TRUMP'S OUR MAN! IF HE CAN'T DO IT, NOBODY CAN

Richard Reeves

LOS ANGELES -- The lead of the week out here was written by Tom Barnidge of the Contra Costa Times: "There is something terribly wrong with my television set. Every time I turn it on, Donald Trump appears on the screen."

The headline of the week appeared in a slightly larger newspaper, The New York Times: "Gross? Maybe. But It Got Me on TV, Right?"

Actually, the Times (New York) headline was not about Trump. It was about gigolos in "Gigolos," a reality series on Showtime about men who hire out their bodies (or parts of them) to ladies of wealth in Las Vegas. What happens in Las Vegas no longer stays in Las Vegas. It is sent out over the airwaves, then commented upon by the talented television critic Alessandra Stanley.

Noticing that, Trump realized that he is the Chosen One. He is the One who should be the president of the United States. Maybe he's right. The American Dream seems to have evolved into getting on the tube and making a fool of yourself, with help, say, from Jerry Springer or Maury Povich.

Despite his new friends in the Republican Party, Trump's DNA is Democratic. The man, after all, is from Brooklyn, where his father collected money from the state of New York to build housing for middle-class families. At the time, Republicans did not believe that middle-class Brooklyn people deserved housing. Now they don't believe they deserve medical care either.

It was only four years ago that Trump attracted the cameras by declaring that Republican George W. Bush was the worst president in American history. Now it seems he has changed his mind and said that Barack Obama, wherever he was born, perhaps in a manger in Kenya, is: "A man that almost certainly will go down as the worst president in the history of the U.S."

That's what he told tea party activists last Saturday in Boca Raton, Fla. You have to give him credit for being willing to go to a place like Boca. By his standards, that is something like Robert F. Kennedy traveling on the back roads of Mississippi all those years ago. There is something likable about Trump, at least I have always thought so.

Here we are in his office in the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue a few years ago. I am interviewing him about wealth in America and its uses. This is a man who said, "Part of the beauty of me is I'm very rich." Just then a secretary walks in with a small stack of Xerox pages of New York newspapers. They are all mocking him at the moment because of a divorce or something. I figure he is going to get angry and our interview is going south, farther south than Boca.

But no. He reads them to me, laughing all the way. Then he says he has something to show me. He walks over to a small table by his desk and comes back with a sneaker that could house an old lady who lived in a shoe. It is the size of a small car.

"Shaq gave this to me himself," he says. Shaquille O'Neal, that is. "Wow!" I say.

More power to him. What his National Tour 2011 means is that the Republican Party is a national laughingstock. That doesn't mean that the GOP will lose in the 2012 elections. Who knows? Trump-Palin. Trump-Bachmann. Palin-Bachmann. Bachmann-Trump. Pee-Wee Herman? It would only mean that the country is swirling down the drain.

It is not so much that the Republicans are irrational. It is that they are delusional. The United States has serious problems. When I turn on the television and Trump is not there, I see Republican officials arguing that the country is going broke and the way to fix that is to stop paying taxes. I am no great economist, certainly not as smart as Trump says he is, but I do suspect there is something toxic about trying to balance budgets by rejecting revenue increases and working only on the expenditure side. Could it be that the Republicans are trying to destroy government and turn the country over to Goldman-Sachs and its little mascot, Trumpie?

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