Trump Says "Jump!" (They Say "How High?")

Don't you just feel for people who get their personal pronouns all bollixed up?

Sure you do! Who wouldn't? It's only human to experience a few sympathetic stirrings when somebody wanders off course, linguistically-speaking-wise.

Which is why it's time to offer a teaspoon of compassion to a man named Donald Trump.

There he was -- just a few days ago, in an interview with Politico -- going on about... Donald Trump. Going on about Donald Trump's enormous influence on the American political process. Going on about Donald Trump's solutions for America's problems, solutions that -- this will shock you -- contain a large dose of Donald Trump.

That's when he said it. Here's Politico:

"I love the country, and they're talking about the wrong things," he says of the current White House, in a refrain that helped him stoke polls earlier this year. "We used to be one of the great [countries] and now we're a laughingstock."

When what he obviously meant to say is "... and now I'm a laughingstock."

A totally understandable slip, don't you think? A man whose self-regard is at least transcontinental, momentarily confusing himself with the nation he's so obnoxiously a part of? When they ridicule Donald Trump, they must be ridiculing America, right?

No wonder his pronouns went astray!

That, and the excitement of yet another chance to grab the spotlight.

See, when he made his comments to Politico, we were already well into the political death spiral of one Herman Cain. The man with the electric smile (and, it seems, the roving eye) hadn't yet made it official, but to anyone paying attention, it was, oh, 99.9 percent certain that Herman Cain wasn't long for the presidential campaign.

Which meant -- and here's where the excitement comes in -- that there was suddenly an opening on the Republican scene for a man of supreme confidence, and clear vision, and limited knowledge.

Who better than Donald Trump to fill that yawning emptiness?

There was, to be sure, the small problem that Donald Trump had already run for president this time around. He had run, and briefly led, and quickly cratered, and had then gotten out in time to hang on to his TV show. But if starring in The Apprentice meant he couldn't run in the spring, then jumping back into the race now would be awkward, even for the likes of Donald Trump.

So he probably couldn't run for the GOP presidential nomination -- but why shouldn't he decide who'd win it?

Introducing the Donald Trump Debate!

That's right: Donald Trump has summoned the field of Republican candidates to Des Moines on December 27 -- just days before Iowa's crucial caucuses -- for a debate (co-sponsored by the conservative Web site Newsmax) to be moderated by... Donald Trump. With questions presented to the candidates by... Donald Trump. With answers vetted by... Donald Trump.

And with an endorsement issuing shortly thereafter by none other than --

You're ahead of me.

Now, why Donald Trump, with his crackpot theories, with his crackpot personality, should have the authority to do any of those things -- to summon anyone anywhere, to put policy questions to anyone -- is a complete mystery. And at least two of the Republican contenders, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, have refused to dance to Trump's tune; they'll skip his little gathering, and presumably find something less demeaning to do with their time. (Mud wrestling? Animal sacrifice?)

But for the rest of the field...

Some of them might have their doubts about Donald Trump -- but which of them has the guts to cross him? Donald Trump doesn't have a fraction of the clout he claims for himself, but which of them is willing to find out?

Get ready for a whole flock of laughingstock.

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Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at