Republican Party chairman Rence Priebus has a problem. More specifically, Rence Priebus has a problem child. One of his announced beauty pageant contestants isn’t toeing the company line, going instead on his own self-financed hyperbolic path, cutting through the primary scripts like Joan Crawford at a read-through.
Donald Trump comes as advertised; a self-promoting, grandiose narcisissitic monument in black and gold. He glories in the spotlight he paid for, using his considerable wealth to purchase attention. He is a deft showman, much like Muhammad Ali in the Frazier days, perpetually working his jaw, not caring whether John Q. loved or hated him, as long as he bought tickets to the fight.
Trump would not be entering the fray were he merely the junior senator from, say, Ohio, with a net worth of $15 million or so. He feeds on the spectacle of it all, and would not abide being on the end of the debate stage, a secondary, minor figure who barely got the invite, and is constantly traveling, speech-making, begging for cash.
He is reveling in being number one in the polls and a daily headline maker, not sweating the pink slips of NBC and Macy’s. No matter what the outcome, he will laugh all the way to the bank, bothered not a whit by the superficial outrage exhibited by his former suitors.
Trump is the ultimate Party-crashing maverick, dumping his private jet fuel into Priebus’ punch bowl, mocking the GOP “Big Tent” mantra while buying a bigger tent. No matter the rules, Trump writes his own. He is a brash hot potato who will be handled by no one. One can imagine the recent phone call between the two.
“Donald, I want to lay out for you some general guidelines for the GOP primary.”
“Oh really, Rence? I thought you were calling for some real estate investment advice. Good day to you.”
We live in the Fadlands. We go from one craze to the next, shifting our attention with each successive news cycle, where we are instructed on where to direct our outrage. Comes now Donald John Trump, he of the wavy, golden feathery cloud, pursed lips and the who-shall-be-my-next-target sneer. With the skill of an Escalade salesman in a room full of newly-signed NBA rookie millionaires, Trump latches onto a red meat issue such as illegal immigration like a pit bull on steroids, barking into TV cameras how the Mexican desperadoes are wrecking the nation.
Whether Trump is being sincere or superficial is anybody’s guess, but he has shrewdly tapped into the raw emotions of millions of Americans who are genuinely fed up with crimes committed by people who are not supposed to be here.
Suddenly, it matters not how much money he has, what he looks like, how he talks, or whether he is an actual conservative. Here’s a guy who isn’t playing footsie with an issue close to home. Here’s the big man coming down amongst all we little people, peering into our backyards and saying, “There’s a bad guy in your back yard, and together, you and I are going to evict him.”
“I’ll tell ya Agnes, I’m taking another look at this Trump feller.”
Sleeping together now in their big brass Beltway bed, we have the American oligarchy and their dutiful lovers, the American media, both clucking “Tsk, tsk,” to the non-conformist renegade, decrying his brash-ness, dismissing him as being a mere circus showman. Trouble is, this showman requires neither their money or approval, and their fear is warranted: they will not be able to control The Donald.
And this is the appeal of Trump. The American people sense he cannot be bought, thus he gets a pass from the usual envy given to the mega-wealthy. They smell blood in the political waters, stirred up by an unbroken stallion who is a lot of things, but he isn’t one of them – the them being one of the Washington political animals. Trump is somehow managing to convince the Farmer Jones that he is one of the common folk, sick and tired of the same things the Jones’ are, as he delivers his sales pitch, accessed by Tiffany cufflinks.
It is glorious theater. Who doesn’t love to see a politician sweat? There they are, lions on pedestals in a cage, as Trump enters with a whip and wooden chair. Wa-pow! Get back, Lindsey Graham, you little runt! Wa-pow! Back off, Rubio!
Wa-pow! Wa-pow! Wa-pow!
It took three for Christie.
Lost in the shuffle, of course, are the real issues facing the nation. Trump is focused on the issue making headlines, and since we live fad to fad, he is being rewarded with the number one slot in the polls.
As of this writing, there is nothing on Trump’s presidential web site devoted to his stance on any issue. Nary a peep.
Therein lieth the problem.
Where is Trump on ending perpetual wars?
Where is Trump on eliminating entire federal departments?
Where is Trump on ending the Federal Reserve, and taxation as we know it?
Where is Trump on repealing Obamacare?
Where is Trump on ending the wars on drugs, poverty and terror?
And on and on it goes. Oh, and one more little item here, Donald J:
Could you please explain to the Jones family here your donations to the Clinton and Rahm Emmanuel campaigns?
Donald Trump is all about one thing: Donald Trump, and that is what Americans have to remember. He is a bottle rocket that will ultimately flame out. When it dawns on him that despite his vast wealth, the even wealthier GOP machine will not abide his getting the nomination, he will retreat back to Trump Tower, fortune intact, ego carefully shipped in bubble wrap back to headquarters.
It is fun watching him run amok, upsetting everybody’s apple cart. And to be fair, he chose a great issue with which he could make hay. That he happens to be right about it only adds to his appeal.
But the fun will soon be over, and when they bring down the curtain on this political theater where the scripts are written before the race even begins, we will be given two drones as our presidential candidates. Wise is the American who refuses to be suckered by this meaningless charade.
Where will Trump be on inauguration day, 2017?
The same place he is every day. In front of his mirror, primping to go in front of a camera.
© Copyright 2015 Tim Holcombe