The last few weeks have been sort of a Trump mania in the news media and on the part of some GOP voters who are looking for a bit more pizazz in a possible 2012 nominee for president. I suppose that is understandable on both counts since the current GOP field, consisting of potential front runners like Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Governor Tim Pawlenty from Minnesota or Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi aren't exactly the most exciting candidates.
In nearly every appearance, Trump tosses out rhetorical red meat to the Tea Party crowd and the conservative GOP base. But scratch beneath the surface and you find a mass of contradictions and troubles that make a viable Trump candidacy problematic at best.
25% Tariff on China NOT a good idea!
Trump talks about imposing a 25% tariff on Chinese goods entering the U.S. On the surface, that sounds fine. China has not been a fair trading partner and the manipulation of their currency remains a major problem in U.S. Chinese relations. But think about that for a moment. Making the everyday products we buy from China 25% more expensive will have a huge negative impact on the American consumer and make the cost of goods that compete with China more expensive as they raise their prices to take advantage of the tariff. Does a trade war with China and massive inflation in the U.S. sound like a good idea?
Obama's Birth Certificate
One of Trump's other big issues is that of Obama's birth certificate. Since Obama has refused to reveal the original document the so-called "birthers" have talked about nothing else. That's right. We had a $trillion Stimulus and ObamaCare rammed down our throats and more in the last two years and a sizeable fringe group of people invest their energy in discussing whether or not Obama was born in Hawaii. Trump is reported to have investigators working on the issue in Hawaii. If he has definitive information, he should bring it forward. If not, why talk about it? Besides, even if Obama were born outside the U.S. the only way to remove him from office in his current term would be impeachment and that won't happen. Does the issue weaken Obama in his re-election bid? Or does the candidate who pushes an unsubstantiated rumor suffer more? You decide.
Take Iraq's Oil?
Another of Trump's bombshell positions is his repeated threat to seize Iraq's oil fields to force them to pay back the money spent to liberate the country from Saddam Hussein. Asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos if that was stealing, Trump said: “Excuse me. You’re not stealing. You’re taking—we’re reimbursing ourselves.” Wow! In one stroke Trump validated the claim by the anti-war left and Al Queda that the U.S. was out to steal Iraq's oil. While some might find the idea appealing on it's face, again there would be severe consequences. What nation would consent to be our ally in any future military endeavor if we seized Iraq's oil? And without broad based international support, the U.S. would be isolated and treated as a pariah.
The Donald a conservative?
Republicans are a bit leery of electing people who claim to be conservative when running for office but do the darnedest things once they get in. Some say President Bush and the current GOP House leadership fit that bill. They are wary of buying another "pig in a poke." That's a curious phrase and when I went to look it up online, there was an ad about Donald Trump for president right next to it. What do we really know about Donald Trump? Here's some food for thought:
- “Nancy — you’re the best. Congrats. Donald.” A note sent to Nancy Pelosi when she became Speaker of the House in 2007. When asked about the note, Trump responded: “I met her a number of times and I liked her.”
- Praising Obama: "I think he has a chance to go down as a great president..."I think [Obama's] going to lead through consensus," Trump told an interviewer shortly after the 2008 election. "It's not going to be just a bull run like Bush did."
- Universal Health Care. In his 2000 book the America We Deserve, Trump wrote: "We must have universal healthcare...I'm a conservative on most issues but a liberal on this one."
- Flip Flop on Abortion. From "I support a woman’s right to choose," in his 2000 book to his CPAC 2011 speech: “I am pro-life” and pledged to fight for the reversal of Obamacare, which contains abortion funding loopholes.
Trump is now a registered Republican, but was at various times an independent and registered Democrat. He endorsed McCain in 2008. He's been all over the map. He gives money to both parties but a sizeable chunk, to Democrats:
- $7,000 to former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), the "liberal lion of the Senate."
- $5,500 to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) including $2,000 during his 2004 presidential run.
- $24,750 to disgraced Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.).
- $116,000 to Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Trump Can't Win
Only one poll, a February Newsweek poll, has Trump beating Obama. However, recent Rasmussen and Marist matchups give Obama the edge by double digits. Rasmussen explains the Trump problem this way:
Most voters (53%) offer an unfavorable opinion of the reality TV star and businessman, including 29% with a Very Unfavorable view of him. Only 39% offer a favorable assessment, with 10% Very Favorable.More conventional GOP candidates like Mitt Romney appear to be in a much stronger position; basically tied with Obama.
Trump alternative: GOP candidate with a SPINE!
Much of the attraction to Trump is his no nonsense style. The current crop of more mainstream GOP candidates seem to suffer from a surfeit of cautiousness and focus group tested rhetoric. What a shame we can't take some of Trump's more outspoken qualities and inject them into Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty. But there's still time for top tier GOP candidates to show the fighting spirit voters admire in Trump. But please, don't wait too long!