Donald Trump and his faux run for the Republican nomination for president are appalling. On Saturday, he trotted down to a South Florida Tea Party rally to whip up the crowd with his usual one-liners, boardroom bravado and an expletive. The crowd loved it — and, now, so do the polls.

The latest Public Policy Polling survey has The Donald comfortable leading the potential GOP 2012 field with support among 26 percent of those surveyed. That’s a nine-point lead over Mike Huckabee, who came in second, and an 11-point lead over third-place Mitt Romney.

This is appalling for the GOP because of the way Trump got to No. 1 (at least in this poll). He continues to push the birther issue — including repeating lies — despite clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. And yet he persists because, as he said he told House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), “[P]eople love this issue especially in the Republican Party.”

The nation is grappling with massive debt and budget deficits. The problem is so acute that just this morning, Standard & Poor’s, one of the leading global credit rating agencies downgraded its long-term outlook on U.S. creditworthiness from “stable” to “negative.” As a result, the stock market is down sharply. Even crude oil fell because of it. But Trump would rather take all his self-professed smarts to clamber further into the birther worm hole than be a part of the urgent national conversation on what to do about the nation’s fiscal trajectory.

Oh, wait. What I’m asking for only a serious candidate could provide. With each passing day, despite his rise in the polls, Trump is proving how unserious and unworthy of the nomination he really is. The GOP deserves better. The nation deserves better.