Trump: ‘Opportunistic hack’ tries to drum up support

Donald, Donald, Donald. What on earth are you thinking?

Over the past few weeks, the billionaire real estate titan has gone on a calamitous media crusade to boost ratings for his television show, “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

Of course, that’s not what he admits to doing. Even the man who has come to be known as “the Donald” would not wish to be seen lapsing into such self-serving antics. Instead, Trump is using the pretense of considering a presidential run to generate buzz for his show as its 11th season draws to a close.

This would not be a story in itself — just another sad tale of a has-been celebrity frustrated with dwindling ratings and seeking to return to the glory days of old. But the story begins to gain life when you look to the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll and see that Trump has now become a front-runner for the Republican nomination.

How did this happen?

It all goes back to Trump’s failed presidential bid in 2000. That year, he flirted with the possibility of running as a third-party candidate for the Reform Party. His campaign imploded, however, as soon as people started to read about some of his loony economic ideas in his book, “The America We Deserve,” which outlined, among other things, Trump’s plan to institute a one-time 14.25 percent tax on personal estates worth more than $10 million.

The idea never caught on.

Trump has had 10 years to refine his message, and he finally seems to have latched on to something that works: birtherism. Rather than focusing on jobs or the economy — you know, the sort of issues that actually matter — Trump has revived the bitter, fact-free conspiracy theories that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States and is some sort of Manchurian Candidate.

Anyone with access to what I like to call “reality” knows this is nonsense, of course. President Obama released his certificate of live birth in the early months of his presidential campaign. The authenticity of the document — legally equivalent to a birth certificate in every way — has been confirmed by multiple non-partisan organizations, such as “FactCheck.org”:http://www.FactCheck.org.

Hawaiian health officials as well as the state’s governor have also “personally confirmed”:http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html that Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961, as birth announcements in two local papers indicated.

But that’s not good enough for Trump. He is demanding to see the original, long-form birth certificate on the off chance that it contains some sort of embarrassing personal information. Could it be that Obama was a 14-pound pudge at birth? Were his ears just as Spock-ishly abnormal then as they are now? Or is it possible, as Trump speculated to Bill O’Reilly, that the birth certificate listed Obama as a Muslim?

The answer — at least to the last question — is a definite “no.” Religious affiliation was not recorded on Hawaiian birth certificates in 1962.

But even if it was, who cares? It’s not as if the hours-old Obama grabbed a pen and filled out the form himself. It would reveal more about the beliefs of his parents than the beliefs of baby Obama.

The case against Trump doesn’t end there. Despite touting his business credentials every chance he gets, the fact is that Donald Trump has a very mixed record when it comes to the business deals and decisions he has made. In the last two decades, his businesses have fallen into bankruptcy on four separate occasions, including Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. in 2004.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel comfortable entrusting America’s budget to a man who could not even keep a casino profitable.

Trump is not going to be able to ride the birther issue for much longer. As it begins to grow stale, he will have to start answering some more serious questions about his past regarding his support of a Canadian-style universal health care system and a woman’s right to have an abortion, not to mention his financial backing of liberal Democratic politicians like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nevada Sen. Harry Reid.

And when these questions do come up, it’s only a matter of time before conservatives realize that Trump is nothing more than an opportunistic hack seeking to boost the ratings of his dying show.

_Jason is a senior in Engineering._