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Posted at 04:19 PM ET, 12/02/2011

Donald Trump moderates the Newsmax GOP debate we deserve


Winning, in the Charlie Sheen sense of the word. REUTERS/Alberto Lowe (© Alberto Lowe / Reuters - REUTERS)
Donald Trump is moderating the GOP Newsmax Iowa debate.

It’s official. Satire is dead. I am going to replace the ComPost with an RSS feed of Actual News That Is Really Happening. Goodbye, Internet! It’s been real.

Donald Trump is moderating the GOP Newsmax Iowa debate. Everything about that sentence is wrong. It does for all the problems with our political and media climate today what “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” does for the alphabet.

Donald Trump, celebrity real estate mogul, or at least expert in putting his name on large buildings, host of The Apprentice, Donald Trump, who was the rising GOP star only barely more recently than Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump who lately executed an exquisite ratings-boosting feint at the GOP nomination, Donald Trump with the distinctive ham loaf of hair and voice that sounds like a sloth having a difficult bowel movement, is hosting a debate of major-party candidates for the highest office in the land.

It’s not that the party system is broken, but the guest list seems to be getting weirder all the time.

Donald Trump? Was Kim Kardashian unavailable?

I know we said that this was the Reality TV field, but we didn’t mean it this way. This is blurring the lines between reality and reality television. All those jokes about the GOP field just being the destination of Real World rejects seem, at this juncture, uncomfortably close to home.

Newsmax Media Executive Christopher Ruddy noted that, “Our readers and the grass roots really love Trump. They may not agree with
him on everything, but they don’t see him as owned by the Washington establishment, the media establishment.”

I can’t tell whether he is doing this with any sense of irony. It would appear not.

To think that I thought Herman Cain was the joke in the race. It turns out that the joke in the race is the whole race, except Mitt Romney, who doesn’t understand jokes, accosting people at diners to tell them there’s “no place like chrome for the hollandaise.”

Trump and the GOP field each seem to have independently calculated that the only way to look more legitimate is to stand next to the other. It’s a calculation that is bound to backfire for at least one of them. Probably not Trump. He’s elevated self-parody to a full-time career.

On Twitter, Pourmecoffee quipped, “Clown to host circus.” That’s about right. It’s like hiring Donald Trump to stand in the background of all your family photos. Does it makes you look good in contrast or make him seem like part of the family? Does this redound to anyone’s benefit? If two people stand next to each other wearing, “I’m With Stupid” shirts, who wins?

Trump claims he’ll endorse right after the debate — unless he decides to run himself as a “free agent.” Donald Trump wrote a book in 1999 called The America We Deserve. That’s what we’re getting with this debate, all right.

What worse is that I feel partly responsible.

I don’t want to take full credit, but I did complain that the last debate was bland and lacking in train wrecks. This certainly will buck that trend. Viewing public, you’re welcome. This is like being assigned The Apprentice for civics class.

Here we are at the uncomfortable fusion between celebrity and politics. In general, they say politicians are like celebrities, but less photogenic. And so is The Donald. Now the debate boasts all the charm of ice cream for breakfast, getting to watch Donald Trump and pretend that it’s actually relevant to the news.

But what about everyone else in the field? It’s hard to forget seeing people in their underwear — or at a debate moderated by Donald Trump, whichever you consider more dignified. Do we actually want footage of this? You just know he’ll say “You’re fired” at some point. I know it’ll be great television, but we might have to vote for one of these people. And unlike most reality TV, the vote will matter.

By  |  04:19 PM ET, 12/02/2011

Tags:  Donald Trump, GOP 2012, oy

 
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