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No Deal for the Donald

Posted on Apr 27, 2011
Flickr / Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

By Ruth Marcus

WASHINGTON—There’s a reason presidents go gray. The job is difficult. The pressures are unrelenting. If you don’t realize this, you’re not qualified to be president. Or you’re Donald Trump, in which case you are also not qualified to be president.

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The self-proclaimed billionaire is fond of asserting how swiftly and simply he could solve problems that have bedeviled presidents for decades. As my colleague Dan Balz has noted, “Being Trump apparently means being able to say about nearly everything, ‘It’s so easy.’ ”

As in Trump to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on rising gasoline prices:

“We don’t have anybody in Washington that calls OPEC and says, ‘Fellas, it’s time. It’s over. You’re not going to do it anymore.’ ”

Stephanopoulos: “So what would you do to back up that threat?”


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Trump: “Oh, it’s so easy George. It’s so easy. It’s all about the messenger. They wouldn’t even be there if it wasn’t for us.”

Right. All it takes is for a president who knows the art of the deal to call up an emir or two—you don’t need to learn their names if you just call them “fellas”—and announce that America is outta there if the spigot slows down.

I don’t think Trump is going to be president, so we needn’t spend too much time contemplating his comb-over gone gray. Trump is more interesting as a phenomenon of modern celebrity culture than as a serious presidential prospect. He is the ultimate in bread-and-circuses politics: a glittery amusement for voters and an avalanche of free publicity for the man who craves it.

But Trump is polling near the top of the GOP heap. He’s headed to New Hampshire and Iowa. So it is time to look past the birther nonsense he has been spouting to consider the rest of the nonsense he has been spouting.

Trump makes Mitt Romney look unalterably steadfast in his positions. Trump was for abortion rights before he was against them. Ditto with a tax increase on the wealthy and universal health care.

He makes Sarah Palin look like a deep thinker. In an astonishing interchange with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Trump said he believes the Constitution protects the right to privacy but seemed mystified when asked how to square that answer with his opposition to abortion rights.

“Well, it’s a pretty strange way of getting to pro-life,” Trump said. “What does that have to do with privacy?” Answer: Because the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling was grounded in the right to privacy. You can disagree with that analysis, but it’s something you ought to know if you want to be president. 

And on matters of foreign policy, he makes Dick Cheney look like Gandhi. On Libya, “I would go in, I would take the oil and stop this baby stuff,” Trump told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “We go in, we have wars, we lose lives, we lose money and we leave. I would go in and take the oil and I’d clean up everything.”

I’m not cherry-picking lunacy here. Trump breezily dismisses warnings of dire consequences if the U.S. were to default on its obligations. “I don’t care. I wouldn’t raise it,” he said of the debt ceiling. When Guthrie pressed about the implications of default, Trump waved her off. “I don’t think you have to default,” he said. “You’re going to have to make a deal someplace.”

Trump ruled out both defense cuts—“I guarantee you, of all of the Republicans, I’m the strongest on defense”—and “doing anything that’s going to tinker too much” with Medicare. “I protect the senior citizens,” he said. “They’re lifeblood as far as I’m concerned.”

So how does he propose to deal with the deficit?

Trump: “You know how you do it? By stopping what’s going on in the world. The world is just destroying our country. These other countries are sapping our strength. OPEC is sapping our strength. We can’t pay $108-a-barrel oil. It’s sapping our country.”

Guthrie persisted: “How does that go to the debt crisis?”

Trump: “I’m saying, what we want to do is create a strong country again, and you can solve the deficit problem the easiest way.”

The hard truth is that there is no easiest way. Trump is an unserious candidate for serious times. The sooner he decides—or reveals—that his flirtation with running for president was just another act in the Trump show, the better the political debate will be.

Ruth Marcus’ email address is ruthmarcus(at symbol)
(c) 2011, Washington Post Writers Group

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who'syourdebs's avatar

By who'syourdebs, April 28, 2011 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

I absolutely agree that this “candidacy” has more to do with our sick celebrity-worship culture than it does with American politics. Many with poor education or no sense of critical thinking seem to prefer reality shows to reality itself. Those Republicans polled must have blurred the difference. What a crackpot this guy is! Mr. Brilliant—everybody’s stupid but him. It’s easy, alright, easy to make money when you’re born into lots and lots of it. One of the casinos he bankrupted was in my state. Everything has been easy in his life, I’ve no doubt. Your average American has nothing at all in common with this bozo—we’re not on the same planet. There is a popular paraphrase of Balzac’s classic remark: “Behind every great fortune, there is a great crime.” I wish they would dig up some of those skeletons and put his butt in jail where I’m sure it belongs.

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Sabagio's avatar

By Sabagio, April 28, 2011 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

Donald Trump? Regis Philbin’s best friend, and Marla Maple’s ex? The Mad Hair? Truthdiggers answer the following: Why has this Media-created Narcissist gone unchallenged for so long?  Is it because NBC makes so much money out of a faux reality show about apprentices who get fired?  Donald ain’t no corporate innovative genius, the for sure.  He is a product of inherited wealth and his father’s reputation; he has gone bankrupt a few times; he is known for paying kickbacks to organized crime and corrupt unions and others to get his eyesore, beauty-blocking monstrosities built despite public protests and local laws.
For such an artificial man to get so much media attention as a credible candidate for our President boggles the mind.  Why should we surprised though, when equal attention is forced on us about a marriage of two young people who have been living together for nine years, are also products of inherited wealth and position, are foreign nationals of no particular power or influence, or future for that matter, to make significant and positive contributions to the human condition. 

Answer these questions, please, someone out there who can tell me why this man matters, and why should I care?

Sabagio Mauraeno, puzzled and punch-drunk by overloads of hype and Barbara Walters/Fox News/National Inquirer/Rupert-type verson of responsible, objective journalism and the right of freedom of speech and the press, reporting over and over again on the unimportant and hopefully, yesterday’s news.

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By GoyToy, April 28, 2011 at 8:43 am Link to this comment

The Donald: A total buffoon

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By bartlett5america, April 28, 2011 at 8:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We take the bait so easily.  Yes, Trump is a arrogant “you know what.”  And, when it comes to the challenges of being president he’s a simplistic idiot turned bigot.

But, I wonder if the game to let clown prance around and make fool of himself so that some other Republican dunce actually looks smart.  We’re already saying that Sarah Palin looks well-read compared to him.  Is that the real game?

The sad part is that his appeal to hate and racial politics was not widely attacked.  Isn’t wondering out loud how a young Barack Obama could get into Harvard really saying “Children of my rich white friends can’t get into Harvard.  You tell me how this black kid could get there.  Sounds like an appeal to some pretty crude instincts.

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By uncleray, April 28, 2011 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

1 billion in China and 1 billion in India are
driving into the future.
Looking into their rear view mirror they see Americans,
in a ditch, arguing about whether the drivers license
is valid.  Give me a break.

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By Salome, April 28, 2011 at 6:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since I suspect that Trump’s “wealth” exists mainly in his mind (what other billionaire hustles on a tv show?), I think his real intent is to shakedown the GOP; to get the Republicans to send an envoy to him with this question:  “How much would it cost us to get you to shut the hell up?” 
Trump needs the money.

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By TDoff, April 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

I’m amazed that The Donald let Ruth use a photo of him sitting on his throne for this article.
But I’m not surprised that he wears a coat and tie while he’s taking his morning dump.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 27, 2011 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

In the immortal words of that sage of Loony Toons:

“What a mar-oon!”

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By Robespierre115, April 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

The sad truth is that Donald Trump is the very embodiment of modern capitalism. He’s not acting strange or bizarre at all…when you realize he’s just behaving in public the way Obama and his supporters (Wall Street is his biggest backer) behave the same way in private.

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By grokker, April 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

Sorry gerard. Your man Trump has far less money than he leads others to believe. Fact is, the Donald is a fraud and will never survive the vetting process towards becoming President.

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By Jimnp72, April 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

so the rest of the world is sapping the good ole usa. maybe we should nuke the rest of the world, Donald.
he is too funny and I really hope he remains a top gop contender!

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By Kath Cantarella, April 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Trump would be worse than Bush, and that’s saying something. Please don’t unleash him on the world.

It angers me that the conservatives keep putting up joke candidates instead of a sensible, competent one who will create a decent political conversation with the decent President some of your citizens insist on demeaning with stupid requests for birth certificates.

Why didn’t people demean Bush like that? Oh yeah, because Bush demeaned himself, and your country.

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By TDoff, April 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Poor Donald. When he dies, the only person who takes him seriously will be gone.

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By gerard, April 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

Wait till he plays his Trump card and pays for all campaign costs for President, Vice-President and 75% of the Senate seats just to be sure. Plus funds every fringe group he can get his hands on and underwrites the Pentagon for the next four years.  Move over, oligarchs, ruling parties and assorted dictators.  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

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By MThomas66, April 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Donald, I love ya.  You typify what many folks think, believe and want - go back to Jim Crow days of how dare this person move out of his place in the back of the bus into the white house.  How dare he.
Trump is going to singlehandedly kick the devil out of OPEC to make them reduce oil prices.  That’s good - we need that wild, wild west mentality in the white house.
Go Donald, tell us how you are going to make us rich, rich like you are.

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