That Trump might push this self-publicity campaign all the way to the 2012 Republican convention is expected by no one sane, which leaves many rightbloggers out.
But even some of those who doubt Trump’s sincerity are grateful that at least he’s bringing attention to the serious issue of Obama’s birth certificate.
Trump first leaked a little birtherism early last month, telling Good Morning America that he had “a little doubt” about the President’s background.
Later Trump went further, noting to Geraldo Rivera that Obama “spent a lot of money to keep this [birth certificate issue] out of print.” (He admitted he had not seen George W. Bush’s birth certificate, but he was “sure he has one.”) Trump also brought his act to The View (Whoopi Goldberg suggested his claims were racist, which Trump later called “insulting”) and was praised for his “valuable service” to birtherism by Rush Limbaugh.
True Disbelievers were ecstatic. Birther Report said that Fox News — yes, Fox News — “is in complete damage control mode… CAN YOU SHOW ME THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE!?… they can’t ignore the power of Trump. Don’t let up, Trump!” They also claimed Army Lt. Colonel Terry Lakin had been “sent to prison for asking the same simple question that Trump is now raising.” (Lakin was actually imprisoned for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan because he was not convinced that Obama is legitimately Commander in Chief.)
To be fair, some rightbloggers found the Trump birther campaign unproductive. “There are more legit things to hit Obama over the head with than where he was born or where he was raised,” said BigGator5 of RedState. “The point is, Trump doesn’t really grasp the intellectual basis behind conservative principles,” said Alana Goodman at Commentary, “and apparently has no interest in learning.”
Yeah yeah. But pointy-head cavils took a back seat when Trump released what he portrayed as his own birth certificate as a challenge to Obama. “Exclusive to Newsmax: Trump’s Hospital Birth Docs,” roared the birtherrific rightwing site, and showed a small certificate with a little seal in the corner.
“Donald Trump Shows His Birth Certificate: Now He Wants To See Obamas,” said The Warning Signs. “Barry Soetoro – Can Not Hide From Himself – Donald Trump,” headlined Morning Liberty Radio.
Some took the old Birther-with-an-Explanation approach. “I remain convinced that Obama is a citizen… but it is odd that Obama has refused to make a full release of his birth certificate,” said Say Anything.
Democrats for Sale was interested in Trump’s claim that “even in the classes he supposedly took at Columbia, no one remembers Obama. Something is not right and we have to wonder if at Columbia he studied in a foreign country as part of their program.” Wheels within wheels! Maybe that apartment he allegedly lived in was a front, too.
Left Coast Rebel suggested, reasonably, that this switcheroo had been Trump’s plan all along. He counted this as a triumph against the “Lamestream Press,” which made it a positive in his book even though he doubted Trump’s sincerity as a candidate.
Others felt similarly. “In the end, Trump will not run and will not be successful in getting Obama to release the long form of his birth certificate,” said Right Wing Thinking. “However, Trump might very well succeed in diminishing the sting of the ‘birther’ label.” Sharon Rondeau of The Post & Email, Inc “sent by fax, email, and certified mail to The Trump Organization in New York City” a lengthy missive offering “to meet with you via telephone or in person to further discuss the evidence against Obama and those who put him in power.”
It may be helpful to note here that Obama’s Certificate of Live Birth (that is, his birth certificate) has been viewed and photographed. But the issue persists because, polls suggest, many if not most Republicans choose to believe in it. And while many rightbloggers are pleased that Trump is playing directly to that crowd (“Trump is accomplishing in two weeks what some lawyers and pundits have been unable to do in two plus years”), more practical rightbloggers weren’t so happy about it.
At RedState, for example, gawken speculated that if Trump brought up his birther theme at a Republican candidates’ debate, the liberal media would unfairly use this as an excuse to talk about it (“These people are NOT impartial, they aren’t our friends…they are working diligently, every day, to defeat us, and the principals we advocate”).
Birtherism is supposed to be a Republican secret weapon — accent on the “secret.” It may be hinted at, as the more believable Republican candidate Mike Huckabee did when he said he’d “love to know more” about Obama’s birth certificate, but always with plausible deniability, lest independents be alienated. To paraphrase Kirk Lazarus, you never go full birther. That’s why the bigger rightbloggers like Instapundit mainly drop intriguing related items about Obama’s heritage (“DONALD TRUMP: You know, I think that Obama fellow just might be a Muslim”) without getting too deep into it.
Still it’s a tonic for the troops, as shown by The Last Refuge‘s endorsement: “I’m rooting for THE DONALD to keep beating the progs over the head with an issue I don’t give a hoot about.”
And seeing as it’s early in the election, some of the boys and girls actually took the time to explain what else they liked about Candidate Trump.
Israpundit claimed Trump “is getting traction for his positions. The only thing stranger than him becoming President, was Obama becoming President.” (Among these positions: Trump would “have stayed in Iraq after conquering them to keep control of the oil and control OPEC,” and would “slash spending.”)
The Daily Grand and Sundry actually thought President Trump would put paid to corporate tax dodgers such as General Electric (“this Blog does not think GE is smarter than a billionaire New Yorker”) rather than congratulating them on a scam well played, and recommended Trump for a “Churchillian ticket” with Senator Marco Rubio. “America is now BATTLESHIP GALATICA,” they added, “in the position of the TWELVE COLONIES, China is the CYLONS, and Trump is COMMANDER ADAMA.”
The Pagan Temple felt Trump is “making some of the right noises now,” but wondered if he wouldn’t become a RINO upon winning the Presidency. “The fact that he’s been making conciliatory gestures towards his old rival Rosie O’Donnell-why now-doesn’t ease my concerns,” The Pagan Temple added.
Yahoo News reported that Christian conservatives Ralph Reed and Tony Perkins had kind things to say about the “flamboyant” Trump’s candidacy; we still think that has to be an April Fools’ Day gag, though Yahoo offers no update.
The most intriguing case for Trump’s candidacy came from an alleged “D.C. Insider” as interviewed by someone named Ulsterman. Among Obama’s advantages, this Insider said, was that “Obama still has the support of most of the media, and that is crucial.” Also Obama is raising a lot of money. But the Insider claimed “idealism from within the [Democratic] machine is much-much less than before.” In evidence he offered a quote — “we’ll take their money – but this guy is a hell of a lot weaker candidate than people know” — from “one guy.”
Also Obama is a lousy President, natch, whose “words have to be first approved by [Presidential advisor] Valerie Jarrett.” This the Insider predicted would put her at odds with fellow advisor David Plouffe, because “Plouffe is white – that alone makes him suspect in the eyes of Jarrett and the First Lady. Am I goin’ there? Yeah – I am. Race… racism, is a significant component of the Obama White House. I’ve already spoken to this subject, and I ain’t letting it go…”
Anyway Jarrett will take over the 2012 campaign from Plouffe, the Insider said, and she “can’t run a campaign,” so that will presumably weaken Obama. The Insider still thinks Obama’s got the edge, and will definitely run again, because “some people came in last summer and explained to the Obamas what their earnings potential would be with just a first term vs two full terms.”
The Insider assessed the more traditional Republican prospects’ strengths and weaknesses (“Intellectually [Newt Gingrich] is far superior to Barack Obama. Trust me on that one”), and found them all wanting in a race against the powerful if incompetent and corrupt Obama. But Trump, the Insider believed, could pull it off.
“At first I thought it was something of a joke,” the Insider admitted, “…but since then others have confirmed its legit – and considerable money is already being spent in preparation.” Plus Trump “has name recognition that is as great as Obama’s – perhaps greater.” He has money and staff, and “enjoys strong support among the union rank and file,” in part because of “his words against China.” The Insider also claimed other Republicans were “too afraid to be seen as attacking the ‘Black” president,” whereas “I don’t think Donald Trump would have that fear.”
He added that he’d “love to work for that campaign,” so Donald, if you’re listening, this proven, anonymous Insider is available.
Tavern Keeper at RedState figured, “I don’t see The Donald making an American Apology Tour, or kowtowing to Vlad Putin.” Also, “he’s tough as John Wayne toilet paper, and wouldn’t think twice about hitting terrorists hard.” (JWTP is a military reference, in case you were wondering.)
“Just imagine that it is January 20, 2013,” said The Grouch at Right Truth. “Donald Trump has been elected president. After his inauguration, he goes to a variety of places, the State Department, the Department of Energy, the FCC, the Department of Education, the EPA, and many other gubment agencies. In no uncertain terms he says, ‘YOU’RE FIRED!’ Now wouldn’t that be just too cool?”
Now, at first this made us think: While you’re at it, why not imagine Bart Simpson telling these agencies to eat his shorts, or bureaucrats burning at the Man-Thing’s touch? But then we saw the genius of it. Americans are so throughly disillusioned with their government that not even hot tea infusions are exciting them anymore. Maybe, given the slim chance of a real turnaround, the best we can hope for is a temporary retreat into outright fantasy. And for many modern conservatives, a tycoon who tells people they’re fired is probably pretty close to a wet dream.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 3, 2011