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Billionaire Donald Trump’s recent announcement that he is considering running for President of the United States in 2012 has, if anything, generated a lot of media buzz. Could he apply his business acumen to become an effective national and global leader?

Meredith Vieira’s interview with Donald Trump on the “Today Show” this morning provided another example of his braggadocio and revealed some disturbing and, yes, provocative {by design?} criticism of President Obama.

Mr. Trump’s comments reminded me of a line from Woody Allen’s film “Annie Hall”:

…heard a piece of gossip that Commentary and Dissent are planning to merge and issue a new magazine, called Dysentery.

Admittedly, I write this with “tongue in cheek,” but his comments cast doubt on his judgment as a bone fide candidate for President. Are Mr. Trump’s comments an example of “political dysentery” leveraged to boost ratings of his “The Celebrity Apprentice” show, or for other reasons wholly unrelated to political office?

From “Show Tracker“:

Asked if he considered himself part of tea party, Trump said, “I think so. I’m very proud of some of the ideas they put forth. They want to stop this ridiculous, absolutely killer spending that’s going on. What’s going on in this country — the way we’re spending money like drunken sailors — we are absolutely, we’re going to destroy our own freedom.”

He also continued to quibble with Obama’s birth certificate, suggesting that Obama may have been born in Kenya: “I’m starting to think that he was not born here. … I have people that actually have been studying this [in Hawaii], and they cannot believe what they’re finding. I would like to have him show his birth certificate, and can I be honest with you? I hope he can, because if he can’t and if he wasn’t born in this country … then he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics and beyond.”

Vieira wondered whether, if he were president, he’d keep a military presence in Iraq. “I would absolutely, without question, not leave that section of that country,” he said. “I would take the oil. To the victor belong the spoils. You know, in the old days, you’d have a war. And you’d be in there. And you’d win. And you’d take over the country. Whether it’s oil or gold or whatever.”

What does he think, generally, about this great country? “I love this country,” he told Vieira. “But this country is going to hell.”

Of relevance to these questions is a recent commentary from Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball”:

I invite your comments, including those that are thoughtful and dissenting.

MATTHEWS: “Let Me Finish” tonight with what I see happening to one of this country’s historic political parties.

The Republican Party has given us great moderate leaders in the past: Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower. It’s given us flawed leaders who are nonetheless great Americans, I think of Ulysses S. Grant, for example, who won the Civil War and was a true believer in reconstruction after the war.

I don’t know where the tradition I’ve just described broke off and this new thing took over. I think it was passage of the Civil Rights bill back in ’64 — when the enemies of civil rights flipped from the party of Jefferson to the party of Strom Thurmond. Or maybe it was the Supreme Court ruling banning prayer in public school.

But what we have today is a different–deeply different–

Republican Party than the one that fought slavery and championed conservation in the old days.

I listen to Palin and Gingrich and Bachmann and Huckabee and what they believe. I listen to Romney and Pawlenty and now Trump trying to talk their language and I think we’re talking something very different the mainstream Republicanism–the kind that has long won in the independent, moderate suburbs, won with the people I grew up with, with my family, actually.

Palin talks like thinking isn’t necessary; it may not even be good for people. Gingrich uses his mind to say truly hateful things. Huckabee is a theocrat, someone who statements about the Mideast are downright incendiary. Mitt Romney knows better. So does Pawlenty. I’d hate to see Haley Barbour start dueling in these woods. He might be smart enough to beat those folks at their own game.

But beware, Haley, or anyone else who’s thinking of joining the jamboree. The evidence out there is that the Republican Party today, you can’t say you believe in science, you can’t say you believe in evolution or in climate change or in gay rights, or even in separation of church and state. If you do, you lose the zealots, and the zealots will be waiting for you in Iowa to make sure you eat your words.

John McCain tried to beat them, the zealots, once. The family values types went after his family. George Bush’s father tried to take them on. Ronald Reagan managed to charm them, but he was a rarity.

The danger today is that the only way to win the Republican Party presidential nomination is to get past the gatekeepers of the right, and they aren’t looking to let anybody past who isn’t dead right like them.

Maybe this is God’s will, that Obama not have a reasonable opponent out there. How’s that for an incendiary statement?

That’s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.


  1. #1 -
    April 7, 2011

    guys like trump spend more than any drunken sailor has.

  2. #2 Art
    April 7, 2011

    Wow, Trump, the guy who swindled, postured and showboated his way through mountains of money. Who was in hock up to his eyeballs and traded on his debt to make and waste even more before stumbling into celebrity status based on doing a bad Pappy Warbucks impression. A guy whose main asset is his aging and tired out celebrity is going to lecture us on wise money management and frugality.

    That is rich.

    April 12, 2011


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