Last week, the conservative National Review dedicated an entire magazine to a collection of anti-Trump opinion pieces written by conservatives, like Commentary Editor John Podhoretz, who hammered Trump's "repellent assertion that the first black president needed to prove to Trump's satisfaction that he was actually an American."
Podhoretz: The cultural signposts Trump brandished in the years preceding his presidential bid are all manifestations of the American id--his steak business, his casino business, his green-marble-and-chrome architecture, his love life minutely detailed in the columns of Cindy Adams, his involvement with Vince McMahon's wrestling empire, and his reality-TV persona as the immensely rich guy who treats people like garbage but has no fancy airs. This id found its truest voice in his repellent assertion that the first black president needed to prove to Trump's satisfaction that he was actually an American.
In any integrated personality, the id is supposed to be balanced by an ego and a superego--by a sense of self that gravitates toward behaving in a mature and responsible way when it comes to serious matters, and, failing that, has a sense of shame about transgressing norms and common decencies. Trump is an unbalanced force. He is the politicized American id.
When Podhoretz is done hitting Trump, he should turn to Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), who infamously wondered in 2012 whether Obama is an American at all.
Coffman: "I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American."
That's Coffman's political id speaking.
And then, demonstrating Coffman's absence of a developed superego, in Podhoretz formulation, Coffman didn't feel shame for his birther attack or express regret in a "mature and responsible way," offering instead a scripted and unapologitic apology to 9News Kyle Clark five times in a row. Here's a excerpt:
REP. COFFMAN: I think that... Umm... I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize.
KYLE CLARK: OK. And who were you apologizing to?
REP. COFFMAN: You know, I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize.
KYLE CLARK: I apologize, we talk to you all the time, you're a very forthcoming guy. Who's telling you not to talk and to handle it like this?
REP. COFFMAN: I stand by my statement, that I wrote, that you have, and I misspoke and I apologize.
But, look, it gets worse because Coffman's political id still dominates to this day. This isn't simply a rehash of one of the strangest apologies in the history of Colorado politics.
Just a couple weeks ago on Facebook, Coffman called Obama a "recruting tool" for terrorists. That's on the same hateful continuum as saying Obama isn't an American in his heart.
Coffman: "President Obama wants to close GTMO because he thinks it's a recruiting tool for terrorists - the real recruiting tool is a President who seems more concerned about protecting the rights of terrorists rather than defeating them and protecting the American people."
Colffman lacks the "sense of shame about transgressing norms and common decencies" that Podhoretz finds absent in Trump.