As I was heading into the office today I caught a chunk of a long phone interview that the next president of the United States, Donald Trump, was having with the anchors on CNN, The idea of a serious candidacy from this guy -- and, indeed, it may well just all be a way to boost the ratings for his show that just happens to be airing on NBC -- simply boggles the mind.
It's not just the enthusiasm with which he'd adopted the thoroughly discredited birther theories that Obama is not a U.S. citizen -- although there is that. (His diatribes against Obama are larded with claims that might even make longtime birthers like Philadelphia's Phil Berg cringe; he keeps falsely calling Obama's birth announcement in the Honolulu newspapers "an ad," for example, and he makes ridiculous claims like no one ever saw Obama as a young child...huh?)
It's the other stuff that's worrisome. Trump got off on a riff about Iraq -- insisting that as soon as U.S. troops come home that Iran is going to take over and if that happened during the Trump administration, he would send in troops to secure Iraq's oil fields, because without the oil fields "all those troops will have died in vain." Um, actually, Donald, that's the far-left talking point, that the reason we sent troops to Iraq was for the oil. This guy wants the Republican nomination but he has no idea how to talk like an actual Republican, let alone an actual president.
Listening to Trump, he sounds like the guy one barstool over, whose knowledge of current events consists of what he's gleaned flipping channels between hockey games. Why? Clearly Trump isn't stupid, so is he just so uninformed, or is this is plan, that a guy who talks politics like an annoying cabbie is the best path to the White House? I think it's a combination of both. But the scary part is he's clearly stumbled into something. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows Trump tied for second in the weak GOP primary field:
Mr. Trump “may be a punch line but when he talks about the way to solve our problems, he makes a lot of sense to the average guy out there,” said Todd Mauney, a conservative Republican in Weatherford, Texas.
I think the rise of Donald Trump -- coming at this particular time -- may be the best thing that could have happened to the Republican Party. Why? I think in the next few weeks you will see the elders of the Republican Party -- people who are worried not just about beating Obama but keeping the party's hold on the House and picking up the Senate in a year when a lot of Democratic seats are in play -- get involved. I think there will be urging of New Jersey's Chris Christie, especially, or possibly Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to enter the 2012 race, despite their understandable qualms, for the good of the party.
Because the general election is no place for a celebrity apprentice.
UPDATE: Here's a good debunking of some of the myths that Trump is so enamored with.