Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Trump, Marketing and the Presidency

If you’re someone who keeps up on current events you know one fact to be true: the world is full of assholes. There are the billions of literal assholes, of course, and then the figurative ones that seem to make their way into our daily news cycle.

Sometimes the asshole in question is a badly dressed despot (think Gadhafi) and other times they’re strategically misinformed fear mongers (think anyone appearing on Fox News). In recent weeks, one of America’s all-time great jackasses has managed to commandeer a ridiculous amount of press by threatening to run for the Presidency of the United States.

If there were an asshole Hall of Fame, Donald Trump would get in on the first ballot. The peak of the self-aggrandizing real-estate mogul’s jackass-ery may have been his recent celebrity roast on Comedy Central. As close friends and professional comedians took profane shots at the Donald’s career, enigmatic hair and love life, the guest of honor stared blankly at the audience, staunching refusing to acknowledge that any part of his life could possibly be the butt of a joke.

In the last couple weeks, the man with the world’s most famous comb over has provided future roasters with even more comedic gold by insinuating he might run for President in 2012.  While the idea of a Trump candidacy is funnier than a Jeff Ross put down,  there are many out there who don’t get the joke. The media is covering Trump and his potential campaign like it’s  a missing blonde co-ed and Republican voters have put some legitimacy behind the threat by moving him to the top of the GOP field in a recent poll with 26%.

This would all be very newsworthy except that there’s no chance of a Trump campaign ever getting off the ground. In fact, I’d say there’s a better chance of Lindsay Lohan gracing next month’s cover of Good Housekeeping.

For one, he doesn’t actually want to run. He admitted as much during a weekend interview with CNN. “I love my life. I love what I’m doing. I wish I didn’t have to do it. I would prefer not doing it. But I love this country.”

While I appreciate his selfless patriotism, a true patriot would have spared the American public from having to watch Meatloaf and Gary Busey yell at each other on primetime television. And I could be wrong, but that quote certainly doesn’t make it sound like the host of “The Apprentice” is ready and willing to go through the grind of a long political campaign.

Trump also knows he can’t win. As iconic as he may be, the GOP is not exactly a party known for taking a lot of chances with their presidential nominations. They have a long and storied tradition of putting the “next guy in line” on stage at their convention and I can’t imagine that changing anytime soon. Besides, does anyone really believe that Red State voters are going to come out in droves to cast their ballots for an elitist business tycoon from New York City who’s been married three times?

But the real reason Trump will not throw his proverbial hat into the ring is simple: financial disclosure forms. These documents are a requirement for candidates and Trump’s would be a particularly interesting revelation because of the public’s perception of his empire. No matter how much money the Donald is really worth, there’s always a chance that the figure, no matter how high, would seem inadequate.

The myth of Donald Trump’s wealth and success is perhaps the most important part of his public persona. If the numbers in his documents revealed him to be quite wealthy as opposed to really obnoxiously otherworldly rich it could seriously damage the Trump brand. And that’s something he would never allow to happen.

Trump is a brilliant self-promoter who has an uncanny ability of knowing when and where to rear his ugly head. He’s recognized a power vacuum amongst Conservatives and has pounced at the chance to fill it. Not because he has any serious ambitions for the highest office in the land but because badmouthing Obama and questioning the legitimacy of the President’s citizenship is good for business.

By endearing himself to the birthers and tea party faithful at the most extreme end of the political spectrum, he’s opening up new markets for all things Trump. He’s speculating on the anti-Obama crowd, knowing that these are consumers who have yet to drink from the Trump trough. But now that’s he’s gained their trust they’ll be ripe for the picking the next time he’s selling a book or promoting a reality show.

Donald Trump’s faux run at the White House is not about patriotism or love of country. It’s not about righteousness or outrage. It’s not even about politics. It’s about ego, money and little else.

And if that doesn’t make him one of the great American assholes then I don’t know what would.

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The Greatest

You know what I’ve been thinking about lately?  The Greatest.

This past Sunday was no ordinary Sunday.  It was Super Bowl Sunday.  And for the second year in a row, the game lived up to the ridiculous amount of hype – as much as that’s actually possible.  The underdog Arizona Cardinals stormed back from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter, to take the lead with under three minutes left.  But alas the Pittsburgh Steelers answered with their own monumental 78-yard touchdown drive, securing their record sixth Super Bowl Title.

Minutes after the game ended, commentators, columnists and pundits were lining up to proclaim Super Bowl XLIII “the greatest” Super Bowl ever, a mere year after collectively declaring the New York Giants upset win over the then undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII “the greatest.”  Pittsburgh’s interception return at the end of the first half was being hailed by some as “the greatest” Super Bowl play ever, Santonio Holmes’ acrobatic game winning touchdown was, according to some, “the greatest” Super Bowl TD catch in history and I even heard a few voices proclaim Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of the national anthem as “the greatest.”

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The greatest confetti ever!

Apparently, if you missed this year’s Super Bowl, you missed out on a lot of greatness.

So much greatness, in fact, that if anyone at home was playing a drinking game which required participants to consume their alcoholic beverages of choice anytime one of the myriad of post-game talking heads threw around “the greatest” moniker, they most certainly found themselves suffering “the greatest” hangover of all-time Monday morning.

What’s wrong with simply basking in the glow of a very, very good game – maybe even a great game – and leaving its true greatness to be figured out at some point down the road?  Why the rush to declare it and everything associated with it “the greatest” right away?  Was there a cash prize awarded the person who most definitively and decisively convinced football fans that last Sunday’s championship game was “the greatest” ever?

This recent obsession with labeling anything that’s highly above average “the greatest” is not just a sports cliché, but rather a trend that is slowly eroding the very foundation of our society.  Okay, that might be overstating it somewhat, but it is, at the very least, starting to get really annoying.  Let’s look back at this past year.

Michael Phelps?  Greatest Olympian ever.

Barack Obama?  Greatest campaign ever.

The ShamWow?  Greatest infomercial ever.

While I can’t argue with the greatness that is the ShamWow, I do wonder when all these pointless declarations might come to an end.

And yet as I sit at my keyboard and throw stones, I must admit I’m no better than the rest of the country.  Just a few weeks ago, after my son did something both intelligent and adorable, I declared him “the greatest” kid ever.  Now don’t get me wrong, he’s really, really great.  But the greatest kid ever?  Hardly.

Perhaps our real problem is a deep-rooted societal need to prove our worth by outdoing (or at least thinking we’ve outdone) those things that came before.  So by constantly referring to things as “the greatest” or “the best ever,” we’re in essence convincing ourselves that the exact time we live  in is vastly superior to the years, decades and centuries that have past.   As if things like Tivo and the internet didn’t already accomplish this.

Well, I for one, will no longer take part in this national inferiority complex.   In the future I pledge to refrain from using overblown hyperbole.  All I’m asking is that the rest of America follow my lead and do the same.  We’re better than this.  We’re a nation that collectively put our checkered past behind us and found it in our hearts to elect an African-American President.  We should have no problem shedding the overuse of an obnoxious adjective.

And when we do, well, I just think it’ll be “the greatest.”


The Presidency

You know what I’ve been thinking about lately?  The Presidency.

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I swear I'll do better than the last guy.

This past Tuesday, the citizens of America and the world turned their collective eyes to Washington D.C. to witness the most ballyhooed inauguration in generations as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United Sates.  Part of the buzz was undoubtedly due to great historical significance of an African-American man taking the oath to become the Commander-in-Chief.  The other part was clearly because of the “ding-dong the witch is dead” vibe most of the country (and the world) felt knowing it was Bush and Cheney’s last day on the job.

Now that the inauguration is over, President Obama finds himself with a lot of work to do.  America is in worse shape than the average contestant on “The Biggest Loser” and now the self-proclaimed skinny guy with the funny name must do everything in his power to whip us back into shape.

But how can he possibly do that?  I mean how does a mortal man get to solving these monumental problems when he just moved into a giant, new home and has unfettered access to everything and anything he could ever want?

It’s easy to see why Dubya got so distracted.  Each perk must’ve seemed like a shiny object he couldn’t take his eyes off of.

I, for one, wouldn’t be able to concentrate on renewable energy or the wars in the Middle East, not when I could spend time introducing myself to the fringe benefits that come with holding the highest office in the land.

I’d inevitably spend the entire first day of my presidency on Air Force One asking the crew annoying questions.

“Can I get every live sporting event in the world on these TVs?”

“Yes, Mr. President.”

“In HD?”

“Yes, Mr. President.”

“And an order of deluxe nachos with extra sour cream?”

I’d spend at least two weeks grilling the Secret Service Agents about everything they learned at Secret Service school and then spend the rest of the year trying to get them to laugh.  They may be the best of the best, but something tells me a good, long fart would do the trick.  It’s lowbrow, but it always seems to get the job done.

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President Dave?

And while tax-paying Americans waited with bated breath for me to deal with our fledgling economy and the healthcare crisis, I’d be hard at work redecorating the White House.  I think I’d turn Nixon’s bowling alley into the world’s most lavish man cave and the Map Room into an old-time western saloon.  Future Presidents would no doubt thank me for these modifications while they drank Sarsaparilla with their senior staffs.

It’s easy to see why the Presidency of the United States is such an important job that can’t be entrusted to just anyone.  The individual holding the office must be intelligent, mature, focused and willing to put personal desires aside no matter how much he (or she) wants to take the Presidential limo through a Wendy’s drive-thru.

Barack Obama seems to fit the bill.  I clearly do not.  I can think of someone else who clearly did not.  But I suppose there’s no reason to beat that dead horse.  After all…

Ding-dong the witch is dead.