POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 21, 2011
Donald Trump believes Barack Obama isn't a real American citizen; hence, Obama is unqualified to be president.
Trump doesn't believe in global warming because winters on the East Coast, he says, have been more severe of late, what with the snowstorms and bone-chilling temperatures.
Hard to say if Trump, who has been making noises about a possible run for the White House — a far more substantial symbol of power than a condo tower in New York City — is sincere in his beliefs or disbeliefs.
He could be just fooling around because he suffers from a peculiarly virulent strain of adult attention deficit disorder that has its victims jumping up and down crying, "Me, me, me" whenever their names are not on everybody's lips.
Whatever his intentions, the last few weeks of publicity have rocketed Trump into the top tier of potential Republican presidential candidates, with some polls showing him in better favor than heavyweights like Newt Gingrich. Among those who identify themselves as tea party crusaders, he even tops Lipton-sipper darling Sarah Palin.
That's to be expected. He's rich enough to send a team of investigators to our fair shores to track down the president's birth certificate and, failing that, to uncover Obama's true ancestry. He is wildly successful, swaggeringly ruthless in business dealings, and dislikes government's meddling in his affairs. Most important, he believes as they do. Or so he says.
Trump's adoption of disbelief in Obama's legitimate citizenship seems little more than a cheap and easy recipe for the publicity he can't seem to live without. However, a birther-based candidacy will not result in a favorable outcome, unless sane people abandon the voting booths.
In denying climate change, though, Trump could gain traction. There are a lot of people who think like him; nearly all Republicans who won seats in the midterm election say they are skeptical, at best, about the science of global warming and would not support legislation or regulations to curb climate change.
They and their congressional colleagues want to go further. Earlier this year, the House moved forward a measure that would reject scientific findings that heat-trapping gases are placing human health and the global environment at risk.
Imagine that: attempting to pass laws to nullify science, as if legislation could deny that the sun rises in the east. This is what happens when fact, supported by systemic research and analysis, is substituted for beliefs.
The reason behind the birth certificate stance is transparent; the climate change matter a bit more obscure. For Trump, it is likely the perspective of a businessman who considers environmental protection as counter to financial interests.
In that, he isn't much different from many other Republican presidential prospects who have recently gone from acknowledging climate-change science to denial, tuned as they are to polls that show growing numbers of their potential supporters don't believe global warming is really occurring.
To separate himself from the pack, Trump could redirect his considerable assets from his birth certificate investigation to one about climate change. If you believe he'd do that, I've got a slowly submerging atoll to sell you.
Cynthia Oi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.