Archive for the ‘Donald Trump’ Category

Yes, Marco is the big winner of the night! By coming in third. Or maybe second. And he’s not talking participation trophy here. No, he’s a winner, yes he is! Sheesh. At least he’s getting a lot of practice delivering his victory speech for when he actually needs it. If he ever does.

The big news, of course, is that the Donald Trump felled another member of The Deep Bench, namely Jeb! Bush. The Deep Bench was so deep–remember?–that a complete novice of a politician has laid waste to most of them. I feel a little sad for Jeb!. I mean, he was always supposed to be the smart one, but in the end he was bested by his dumb brother. That’s gotta sting. You know it does. But I’m also a little sad for Jeb! because he was really just about the only one to pushback against Trump’s ugly bigotry. So now the Republicans get to own Trump. He is them and they are him.

And we might be better off with him than Rubio, anyway–that is, assuming either one of them can beat Hillary. Matt Yglesias had an interesting piece on Vox the other day, titled “Why I’m more worried about Marco Rubio than Donald Trump.”

Yglesias explains that Rubio’s budget math is “ridiculous.” Remember: Republicans are supposed to be the ones who know how to manage budgets. You’d never know it from their presidential candidates.

Rubio has proposed a tax cut that will reduce federal revenue by $6.8 trillion over 10 years. Numbers that large don’t mean anything to people, so for comparison’s sake let’s say that if we entirely eliminated American military spending over that period we still couldn’t quite pay for it.

But of course Rubio doesn’t want to eliminate military spending — he wants to spend more. He also promises to avoid any cuts to Social Security and Medicare for people currently at or near retirement. For good measure, he is also proposing a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. You could eliminate the entire non-defense discretionary budget and you’d still need $100 billion to $200 billion more per year in cuts to make this work.

This is, of course, totally unworkable. And the process that led Rubio to this point is telling and troubling.

Rubio entered the Senate at a time when an intellectual movement known as “reform” was hot in conservative circles, which argued that Republicans should concentrate less on supply-side tax cuts and more on tax policy focused on the working class. This originally took the form of a $2.4 trillion tax cut plan crafted by Utah Sen. Mike Lee that Rubio signed on to but then kept transforming into a larger and more regressive tax cut, as Rubio came under pressure from the supply-side wing of the party and it became clear that the constituency for “reform” conservatism was limited to a handful of media figures. Eager to prove that his dalliance with the reformocons was over, he actually ended up proposing to entirely eliminate taxes on investment income, meaning that billionaire captains of industry could end up paying nothing at all.

The upshot is a plan that is costly and regressive, yet paired with other commitments around entitlements, military spending, and constitutional amendments that make it completely impossible.

Trump’s tax plan is even costlier than Rubio’s by most measures. But in his defense, he barely ever talks about it and hasn’t compounded the cost problem with a balanced-budget amendment or a firm commitment to enormous quantities of new military spending.

Then there’s Rubio’s foreign policy:

Rubio’s approach to world affairs essentially repeats the “let’s have it all and who cares if it adds up” mentality of his fiscal policy. His solution to every problem is to confront some foreign country more aggressively, with no regard to the idea of trade-offs or tensions between goals or limits to how much the United States can bite off at any particular time.

There’s more in the article. I guess we shouldn’t worry too much until Rubio actually wins something.

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So at the Republican debate last Saturday night, Donald Trump went hard at Jeb Bush in his usual aggressive, bullying style. “Obviously, the war in Iraq is a big, fat mistake, all right? George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.” And, “The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign. Remember that.” Trump continued that line of thought on the Sunday talk shows, and he’s kept it up on Twitter today:

Trump was booed at the debate, but the lingering question is, will his performance hurt him in South Carolina? I suspect not, and the reason is that Trump is speaking some unspoken truths that many conservatives know to be true in their gut. Deep down, they at least suspect that they were lied to about the Iraq war, and they know it was a mistake. They actually do know that the World Trade Center towers came down during the George W. Bush administration. They do know that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. And yet, they stick to the party line. Why?

Well, first of all, to begin questioning the party line would be to admit that they themselves were wrong. That’s a problem for people who pride themselves on being, say, intelligence analysts. But it’s also because the thought leaders within their bubble continue to insist that the World Trade Center bombing was actually President Clinton’s fault, that the Iraq War was necessary because Saddam Hussein posed an existential threat to the United States, and that WMD actually were found, just like President Bush said they would (and even though President Bush has admitted they weren’t found). So it’s easy to just stick to the party line and keep the doubts beneath the surface, left unspoken. It’s a form of peer pressure.

We need to remember that a lot of conservatives have isolated themselves from anyone they think may be a liberal. This includes most of mainstream thought, not just true liberals. A perfect example is our friends at Blogs For Victory. Not only are they afraid to have anonymous discussions with individuals who challenge their opinions, their fear even extends to their daily, non-Internet lives. We know this because of the many times they have explained that they no longer speak to friends, or even relatives, who they deem to be “liberals.” They simply can’t stomach the thought of their worldview being challenged. Of course, the biggest challenge to them has been the election and re-election of Barack Obama. Sometimes these conservatives explain that they actually have healthy disagreement amongst themselves, but in saying so, they leave out what truly unites them, which is their shared hatred of President Obama and their belief that he is an illegitimate president.

This doesn’t mean that they aren’t aware of the mistakes of the Bush presidency–they’re just not willing to accept them being pointing them out by people who aren’t their thought leaders. Now along comes Donald Trump, who, at the Republican debate of all places, just comes right out and says it: Bush lied, the Iraq war was a horrible mistake, etc. Yeah, some people booed, but a lot of them know he’s right, even if they’re afraid to say so. An actual Republican candidate is giving legitimacy to some unaired thoughts.

They also believe he’s right when he says that Social Security and Medicare should be saved, not slashed. This particularly resonates with many of the bubble people because, well, they do or will shortly depend on Social Security and Medicare. See, conservative politicians can carry on about the Constitution and all, but conservative voters are a bit more pragmatic. It’s just that they generally won’t deviate from the party line until someone representing the party gives them permission to. And that’s what Donald Trump is doing. Conservatives would never accept it from a Democrat, but Donald Trump is running as a Republican, so he’s giving voice to their private thoughts.

You’ll continue to hear the usual conservative thought leaders bashing Trump for his apostasy. But silently, conservative voters are hearing things from Trump that they’ve thought about in their private moments–thoughts they wouldn’t admit to other conservatives, and would certainly never admit to a liberal–that is, if they even talk to any liberals anymore. But they do vote. We’ll soon see if Trump gets nicked by his outbursts or not.

David Brooks, of all people, states what has become painfully obvious so far in the 2016 presidential election cycle: “I miss Barack Obama.” Not his policies, of course, because Brooks is to the right philosophically of the president. But as Brooks says, “Many of the traits of character and leadership that Obama possesses, and that maybe we have taken too much for granted, have suddenly gone missing or are in short supply.” I particularly like the line about this year’s candidates “wallow[ing] in the pornography of pessimism, to conclude that this country is on the verge of complete collapse.”

Do any of today’s candidates project an air of optimism? Maybe Trump comes close, but only in the sense that this country is already so monumentally stupid, weak, and screwed up that it will take a bully like himself to fix it. Christie? Same story, but more articulately expressed. Rubio? A wannabe. Cruz? As Brooks asks, would you want Cruz on the board of your community groups or charities? Carson? He might have once been a brilliant brain surgeon, but he’s simply out of his depth as a national politician, eagerly gobbling up every conspiracy theory put in front of him. Bush? He had the potential to come across as an actual compassionate human being, but he got steamrolled by the rest of the bullies. Sanders? Sadly, he also sounds a one-note symphony of pessimism, only from the left.

In any event, I’m post the rest of the article because it’s worth reading.

The first and most important of these [traits of character and leadership] is basic integrity. The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free. Think of the way Iran-contra or the Lewinsky scandals swallowed years from Reagan and Clinton.

We’ve had very little of that from Obama. He and his staff have generally behaved with basic rectitude. Hillary Clinton is constantly having to hold these defensive press conferences when she’s trying to explain away some vaguely shady shortcut she’s taken, or decision she has made, but Obama has not had to do that.

He and his wife have not only displayed superior integrity themselves, they have mostly attracted and hired people with high personal standards. There are all sorts of unsightly characters floating around politics, including in the Clinton camp and in Gov. Chris Christie’s administration. This sort has been blocked from team Obama.

Second, a sense of basic humanity. Donald Trump has spent much of this campaign vowing to block Muslim immigration. You can only say that if you treat Muslim Americans as an abstraction. President Obama, meanwhile, went to a mosque, looked into people’s eyes and gave a wonderful speech reasserting their place as Americans.

He’s exuded this basic care and respect for the dignity of others time and time again. Let’s put it this way: Imagine if Barack and Michelle Obama joined the board of a charity you’re involved in. You’d be happy to have such people in your community. Could you say that comfortably about Ted Cruz? The quality of a president’s humanity flows out in the unexpected but important moments.

Third, a soundness in his decision-making process. Over the years I have spoken to many members of this administration who were disappointed that the president didn’t take their advice. But those disappointed staffers almost always felt that their views had been considered in depth.

Obama’s basic approach is to promote his values as much as he can within the limits of the situation. Bernie Sanders, by contrast, has been so blinded by his values that the reality of the situation does not seem to penetrate his mind.

Take health care. Passing Obamacare was a mighty lift that led to two gigantic midterm election defeats. As Megan McArdle pointed out in her Bloomberg View column, Obamacare took coverage away from only a small minority of Americans. Sanderscare would take employer coverage away from tens of millions of satisfied customers, destroy the health insurance business and levy massive new tax hikes. This is epic social disruption.

To think you could pass Sanderscare through a polarized Washington and in a country deeply suspicious of government is to live in intellectual fairyland. President Obama may have been too cautious, especially in the Middle East, but at least he’s able to grasp the reality of the situation.

Fourth, grace under pressure. I happen to find it charming that Marco Rubio gets nervous on the big occasions — that he grabs for the bottle of water, breaks out in a sweat and went robotic in the last debate. It shows Rubio is a normal person. And I happen to think overconfidence is one of Obama’s great flaws. But a president has to maintain equipoise under enormous pressure. Obama has done that, especially amid the financial crisis. After Saturday night, this is now an open question about Rubio.

Fifth, a resilient sense of optimism. To hear Sanders or Trump, Cruz and Ben Carson campaign is to wallow in the pornography of pessimism, to conclude that this country is on the verge of complete collapse. That’s simply not true. We have problems, but they are less serious than those faced by just about any other nation on earth.

People are motivated to make wise choices more by hope and opportunity than by fear, cynicism, hatred and despair. Unlike many current candidates, Obama has not appealed to those passions.

No, Obama has not been temperamentally perfect. Too often he’s been disdainful, aloof, resentful and insular. But there is a tone of ugliness creeping across the world, as democracies retreat, as tribalism mounts, as suspiciousness and authoritarianism take center stage.

Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss, and that I suspect we will all miss a bit, regardless of who replaces him.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/09/opinion/i-miss-barack-obama.html

So there’s a meme going around that President Obama is to blame for the rise of Donald Trump. I think this theory may have first been voiced by Peggy Noonan back in October in the Wall Street Journal:

The only thing I feel certain of is how we got here [with Trump’s standing in GOP polls]. There are many reasons we’re at this moment, but the essential political one is this: Mr. Obama lowered the bar. He was a literal unknown, an obscure former state legislator who hadn’t completed his single term as U.S. senator, but he was charismatic, canny, compelling. He came from nowhere and won it all twice. All previously prevailing standards, all usual expectations, were thrown out the window.

See? According to Peggy Noonan (whose readers should know a thing or two about low expectations), Barack Obama lowered the bar of the presidency to the point that “Anyone can run for president now.” In fact, the presidency has been so debased that 1421 people have worked up the nerve to register with the FEC as a 2016 presidential candidate. My Gawd, even Peggy Noonan could–gasp!–run for president!

But she’s hardly the only one. It’s a fine theory, but I think it misses the real reason President Obama is to blame for The Donald. Remember this?

After today’s rant, my guess is that the people of Iowa are not stupid enough to vote for The Donald. Ya gotta read this account from The Washington Post describing Trump’s speech in Fort Dodge, Iowa today. The man is truly delusional.

FORT DODGE, Iowa — For an hour and 35 minutes, Republican front-runner Donald Trump vented about everything that’s wrong with this country and this election.

He said he would “bomb the s—” out of areas controlled by the Islamic State that are rich with oil and claimed to know more about the terrorist group than U.S. military generals. He ranted about how everyone else is wrong on illegal immigration and how even the “geniuses at Harvard” have now backed his way of thinking. He accused Hillary Rodham Clinton of playing the “woman’s card,” and said Marco Rubio is “weak like a baby.” He signed a book for an audience member and then threw it off the stage. He forgot to take questions like he promised. And he spent more than 10 minutes angrily attacking his chief rival, Ben Carson, at one point calling him “pathological, damaged.”

Gone was the candidate’s recent bout of composure and control on the campaign trail. As Trump ranted on and on, campaign staffers with microphones who were supposed to take questions from the audience instead took a seat, trying to cheer their boss here and there. The audience laughed at times and clapped for many of Trump’s sharp insults. But an hour and 20 minutes into the speech, people who were standing on risers on the stage behind Trump sat down. The applause came less often and less loud. As Trump skewered Carson in deeply personal language, a sense of discomfort settled on the crowd of roughly 1,500. Several people shook their heads or whispered to their neighbors.

Carson wrote in his autobiography that as a young man he had a “pathological temper” that caused him to violently attack others — going after his mother with a hammer and trying to stab a friend, only to have the blade stopped and broken by the friend’s belt buckle. In recent days, those accounts have come under scrutiny, and Carson has had to clarify or correct some of the details.

Trump said he doesn’t believe Carson is telling the truth and questioned how a belt buckle could stop a blade. He stepped away from the podium and acted out how he imagined such an attack would happen, with his own belt buckle flopping around. He asked if anyone in the audience had a knife to try out his theory. His Secret Service agents, who just joined his detail this week, stood guard.

“Carson is an enigma to me,” Trump said. “He said that he’s ‘pathological’ and that he’s got, basically, pathological disease… I don’t want a person that’s got pathological disease.”

Trump repeatedly said he doesn’t believe there’s any cure for such a disease, and he said he doesn’t believe that Carson was truly changed by divine intervention, as he writes in his book.

“If you’re a child molester — a sick puppy — a child molester, there’s no cure for that,” Trump said. “If you’re a child molester, there’s no cure. They can’t stop you. Pathological? There’s no cure.”

And yet Carson is doing well in the polls, Trump said in disbelief.

“How stupid are the people of Iowa?” Trump said. “How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?”

Trump started the speech looking exhausted, his voice hoarse. This was his fourth state in four days. A sense of anger built as Trump listed off everything wrong with the country and everything wrong with his rivals. His voice got louder and stronger, his hands gripping the podium. He would be a unifier, he said, a winner. Then he wondered aloud if he should just move to Iowa and buy a farm.

“I’ve really enjoyed being with you,” Trump said as he drew to a sudden but long awaited end. “It’s sad in many ways because we’re talking about so many negative topics, but in certain ways it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful.”

And there’s this from Trump’s nine-minute(!) rant against Ben Carson:

But at the same time, Trump expressed disbelief at Carson’s 50-year-old stories, including that a friend’s belt buckle somehow stopped Carson’s camping knife from sinking in. Trump reenacted a young Carson in order to mock the stories, and at one point he walked away from the podium to show how ridiculous he felt the stabbing story was.

“Give me a break, the knife broke,” he said. “The belt moves this way. It moves this way! It moves that way! He hits a belt buckle! … Believe me, it ain’t gonna to work. … But he took the knife, he went like this! And he plunged it into the belt! And amazingly, the belt stayed totally flat and the knife broke.”

And Trump discounted how Carson could have had an epiphany had he truly been as violent as his book described.

“He goes into the bathroom for a couple hours, and comes out, and now he’s religious. And the people of Iowa believe him,” he said. “Give me a break. Give me a break. It doesn’t happen that way. It doesn’t happen that way.”

He added: “Some people might not like it: ‘Oh, that’s not really nice what you say.’ Don’t be fools. Don’t be fools, OK?”

Honestly, you just can’t make this stuff up.

Some tidbits are leaking from the upcoming biography of Trump by former Newsday reporter Michael D’Antonio. Yesterday we learned that Trump “always felt that I was in the military” because attended a military-themed boarding school as a kid.

Today we have this:

Mr. Trump memorably told Mr. D’Antonio that “when I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same.”

“The temperament is not that different,” he said.

Kind of says it all, doesn’t it? Once a six-year old, still a six-year old.

Give his guys some brown shirts already.

According to the news report above, “the fights came as the Republican frontrunner attempts to broadcast a more tolerant side.” While he’s saying that, his thugs are outside stealing and ripping up the banners of protesters, and cold cocking them in the face. There have been plenty of articles of late comparing Trump to fascists. I guess they were right. This is getting ugly.

Of course, Trump will be pressing charges against the guy who got smacked in the face. It’s just the way The Donald works. Brownshirts, indeed.

Per the New York Daily News:

A top security guard for Donald Trump smacked a protester in the face after the man chased him for snatching a banner Thursday, video shows.

The guard grabbed the blue sign that said “Trump: Make America Racist Again” — a play on the billionaire’s campaign motto — outside a press conference on the Donald’s new pledge of loyalty to the Republican Party, NY1 Noticias video shows.

Demonstrator Efrain Galicia ran after Schiller and appeared to reach for the banner and grab the guard from behind. Within seconds, the guard turned around and whacked him in the face with an open hand as a scrum of reporters snapped photos.

Galicia stumbled as another guard tried to restrain him, appearing to briefly put him in a stranglehold. Galicia fought back, grabbing at the second guard’s arms before the two yelled at each other outside Trump Tower.

A source familiar with the Trump campaign identified the first guard as Keith Schiller, Trump’s director of security and longtime bodyguard.

After the 10-second tussle, Galicia told reporters the guards are “just acting like their boss.”

“This man thinks he can do whatever he wants in this country, and we’re going to stop him,” Galicia said in Spanish.

He compared the incident to the ejection of Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from an Iowa news conference last week for asking Trump questions without being called on.

The News source said Schiller is the same guard who removed Ramos from the Dubuque event.

Republican strategist and commentator Michael Caputo said Schiller is “the kindest, most gentle man I’ve ever worked with.”

“But attack him from behind and you’ll definitely regret it,” Caputo said on social media. “A little advice: DON’T ATTACK HIM FROM BEHIND, IDIOT.”

Schiller is a retired NYPD detective and a U.S. Navy veteran, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He’s been with Trump for 16 years and was photographed restraining Vince McMahon of the WWE when he tried to attack Trump at a match in 2007.

Trump’s campaign said the guard was “jumped from behind” and will “likely be pressing charges.”

How often have we heard from conservatives about the deep Republican “bench”? In their telling, there are literally a dozen or more highly qualified candidates just waiting in the wings to take back the White House. And that doesn’t even include such singular talents as Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, who so far have chosen to sit this one out. Why, according to conservatives, any one of these candidates would be a brilliant choice as president.

Then came The Donald who, intentionally or not, exposed the entire field for what it really is. This point was put forth today by, of all people, Rich Lowry, in an article on Politico entitled, “The GOP Field That Failed.”

The rise of Donald Trump is, in part, a function of a vacuum.

He is thriving in a Republican field that is large, talented and, so far, underwhelming. There’s 17 candidates and nothing on. Except Donald Trump.

Now, this has much to do with the media, and with Trump’s unique qualities as a showman. He has the advantage of not caring, about anything apparently — the facts, his reputation, or, ultimately, winning the presidency. In consequence, he is a free man.

The Jorge Ramos incident was Trump in microcosm. He did what no other Republican politician could get away with (having a security guy manhandle a Latino reporter) and displayed a cavalier disregard for reality by denying he was having Ramos removed, even as he had him removed. But the episode was mesmerizing, and Trump — in his madcap way — was commanding in how he handled it.

If any other candidate had done that or something similar, it would have been a signature event of his campaign, but for Trump it was just another day on the trail, to be eclipsed by some other memorable event tomorrow.

Trump has at least half a dozen such indelible moments — his bizarre announcement, the John McCain diss, the Lindsey Graham cellphone, the Megyn Kelly fight (x2), the Mobile rally — when the rest of the field has almost none. No speech, no policy proposal, no argument, nothing from the other candidates has come close to capturing the imagination of voters, giving Trump the space to loom all the larger.

The weakness starts at the top, or what was supposed to be the top. In the normal course of things, the establishment front-runner provides coherence to the field. Hence, the expectation that the field would have Jeb Bush and a not-Bush, or maybe two. For the moment, this assumption has collapsed, as the current shape of the field is Trump and everyone else.

This is quite the comedown for Bush. His “shock and awe” has turned into getting sand kicked on him at the beach by a loudmouth and bully. It’s not just that Bush is trailing Trump badly in the polls; he has acceded to the terms of the debate being set by the mogul. It wasn’t long ago that Bush swore off talking about Trump, as basically beneath him. Now, he is sniping with him daily.

Before he got in the race, Bush spoke of only wanting to do it if he could run joyfully. Little did he know that he would be joyously grappling with an ill-informed blowhard who takes it as his daily obligation to insult Bush and trample on the pieties he holds dear.

In the argument with Trump over mass deportation, clearly Bush is right. But the split screen with Trump doesn’t necessarily do him any favors. Trump is such a forceful communicator that he comes off as some sort of throwback alpha male, whereas Bush is such an earnest wonk he looks and sounds like a sensitive dad from a contemporary sitcom. It’s like watching a WWE wrestler get a stern talking to from Ned Flanders.

Bush is not a natural performer to begin with (he struggles with set speeches), and he believes his contribution to the race is to be the nonthreatening Republican, which is often indistinguishable from the uninteresting Republican. So while Bush has methodically built the superstructure of an impressive campaign — with fundraising, organization and policy proposals — he has so far barely warmed up an ember among voters.

Scott Walker, in contrast, had a surge early in the campaign. It dissipated over time when his limited preparation on national issues didn’t match his outsized early press exposure. A so-so debate performance and the rise of Trump have continued his long fade to middle of the pack in the latest early state polling (tied for fourth in New Hampshire and tied for seventh in South Carolina).

Walker’s ability to appeal to both the establishment and activist wings of the party had looked like a strength, but now it seems a precarious balancing act, made all the more difficult by a panicky reaction to Trump.

No sooner had Walker pronounced himself “aggressively normal” in the debate than he seemed to opt for just “aggressive” in an attempt to play to the passions tapped by Trump. Who could have predicted that the Midwestern candidate who tells stories about buying shirts for $1 at Kohl’s would have to play populist catch-up with the New York billionaire who travels by eponymous helicopter?

Walker had already changed his mind about immigration, shifting from support for a “comprehensive” approach to strong opposition to amnesty. Trump has pushed him further, and Walker has gotten tangled up on the issue of birthright citizenship.

At the Iowa State Fair, he seemed at one point to say that he was opposed to it. Then, he told John Harwood of CNBC he wouldn’t take a position on it. Finally, on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” he danced around a question on the 14th Amendment before saying that anything that goes beyond simply enforcing our immigration laws is a red herring.

Earlier this week, Walker blasted President Barack Obama for hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping for a state visit, even though as governor he had been friendly to China and obligingly wore a Chinese-American flag pin in an appearance on Chinese state TV.
It’s one thing to play to the mood of voters; it’s another to give the appearance of not quite knowing who you are, which is much more deadly than an August dip in the polls.

As for Marco Rubio, for whom expectations have been so high, he has been the least reactive to Trump. His campaign is still betting on the long game. It believes his natural talent will tell over time, but he doesn’t have a natural geographic or ideological base, and his 21st-century economic agenda — although thoughtful — is not likely to stoke enthusiasm among primary voters.

Ted Cruz may be benefiting most from the Trump surge in his strategic positioning. He has a cogent theory of the case, which is that if he is nice to Trump — and the other outsider candidates — he eventually can inherent his supporters. This makes intuitive sense, although Cruz — exceedingly careful in crafting his words and in calculating his interest — is hardly a natural anti-politician.

It is still August, of course. The rules of gravity say Trump will come back down to earth. The media interest that is so intense now could burn out. His lack of seriousness should be a drag over time, and he will still have to weather more debates and presumably — should he stay strong — a barrage of negative ads.

Even if he fades, though, someone else will have to fill the screen. To this point, No one else has been big or vivid enough to do it.

I love The Donald, I really do.

So last night he was on the Sean Hannity show on Fox News. Now, everyone knows that Hannity is a hard-hitting journalist who asks insightful, probing questions of his conservative guests, so I knew this would be epic. Sean promised to “talk policy” with The Donald, which is good since Trump hasn’t gone into many details about his policies.

My favorite part was Hannity “pushing” the “stunningly honest” Trump on the details of his border wall. Behold policy talk by The Donald.

HANNITY: Wall Street Journal says, Where’s the platform? Where are the details? I want to give you an opportunity to go over some of the issues…

TRUMP: OK. Fine.

HANNITY: … some of the things that you’ve discussed. Let’s — let’s start with — you talked about Mexico. How quickly could you build the wall? How do you make them pay for the wall, as you said?

TRUMP: So easy. Will a politician be able to do it? Absolutely not. You know, it’s funny, I watch some of the shows, including your show, and I watch these guys say, Oh, you can’t get them to pay for it.

We give them tens of billions of dollars a year. They are ripping us left and right. Their leaders are so much smarter than our leaders, Sean. They are ripping us left and right. The wall is peanuts. You know, it’s interesting…

HANNITY: Is it a tariff?

TRUMP: … in China — listen to this. In China, the great China wall — I mean, you want to talk about a wall, that’s a serious wall, OK? That wall, you don’t climb over with a ladder. You don’t even go under it, OK?

That wall is 13,000 miles. If you add up everything in the kitchen sink with what we’re talking about on our border, it’s less than 2,000 miles. And a lot of it, you don’t have to do because you’re covered with terrain and you’re covered with areas that are already built.

HANNITY: Sure.

TRUMP: So let’s say you’re talking about 1,000 miles versus 13,000. And then they say you can’t do it. It’s peanuts. It’s peanuts. And I will get Mexico, whether it’s a tariff or whether they just give us the money.

Sean, they need us so badly. And I’ll be friends with Mexico. I’m going to have a great relationship with Mexico. We have a bad relationship with Mexico, and they’re an abuser. China’s an abuser. By the way, every country’s an abuser because we have very stupid people representing us. They’re incompetent.

HANNITY: So through a tariff? Whatever means necessary, you’re going to say, If you want to do business with the U.S….

TRUMP: We’re not paying for it. Of course.

HANNITY: You want to do business, you’re going to help us with this.

TRUMP: Do you know how easy that is? They’ll probably just give us the money.

But then I watch politicians get on — because it’s not their thing, Sean. I watch politicians come one, Can you imagine, Sean, he’s saying Mexico’s going to pay. They’ll never pay.

And I’m saying, that’s like 100 percent. That’s not like 98 percent. Sean, it’s 100 percent they’re going to pay. And if they don’t pay, we’ll charge them a little tariff. It’ll be paid.

So easy! It’s peanuts! It’s nothing! Let’s face it, the entertainment value alone that Republicans are providing us this year is worth a small donation to their campaign fund, don’t you think?

Look, two posts in one day! The latest from The Donald is hilarious. Donald Trump on Rand Paul:

Rand Paul is doing so poorly in the polls he has to revert to old footage of me discussing positions I no longer hold. As a world-class businessman, who built one of the great companies with some of the most iconic real estate assets in the world, it was my obligation to my family, my company, my employees and myself to maintain a strong relationship with all politicians whether Republican or Democrat. I did that and I did that well.

Unless you are a piece of unyielding granite, over the years positions evolve as they have in my case. Ronald Reagan, as an example, was a Democrat with a liberal bent who became a conservative Republican.

Recently, Rand Paul called me and asked me to play golf. I easily beat him on the golf course and will even more easily beat him now, in the world in the politics.

Senator Paul does not mention that after trouncing him in golf I made a significant donation to the eye center with which he is affiliated.

I feel sorry for the great people of Kentucky who are being used as a back up to Senator Paul’s hopeless attempt to become President of the United States— weak on the military, Israel, the Vets and many other issues. Senator Paul has no chance of wining the nomination and the people of Kentucky should not allow him the privilege of remaining their Senator. Rand should save his lobbyist’s and special interest money and just go quietly home.

Rand’s campaign is a total mess, and as a matter of fact, I didn’t know he had anybody left in his campaign to make commercials who are not currently under indictment!

That Trump is so presidential!

He’s sort of like a smarter Sarah Palin.