I am gettin' snared in the "Trump Trap." I know I shouldn't write about him, because that's exactly what he wants us to do.
"Pay attention to me," every aspect of his life screams. "Love me, or hate me, just don't ignore me. I'll make my hair look stupid. I'll say strange stuff about how rich I am, and keep inventing new types of birth certificates to search for. Long form? Longer form? Longeresterest form? I'll keep up the search as long as you promise to talk about me."
But what can you do, right? A guy who says he's worth $9 billion and has TV shows and stuff says he's running for the GOP nomination for president, how can I not comment. I mean, I once wrote a column about Jon Huntsman's candidacy. I have typed the words "Dennis Kucinich" for a column. I'm fairly sure he wishes I hadn't, but I have. So how could I duck the Donald?
Trump officially announced his candidacy Tuesday at the Trump Tower in New York City, probably because having flirted with a run in the past, he knew that only a real campaign could get our tongues wagging and fingers typing.
That being said, I'm not sure exactly what it means in the long run to be an official candidate at this point in the game. Sixteen months before the 2012 election Michele Bachmann was trying to decide whether she'd be allowed to park a Lincoln Continental in the Lincoln Bedroom, so a lot can happen.
It's hard to think of anyone else like Trump, really. Steve Forbes ran on a "I'm Rich As @#$%" platform, but he was no Donald. Forbes was a kind of ordinary guy, just with a lot of money. So much, in fact, that it was worth it for him to run because if head won his vaunted "flat tax" would have saved him more in income taxes than his campaign cost. Way more.
But Forbes does have one thing in common with his Trumpiness: a very rich daddy. Steve Forbes had Malcolm. Donald Trump had daddy Fred, a developer who at one time owned more than 25,000 apartments in New York City. Speaking as someone who has never owned even one apartment in New York City, that's a lot of them.
So Trump is rich, but no one knows how rich, because his businesses tend to go through bankruptcies. He's a child of wealth. He's a decent golfer, a bloviator, has never held any kind of office and says his real qualification is that he believes only somebody "really rich," like himself, can restore this country to greatness.
But if we believed that (and we really, really don't), why would we elect a guy worth a measly $9 billion, who started out rich. If we want a rich guy, I'd take Bill Gates or Warren Buffett over the Trumpster any day.
They are really, really smart. And quiet. Really, really quiet.