Donald Trump’s pitch for the Republican US presidential nomination has been compared to recent media sideshows such as Charlie Sheen and Rebecca Black. The better comparison is California’s 2003 recall election that became worldwide entertainment.

But Trump is small screen compared to Schwarzenegger, and despite his self-proclaimed affinity with “The Blacks” he isn’t even Gary Coleman. In this race, Trump is playing the role of Mary Carey, the p-rn actress who touted her adult-industry business acumen as her credentials for the state’s top job.

Carey, too, was first pushed into the race as a publicity stunt for Kick Ass Pictures. It’s hard not to notice that the American television sweeps week is approaching and Trump has a new season of his ageing reality series, Celebrity Apprentice, nee The.

Trump’s personal brand, as immovable as the thing on his head, could pass for a genuine pimp if only for a few small additions such as a gold tooth.

For more than a week now the American media reported — with a wink and a smile — Trump’s claims of sending out investigators to find the truth about Obama’s birth. A few talking heads on the opinion-driven cable news programs flat out called it a lie of Trump’s claims of doing anything. Even if any of these were valid issues on the national political stage, Trump didn’t have to produce one piece of evidence of doing or knowing anything to get blanket coverage across America.

Two major announcements came out of the White House today. Current CIA director Leon Panetta will be the next secretary of defence and General David Petraeus will become the new CIA director. It was difficult to find significant coverage of that, or even the perennial media favourite story of deadly typhoons ravaging the entire east coast and killing a dozen people.

Today was all Trump, Obama and the finally produced “long form” of the US president’s certificate of live birth that tells us no more than the “short form” we’ve had for three years now — except the details of his parent’s racial backgrounds. This was always about race.

What makes this incredible, and new, and newsworthy in itself, is that Trump has never been granted this level of political attention before. Every four years, the self-proclaimed billionaire makes a bit of a show about running for president. Every time he failed to follow through with the key political duty of campaigning.

Trump policy insight can been seen every week on his regular show on the golf channel, yet that didn’t seem to inspire a personal following. Even Mitt Romney, who pays his own campaign costs, has a flock of true believers.

What makes Trump different now is that he has taken the step no otherwise credible Republican candidate would take and fully adopt the race-baiting birther movement.

Obama didn’t need to take the birther allegations seriously in 2008 because McCain was determined to keep the fight fair. So too are the declared candidates in the 2012 race for the Republican nomination.

Trump has nothing to add on the Republican policy side — all comb-over, no roots. Perhaps it’s a calculated strategy by Obama to give attention to Trump because it ultimately will increase his own election chances if the Republican oxygen is taken up by an issue that fails to resonate with the American people.

While Obama went on camera to bring further attention to the issue by calling the players “sideshows and carnival barkers”, Trump pitched it as an achievement. “I’ve done a great service to the American people,” he told a press conference in New Hampshire earlier today, adding he was “honoured to have played such a big role in these events.”

And just in case you thought Trump has been out-trumped… Joseph Farah, editor of WorldNetDaily, is continuing the fight without him, claiming all Obama shows was dual citizenship, which “was not what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote natural born citizen”.

Peter Fray

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