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The Insiders
Posted at 04:03 PM ET, 05/29/2012

Take the money and run

One of the more humiliating jobs performed by a presidential candidate is fundraising. So I can almost empathize with Mitt Romney having to follow Donald Trump around like an apprentice waiting for financial treats. As always with the Donald, whatever he does, he does to give himself a platform and a microphone. His fundraiser for Romney and its buildup has given him another chance to claim credit for the “birther” story, from which Romney had to disassociate himself.

Ed had a good point today about Obama and the “chosen one” hype. The president fed that narrative four years ago and is now paying the price for it on expectations. But the “chosen one” fits into a larger meme that Mr. Trump knows well: being a celebrity. Despite being one of the more unpopular figures when viewed through a political lens, Mr. Trump has mastered the unique American occupation of being a celebrity.

As Lewis Lapham puts it, celebrity is “about being, not becoming.” Trump is this generation's version of Jay Gatsby, upon whom some people project their dreams of wealth and power despite so little evidence of real accomplishment by the object of their obsession.

I also agree with an earlier comment Ed made about Romney being the antidote to celebrity-hood. His squareness may remind some people of an earlier time where people and presidents were built of sterner stuff than “the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us,” as Fitzgerald described Gatsby's false and empty dream. If any of this is true, then, Mr. Romney, the less time with the Donald, the better. Take the money and run.

By  |  04:03 PM ET, 05/29/2012

 
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