Saturday, May 7, 2011

Being Donald Trump

Just when it looked like our national political scene could not get more cynical, Donald Trump has arrived on center stage beating his chest.

Of course, last week, Trump played a major role in pressuring the release of President Barack Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate. For the last couple of years, a very small group has perpetuated the lie that the president was not born in the United States.

This issued was resolved a long time ago, but some people lacking the political originality to address serious topics kept pushing this issue. Most right-thinking Americans understood that the birth certificate controversy was a crock, but I guess we must give Trump some credit for getting this resolved once and for all.

Actually, I am not going to give Trump any credit. If the life of Trump has proved anything over the last 30 years, it is that he loves publicity. His number one priority in life is to generate a spotlight for himself.

We have seen this with his business dealings. We have seen this with his television show. We have even seen this with the women he has dated, married, and divorced.

The man knows how to generate publicity, and his jousting with the president is the most recent example of this. The president indirectly referred to Trump as a "carnival barker" last week, and this may be his most memorable quote during the first two-and-a-half years of his presidency.

As for Trump's alleged presidential aspirations, I hope no one reading this genuinely believes he will run for that office. If Trump tried to run, he simply would not be able to stand the scrutiny he would experience.

People like Trump can maintain their bravado when they are in control of the situation. However, when they lose that control, they often like to take their ball and go home. And in a presidential race, not even an image merchant like Trump can control how the media and political opponents go after him.

I can already see how it would all end. Trump will continue to build some momentum, but when the scrutiny gets too hot, he will quit. Instead of simply leaving, he will blame distractions created by his opponents that make it impossible for him to discuss important issues.

Trump will cloak his exit in nobility. Despite his spin control, he will leave as the victim of the same tactics he successfully used against the president. Payback is often delicious in politics, and Trump will likely be another example of that.

However, this does not mean he is going to disappear. Celebrities like Trump maintain their status by simply creating noise. It does not matter what tone that noise takes. It can be meaningful, but often it is shrill.

And when considering our nation's current political landscape, the last thing we need is somebody else being shrill. This is especially true if the shrill person has a hairstyle that defies the laws of physics.

Still, Trump does have a following, and that is something that can never be taken for granted. The man does know how to maintain the interest of people.

Then again, so does Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Charisma can carry a person a long way these days whether it is in politics or in pop culture. Trump’s future is obviously in pop culture.

Trump will continue to have a place on the national scene. Perhaps that is a good thing.

After all, carnival barkers are entertaining people. They have a good way with language and are fascinating to observe in an odd way.

This is fine as long as we do not take people like them too seriously.

1 comment:

Ten Irish said...

I can't decide whether he's just an opportunist, or if he really wants to throw the election to Obama by muddying the Republican waters. If he runs as an independent, I think I can safely say it's the latter.