The Temptation of The Donald
by Tom Donelson on April 8, 2011 at 12:18 PM
Bill O’Reilly did us all a favor when he interviewed over a period of a week, Donald Trump. Trump demonstrated two things, the first being that he was not well-informed on issues and the second being; Trump is more of a populist than a conservative.
Forget the crazy birther stuff, I am not so sure that Trump believes this stuff but knows it makes for great print. Trump, the celebrity, views publicity as good publicity, even if it isn’t. This is a man who stars on his own TV show and in between making millions upon millions; he has kept his name in the news through one outrageous act or saying after another.
Trump is one of those men you may not want on the other side of a real estate deal but in the political arena, Trump is a novice and that became clear in the O’ Reilly interview. After O’ Reilly destroyed Trump over Obama's birth certificate, he proceeded to prod Trump on issues.
When asked about tax reform, Trump had no answer as to what he would do or what the ideal tax system would look like. Another aspect on Trump's domestic policy is that Trump had little to add or say about what a health care reform should say or a clear idea on how to deal with the budget deficit.
On foreign affairs, Trump's philosophy is that he will sit in a room with OPEC or the Chinese and simply tell them either you shape up or you are fired. His trade policy is slap tariffs on Chinese goods if they don’t quit manipulating their currency. (Of course it would be interesting what he would say about the Fed’s present weak dollar policy which many nations view as the United States manipulating our currency.)
Beyond that, there is little substance to derive, but the temptation of Trump is the oversized personality that is Trump. As Bill O’Reilly observed, he is a force by himself, but in response to O’Reilly inquires, Glenn Beck wondered if we needed another celebrity to be President. The only Fox commentator who caught on the empty suit aspect of Trump’s policies was Karl Rove but Laura Ingraham essentially gave Trump a pass on China simply by noting that many Americans feared China or globalization. If Laura Ingraham is any indication, there will be many on the right who will join Trump in his protectionist agenda, as opposed to a more free market approach to trade; a stance that will weaken free market ideas across the board. The failure of Trump to come up with a serious plan to cut the budget or reform our tax system is a strong signal that Trump will not be the candidate to support a smaller government approach to dealing with our economic plan.
This is the temptation of Trump, for Trump blames others for our economic woes instead looking toward Washington as being the source of our problems. It is easy to blame the Chinese for job lost instead of a economic plan that has given us trillions of dollars of debts or a energy plan that does little to produce new energy other than green technology that will cost us job while making our energy more expensive. OPEC can’t be blamed for no drill, baby, no drill.
Trump is a protectionist and he is not the man to fight crony capitalism, for as a real estate developer; he deals with politicians all the time while making deals. It wasn’t that long ago that he gave money to Rahm Emanuel for his run for the Chicago mayor race, the same Emanuel who was the chief of staff for Obama. (Nor was it that long ago, 2008, when Trump thought Obama had the chance to be a great President, leaving one the impression that he probably voted for the guy.) Trump has shown that he can work both side of the street when it comes to politics and that is what crony capitalists do.
Trump's major selling point is his leadership; he is a tough somber who will be tough defending our interest internationally while using the Presidency as his bully pulpit to get his policy passed. The question is should conservatives support someone whose major attraction is his leadership quality as opposed to his ideas? Leadership is important, but it also depends on the ideas that leadership is used for. Temptation of Trump is that celebrity and leadership substitute for policy. The left showed what happens when celebrity and leadership is promoted to hide an agenda. The left, however, knew what they were selling in Obama, even if the rest of the country weren’t in on the secret, but in Trump, we don’t know what we are being sold on.