On Sunday night, President Obama gave only his third prime-time address to the nation, to outline his plan to confront Muslim terrorism.
The next afternoon, Donald Trump issued a two-paragraph press release saying he would shut down immigration from Muslim nations until we can sort the bad guys out from the good guys.
So whose plan did we talk about? Who got the headlines? Whose plan is supported by 46% of Americans, according to Rasmussen?
Like it or not, the 2016 presidential election looks to be a referendum on Donald Trump. He has succeeded in becoming the center of American politics, which means the center of global politics because everyone looks to and reacts to the United States. When we are weak, ayatollahs take hostages. When we are strong, ayatollahs release hostages.
Becoming the center of the center stage is no easy feat. Trump assumed control of the spotlight from the most telegenic and Narcissistic president in the nation's history, beating both Roosevelts on the latter count and Kennedy on the former.
Trump talks, and people listen -- then they argue and argue and argue.
That is supposed to be how politics works. Someone makes a proposal and then we argue over it.
Politics devolved into partisan camps. Democrats versus Republicans. It is sporting fun, of course, but Americans are at war and we should be deadly serious. Most people are; our leaders are not. There is a great resentment and anger because of this. Trump understands this in a way no one else does.
How does he know this while others do not? Well New York gossip columnist wrote on August 24, 2015, "I Think I Invented the Trumps." She goes back 40 years with him. She wrote 25 years ago of "his love-hate relationship with the hoity-toity and the adoration of hoi polloi."
Trump is a man of the people.
This summer, she wrote:
Everyone remembers exactly where he or she was when President Kennedy was shot. But I, typical gossip columnist that I am, remember exactly where I was when I first heard the word Trump. My friend and literacy ally Parker Ladd and I were in a car heading up Park Avenue. As we neared the statue of old Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt that forces New York drivers to turn right and then left at what used to be the Pan Am Building and still is Grand Central Station, Parker said, "Have you ever met Ivana and Donald Trump?" I said I hadn't.She soon did.
Parker gave me chapter and verse on the Trumps and the wide swath they were beginning to cut in New York: how certain uppity types didn't approve of them because it was all nouveau riche money and yet, they were attractive and had three divine little children and, he added, "Mrs. Trump — Ivana — is really a very sweet, dear person. I think she's getting a bad rap."
A bad rap! I sat up, being a sucker for anybody who is being pushed around by the Establishment. I immediately decided I liked Ivana Trump from afar and was curious. Before long, I met Mrs. Trump, and then I met her tall blond husband. I found them both refreshing, if a bit presumptuous and naïve socially, and I began to note their comings and goings. Little did I dream that their eventual "going" would be something of my "coming" to the fore in newsprint and other media. The Trumps were to have a profound effect on my career.
But before that, I became involved with the entire Trump family. I liked them — the daddy, Fred, who had slugged his way to the top in the Queens building business; his other mild-mannered son, Robert, and his adorable charity-minded wife, Blaine; Mary, the matriarch mother, a truly divine lady; the two sisters — Maryanne Barry, a New Jersey judge, and the other, Elizabeth Grau, a banker. I began going to many of the overachieving Trump family's anniversaries, weddings and birthdays.Trump wanted to be rich and famous (and probably president) when he grew up and he is rich and famous (and maybe president in 2017). Liz Smith said Ivana dubbed him The Donald. The Trumps never quite fit in, but they rose like his buildings. Liz Smith wrote:
When New York magazine selected its twenty "Most Important" New Yorkers in April 1988, editor Ed Kosner said that the list was a fantasy. But he invited me to describe the greatest fantasist of all, Donald Trump. The magazine defended naming him, along with such paragons as Brooke Astor, "Because his buildings and his book and his ego are so much bigger than life."
In my article, I spoke of Donald's rabid detractors and his love-hate relationship with the hoity-toity and the adoration of hoi polloi. I said if he smoked, he'd have his cigarettes monogrammed like so — $ — with Ayn Rand's dollar sign. But I added that jealousy and spite played some part in making him the city's biggest target. Yes, he bragged and blew hard, but in my book he wasn't a real phony or a fake. I found him incapable of dissembling or doing the hypocritical things a lot of other rich New Yorkers do — such as blathering on about "giving back to the community." Donald had never gone hog-wild giving money away to charity in order to pander to the public. No, it just wasn't his thing. Likening him to the rich young ruler who asked Jesus what he might do to be saved? I noted that Donald wasn't ready to be "saved." (Jesus said, "Sell all your goods and give them to the poor" — and the young ruler went away sorrowing for he was very rich.)Remember her words when political people talk about The Donald being a fake or a hypocrite. A businessman who becomes a billionaire has to be a man of his word. No one will make a deal with you if they cannot trust you.
Now politicians get away with it because they have the power of the government behind them. The biggest lying thief in political history and his wife set up the Clinton Foundation to collect tax-free bribes in the name of charity.
Trump made his money.
People see the difference.
Critics of Trump tend to be elitists. If you tell me that Trump is appealing to the lowest common denominator, you are telling me more about yourself than you are telling me about him. Trump supporters are not rubes. As far as college education goes, I have come to the realization that adults without college degrees are not uneducated but rather unindoctrinated. My brother-in-law's safe place when he was of college age was a tent in South Korea (and he was happy he was not in Vietnam, where one of my former brothers-n-law was).
Trump is good at self-promotion. So was George Washington. It's called leadership.
Jeb Bush has spent oodles on TV ads so he can be a full 10 points out of 4th place in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Trump ain't spent a dime on an ad and is ahead of the pack by 15 points (Ted Cruz is in second place with half Trump's support).
The press has not been this hostile to a presidential candidate since Dick Nixon. The four stages of the press reaction to a Trump plan are this:
We saw that on building a wall and closing off Mexico. We saw that on halting Muslim immigration. But at least the press has stopped talking about his hair.1. It is unconstitutional.2. OK, it is constitutional, but it is unprecedented.3. OK, there is a precedent, but it is immoral.4. OK, um, maybe it is moral, but look over there, a squirrel.
He cannot win the general? So why is Hillary's slogan now "Love trumps hate"?
Dean Martin said of Sinatra, "It's Frank's world; I just live in it."
In global politics today, it is Trump's world; 8 billion people just live in it.
That could change in the next 11 months when we elect a new president. But that is where we are today