Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obama trumps Trump, but Trump isn't stumped

Just when it looked like Donald Trump's idiotic ranting was going to be silenced, his private jet landed in New Hampshire Wednesday and hilarity ensued. Trump immediately upped the ante on weird political gibberish.

The White House had just released President Obama's long-form birth certificate and it looked like the matter was settled. Trump's most important political issue, that Obama was unable to produce a proper birth certificate because he was in fact a Kenyan-born Muslim out to destroy America, was nonsensical right-wing paranoia to begin with.

Trump was presumably on the plane to New Hampshire devising a few new sound bites about Obama's big birth certificate cover-up conspiracy. It seemed like Obama's big announcement to the media, that “We don't have time for this silliness. We've got better stuff to do,” was timed to silence Trump just as his plane was about to land. He would be walking, dumbfounded, into a sea of reporters.

What happened next should have been anticipated by anyone familiar with Trump's flair for pulling reality-show craziness out of the hat like a circus magician.

“I feel I've accomplished something really, really important, and I feel honored by it”, Trump boasted to reporters. He noted that it was “amazing” that this long-form certificate finally “materialized,” and he went on to portray the release as vindication. “I hope we've accomplished a lot by what I've been talking about the last few months,” he said as the group of reporters looked on stone-faced, acting as this was an actual news event.

So that left us to wonder what was next. Would Trump question Obama's marriage certificate? Could the Obama's dog be a secret Soviet spy? Or maybe Obama had a secret hair transplant, and his college Afro was really an elaborate comb-over.

No, the nation's most famous snake-oil salesman and closet racist now wants us to focus on Obama's questionable college degree. He demanded that Obama release his records from Occidental College, part of Trump's new effort to convince us that Obama only made it into the Ivy League, transferring from Occidental to Columbia, then going on to Harvard, because of affirmative action.

Trump wonders how Obama, a poor, “terrible student” can get into Ivy League schools? The fact that Trump didn't ask this question of George W. Bush, who had trouble putting coherent sentences together, could be one indication that Trump's remarks are racially motivated. Or maybe Trump is just plain stupid, and we should be questioning how he got into an Ivy League business school. I've been wondering myself how on earth Trump ever got into the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

Dan Golden's book, “The Price of Admission”, is a well-reported critique of what amounts to affirmative action for rich people. Did Trump's rich father help him out, perhaps? I'll have to send my investigators out to look into this matter.

Putting all this speculation about the Ivy League admission process aside, I am waiting breathlessly for Trump to release his tax returns. After all, the real-estate mogul turned reality TV show host had promised to release his tax returns if Obama produced his birth certificate.

In the category of 'what else is new', Trump continued the media laugh-a-thon by telling reporters outside a New Hampshire cigar store that he'll release his tax returns once he announces a presidential bid, further proof he's not actually running.

The media keeps buying what this fast-talking carnival huckster is selling. It makes great entertainment, but it's not news.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Donald Trump: His candidacy is as fake as his hairline

The world's most famous comb-over resides on his head. What's inside it is another matter. I'm talking about Donald Trump. He wants you to think he's running for president. He's not.

The reality show candidate has taken over the media lately with his non-stop ranting about President Obama's birth certificate, or rather his lack of one. To downplay any question as to whether he is playing a very dangerous race card, Trump claims “I have a great relationship with the blacks”. In order to further his great relationship with “the blacks”, Trump goes on to say that Obama is the worst president ever, even worse than Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, all of whom Trump previously gave the honor.

Trump's surge to the top of several recent polls has given members of the media a chance to hyperventilate, and given Trump's ego a chance to inflate even more than it's usual grandiose level. And comedians everywhere have been given new material, the kind that can only be called stranger than fiction, and of course funnier, especially to Democrats.

Democrats have gotten a good laugh at this Republican sideshow, while Trump's popularity in the polls has left his rivals dazed and confused. None of Trump's potential opponents have been particularly specific or consistent on policy issues, and Trump has been especially bizarre and prone to hyperbole when he isn't babbling about Obama's birth certificate.

An example of Trump's foreign policy strategy: re-invade the Middle East and take control of Iraq's oil fields. In a recent interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Trump rationalizes that because we spent $1.5 trillion in Iraq ousting Saddam Hussein, we've earned the right to Iraq's reserves of crude oil.

“So we steal an oil field?” asked Stephanopoulos, trying to keep a straight face.

Trump responded: “Excuse me. You're not stealing. Excuse me. You're not stealing anything. You're taking – we're reimbursing ourselves – at least, at a minimum, and I say more. We're taking back $1.5 trillion to reimburse ourselves.”

This type of wacky psychobabble is calculated to grab headlines. Unlike Charlie Sheen, who also recently brought the media to a frenzy, Trump is not delusional and is not showing signs of mental illness. He has always talked like this, being prone to outlandish statements and embellishments of the facts. He doesn't really seem like he cares about facts or substance. He's obviously more interested in the delivery. He craves the spotlight.

If you agree with what Trump is saying, well, you're the one who's delusional, not him. He's just another carnival huckster looking for publicity. The facts are irrelevant. The joke's on you.

Trump is content taking his clown act to the airwaves, urging his paranoid followers to take up his crusade demanding that Obama prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's not a Kenyan-born Muslim out to destroy America.

It's fun to watch Trump MC a fight between Gary Busey and Meat Loaf, but do you really want the reality show host setting Middle East policy?

There will always be a fringe group of right wing crazies who think Trump is up for the job, but when reality sets in, the Republican party will settle into politics as usual, which means there will emerge a candidate with a normal hair line and some semblance of rational thinking.

Like most of the Republican field, Trump has not yet confirmed that he is a candidate. But even if he were to decide to run, there is no way he would win the nomination. A well-known publicity addict, when Trump sees a microphone and camera, he can't contain his bluster. But it's all a publicity stunt, and nothing more, which explains why Trump is announcing his decision about whether he will seek the nomination on the season finale of “The Apprentice”.

It's all about the ratings, not only for Trump and his NBC show, but for the media, who are following his every word as if he's the second coming of Charlie Sheen, which he is. But as for Trump, it's all a stunt used to increase his show's ratings, sell his bottled water and signature mail-order steak, bring people to his casinos and golf courses, and feed his giant ego.

Or maybe I'm wrong. But if Trump becomes president, I'm moving to Kenya.