Tuesday, April 26, 2011

“Anyone who thinks my story is anywhere near over is sadly mistaken”. Donald Trump

I am getting some stick for my comparison of Donald Trump with Sarah Palin on two counts. One Donald Trump is no Sarah Palin, she is much sharper and more experienced. Second, I don’t understand American politics – one claimed that 45% of Americans don’t believe that Obama was born in the US (see below), and that both are very credible and respectable potential Presidential candidates and both are speaking on issues which most potential candidates won’t touch with a barge pole. So don’t do down the Palin-Trump axis.

First, I agree with this last point and stated it several times. I also wrote this on my blog post about The Donald: “he may be the only candidate who could garner sufficient support with the party and the people and beat Obama” precisely because he has the cojones to talk about what matters most. I also wrote:

“The tea party don’t like “moderate”. They want radical. They want a candidate who reflects true grit, conservative position and will cut budgets, taxes and restore American to its rightful place in the world. They get excited listening to and encouraging Sarah Palin – they think she’s not just sexy, but right. They think Donald Trump is the new Sarah Palin and is a real man, despite his hair. But they really think that Michelle Bachman, the Senator from Minnesota, combines the best of the Donald and the Sarah into one being. She is likely to be their candidate in the end, and Sarah and Donald will not find a place on the Republican ticket.”

So what’s the scoop.

Birther Issue

On the radio show, which I had no hand in preparing, they played extracts from Donald Trump talking to George Stephanopoulos about the “birther” issue and from his interview on CNN with Candy Crowley. In these interviews Donald said that he thinks the birth of Obama is an issue, but one which the media keeps bringing up. He hopes that Obama is an American citizen, but he suggests that Obama needs to prove it. The majority American opinion is that Trump is wrong. But there are a substantial number of Americans who don’t believe that he was born in the US. A CNN poll conducted in March 2011 has these figures for all Americans:

• Definitely born in U.S. 46%
• Probably born in the U.S. 26%
• Probably born in another country 15%
• Definitely born in another country 10%

but amongst Republicans has these figures:

• Definitely born in U.S. 20%
• Probably born in the U.S. 32%
• Probably born in another country 28%
• Definitely born in another country 15%

A different poll suggests that 51% of Republicans who intend to vote in the US Presidential election believe that Obama was not born in the US. So now we see why Donald is pursuing this viewpoint.

In contrast, Sarah Palin in 2009 denied asking for Obama's birth certificate or denying his citizenship, and again compared birther theories to questions about baby Trig from "many on the left" which were not so much rightful as questions they had a right to ask. In April she again did not pursue the issue when given the opportunity to do so. She does seem to think that it’s a fair question for Trump to pursue, but it’s not a question central to her.

Foreign Policy

“If you're going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.” Donald Trump

His big idea with respect to Libya, which came from his CNN interview, was for the US to go in and get the oil or not go in at all. He did say that he would let Libya have some of its oil so that they could live a good life, but the battle was about oil. Lets call it what it is and get the oil.

His foreign policy is basically very simple. Tell people what to think. Tell OPEC that we will not pay for oil at the price they want to charge. Tell China to stop playing footsie with their currency (despite the fact that the US is doing the same) and talk up the US. That’s it. Here is what he says: “We have to make it absolutely clear that we’re willing to trade with China, but not to trade away our principles, and that under no circumstances will we keep our markets open to countries that steal from us”.

His overall strategy is this:

“In the modern world you can’t very easily draw up a simple, general foreign policy. I was busy making deals during the last decade of the cold war. Now the game has changed. The day of the chess player is over. Foreign policy has to be put in the hands of a dealmaker. Two dealmakers have served as president-one was Franklin Roosevelt, who got us through WWII, and the other was Richard Nixon, who forced the Russians to the bargaining table to achieve the first meaningful reductions in nuclear arms. A dealmaker can keep many balls in the air, weigh the competing interests of other nations, and above all, constantly put America’s best interests first. The dealmaker knows when to be tough and when to back off. He knows when to bluff and he knows when to threaten, understanding that you threaten only when prepared to carry out the threat. The dealmaker is cunning, secretive, focused, and never settles for less than he wants. It’s been a long time since America had a president like that. “

The Other Side of The Donald

In any attempt to look at The Donald seriously, one needs to bear in mind Trump's support of the "banking and auto bailouts," his previous description of President Ronald Reagan as a con artist, his affection for Canada's single-payer health care system, and his donations to Obama White House insiders Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley. He has also said many a thing that will come back to haunt him.

Overall though, he will be an interesting, serious and fun person to watch. I am all for this. After all, look at the rest of the field that’s lining up. Not exactly exciting.

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