(As usual, because of the agreement with the syndicators, this column appears here a week after it's newspaper release)
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BIRTHER OF A NATION
BY BOB FRANKEN
It's about a year and a half before the “October Surprise,” that suspiciously coincidental, immensely favorable last-minute development for a sitting president right before an election. Even so, there's little question what President Barack Obama's 2012 October Surprise will be.
With a about a week to go, Obama will RELEASE HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE!
Now, that's HUGE! Normally, that would silence the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. But this is Trump, a man who's spent an entire lifetime spouting off about nothing but himself.
And Trump could well be the choice. Is there ever any question? As always, he is able to be enough of a crass act that he's a natural selection of the GOP (I forgot, many in the party don't believe in natural selection, but whatever ...).
What's fascinating is how he continues to suck us all in with his hucksterism. Each and every time he comes up with a new trivial PR stunt, like running for president, we go bananas. The more we ridicule him, the more we get bent out of shape by his shamelessness. Every time we watch MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell versus The Donald, up Trump goes in the polls. Each time he gets caught in a boldfaced lie, up again. He's right up there with the Republicans' leading candidates on the low road of a party whose slogan should be “Down is Up.” It makes as much sense as its other guiding principle, which is that tax cuts for the rich mean more government revenue.
Already he's staying true to form, trashing everybody in sight -- ripping critical reporters and now one of his competitors, Mitt Romney. You know, Mitt Romney, the rich avatar? On CNN Trump just had to point out, “My net worth is many, many, many times Mitt Romney.”
He last played us pundits like a fiddle in 2000, when he convinced us that a third-party run was anything but his usual schlock scam. This time, he might actually start believing in his GOP hustle, and then he could lead the ticket. In fact, he'd be the entire ticket, because he'd likely fire his running mate, Michele Bachmann. She's tea party; he's ME party.
He certainly fits in Washington. Trump has built an empire and a fortune in the billions (so he says) on the misfortunes of others and despite various bankruptcies. Obviously that qualifies him to run the country. More importantly, he is all image, from toe to comb-over, created strictly out of bluster and self-dealing. It is the envy of all politicians.
The man has his hit TV shows, first “The Apprentice,” and now “Celebrity Apprentice.” In fact, there is a rumor he will announce whether he's going to announce whether he'll explore running during a program in May, which, by coincidence, is ratings month.
Trump should be fully aware that Barack Obama is no slouch either when it comes to self-promotion. His “Audacity of Hope” catchphrase made him chief executive. The problem is that his supporters feel he hasn't followed up with audacity of action. So now, Donald Trump is hyping his “Art of the Deal.”
A Trump presidency is not an altogether unappealing prospect. Imagine the Miss USA pageant, which he owns -- the beautiful contestants parading on the South Lawn with the nation's iconic monuments providing the backdrop. Imagine a new casino right there. He could slice up the White House into rooms for the high rollers. No, wait -- that's already been done with the Lincoln Bedroom.
The point is that Trump certainly could go all the way. Wouldn't budget negotiations be a joy to watch? He'd be a fount of ideas about solving the deficit with new moneymaking flimflam schemes, since the old flimflam schemes aren't working anymore.
What's Obama going to do? Auction off his birth certificate?
© 2011 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.