Thursday, April 14, 2011

Donald Trump for President? Yipes.

I had originally called this post "Donald Trump: Too Right."  Let me clarify straightaway: I don't mean "too right" as in, more correct than we could have hoped.  No, no.  I mean, "too right" as in, he has no left.  But that's not entirely the case.  And while he's not the foaming right-winger that I feared he might be, I still don't think he's as balanced a candidate as we ought to have.

I wrote earlier in the week about birthers, that group that adamantly refuses to believe any evidence offered that Barack Obama might, in fact, be a naturally born American.  This issue was mostly dead and off in the fringe until Trump started shouting it again.  So this ridiculous Roswell-esque controversy is back in the headlines, and it's feeding off the reflected glory (?) of its loudest constituent, The Donald.

Let's consider the source.  What do we know about Trump?  He's a billionaire, he owns a short stack of Atlantic City casinos, he used to own a football team, he's been rich and he's been broke.

A lot of people, I think, have the mistaken assumption that Trump is rich because of his casinos and hotels.  Well, yes and no.  The casinos don't show consistent profits.  One of his hotel/casinos is selling so poorly - ostensibly as a direct result of the 2008 financial crisis - that he's tried to declare the financial crisis itself as an act of God, an unforeseeable disaster that has impacted his business like a tornado or tsunami...and tornadoes and tsunamis carry a lot of weight with creditors.  Maybe they could cut him a little slack?  Act of God, you know.

Well,'ve passed yourself off as a businessman for so long, a towering (ha ha ha) figure on the marketplace, trying to convince anyone that you had no idea the bad times were coming rings a little false.  Are you a brilliant businessman, or are you just some poor schlub that got blindsided by the banks?  Make up your mind, and then stick to it.

I never read Trump's book, The Art of the Deal.  It sounded too much like hucksterism to me, too much like patting oneself on the back.  Considering how far down in the dumps Trump was during the 90s, I don't think I was wrong.  But about the same time that book came out, I heard a little phrase and I don't remember who said it.  Here it is:

"Borrow $100,000 from the bank, and the bank owns you.  Borrow $100 million, and you own the bank."  At that level, the bank has entirely too much skin in the game to just pick up their ball and go home when the score starts to look bad.  And you being the game in question, they have to keep backing you.  Not indefinitely of course, but when you're holding the strings to $100 million of the bank's money, they're going to give you a lot more time and consideration than they do to the guy who's only got a $100,000 mortgage.

Another phrase heard during the financial meltdown was "too big to fail."  Now we know of course that nothing is ever too big to fail.  Observe the Soviet Union.  It was pretty big, and it failed.  That was something we were actually working toward making happen; with a little social engineering in the 80s we could have prevented the financial collapse of the 2000s.  But that ship has sailed, and we're getting back on top of things, sorta.  But my point is, with as much financial backing as he had, Donald Trump had become too big to fail.  Let me rephrase just a little: Donald Trump had become too big a liability to be permitted to fail.

Mmm, delicious.  Donald Trump = liability.

I won't speak a lot to Trump's politics.  They unfortunately tend to agree with some of my own views; damning them points an unpleasant finger back at myself.  Socially moderate, I'm there - but I'm not against gay marriage and Trump is - leery of Chinese trade imbalance, I'm there; against continuation or enhancement of our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, I'm there.  But these are just bullet points.  I can't get a complete view of his political stance because every time he comes across the TV, I have to shut it off before I start throwing things.

TVs are expensive, you know.

I've said it before and it bears repeating here, in print: it takes a certain amount of ego to run for President.  You have to have some gall to think you're the right guy for the job, and then to go and try to convince others of that.  As far as ego is concerned, Trump could run the table.  He's made such a name for himself by, uh, plastering his name on things, it's no surprise if he's started to believe some of his own hype.  I'm sure that he's sure he could do that job.

But the man is in a lot of debt, has been bankrupted more than once, and even now owes hundreds of millions.  If he's supposed to be so rich, why doesn't he pay those notes?

Maybe I'd rather see someone with a tighter budget history running the show.

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