Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Performance Anxiety

So, this is The Donald’s “October Surprise”?  This is what you got, Donald?  A five million dollar gamble that the President won’t take you up on your offer?

In case you haven’t heard, The Donald is offering that obscene amount of money to a charity of the President’s choice if he’ll “reveal” his passport application papers and his college application papers.  Or something  birther-ish like that.  The text, if you care to read through it, is below.  You can click on it to enlarge the print.

The Donald is a performer, not really a realtor or politician.  He craves attention.  I know something about this sort of thing.  Most folks who operate in the public eye – news anchors, like I was; performing musicians, like I was; TV and movie stars; public speakers; all kinds of people who risk ridicule and criticism if they fail or take a mis-step in the public eye have some form of performance ego that drives them to take the risk, because they crave the reward.

This isn’t a bad thing.  In the appropriate dose, it enables you to go on functioning when the public laughs at you for falling down – whether it’s an actor’s blown line, a news anchor’s gaffe, a musician’s sour note, or whatever.  If you can’t take the criticism that comes with being in the public’s eye or ear, your skin is too thin for it.

Rush Limbaugh has it; it’s one reason he’s been a successful entertainer.  He can blow his own horn with the best of them.  But Rush doesn’t have anywhere near as much of this stuff, whatever it is, as The Donald.  Years ago, Rush attempted to do what Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Alan Colmes, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, and scores of others have: parlay your radio success into TV success.  Rush’s ill-fated TV show lasted about five-hundredths of a second.  It was obvious that Rush, who can be devastating behind a radio microphone, became a sniveling, stammering failure when a guest or audience member challenged him or called BS.  (This does NOT include Rush’s similar ill-fated attempt to be a “commentator” for ESPN, another stint that lasted a few seconds in 2003, when Rush credited Donovan McNabb’s success as a quarterback to the “NFL’s desire that a black quarterback do well”, exposing El Rushbo to a few tens of millions of folks for the racist that he is.)

This is why you NEVER hear a caller disagree with Rush on his radio show.  He does not perform well when challenged.  He has learned to play to his strengths, and he does it more successfully than any other talk show host on radio.  Or, at least as well as Howard Stern.

But The Donald?  Man, whatever that stuff is, he’s got more of it than anybody I’ve ever seen or heard of.  Perhaps so much of it that it may be his undoing.  If you take the time to read his “bet” (above), you must acknowledge that there’s a HUGE amount of ego in his writing.  “I did this, I did that, no one else could do it” sort of stuff.  The Donald’s schtick goes well beyond the parameters of performance ego.  This man is infatuated with himself.  He parlayed his daddy’s 20-million-bucks into a huge fortune, a formidable brand, and a successful TV show.

But this – this constant birther BS – is over the top.  It has nothing to do with promoting his brand, either as a real estate development mogul or a TV star.  Some day, the media will stop dancing to The Donald’s tune; stop giving him what he so desperately wants (attention).  I think that will make The Donald an even more desperate person, an even sadder spectacle than he is now.

That’s what you got, Donald?  Birther stuff?

Your schtick is getting old.

The Associate Press holds the copyright to the photo at the top of this post.


  1. Whatever that is on The Donald's head is probably too tight.

  2. Tim: Ultimately, the Donald was successful. He got you to pay attention to him and write about him. I wouldn't have known what he said if you hadn't written about it. Now I'm tainted too.

    1. Anony, let's talk about whether or not getting us to "pay attention" to him was The Donald's "goal".

      Apparently you - and The Donald - subscribe to the pinheaded ancient assertion that "there's no such thing as bad publicity".

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