Sunday, December 11, 2011

DELUSIONS OF THE DONALD

Some years ago when I first walked into Trump Tower in Manhattan I remember thinking, “This guy thinks big – and shiny.” Those were the days when real estate developer Donald Trump was married to Ivana Trump, and together they had turned the Plaza Hotel into the showplace it was always meant to be. Those were glamorous times for the Trumps. The unapologetically ostentatious 1980s. It was a moment when the name Trump was synonymous with the good life, especially when compared to their arch rivals in the hotel business, the Helmsleys. Remember wicked witch hotel baroness Leona Helmsley and her increasingly infirm and senile husband, Harry? They were certainly no match for the beautiful Trumps.

Today one would be hard pressed to associate the word “beautiful” with Donald Trump. The years have not been kind to the Donald. His ego inflated involuntarily to the point where he believes he can either become the next President of the United States, or mightily influence who ever ascends. Trump is a showman. He is a circus ringmaster. He says outrageous things and he often inaccurately insinuates himself into the upper echelons of every cultural stratum. For example, in his latest book, “Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again,” he writes of superstar Lady Gaga, “"Maybe she became a star because I put her on the Miss Universe Pageant. It’s very possible, who knows what would have happened without it, because she caused a sensation.” Further into the book, in an equally ungrammatical fashion, he claims he warned Jeff Zucker of NBC not to move Jay Leno to a different time slot; it was a moment one might think of the Donald not as a real estate magnate, but rather as instant network programming executive. Trump can’t get enough of Trump’s magnificence.

But…you know that. The big news today is Donald Trump, presidential debate moderator. As it turns out it would be a debate between GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich and GOP homophobe loser-in-residence Rick Santorum. Everybody else has declined the invitation to participate in the Dec. 27 debate produced by Newsmax and to air on the ION network. Let’s see if we can picture this: Newt can talk about the social merits of having first graders clean toilets in their schools while Santorum can talk about the evil gay agenda that threatens the fabric of our culture. And Trump can interrupt frequently and talk about Trump.

By the weekend, Trump was reportedly considering canceling the debate. One can only hope. Of course we know it would be cancelled because of lack of participation among the candidates. But Trump put the spin on the potential cancellation by saying it may be necessary because he is still considering running as an independent candidate, and it may be a conflict of interest for him to host a debate.

The political process is sullied by Trump’s Barnum and Bailey sideshow. We are talking about determining who may be the next leader of the free world. Whether you like them or not, most of the GOP candidates have worked their way up through the system to take the giant hopeful leap towards the presidency. Most of them probably do not have the intellect, chutzpah and finances to go the distance, but they each had a steady trajectory. They climbed. Trump, on the other hand, took an express elevator of his own making. He is tailor made for the American pop culture, famous for being famous. Who else can you think of that develops real estate and ends up with his own network reality show, his own beauty pageant, A-list Hollywood connections and now, his own presidential debate?

Still, does the emperor have even a stitch of clothing? One wonders what on earth, other than ego, convinced Trump he has a place in presidential politics. Would he have the first clue what to do as commander-in-chief of America’s armed forces? Would he know even where to begin to navigate his way through a hostile legislative branch of our government? With absolutely no legal training, no legislative experience and no Washington cache, how could he remotely expect other world leaders to assign him a modicum of credibility? It is quite a fantasy leap from TV personality to Chief Executive of the United States of America.

About that ego; this week Trump told CNN host Piers Morgan that he believes he is the one American who should be sent to negotiate trade deals with foreign nations. He told Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “The Situation Room” that he was surprised Romney turned down the invitation to the debate because he claims Romney is clamoring for Trump’s endorsement. Rather than owning up to the fact that the candidates are not participating in his debate because it has no value, Trump told radio host Don Imus that they are not coming because "some of them don't have the courage to do it. A couple of them called me and told me, 'Donald, I'm just too nervous to do it.'"

Every election period has these short-lived sideshows. Last time it was Sarah Palin. Some years before that it was Ross Perot. Remember him? This time it’s Trump. Who’s lying in wait for 2016? Snooki, maybe? Justin Bieber? Listen, this too shall pass, or should I say, Trump, too, shall pass. We need to get laser-focused on the critical issues at hand – economy, poverty, social equality, employment, housing, global threats and regaining America’s traditional standing on the world stage. Trump is a blip on the radar screen, but one that is diverting attention from all that really matters. If he truly wants to serve his country, rather than himself, he will take a giant step back and allow the process to proceed as it should.

2 comments:

jyhl benson said...

Paul-
As usual you nailed it. Thanks for sharing this.
j

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