COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | DANIEL COFFEY

Trump should run for president

Donald Trump should run for president of the United States. I can hardly wait until he begins in earnest.

Thus far he seems only to be on a book tour touting his own brand of behavior and judgment while bashing others. By his own account, his rivals are underpowered, so the expectation is he can best them in the early rounds.

While this approach gains notoriety, it doesn’t address the serious policy issues that have accumulated within the U.S. over the past 30 years, the awful talking points that actually frame daily American life: taxes, budgets, dramatic economic inequality, education, et cetera.

His candor toward other Republican Party candidates and their ideas is refreshing. He helps to strip away the veneer of pomp attendant many of the ideas and policies that have not worked and are not now working.

It appears that he speaks his mind. He gets big laughs. That said, he speaks, as would a potentate, not as a president of a democracy. His pithy policy solutions sound more akin to a merger and acquisition statement wherein the new management wholesale tosses the previous management’s procedures, which in the case of the U.S. include defense and trade treaties, congressional acts, the Constitution and all the attendant legal fiddle-faddle upon which the government functions. Yes, wouldn’t it be fun to rewrite all the rules?!

For example, he talks about how other nations think the U.S. is “a patsy.” While the boundaries of this purported paradigm are a little fuzzy, it seems to include trade deals. Presumably that would include NAFTA. So, how would he address that situation? Does he step away from trade obligations and break the treaty, or does the wisdom acquired from past experiences change future behavior?

He talks about international relations as if assessing hostile hoteliers, but nations have the ability to wage actual war, and in the modern era such wars are potentially horrific. How would someone who describes himself as the “biggest militarist” react? Would he be cautious or not?

That said, when Putin calls to test the political waters, will Trump meet his rival’s tender and raise him one thermonuclear exchange? That’s the kind of “in your face” response that a “strong leader” puts forward, someone who won’t back down, even when escalation is not required. Note to self: Read up on strongman leaders in 20th-century Europe.

Surely a part of what makes many Republicans uncomfortable about Trump is the uneasy feeling that he will actually do what they only chitchat about on “Fox and Friends,” a place where tall talk comes to whip up the emotions, but where no one seriously expects to actually implement blustery rhetoric. One fear is that Trump might put action to words.

Imagine the talking points that get elevated during beery Republican banter as action points in a memo to the Joint Chiefs of Staff! He is going to actually do it, not just mouth the fiery words and innuendo that one might hear from Fox News opinion makers, and with executive power.

Will Trump take real action and put muscle behind the otherwise empty rhetoric? That’s the scariest thing anyone has heard in years.

Using that approach in 2003, President George W. Bush brought us the Iraq War and its continuing aftermath.

All day long you can hear similarly entertaining nonsense on Fox News, but when Trump channels the higher-ups and threatens to play the role of id for the Republican Party, then real consternation breaks out.

Paradoxically, Donald J. Trump is one of the best domestic political unifiers in recent memory. In a few weeks he was able to bring together nearly the entire Hispanic community, and now he is working on the active military and veterans’ organizations. He’s a juggernaut of diplomacy, not just exaggeration.

To unify the armed forces, Trump recently sarcastically said of U.S. Sen. John McCain, a former Navy pilot who was shot down over North Vietnam, only to suffer torture and imprisonment that left him permanently disabled: “He’s not a war hero.”

Trump continued by way of haughty explanation, “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

That Janus statement highlights that if you don’t participate in a war it’s easier to avoid capture. Unification mission accomplished!

Commander in Chief Donald Trump? When thinking about war or gauging a wounded veteran who courageously faced death and imprisonment, one should always listen to the logic of a braggadocio playboy who avoided military service. That’s the ticket!

Unapologetic, Trump’s candidacy is a way for the Republican Party to fully embrace itself, to actually test the philosophic constructs of business, taxation, government and culture that have come to signify the brand.

Better yet, Trump’s a shiny stalking-horse for Scott Walker.


Coffey is an attorney based in San Diego. He can be reached at daniel.coffey@sddt.com.

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