Original Link: http://oxdown.firedoglake.com/diary/4562
It might seem a stretch to connect Dick Cheney and his gracious behavior towards other Senate colleagues and John Boehner, but believe it or not, these two guys are, in many ways, cast from the same mold:
As he [Boehner] launched into his regular refrain about the Democrats' budget. . . he stopped himself — trying to hold back laughter during his own opening comments.
He quickly singled out a young print reporter, telling him, "You really do need to do something with that hair of yours." As reporters laughed, he joked, "I couldn't wait any longer. . . .
When Boehner called on the next reporter, he referred to him as "the bald guy."
But Boehner didn't confine his critique to male members of the Capitol press corps. When a female reporter, wearing her long hair pulled back, prefaced her question by joking that she hoped her hair was ok, Boehner couldn't resist: "You mean what's wadded up in the back of your head?"
In terms of behavioral analysis, Robert Sutton, author of “The No Asshole Rule” would say that what is going on here is "certifiable asshole" behavior. He’d classify Dick Cheney’s bullying, cursing out colleagues, and power plays in the same category.
Sutton says that Assholes commonly show behaviors toward people who are weaker than they are, less powerful than they are, and smaller than they are. Common ones he outlines are:
1. Personal Insults
2. Invading one’s ‘personal territory”
3. Uninvited physical contact
4. Threats and intimidation, both verbal and nonverbal
5. “Sarcastic jokes” and “teasing” used as insult delivery systems
6. Withering email flames
7. Status slaps intended to humiliate their victims
8. Public shaming or “status degradation” rituals
9. Rude interruptions
10. Two-faced attacks
11. Dirty looks
12. Treating people as if they are invisible
All of these behaviors are designed to make the victim feel humiliated and lose self-esteem. Boehner’s behavior with the reporters falls under points 1, 5, 8, and 9. He’s getting his public humiliation money’s worth here.
Cheney’s infamous and coarse attack on Sen. Leahy—after an conversation they were having became an argument about Cheney's ties to Halliburton and President Bush's judicial nominees—same thing. But Dick's pricks in this case only operate on levels 4 and 8, so Boehner is getting more "asshole points" here.
Of course, the most profound exponent of “Certifiable Asshole” behaviors has to be George W. Bush, who insulted, publicly humiliated, and manipulated even people like Karl Rove, who figuratively sat as his feet. His using people only to betray and abandon them (the “being thrown under the bus” effect – Scooter Libby has the tire tracks to prove this one) and public and private behaviors ran (and still run, one would assume) the full gamut from 1-12 – Bush is the consummate asshole.
Sutton’s point—and he makes it extremely well in his book—is that assholes are bad for the environment . . . any environment. They poison organizations; their behaviors not only harm the assholes themselves in terms of reputation and credibility, but also are a communicable disease that moves out and harms others.
In business organizations, people who are harmed by assholes or the tolerance of asshole behaviors in the workplace tend to take their humiliation and rage home with them. In an administration like George W. Bush’s, no one will speak up or challenge the assholes at the top. In a business, the victim might go home and kick the dog; with Chimpy McFlightsuit, we ended up in two wars, with the rest of the world despising us.
In an industry that seems to have set itself the 30 year task to recruit, train, reward, and encourage assholes and sociopathic behavior, the financial world’s goal of "assholifying" the entire industry (by attracting and encouraging the hostile and murderously competitive, destroying regulations, impoverishing consumers, and performing the largest transfer of middle class wealth in the history of the country) now provides us with on-going "entertainment" as we see the Oscar-winning performances of the starring assholes as they make statements, give testimony before Congress, and rattle their cups before the taxpayer saying, not “please sir, might I have some more?” but “I have a contract – did the job – so what if what I did harmed the country and possibly the world – we are the smart people – if you’d been smart like us, you’d have been here, too – you OWE us the money!!!”