"The Donald" for President? Would any Republican have considered the idea of a "President Trump" six months ago?
On both sides of the political aisle, people are doubting Trump's "seriousness" as a candidate.
Democrats are snickering and mocking Trump- and not just about his hair. White House adviser David Plouffe touts that he "hopes" Trump is the Republican candidate- kind of in the same way Democrats say they "hope" Sarah Palin is the candidate, implying that both are easily beatable.
The skepticism regarding Trump's seriousness has been further heightened- in both Republican and Democrat political classes-by Trump's recent focus on whether the president was born in this country. Both Republican strategist Karl Rove and Fox News' Greta Van Susteren
have openly criticized Trump for bringing the potentially toxic issue front and center once again, asserting that he is simply playing right into the hands of the Democrats.
claim the only reason why Trump could be running is because the Republican field of candidates is so weak. In fact, this past week's Public Policy Polling
survey, of the national 2012 presidential race, shows President Obama maintaining, or slightly increasing, his share of the vote over his Republican opponent, whether that individual is Huckabee, Romney, Christie, Rand Paul, Gingrich, or Palin. Donald Trump was not included in this survey.
Another recent poll of New Hampshire Republicans
, by the same organization, has Mitt Romney as a front-runner among likely Republican primary voters, with 27%, Donald Trump, with 21%, and Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich tied for third place, with 12% of the vote.
And the most recent national Republican poll
, conducted by Public Policy Polling, shows Trump in the lead, with 26%, Mike Huckabee, with 17%, Mitt Romney, 15%, and Newt Gingrich, with 11%. Another poll
, conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, has Trump tied with Huckabee, at 17%, behind Romney, at 21%, among Republican primary voters.
Observing this surge of popularity are billionaires Michael Cohen and Stewart Rahr
who, last fall, launched a website
to track public interest in a presidential run for Trump. One of their goals, perhaps somewhat grandiose, is "to convince Donald Trump to run for President in 2012 and end all of the old rhetoric occurring in Washington." According to them, "...Trump has the knowledge, the resources, the power and the experience needed to re-shape our ailing nation; restoring our hope. Under his guidance, The United States of America will once again be the land of opportunity, prosperity and strength!"
At this early time in the campaign season, Trump is inviting both Republicans and Democrats to take him seriously. More conservative Republicans are enjoying Trump's brazenness, his lack of fear of the politically incorrect, and his hammering on issues that are important to them, such as the failing economy and the decline of the United States' ability to compete with other nations. To Fox News' Judge Jeanine Pirro
, Trump mourned the loss of the once-great United States, hailed the Tea Party as the force with which Washington politicians must reckon, and echoed the grass roots organization's demand that the debt ceiling not be raised.
With nothing to lose, and already a reputation of being a media hound, Trump just lets it loose, hitting the nails on the head, giving voice to the once repressed anger of American taxpayers, kind of like...well, Chris Christie?
In fact, Christie, the man over whom many Republicans salivate, says, that Trump
is not a serious candidate; that, as likable as he is, Trump is a man who enjoys "being on the stage." When asked if Trump will eventually run for president, Christie, who considers himself to be a friend of Trump, says, "I'll believe it when I see it."
But Christie and Trump do have some personality characteristics in common. Neither is fearful of speaking his mind and both seem to welcome the opportunity to confront a problem. At a time when Republicans are faced with a president who is apologizing for America around the world, who is "dithering," rather than decisive, who runs up trillions of dollars of debt, then blames prosperous Americans for it, and who simply does not lead in the country's most important debates, Christie's and Trump's direct, no-nonsense approaches, and appreciation for the American taxpayer, seem too good to be true.
But Christie has said- up until this point- that he is not a candidate for president in 2012, a disappointment to Republicans and conservatives who are ready to get charged up for the election with a charismatic, dynamite candidate who can win over the all-important Independents.
But, could it be that Trump will be keeping Republicans charged up and energized while the other candidates- and, perhaps, even a diamond in the rough- emerge on the scene? Is it possible that Republicans need to be less concerned with charisma, and more intent on finding that leader who has the inner strength, the sense of conviction, the love of the Constitution and the American spirit, and the ability to translate that into policy and action? Is it possible that Republicans need to be patient, though patience is hard to come by these days, and allow a leader time to come to the fore?
As the Republican candidates emerge, let's listen closely so that no candidate's potential is lost simply because we haven't fallen in love on the first date.