I read an interview the other day where Condoleezza Rice responded to the reporter’s question about Donald Rumsfeld’s continued put downs of her (“Rumsfeld also implied that you were unfit for office”) with the statement, “Don can be a grumpy guy. We all know that.”
Actually, I think Don is a classic bully and Rice’s response is a classic dismissal of bullying behavior by someone who is continuing to encourage it. And, while I understand the former Secretary of State is likely to give a diplomatic response in public, I hope she has cut off his cojones in private – figuratively speaking of course.
Seth Godin wrote a great post about bullies and their victims last week. It seems that these days when the word bully pops up it is usually being applied to kids and the terrible things they do to each other. But, too often kid bullies grow up to be adult bullies. And, the cycle of support from victims and their supporters allow the bully to continue their sociopathic behavior.
I’ve seen a bully build an entire business model around abusing his clients with ad hominem attacks he then twists in order to become the aggrieved victim if someone calls him on his behavior – just as Seth describes in his blog post. The victims too often feel like they are wrong and so the only way to make amends is to give the bully more of their money. It’s a dysfunctional process.
Bullies only continue their bullying ways because they are being enabled by their victims. Instead of putting up with Rumsfeld’s constant put-downs and attacks, Condi Rice should have called him out a long time ago. Maybe it’s something about the name Donald.