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Roger L. Simon

Trump, Ego, and the Presidency

December 23rd, 2011 - 4:14 pm

And the eventual Republican nominee is going to do battle with the Supreme Egomaniac, Barack Obama, whose sense of entitlement was so monumental he believed he deserved the most important office on Earth with virtually no executive experience — an amount dwarfed by, we are forced to admit, Donald Trump who, objectively speaking, is exponentially more qualified to manage the affairs of our great nation than the incumbent.

A healthy ego is common to excellence in many professions — especially in the arts and sciences. But those are areas, unlike politics, in which accomplishment is measurable. Edison did invent the light bulb. Ibsen, famous for staring at himself in a mirror at the bottom of a stovepipe hat, did write Hedda Gabler and A Doll’s House. But who knows who did what in politics is anybody’s — or the leaker’s — guess.

So what are the qualities we are looking for in a president? It’s not easy to say other than that Brooklyn-sized ego, which is something we may not want, but get anyway because it comes with the territory. The real qualities we say we want in a president — judgment, wisdom and so forth — are for the most part boiler-plate generalities.

I have a suggestion of my own, which I admit, borders to a degree on boiler plate as well. It is honesty. The two men who were arguably the two greatest presidents evidently had it abundance — the fellow who could not tell a lie about the cherry tree and the other one known as Honest Abe.

Of course, the cherry tree story about Washington is apparently apocryphal, but the intent is there. Similarly, I dimly remember a quote from The Talmud that went something like “Great is truth — mightiest of all things.” Inaccurate though that may be, it resonates with me. The person who should be president is the one who can tell the truth both to him or herself and to us.

Unfortunately, ego is not helpful with that. And none of the candidates so far have lived up to that high standard. The president has been even worse. Still, in a few days it will be a new year — and I will try to be hopeful.

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