The inexplicable Donald Trump

…or “Then they were down to two.”

Even Larry King was intrigued by the Donald's do.

First Newt Gingrich sais he would happily participate in the debate Donald Trump is hosting with NewsMax on December 27. Then the Donald did a round of interviews proclaiming himself the ultimate king-maker and representative of millions (Millions! Check his web sites if you don’t believe him!Note to Mr. Trump, oer your standards the cast of Jersey Shore is qualified to pick the nominee for a major party for the most important job in the country.) before things began to unravel. Rick Santorum agreed to take part but then, one by one, Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and the also inexplicable Michele Bachmann declined the invite. Reince Priebus, perhaps the first adult to emerge in a while, said that his support of this train wreck would amount to “malpractice” on his part. Well put, sir.

And for the record, Jon Huntsman was the first to decline and for someone with as much experience dealing with criticism and being in the public eye, the Donald has an amazingly thin skin. Trump called Huntsman’s comments that he “will not kiss his ring or any part of his anatomy” “offensive.” Yeah, Donald, your circus is offensive. That you are still harping on President Obama’s birth certificate — after you said you would drop it once you saw the ‘long form’ version — is offensive. What’s really shameful (and I am part of the problem here but watching him crash and burn twice is truly delicious) is the attention you continue to get and the fact that you are using the job interview to be leader of the free world just another way to get publicity for your reality show. Even the Situation has more class (not much).

All of this leaves me a little perplexed.  Why do we care what the Donald thinks about anything?  We know he likes himself a lot.  A lot more than anyone should.  His official bio describes him this way:

“Donald J. Trump has become the most recognized businessman in the world, and the Trump brand is readily acknowledged as representing the gold standard around the globe. As the pre-eminent developer of quality real estate, his acumen is unrivaled, and the diversity of his interests has set a new paradigm in the world of business. His commitment to excellence is legendary, and his work as a philanthropist is an integral part of his ethos. He is the archetypal businessman, and an icon of New York.”  You can read more of this brilliant rewriting of history here.

I don’t dislike the Donald but when I was growing up in NY, his life was a sideshow for the bulk of the time I was there.  First of all, he didn’t start his business, he inherited a successful one from his family.  He has a remarkable talent for self-aggrandizement but inflates his net worth an downplays his failures (to his credit, a Trump bankrupcy looks very different from most other people’s).  He is great at self-promotion but does that make him qualified to do anything but promote his reality show?


You sure told me

I thought I was so clever. My analogy about how I approach conversations with people who disagree with me seemed so perfect. The assumption I have about most everyone who is active in politics is that we have the same ultimate goal; to make the country a better place. My analogy is that we both want to get to the same place — say we need to get to Safeway. I want to take one road and you want to take another, well, that doesn’t make either of evil, right?

So last week, I was feeling all good about my theory and approach and I tried to explain it to a Republican friend. She looked at me like I had eight heads and a tail — but people like you, she said, want to turn America socialist. You hate democracy. I tried to tell her that socialism is an economic system, that most of the democracies in the world (including ours) are capitalistic/socialist hybrids, that most of Europe, which is more socialist but anyone’s standard has more fluidity and upward mobility that we have (and higher standards of living) and that not all of us view democracy and some socialism as being mutually exclusive ideas. And, at he end of the day, don’t we seriously both want to make the US the best country it can be?

When Paul Ryan released his plan to overhaul Medicare and Social Security, I read it and hated it. Merely shifting the costs of healthcare from the government to the elderly will not impact the actual costs at all — we need real health care reform for that. That doesn’t mean I question his sincerity or his patriotism. I don’t blame Grover Norquist for anything the GOP Congresspeople do — and let me be as clear on this point as I can be, any member of Congress that voted for a tax hike, even after signing the pledge, would still be able to go back to their district and win re-election. Talk about paper tigers.

But I don’t have an ideological litmus test for my friends. I wish some of them had the same point of view.

I am a Democrat because I think out government exists to do for all of us collectively what we cannot do individually. I think a single payer health care system would be more cost effective than the system we have now. I think it would lead to more preventative care and the individual mandate is absolutely necessary for the system to work. I like the idea that my tax dollars go to help people who need it, pay for quality education, build a strong infrastructure and first rate military. And I think if we shifted the burden of health care costs from companies — with the additional step of streamlining costs — to all of us, we would make our businesses more competitive. How is that anti-capitalist? It’s not.

Moreover, I like regulations that keep my air and water clean, make sure the transportation I take is safe and my food is free of toxins and infectious agents. I don’t look back on movies like “Boys’ Town” or the novels of Charles Dickens and think — wow, we had it so good then.

And I like NASA. When President Kennedy reached for the stars, we did more than send men to the moon, we inspired generations of kids to go into sciences. The technological advancements achieved through the space program can be seen everywhere.

And I am an optimist. I don’t think we need a civil war to fix our country because I agree with Bill Clinton when he said “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed with what’s right with America.”

These are not the opinions of someone who wants us to lose our freedoms or change to a totalitarian state. If I am going to try to see your point, I wish you would make even the smallest effort to see mine.

Some period of time in review

Some period of time in review:

• Dick Cheney meets our expectations. Apparently he admitted to supporting waterboarding.,0,5456856.story  Looks like he may not be the warm and fuzzy VPOTUS we have all grown to know and love. And just as he leaves office, maybe the indictments won’t come through until after he and Dubya have left town. Can a POTUS pardon people in advance?

• Obama fatigue – catch it! Sorry. I love the fact that Barak Obama will be our president soon. He is a great person and will be a fantastic leader. It was an amazing night here in DC – election night was like Mardi Gras, the Superbowl, all tennis grand slams, every sporting event championship and New Year’s Eve rolled into one. For weeks people walked around being nice to each other, like the local government had removed the chlorine from our water and replaced it with Prozac or Xanax. It has been great but the scale has tipped. No, thank you, I do not need a toilet seat cover with a picture of the new first family on it. There are more stalls here with Obama memorabilia than Washington Post stands (maybe the newspapers should think about that as they all file for chapter 11.)• The holiday season is upon us but so is the apocalypse. No, I am not talking about the economy, the auto industry or the Illinois governor. I went to my second movie of 2008 – yes I need to get out more often – and heard some crazy music playing. It was the Chipmunks. It was a cover of an old Journey song. It was every bit as bad as you can imagine.

• Speaking of hell, if I am not there now I think I am headed there. Or at least that’s what every random religious door-to-door congregation in the city thinks because they come to my house five times a week. I am starting to think there is a big “Satan lives here” sign on my door. I thought I scared the Mormons away when I gave them a copy of “Under the Banner of Heaven” but they keep coming back. And if the two overly friendly women with the Watchtower come calling again I am just going to answer the door naked and see if that keeps them away.• Christian Bale may be about to jump the shark, he make take the phrase with him. One of the previews I saw was of a new Terminator movie. Bale’s big line in the preview was “You tried to kill my mother, you tried to kill me, I am not gonna let you.” Then let them kill me. Death sounds better than this. Didn’t the writers’ strike end last year?

• Keanu Reeves found his ideal role: disaffected alien. Don’t get me wrong, I love Keanu. I loved him as Neo (even despite that line “You can’t die, I love you too damn much.”) and who didn’t love him in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”? He uttered my favorite line in any movie EVER. In “River’s Edge” he says, “You just come around here to eat our food and fuck our mother. You motherfucker. You food eater.” If you cannot appreciate that line, well, I can’t help that.

• And because it’s there: