I was having dinner with two clients when a large man with a larger orange coif approached our table with his associate.
"Excuse me," said the dark suited associate. The large man with the large orange hair was quickly sizing everyone up; his eyes darted from one to the next, pausing the longest at the attractive woman at the table. He nodded to her, a slight smile on his face.
His associate continued, "This is "The Donald.'"
"Like the duck?" I asked.
His eyes quickly shifted to me. He glared, then I no longer existed. He focused his attention on the people I was with. They had something he wanted. I didn't. He complimented them on what they do, which he could relate to because they do it better than anyone else. Quality and class got mentioned several times. He invited them to take a ride on his private helicopter to his private yacht. "The Donald" was in full seduction mode, leaving a trail of golden promises leading them to give him what he wanted.
It was fascinating to watch Trump in action. He had a con man's charm coupled with a salesman's persistence. He was going to get what he wanted and do what was necessary to get it. He got it. He thanked them, shook their hands, then turned back to me, nodded and off they went. In another era he would have sold miracle elixirs off the back of a wagon. That was eleven years ago.
Donald Trump is perceived as either the pinnacle of American success or excess. He claims to be the biggest, best, smartest, shrewdest, toughest and most successful, which makes him either a no nonsense straight talker or an obnoxious bloviating media personality.
Trump is a salesman whose primary asset is himself and he sells himself to the largest audience that he'll have the least resistance in winning over. The birthers fit that bill. Like the crowds who gather to hear the pitch for the magical cure-all, these things "your doctor doesn't want you to know or they'd be put out of business", he tells the crowd what they want to hear. He is all about making the sale.
"In the latest New York Times-CBS News poll, 45 percent of adult Republicans said they believe Obama was born in another country, and 22 percent said they don't know. One-third of Republicans said they believe the president is native born." (Associated Press 4/23/11)
Whether Trump believes it himself or not is irrelevant; completing the sale is. A con man's success is based on whether their audience believes the lies they are being told is the truth. It's all about the ends, the means mean nothing.
Trump was lucky his father was born before him. His financial head start taught him the value of inheritance and the importance of taking advantage of a pre-existing market, in this case, birthers and the rest of the far right who still cannot tolerate a black man as our President.
On April 27th, after the press conference where the White House released Obama's original birth certificate, Trump held his own in New Hampshire. He addressed questions with the modesty we've come to expect from him:
"I think, if I do run, I'll do very well. And I think -- look, I'm already leading the polls, and I'm not running. ... CNN did a poll recently where Obama and I are statistically tied. (Donald Trump, New Hampshire 4/27/2011)"
However: "CNN didn't conduct such a survey." (CNN Political Unit 4/27/2011)
Trump went on to talk about how proud he was to have been responsible for the issue of Obama's birth finally being addressed -- if you define "finally" as" constantly" since 2008. We all know that there is a core group, similar to holocaust deniers, who, no matter what the evidence, refuse to change their beliefs. They seem to matter only when the media gives them credibility by granting them a megaphone for their obscene beliefs.
Trump, without missing a beat, switched the discussion from Obama's birth certificate to his educational background:
"... he was a terrible student when he went to Occidental. He then gets to Columbia. He then gets to Harvard. I heard at Columbia, he wasn't a very good student and then gets to Harvard. How do you get into Harvard if you're not a good student?... Why doesn't he release his Occidental records?"
Trump also questioned the actual existence of Obama:
"Our current president came out of nowhere. Came out of nowhere," Trump said. "In fact, I'll go a step further: the people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don't know who he is. It's crazy."
It's crazy how crazy Trump's accusation is. The following must be from an unknown newspaper, writing about unknown an student from an unknown law school over 21 years ago:
The Harvard Law Review, generally considered the most prestigious in the country, elected the first black president in its 104-year history today. The job is considered the highest student position at Harvard Law School.
The new president of the Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago's South Side before enrolling in law school. (New York Times, 2/6/1990)
It is a classic move to keep your opponent on the defensive by pummeling them with accusations, the equivalent of the question; "When did you stop beating your wife?" However, the self-promoting zeal with which Trump attacks Obama and promotes himself and his reality television show is wearing thin.
"... 58 percent of the public says they would never vote for the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, with an equal amount saying the same thing about the billionaire businessman, real estate mogul, and reality TV star." (CNN 5/4/2011)
Trump will never officially declare his candidacy. This is a shame, since he has many great ideas to deal with important issues, such as OPEC and oil prices as he explained to George Stephanopoulos on ABC: "I would look them in the eye and say, 'Fellas, you've had your fun, the fun is over."
And his incisive approach to our monetary issues with China on the same program:
"I would tell China very nicely, 'Fellows, you're my friend, I like you very much' -- and I have made a lot of money with China, by the way, a lot of money. I would say, 'We are going to put a 25 percent tax on all your products coming in,' and that's going to do a number of things. No. 1, as soon as they believe it's going to happen, they will behave so nicely, because it would destroy their economy."
Trump will never subject himself to the kind of scrutiny a presidential candidate has to endure. However, I'm sure he will find a way to spin it to position himself as the winner, probably declaring he is proud to have set the agenda for the 2012 elections.
One of Trump's maxims for business is to exceed expectations. "The Donald" does exceed expectations. He has become more obnoxious than anyone ever expected. Donald the Duck has more credibility.