How Will You Stand Up to DC Special Interests If You Can’t Stand Up to Trump?

This piece is ran at U.S. News & World Report’s Debate Club:

This is really a leadership issue: If you aren’t tough enough to say “no” to Donald Trump, how will you ever stand up to the special interests in Washington? If Trump has a genuine interest in presidential leadership, and not just attention, he should have manned up and run for the office himself. Candidates who have the courage to put their names on the ballot should not supplicate themselves before a publicity-seeker like Trump who did not.

Politics has always been partly about entertainment, and effective politicians understand that politics is partly a performing art. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton knew this, and so did candidate Barack Obama. They could all put on quite a show.

But there’s a difference between art and entertainment. A great political speech – like a great painting, sculpture, poem, or piece of music – connects with us at an emotional level, moves us, and inspires us to rise above the ordinary.

Other art is merely entertaining: action flicks we enjoy for 90 minutes but wouldn’t watch again, or catchy tunes that spend a few weeks at #1 but become cloying. Donald Trump is a performer all right, but he’s no artist.

Running for office requires candidates to engage in all sorts of degrading activities, begging for money among them. Candidates who let Trump lead them around by the nose embarrass themselves and call their own good judgment into question. Congratulations to Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul for flatly refusing to have any part in feeding Trump’s ego and his pathological need for attention.

fergus@ferguscullen.com, December 8, 2011

Author: Fergus Cullen

Fergus Cullen is a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party (2007-2008) and an editorial page columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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