Despite his appearance before CPAC today, I don't know if Donald Trump will throw his hat into the GOP Presidential race. No one will until June.
Of course, if he does it will make things very interesting. A Trump candidacy offers both advantages and disadvantages.
Advantage #1: Trump is already a household name and has been for at least a quarter century. He isn't someone like Tim Pawlenty who is still trying to build name recognition outside of Minnesota.
Advantage #2: When people think of Trump they think of a successful businessman. If the economy is still in the doldrums in 2012 his candidacy could prove to be an attractive one. Should Trump seek the GOP nomination he could potentially cancel out Mitt Romney. Unlike Romney, Trump didn't initiate mini-Obamacare and never said "mandates are good."
Advantage #3: Trump isn't a shrinking violet. He'll go toe to toe with Obama. The presidential debates could be a lot of fun. Trump plays for keeps. I'm not sure if someone like Mike Huckabee is willing to get down and dirty with Obama.
Advantage #4: Money!!! Even if Trump doesn't win the GOP nomination he has the resources to launch an independent run for President.
Disadvantage #1: One thing Trump has in common with Obama is they are both very thin skinned. When Trump gets challenged he can be quite unpleasant as he was with Bill O'Reilly during his feud with Rosie O'Donnell. That might not work so well in an interview with someone like Diane Sawyer or Katie Couric.
Disadvantage #2: The Donald isn't exactly likable. While President Obama's policies aren't popular the President still is. If in 18 months time, people are more at ease with Obama then Trump then Obama calls the White House home for another four years.
However, this isn't necessarily insurmountable. If Trump can convince people there is difference between being liked and being respected and that he wants the respect of the American people (and by extension greater respect for America from abroad) then he could overcome Obama's appeal.
Disadvantage #3: Can you see Trump trudging through the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire, eating in diners and sleeping in the homes of his supporters? I can't.
Disadvantage #4: Trump is more left-wing than Obama on foreign policy and defense. Let's not forget he was more pessimistic about the War in Iraq than Harry Reid and accused President Bush about lying about WMDs and "everything." This is also the same man who said, "Saddam Hussein will be a nice person compared to the person who takes over." Anyone who uses Saddam Hussein and nice person in the same sentence should give one pause.
If it's Trump vs. Obama (and that's a very big if) it will be a case of me casting a ballot against Obama rather than for Trump. I hope it's not a choice we have to face in November 2012.
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