A number of you have been asking me on Facebook, Twitter and iReport what I think about Donald Trump, the ‘birther’ issue and the Republican presidential field. Here are my thoughts:
1. Donald Trump’s appeal is based on a fantasy
Americans have always had an appetite for a populist, non-politician who promises to cut through the mess in Washington and provide simple, commonsense solutions to the problems ailing the United States.
The peculiar American twist is that the populists tend to be billionaires. People think the very rich are immune to the usual pressures in government. In some cases this turns out to be true (Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a good example).
But, fundamentally, this is wishful thinking bordering on fantasy. The mess we’re in is not a product of a handful of idiotic politicians engaged in venal behavior. The problem is that Americans want low-taxes and lots of government services.
If you look at the recent polls, most Americans think there should be no changes to Medicare and no broad increases in taxation. This is magical mathematics. There is no way to make the budget work without doing both of these things - or at least one of them.
The reason people like Donald Trump have appeal is they seem to promise that through their superior business talent they will magically solve problems and save Americans from having to make hard choices. That’s a fantasy. It’s never going to happen.
2. The ‘birther’ issue is coded racism
Then there is the ‘birther’ issue. I regard this as coded racism, frankly. I don’t think there’s any other word for it.
For goodness' sake, George Stephanopoulos displayed Obama's Certificate of Live Birth on network TV and this rumor still doesn't die. Put it this way: If the President was a white man named John Smith with the other background issues being the same - foreign student father, mother in Hawaii, etc. - would there be any of these dark insinuations? Trump should be ashamed of himself. But then, I suppose, he wouldn't be Donald Trump.
I don’t think that the 'birther' issue the real appeal of Trump, anyway. It has just helped Trump get free media and rise up in the polls. His real appeal is the fantasy that he can somehow get us out of the mess we’re in.
The reality, however, is that only we can get us out of the mess we’re in.
3. The Republican presidential field is weak
I think the most serious Republican candidate is Mitt Romney. He has run a big business. He was the governor of a big state. But he’s probably disqualified from the Republican nomination because his healthcare plan is too close to Obama’s.
I think this is unfortunate because he would spur a serious debate if he were the nominee. I don’t agree with everything he says. (He’s said some pretty nutty stuff about Islamic extremism and terrorism). But I do think he’s a credible guy who could plausibly be a good President.
Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels strike me as minor figures who are unlikely to have the kind of firepower that you would need to take on a sitting President.
And Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are ideological statements that fire up the base but would be overwhelmingly rejected by the American people. If either of these two were nominated, it would say that the Republican Party was more interested in being true to its perceived causes than in actually winning elections. This has not historically been true of the Republican Party, which has tended to be a more practical party.
4. President Obama is in good shape
The single most important factor determining a president’s reelection is the economy. And through a combination of good crisis management and luck, I think Obama will end up entering the 2012 campaign stretch with an American economy that’s improving, which is probably more important than everything else.
So those are my thoughts. I'd love for you to continue the conversation below, and to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also send me video questions through iReport.
Trump should have demanded to see his barber's diploma from barber college before he got that hilarious 'do.
Trump should not be taken seriously. He is a baggy pantsed clown who has inhaled too much of his own hot air. Much like the air in a pig sty. Problem is, certain Americans (some GOPers) have a lust for the sweet smell of...well...you know.
This is not the APPRENTICE.. Case dismissed!! Oh bytheway, the last I checked he's FiRED. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oqp69e5v518
F*** ops F*** ops this F*** SORRY TO EVERYONE, to listen this F*** guys thats what u learn... Dear F*** trump this leanguage keep for ur F*** self. U are so F*** RUDE and Arrogant. The only thing u can do it's to go back to ur regular life and do the best you can only run ur show the " F*** Ridiculist of United States ". the political career it's not for you, becouse u are only F*** Actor ... Behave ur self if u have rispect of ur self, if not go F*** ur self. Thats what happend when people of Unite States watch and listen Mr. F-Trump. Mr. president Obama doesn't talk like that he talk nice and clear, thanks god...
Trump's arrogance is his downfall. He clearly lacks any ability to be introspective and shows no personal insight. He constantly claims that he's "the smartest person I know," but when asked about differing points of view there is no sound argument or intellectual prowess. Instead, his standard statement is, "that guy's stupid!" His frequent use of the words idiot and stupid to describe an opponent's views coupled with his recent F-bomb diatribe prove that his oratory ability is around that of a 3rd or 4th grader. Unfortunately most narcissistic personalities are simply not able to see beyond the tip of their nose.
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I couldn't agree with you more! Also, I think Trump wants to make a quick buck by saying he is going to run. He thinking, if Palin can make the big bucks with inflated jargon and no substance whatsoever, then he can make money on politics-and promote his show. I don't think he's even close to being able to run this country. Secondly, Trump is culturally incompetent! The things he's said about "the blacks" lately is disrespectful. He does not represent the best of this country.
Obama's USA birth certificate has been provided repeatedly, unlike any other President in USA history. His birth announcement in the local newspapers have also been provided and checked. The State of Hawaii (as well as Oregon and other states) legal and certified birth certificate is titled: "Certificate of Live Birth" so that it is clear the baby survived birth. Birth certificates were not issued until the early 1900s by many states and therefore proof of citizenship has historically been made in various ways. Obama has provided government and public proof of USA birth and citizenship far exceeding most, if not all, previous presidents.
I love how you liberals describe the search for truth as racist. This man has spent thousands of dollars keeping his birth certificate info and school records out of the press. On top of that he has done nothing in his time in office other then lie, lie, lie. The only abstract of his birth certificate shown until the last one was finally shown. Note: It shows his father is not a citizen of this country. That in itself may disqualify him as president. But then again he has proved he can't lead as a president. All our allies despise him and don't trust him. It is also noteworthy that surrendered his lawyer license in 2002 and his wife had to surrender her's prior to him. Generally, that shows incompetence. After polling over 400 classmates at his schools no one can vouche for his attendance there. Now after all this a liberal calls Trump a racist over the birther issue. Take you ass back to the middle east and pound sand.
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