Donald Trump is a headline-grabber, that's for sure. But he can't be serious about wanting to be President of the United States. This is all just a publicity stunt to boost ratings for his NBC reality show, right?
Well, thanks to his persistent suggestion that Barack Obama's presidency is "ineffective" and illegitimate, Trump seems to have support from the "birthers" and others on the far right. In the latest CNN poll, he's tied with Mike Huckabee at 19%. Some reporters are already speculating how candidate Trump might react to serious questions about his taxes and business holdings.
Ah, the good ole days when America was run by that family values manly-man George W. Bush.
On CNN Sunday morning, Trump acted as if he is being dragged into the race because of his love for America. "I wish I didn't have to do it," he told CNN's Candy Crowley. And then Trump got super-macho with a business twist – unleashing a tirade against the Arab League, which he claimed told America to go into Libya and “take out” dictator Muammar Gaddafi. These Arab countries are wealthy, they have “money pouring out of their ears,” Trump says. "Why aren't they paying us?….We don't have the mentality to ask for it."
Stupid America, not recognizing the opportunity to be the world's biggest mercenary.
Crowley's jaw literally dropped during this interview, during which she tried to question his statements - such as seizing control of Libyan and Iraqi oil fields – but apparently decided to just let Trump be Trump. (Please see the interview with the man who could be president below.)
ConservativeEdward Morrissey calls Trump's antics "a bad World Wrestling Entertainment script" and worries that he is the second coming of [1992 businessman Ross] Perot" who will split the Republican Party.
"After all, liberals aren’t going to be impressed by Trump’s “birther” platform, unions aren’t about to get behind a Wall Street tycoon, and antiwar activists won’t rally to the side of a candidate who thinks we should have seized oil fields in both Libya and Iraq, even if all three of these constituencies have become disenchanted with Obama to varying degrees."
But perhaps the most interesting news about Trumps' possibly real, possibly pretend candidacy (he'll announce his intentions at the end of his reality show, The Celebrity Apprentice), is the Daily Beast story that Trump has interviewed "scandal-plagued Evangelical lightning rod Ralph Reed" as his possible campaign manager.
A lightning rod for controversy himself, Reed used his position as executive director of the Christian Coalition to make himself into a national figure in the 1990s, landing on the cover of Time in 1995 with an article about him titled "The Right Hand of God." But Reed became mired in scandal during the Bush years through his association with longtime friend and political colleague Jack Abramoff, who at that time represented Indian casinos in Mississippi that in total paid him fees of some $82 million. The Mississippi tribes were paying Abramoff, who hired operatives like Reed, to keep gambling illegal in Alabama because casinos in Alabama would damage their business in Mississippi.
"For a high-profile religious conservative like Reed," Time wrote in 2006, "the stories of being paid millions by one Indian tribe to run a religious-based antigambling campaign to prevent another tribe from opening a rival casino made him look like something worse than a criminal--a hypocrite." Ultimately, Abramoff was indicted on charges including fraud, pleaded guilty on three felony counts, and ended up in prison. Reed was not indicted.
In terms of strategy, Reed can be brutal. "I do guerrilla warfare," Reed once famously said to a journalist. "I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag."
In his interview with CNN's Crowley, The Donald proclaimed he is "much bigger" than former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination before losing to Arizona Sen. John McCain, who introduced the world to Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. And now, though Palin herself seems to be losing some steam, the once Grand Old Party (GOP) now seems to be more the right wing Tea Party of Michelle Bachman than the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln. And Trump is giving Bachman a run for her money.