This past weekend, The Krait (writing in tandem with her NY Fishwrap distaff columnist Maureen "The Cobra" Dowd) gives The Donald a few brickbats. Collins' Op-Ed teammate, Maureen Dowd, was nicknamed "The Cobra" by the POTUS 43 when he was on the hustings in '00. For strength of venom, The Krait gives no quarter to The Cobra. In the meantime, The Donald is given his due as a potential Dumbo/Teabagger presidential candidate. If this is (fair & balanced) venom analysis, so be it.
[x NY Fishwrap]
Donald Trump Gets Weirder
By Gail Collins
Tag Cloud of the following article
Donald Trump has run faux campaigns for president before, flirting with the Democrats and independents. This time, he’s playing a conservative Republican. By 2016, he’ll probably be talking about his affinity for the Alaskan Independence Party or the Whigs.
And, of course, he’s suddenly a birther. “This guy either has a birth certificate or he doesn’t,” he said of President Obama. “I didn’t think this was such a big deal, but, I will tell you, it’s turning out to be a very big deal because people now are calling me from all over saying: please don’t give up on this issue.”
It was a perfect vocalization of the New York Street: People are calling me up! Don’t believe everything you hear, unless it comes over the phone.
In a potential Republican field that includes Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, it’s hard to come up with a line of attack loopy enough to stand out from the pack. But darned if Trump didn’t manage to find one.
“If he wasn’t born in this country, it’s one of the greatest scams of all time,” Trump told Bill O’Reilly, who demurred: “I don’t think that’s the case.”
Vote for Donald Trump, the man who can make Bill O’Reilly look like the most sensible guy in the room.
Trump’s main argument for why he should be taken seriously as a presidential contender is his business success. Has Obama ever hosted a long-running reality series? Owned a bankruptcy-bound chain of casinos? Put his name on a flock of really unattractive high-rise apartment buildings? No!
“By now my name is big enough and equated with the gold standard to the extent that I don’t have to say too much about it,” wrote Trump in one of his books, before going on to say a lot more about it. He is extremely sensitive to any gibes about his business record, which has been up and down over the years.
During one down period, I referred to him in print as a “financially embattled thousandaire” and he sent me a copy of the column with my picture circled and “The Face of a Dog!” written over it.
Trump was one of the first people I interviewed when I came to New York as a reporter back in the ’80s when he was a developer-wunderkind who had started in the business with nothing but a smile, a dream and his father’s large holdings in real estate.
He’s still promoting, 24/7. Some people believe that his presidential flirtations are an attempt to draw viewers to his TV show, “Celebrity Apprentice.” In it, people who are alleged to be famous compete for money for their favorite charities and what one former contestant revealed was a salary of $16,000 apiece. That isn’t much for network TV work, but since one of this year’s celebrities, disgraced former steroid-using baseball player Jose Canseco, recently tried to make a $5,000 fee by sending his brother to impersonate him in an exhibition boxing match, you have to figure it comes in handy.
“Celebrity Apprentice” is widely regarded as terrible and cheesy programming, but, actually, it has its moments. I recently saw an episode in which a former top model had a serious discussion with a fellow competitor about whether this was the 20th century or the 21st. You can’t get stuff like that on “Mad Men.”
The series is a perfect reflection of Trump himself: an orgy of product-placement and personal aggrandizement. All the contestants, including the ones in their 70s, have to refer to their host as “Mr. Trump.” They all somberly devote themselves to making faux commercials about whatever enterprise has coughed up cash for a major mention that week. Then it’s off to the boardroom where people talk ceaselessly about their performance in order to stretch the whole enterprise into a low-cost, two-hour show.
When you think about it, “Celebrity Apprentice” has a lot in common with the current Republican presidential campaign. Endless blathering. Strange contenders who did something vaguely notable in 1986. And Donald Trump, looking extremely cheerful.
Beyond having the moral fortitude to tell Dionne Warwick she is fired, Trump’s qualifications for being president of the United States include having co-written a large number of books, including Think Big and Kick Ass (“People always ask me: ‘How did you get so rich?’ ”) and Never Give Up. (“This book is about a subject near and dear to my heart — never giving up.”)
To establish his birther creds, this week Trump produced his own birth certificate, after one failed attempt in which he came up with a document that was too weak to qualify for a passport. By the time he worked things out, we had an entire news cycle devoted to Donald Trump having been born in New York.
Now, let’s try asking to see his tax returns. Ω
[Gail Collins joined the New York Times in 1995 as a member of the editorial board and later as an op-ed columnist. In 2001 she became the first woman ever appointed editor of the Times editorial page. At the beginning of 2007, she stepped down and began a leave in order to finish a sequel to her book, America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines. Collins returned to The Times as a columnist in July 2007. Besides America's Women, which was published in 2003, Ms. Collins is the author of Scorpion Tongues: Gossip, Celebrity and American Politics, and The Millennium Book, which she co-authored with her husband, Dan Collins. Her new book is about American women since 1960. Collins has an undergraduate degree in journalism from Marquette University and an M.A. in government from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.]
Copyright © 2011 The New York Times Company
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