Ok, another article about Donald Trump, but I felt impelled to take issue after a barrage of name calling against his Republican presidential rivals, his likely Democratic one and the current president of the United States.
Trump has mastered the art of bluster, which was effective on The Apprentice and used in appearances with David Letterman. He is a self-declared great man, extremely rich, has a sense of humor about his hair and when it was only related to entertainment there was no harm. He was just being Trump, a bit of a cartoon.
However, now that he has declared his candidacy for president, after flirting with one in 2012, it is galling to see him rise in the polls presumably due to his telling it like it is, which a lot of people find refreshing, punctuating his hyperbole with cheap insults hurled at anyone who challenges him.
"Stupid" and "Loser" are the adjectives he is most prone to use, directed at men and women with distinguished careers, governors, senators and corporate executives. Maybe one of his aides should buy him a thesaurus.
As to President Obama and Hillary Clinton, he has deemed them "the worst" in their respective offices of president and secretary of state. Really? Worst? Even if one truly doesn't like their policies, does anyone believe Barack Obama would be termed by notable historians worse than, let's say, James Buchanan, who led us into the Civil War, Warren G. Harding of Teapot Dome Scandal fame or Herbert Hoover, an intelligent man, who nonetheless did little of value to battle the Great Depression? Not to mention everyone's favorite Millard Fillmore, but I decided to compare Trump's castigation with those actually elected.
And Hillary Clinton, whose stock rose in her four years at the State Department. Of all the past secretaries of state Trump has clearly studied, she was the least effective?
But Trump is rich, as he reminds us, though not so much about the fact he got a really good head start through handouts and a large stake by his very successful multimillionaire father, Fred. Yes, the Donald built on the family fortune enormously, but as the saying goes it is a lot easier to make your second million than your first.
So, we have to take him seriously when he says Obama is the worst, forgetting the economy is in much better shape than what he inherited. That landmark achievements have arisen, two regarding the gay and lesbian community, most importantly their ability to serve in our armed forces.
Also, health care, formerly attempted without success by administrations of both parties and, though still jeered at by most in the GOP, including Trump (who once supported universal health care), even though it's supported by the AMA and most insurance companies, studies show costs have descended as millions of previously uninsured Americans now have coverage.
Plus, environmental and immigration reform efforts, a rapprochement with Cuba after 54 years, long overdue considering we've had diplomatic relations with many enemies such as the Soviet Union and China, and now a multi-national initiative to abate the Iranian production of nuclear weapons.
But Trump says he's the worst, so it must be so, even as it must have been so during the "birther" scandal he joined charging Obama was not born in the United States. Does Donald Trump believe Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who declared his "single most important political goal" was to ensure that Obama was a one-term president, would have hesitated to join the bandwagon to get the courts to remove Obama if it had any validity?
It was amazing that a presumably intelligent -- and did I say rich -- fellow like Donald Trump allowed himself to get caught up on a fool's errand, but he did so and to what end? Obama is still in the White House and Trump began making himself look stupid -- the word he loves to level at others -- and little by little began losing ratings, and lately his snide remarks have cost him a helluva lot of business.
That Trump remains at the top of the GOP heap is intriguing, but there are seventeen candidates and his plurality is at the 20-22% level. It is hard to imagine that a man whose major legacy up to now has been building beautiful golf courses would capture the public's fancy with unpleasant and undignified statements about others to bolster his ego. That said, we have had megalomaniac leaders in the past, Huey Long springs to mind and sometimes when times are tough, as in the case of post World War I Germany, people will elect a nut job. No, I'm not comparing Trump to Hitler, but many of his pronouncements are simply untrue and are in the spirit of Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda chief who once said "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."
One can only hope the American people -- in this case the majority of Republican voters -- will limit his support to the strident and often bigoted sorts who vote for the crazies. The wild thing is that on social issues Trump doesn't appear crazy at all, having recently restated his support for Affirmative Action and Gay Rights.
Maybe all this is just something he wanted to do and he will someday write a book about it, as William F. Buckley did after his losing run for mayor of New York City. It will surely sell, especially if he runs, as he has warned, on a third party ticket, ensuring the election of our "worst" secretary of state, his old friend Hillary Clinton as our next president.
Michael Russnow's website is www.ramproductionsinternational.com