15 More Minutes


Truth be told, there are worse choices for the White House; some of whom aren’t even Democrats. It’s not as if the guy has committed murder; as long as you don’t count the intellectual tenor of primetime television—which was on life support anyway. I just think there are some candidates who are a great deal less… cartoonish. So, someone please pull the plug on the Donald Trump experiment.

I don’t have a real problem with The Donald, but I don’t have a real problem with Trump’s fellow reality TV star Bret Michaels. They’re both marginally entertaining, both surrounded by weird people and hot women and both were bigger in the 1980s. That doesn’t mean I think moderate-to-severe financial issues, tabloid-fodder living and pitiful attempts to hide profound baldness are any higher on the list of Presidential qualifications than—say—being a “community organizer.”

Of late, Trump has been polling in the 30s against a low-to-mid 40s showing for President Barack Obama. Now, before those of you who have climbed aboard the Trump express begin shouting “It’s EARLY, Ben! Give the guy a chance!”—jump back to the 1990s with me for a moment.

About 15 years ago, NBC (which airs Trump’s program “The Apprentice”) aired a sitcom called “NewsRadio.” One of the players on “NewsRadio”—a billionaire named Jimmy James—ran for president. While his prodigious wealth makes his campaign newsworthy, it soon becomes abundantly clear that James is running for President because he “wants to meet girls.”

I doubt Trump joined this fray in order to meet girls. The guy seems to be catnip to women with Winter Olympics-type accents. Plus, Trump may be a player, but he’s not grossly stupid. He surely remembers Bill Clinton’s eight years treating the Oval Office like Craigslist, and all Bubba got was a perjury record and lifetime status as a punch line.

But I cannot shake this nagging feeling that Trump, who has essentially played himself in every modern venue from the gossip pages of the lower-rung tabloids to the upper echelon of primetime television, is playing himself onto the greatest stage of the modern age: The campaign for Leader of the Free World.

Trump self-promotes the way politicians lie. Given his visceral desire for media attention, I suspect that even if he is serious about running and even if he managed to win—a mighty big if—he’d spend more time posing for Presidential photographs than he would actually BEING President. Looking at the sanctimonious buffoon who has the job now, we certainly don’t need another empty chair behind the Resolute Desk.

Many of you have offered an ear to Trump because of his “investigation” of Obama’s citizenship. (Obama’s ham-fisted mishandling of this one has kept it in play. However, barring a miracle, it’s never going to happen for the “birthers.” Knowing what I know about liberal logic, even IF someone were to irrefutably prove Obama was born on Pluto, the Democrats would probably ignore the Constitution… again.)

Trump may be a lot of things, but stupid is not among them. By provoking the “birthers,” he is likely hoping to gain their trust, and galvanize their Presidential blessing. But there are three flaws in his logic:

  1. The “birthers” don’t represent a large enough subset of voters to swing even a primary.
  2. He’s making the same mistake as the Democrat Party; he’s underestimating the “birthers'” intelligence.
  3. The birth-certificate (or lack thereof) issue isn’t going to be enough to hold together a long-run campaign. Obama’s unrivaled incompetence has left the economy idling at the stoplight, the military stretched even thinner than it was when he took office and the nation more divided than it has been since U.S. Grant made Robert E. Lee say “uncle.” Obama’s 2012 successor will need a lot more than just an affidavit from a stateside hospital to grab the political brass ring.

Throw in Trump’s rather checkered past vis-à-vis monetary donations to some seriously shady Democrat characters, and the recipe for a Presidential soufflé falls very flat. Lest you require further assurance, Charles Krauthammer and our own John Myers—two of the smarter cats on the planet—aren’t necessarily buying what Trump’s selling, either.

Closer to November 2012, I’ll share my thoughts on my choice for President. For now, someone call Trump and tell him his latest 15 minutes are up.

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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