It's fun to make fun of Kim Kardashian. Her whole persona is a bit silly. She's famous for being famous—though it's hard to know how the ball even got rolling. She made a fool of herself with an over-the-top wedding, one which earned her millions of dollars, followed by a speedy divorce. In many ways, Kardashian, while lovely, embodies everything that has gone wrong with popular American culture.
But I'll give her this: She's no Donald Trump.
Kardashian, to her credit, seems to know it's all a bit of a joke. She "stars" in a ridiculous "reality" TV show. She's giving a part of the American public what they want, even if what they want is depressingly low-rent. But it's fairly clear she does not take herself too seriously—or even at all seriously.
Trump, meanwhile, seems to be completely lacking in self awareness. He looks and sounds like a caricature of a blowhard, egotistical buffoon who imagines that he's smart because—gasp!—he made money in real estate at a time when you would have to be aggressively stupid not to make money in real estate. If Trump seemed cognizant of all this, I could deal with it, even give him some credit for being willing to make a fool of himself for the public's entertainment. But Trump is clueless. He really thinks he's extremely smart and has something worthwhile to say.
Remarkably, Trump is continuing his public questioning of President Obama's place of birth. It was embarrassing enough that the White House felt it had to release the president's long-form birth certificate to prove he was born in Hawaii. But unfortunately, enough people are so desperate to believe that someone as un-Trump looking as Obama could actually be president that they needed to have the paper put right in front of their faces. Whether that worked with some of the birthers is unclear; people who can't handle the truth won't recognize it, even when it's presented in Las Vegas, Trump Hotel neon. But the fact that Trump has continued this week to push such an absurd conspiracy theory goes far beyond that.
For the rank-and-file birthers, the questions about Obama's birth certificate are actually about Obama. He's mixed-race. He has a kind of funny name. He spent part of his childhood in Indonesia. How could he follow folks like Dwight D. Eisenhower and both George Bushes into office?
But with Trump, the conspiracy theory has little to do with Obama. Like just about everything that passes through the real estate magnate's badly combed-over head, it's all about Donald. He can't stand that Obama is president and he isn't—or that Obama is somehow more powerful than he is, or doesn't seek Trump's approval. The fact that Trump is actually undermining soon-to-be GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney merely underscores the point. Romney can and should distance himself from Trump (or at least, his embarrassing ravings about Obama's place of birth). So if Romney is damaged by his association with Trump, it's partly Romney's fault. It's not just that Trump is supporting Romney, it's that Romney is actively attaching himself to Trump—a tactic made even more bizarre considering that Trump is best known for saying, "You're fired,"' on TV. That's not what you need when you're living down comments that you enjoy firing people, even if those comments were somewhat misinterpreted. Neither Romney nor any other candidate should have to account for every stupid thing said by every person who supports them or contributes to their campaign. But Romney is better than this. He's better than Trump by a long shot.
But to Trump, this isn't about Romney. It's Trump, so it's all about Donald. He is foolish and self centered but not actually stupid. He knows very well how badly he's hurting Romney with his ridiculous displays. Trump is not going to be president. So he doesn't want anyone else to be president, either. When will Romney cut him loose?
- Read Robert Schlesinger: 'Transcripters' Make Birthers Look Smart
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