Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Say no to Trump
Donald Trump is a manufactured celebrity, a publicity whore unfit to shine the shoes of thousands of genuine business people I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with in my 30-plus years as a lawyer. I will not contribute to his cause by linking any of the various sources that are popping up regarding rumors of some "revelation" that Trump may or may not be planning on making now, on the brink of the election.
I will repeat, however, something I've said here and elsewhere repeatedly: Michelle Obama and I probably would never be close friends, but not a single one of my arguments as to why Barack Obama should lose this election has anything to do with her. When it comes to finding grounds to find fault with her husband, we are in a target-rich environment, friends and neighbors. But:
There is simply no net political upside for anyone who opposes Barack Obama's reelection in doing anything that will be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as an attack on the First Lady, or an intrusion into the Obamas' marriage and family that has no close relationship to anything Pres. Obama has done or might do as President.
There is, by vivid contrast, an obvious and enormous potential for blowback and backlash. So anyone who does that — including Donald the Ridiculous — is acting entirely on his own behalf, not on behalf of Mitt Romney or the GOP or conservatives (even the most traditional social conservatives).
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Let me also address, and preempt, an argument that some might make to the effect that Barack Obama "deserves" this, or that it's some kind of political karma coming back to bite him, based on the Jack and Jeri Ryan precedent:
When Obama ran for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004, his GOP opponent was a promising young face in the party, Jack Ryan. Ryan's wife — a striking and moderately famous actress, Jeri Ryan (best known as "Seven of Nine" on "Star Trek: Voyager") — had filed under judicial seal certain divorce pleadings in which she alleged that Jack Ryan had taken her to "swingers" clubs to view other couples having sex, and that he had unsuccessfully urged her to participate. The allegations were never tested or proved, and they were hotly disputed within the private confines of the Ryans' divorce, but like most such domestic crises, the Ryans' battling ended up in an agreed divorce, property division, and custody/support arrangement. And as part of that agreement, the court order sealing those potentially controversial filings had been maintained at the request of both divorcing spouses and to protect the interests of their very young son.
But in response to pressure and legal proceedings from two newspapers — who had absolutely no better or more meritorious argument than "We're the Press and we think the People have an Automatic and Sacred Right to Know that trumps the Ryans' privacy rights" — a California family court judge lifted the seal on the filings. The salacious allegations were immediately made very public indeed. Jack Ryan was forced to withdraw from the race as a result of the ensuing public furor.
Did Barack Obama benefit from this? Unquestionably, but within limits: Ryan was always a longshot against Obama (who'd also benefited from opponents self-destructing during the Democratic primary), but the Illinois GOP's last-minute replacement from out-of-state was a certain loser. Were the would-be muckraiser journalists sympathetic to Obama and hostile to his GOP opponent? Duh. Was the Obama campaign behind the whole crusade? No evidence for that theory has ever been advanced.
My point, though, doesn't depend on some relative calculation of the Obamas' worthiness for privacy. My point is that even if one thinks it's somehow fair or just for this kind of stuff to be employed against Obama — and I do not think that myself — it's nevertheless stupid and unproductive, indeed counterproductive, for Republicans to do so.
(2) Rico Ludovici made the following comment | Oct 25, 2012 10:42:39 AM | Permalink
Donald Trump is a regional celebrity, not a national one. In his one foray to Los Angeles some 25 years ago, he attempted to purchase a large commercial property on Wilshire Boulevard - the closed Ambassador Hotel. His technique was bluster and personal publicity. The property still stands unsold, and Trump retreated to New York. HIs real estate enterprise subsequently collapsed. He now makes most of his money on leasing his name and holding 10% of others' successful businesses.
I do not understand why anyone, especially Greta Van Susteren, thinks that his opinion has any value of greater worth than any other celebrity. He is basically a self-aggrandizing publicity seeker who adds only limited value to a product. Those who are blinded by his public prominence are his natural market.
I concur with Beldar. There is no upside whatsoever for Republicans when they disparaging or scorn a candidate's spouse, even if s/he is a worthy target. That is because conservatives are always measured publicly by what their opponents say the conservative's values are, not the values s/he actually holds.
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