Katy Burns: Enough Trumpery!
Stunt casting – when producers of a television show cast a celebrity in an episode for a one-time ratings boost – is often the surest sign that a once-great series has about run its course. Think of the near universally scorned appearance of Madonna on Will and Grace.
So was the New Hampshire Institute of Politics – housed at Saint Anselm College – trying to send the world a message when it booked Donald Trump for its Politics and Eggs breakfast? Are we, in our desperation to save the New Hampshire presidential primary, turning to outlandish stunt casting?
Do the folks who run the institute – established, I thought, to protect and to celebrate our famed primary – really want to suggest that The Donald should, in fact, be treated as a legitimate presidential contender?
Because we should be clear about something that the folks running the institute know as well as anyone else.
Donald Trump is not a presidential candidate – not now, not ever.
He has never been a legitimate presidential candidate, although for 14 years he’s clumsily tried to convince people, politicians and the press that he’s seriously contemplating a run for the presidency.
Donald Trump will never run for president. He knows – and we all know – that if he did, he would never be nominated by a major political party, not even the Republicans, who have certainly flirted with some pretty odd candidates in recent years. (Michele Bachmann, anyone, or Herman Cain?)
And if through some complete breakdown of the political process Donald Trump would run and would be nominated, the American people – no matter how loopy they act at times – would never, ever elect him to lead the country for four years.
Donald Trump is a rich real estate developer who has notably used his financial power to threaten and to intimidate people who, wittingly or not, got in the way of what he has wanted over the years. Just ask the hapless people of a once pristine chunk of Scotland’s rugged coast, which he was determined to despoil with a massive real estate development and golf course. The poor farmers who opposed him he sneeringly dismissed as “idiots” and “morons,” and he used his financial clout to mow them down.
Donald Trump is a crass, opportunistic and relentless self-promoter who uses his money like a cudgel to get what he wants. He is a mean-spirited hack with a legendarily bad comb-over whose most astute bit of political analysis came during one of his previous phony feints at a presidential candidacy:
“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
This is not a man who deserves to be taken seriously by anyone, certainly not the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. By fêting him, the institute demeaned itself and the primary it presumes to protect.
And this is not a man who deserves to be taken seriously by the press, either. Not by New Hampshire reporters and editors and certainly not by the national press corps.
As someone who has spent her adult professional life among the ink-stained wretches of the fourth estate, I am mortified that so many national reporters and editors act like Pavlovian pooches when Trump starts his by now truly tiresome presidential tease. They should be ashamed of themselves.
It reminds me in a very bad way of when the same so-called journalists panted after Sarah Palin in her garish traveling bus, long after the one-time Alaskan governor had made it clear to them and to the world that she had ceded any credibility as a potential candidate for anything, much less for president.
And while I’m distributing brickbats, let’s lob one at the Republican Party itself, which persists in kowtowing to the odious Trump. One didn’t have to share Mitt Romney’s political beliefs to have felt sad when the Republican presidential candidate felt he had to make a pilgrimage to Trump, a man whose life and morals are the antithesis of Romney’s respect for family and community service.
One could almost see Romney – who brought his wife to the ordeal – tugging at his forelock like a medieval supplicant before the lord of the castle.
The next time Trump shows up in New Hampshire, he should be consigned to the perennial fringe candidate category like Lobsterman and Vermin Supreme. After all, my dictionary defines “trumpery” as “something showy but worthless.”
That about sums him up.
(Monitor columnist Katy Burns lives in Bow.)