have a visual appearance which suggests the psychological weight he carries. He is unkempt to be kind. Actually, he looks like the antithesis of what one might expect to find at the right hand of the President. Hair anything but well-coiffed and often needing a shave. Having body language that suggests he cares not a whit about his appearance.
Bannon apparently has clashed with Jared Kushner, a young man who seems scary-smart and who, we can safely assume, also has a sizeable ego. He is, after all, likely the single most powerful person advising the President of the United States. He is the President’s son-in-law, and he has the fastest-growing list of important responsibilities of anyone short of the President.
Then there is also Reince Priebus who basically ran the campaign that succeeded beyond all expectations and the Vice President who gets high marks for his political finesse and wisdom about things political in Washington, D.C. Altogether, this is quite the gathering of individual egos seeing that there is not uniform agreement by all on many issues that face the President. There are also very powerful people who provided a lot of financing to enable Trump to be elected, each of whom expects the opportunity to make their positions known to the President.
Oh yes, there is also the ego of the President to be taken into account. This man has become very successful in his own right and he has made decisions for many years that have proven correct more often than not. Now he is in the different world of national politics and has a truly worldwide presence given his position and his front-page approach to governing. It cannot have been easy for him to take advice from any but the most trusted from his inner-circle. That would likely be Jared Kushner, his son-in-law.
Given the egos involved, it would probably be exceptional good fortune if there were no head-butting occurring and if there were no damaged egos to be soothed. Washington, D.C. may have more egotists present than any other U.S. city. There are 535 people down the road who each have sufficient ego to light a good size city if ego could be converted to electrical energy.
It is unfortunate, but we have to understand the importance to all these people of their ego and of their ability to salve that ego and keep it unburnished so as to gain votes or notoriety or increase in self-importance.
If we understand the drivers involved, we can better anticipate what we’ll witness from time-to-time. Washington, D.C. is anything but the real world. It is more like a political Disneyland than the capitol of the free world if one gets down to where the rubber meets the road. A look back at the Freedom Caucus shows us what egos can do or undo. A look at the Democrat’s Senate leader also serves to show us what egos are capable of doing or undoing for that matter.
We tend to think of those we send to Washington, D.C. as the people who will be able to overcome political adversity and get ‘stuff’ accomplished for us. I would submit that the bulk of political adversity is ego-driven, ego-centric. The 535 people in Congress generally know what is best for the country, but somehow individual egos too often get in the way. Think about Harry Reid (D-NV) for example. He was a diminutive fellow physically but a giant when his ego took over. He governed his Senate Democrats through the use of his powerful ego and his threats to make certain they’d never get re-elected if they opposed his wants. That was Reid’s ego doing the talking. He could be nice, charming, but chose not to let that get in the way of a good political victory.
I, for example, think that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) might be too nice a gentleman sometimes when the knives come out in D.C. That is the kindest criticism possible since I think of him as a genuinely good guy, a person I’d love to be with socially, and a good businessman and a good conservative.
So about egos. We’re sometimes damned if we show our ego and sometimes damned if we don’t. But to not remain constantly aware of the ego, is to run the risk that it will become either a nasty weapon when we don’t desire that or a purring kitty cat when we needed the other side. Ego is defined as a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.
You and I, ideally, will be able to control that part of ourselves. But we need to be aware of ego if we are to be in control of ego. There are those times when we bow to the ego-driven needs of others, and there may be times when we dominate the process. We might not even know the difference, but others sense that.
Imagine now, the size of the Oval Office and the level of ego-drive that must be present in that relatively small space. That explains, in large part, the intrigue that emerges from that space every once in awhile. The level of ego-driven self-worth in that place is difficult to imagine, let along to work with being ever-present.