“Trump is our Al Sharpton, no more and no less”, thus spoketh Charles Krauthammer, a conservative, yet practical, syndicated columnist on Inside Washington, recently. I respect many of Mr. Krauthammer’s opinions, as he was quite prescient in recognizing early on Christine O’Donnell’s electoral improbability, even before her infamous, “I’m not a witch” quote.
“The Donald” has been all over national networks again this past week, with his latest lengthy interview on The Sean Hannity Show. Of the two part interview, the first part had more meat, while the second dissolved into the birther issue coupled with the dredged up Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers discussions of the last election.
In an earlier post, “Donald Trump – Presidential Timber or The (political) Apprentice”, I tried to discern why was Trump so popular and if people were really taking him seriously. But with the birther issue remaining in the forefront, has he now marginalized himself so that any other statements, however valid, are being overshadowed and ignored.
What‘s interesting to me in all this brouhaha, is that Trump is not a stupid man. In fact, I’m wondering if the adage, “crazy like a fox” may not apply here in some form. Trump is the ultimate self-promoter, but he’s also a very canny, shrewd businessman. How is it possible that he could misread the political, voter landscape and choose the ONE issue that has the potential to finish his candidacy, before he even announces his decision to run or not to run.
The last time a prominent, well-known businessman ran for President was in 1992, when Ross Perot entered the race between George Bush I and Bill Clinton. He marginalized himself when he abruptly left the race in mid-July, alleging threats potentially affecting his daughter’s wedding, which later proved untrue. However, his viewpoint on international trade, specifically the passage of NAFTA, and its impact on American jobs, “the giant sucking sound” has proven true, as we’ve witnessed hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in the manufacturing sector. Losses, that no career politician could have foreseen, because they’re just that, politicians.
Now, another businessman, Donald Trump, raises similar concerns about our trade agreements with China and other Asian nations. He comments on issues and raises questions on policies that are in the minds of many Americans. Clearly, he’s touched a nerve, as the website, Should Trump Run, has garnered over 865,000 hits to date. And when a White House senior advisor says on national TV, “there is zero chance that Donald Trump would ever be hired by the American people to do this job”, you don’t give “a sideshow” national prominence by talking about him, if you’re not doing the math behind the scenes.
Whether Trump runs or he doesn’t, he’s certainly stirred things up. His claim, that he “would be Obama’s worst nightmare” shouldn’t be dismissed as more hyperbole. Trump knows how to fight, isn’t afraid of a fight, and gives as good as he gets. He’d bring the battle to Obama in ways that Romney et al wouldn’t, because in Trump’s own words, “I understand him. I understand what is going on.” Obama comes from the rough, gloves-off world of Chicago and Illinois politics. He didn’t win the Presidency on soaring rhetoric alone.
So, Mr. Trump, if it’s not too late, here’s my advice:
- Forget the birther issue. Let it die. And don’t let yourself get caught up in the Jeremiah Wright/Bill Ayers issues from the 2008 election. Leave that for the Sean Hannity’s. Move on.
- Leave the hyperbole and self-aggrandizement for your TV shows. We know who you are. You’re at your best when you talk straight to the issues, and about the issues.
- Get substantive on the issues. If you care about America as you say you do, surround yourself with good people, do your homework, and no more interviews until you get your facts straight, and offer some real solutions.
It’s still early; you may yet have a chance.