Monday, May 2, 2011

Trump Suffers From Male Palin Badness

Donald Trump has been teasing the public, implying that he's seriously considering a run for the Republican nomination. He further taunts the media with promises of a revelation on the finale of The Celebrity Apprentice. It's pathetic enough that candidates now choose talk shows to announce their intentions. Trump's now dragging the process down another notch to break the news on a reality show. But while we hold our collective breath, the question that has been in the air since he started bloviating is: is he serious? Or is he just doing this for publicity, perhaps even setting himself up for a run five years from now, when he wouldn't be facing a popular incumbent -- particularly one who's going to ride a wave of good will and increased poll numbers now that Bin Laden has been killed.

I'll give Trump one thing -- he's got people talking. And he's got the media chewing on it like a dog with a ragdoll. Still, every time he opens his mouth, I can't help wonder what he's thinking. Trump made his rep as a businessman. And if he were mulling over a run for the presidency in times of a slowly recovering economy, high gas prices, high unemployment, jobs going overseas, a growing deficit that has been firmly established as the crisis du jour by the GOP, why wouldn't he come out and establish his political identity as a sober, pragmatic, businessman? "Let's run the country like a business, etc..." We usually vote our pocketbooks. It could've gotten some traction. He could've even borrowed a page from Reagan's 1980 playbook and blown some "shining city on the hill" gratuitous patriotism up our asses. We always fall for that shit.

But no. He leads with the birther bullshit, then follows it up with incendiary rhetoric about grabbing the oil in Libya and Iraq. It doesn't take a chess player to see that this kind of talk didn't play so well in the 20th century and might just lead to more terrorist attacks by people who wouldn't have to be convinced that America has imperialistic goals in the middle east. A president has to defuse that situation, not inflame it. Then there's calling the Chinese "motherfuckers." I don't know how that expression translates into Chinese, but I'm guessing it doesn't come off as a compliment.

Then there are Trump's schoolyard taunts of the president. "He's done a terrible job." "He's a bad president." He speaks in oversimplistic sentences ending with a hyperbolic adjective. "THIS SEASON OF THE APPRENTICE WILL BE ... FANTASTIC!" "WHAT MY INVESTIGATORS ARE FINDING IS... UNBELIEVABLE." Everything is fantastic! Sensational! Unbelievable! It's Broadway marquis language. Joe McCarthy tactics. Waving papers in the air claiming they list the names of communists in the state department. And since it's now been proven to even the most dead-headed birthers that the president was born in Hawaii, when Trump claimed that what his investigators discovered was "unbelievable" he was clearly lying, since there was nothing to discover. Unless he was just playing word games and saying the revelations were unbelievable in the sense that they were not to be believed.

Then there's the more oblique language of the insults. "Word is" Obama was a terrible student. What word? From whom? This sort of vague language implies fact, but doesn't back it up or specify the source. It's the kind of thing the GOP does in their talking points. It's right down there with Fox News' "Some say..." accusations. And putting aside the racist overtones in the implication that the president couldn't possibly have earned his way into Columbia and Harvard, has anyone posed the question to Trump: Even if that were true, how do you fake your way to editor of the Harvard Law Review?

And while Trump's fully capable of dishing out insults and baseless accusations, he's incapable of handling the blowback, as demonstrated in his angry reaction to Seth Meyers' dead-on lines at the White House Correspondents dinner. He's shown his pettiness in successive feuds with Rosie O'Donnell, Cosby, DeNiro, Seinfeld, and now David Letterman. He even went after Seinfeld by holding up the "success" of The Apprentice against The Marriage Ref, forgetting momentarily that Seinfeld had another show, called Seinfeld, which will remain one of the best shows in tv history long after the flatulent stench of The Apprentice has wafted into the atmosphere. 

And for anyone who hasn't figured it out, Celebrity Apprentice is not even a TV show, it's an infomercial for whichever company decides to buy in that week. The choice of product, service or company featured in each episode is not accidental. It's a paid sponsorship. The ridiculous fights and spats -- Meatloaf going batshit on Gary Busey, LaToya Jackson spatting with Dionne Warwick -- are all misdirection so that you don't realize that you're being hit with advertising messages during the alleged programming. It's a con. With apologies to Morgan Spurlock's recent movie, it's the greatest TV show ever sold. 

The presidency requires a cool head, and solid judgment. And here is where Trump fails miserably. Hehad every opportunity to come out as a sober, experienced, pragmatic businessman. A tough negotiator. But he treated politics like an episode of The Apprentice. All bluster and bullshit. These are serious times. And serious times call for serious people. Not reality show hosts. 

Whether or not he runs, I guess only he knows. But one thing is for certain: Trump will never be president. Not necessarily because he has no political cred, but because of the idiotic way he's conducted himself on the public stage. Lies. Hype. Insults. Baseless accusations. Playing to the worst of us. Chest puffed, jaw jutted out, arrogantly looking down on his audience, then cutting off the conversation when the follow-up questions get too probing. He's all sound and fury, signifying nothing. A self-promotion machine who's in it for the cash, the fame, the adulation. His buildings are the natural extension of his personality. Garish, tasteless, and crude, with no heart, no soul, and no class. As is his hair. Deceptive. Ridiculous. Almost comically bad. Yet worn with pride by someone who thinks he can fool all the people all the time. Trump is a combover. All hype. No substance. He's Palin in pants.

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