In Hollywood we call it a hyphenate: writer-director, actor-producer, etc. Donald Trump should be America’s first president-talk show host.
And I suspect, after Thursday night’s CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper, you can scratch the “should be” and pencil in “will be” — this despite the tedious and predictable parsing of what Trump may or may not have said in 2002 about the Iraq War by, among others, former Ted Cruz staffer Amanda Carpenter. (It should be noted, of the six candidates interviewed by Cooper over two days, Cruz seemed least comfortable in this more open, human format.)
On another extraordinary day when he was attacked by none other than Pope Francis, who evidently “doesn’t love a wall” and dared to strike back, Donald Trump has once again upended traditional politics and walked off — matador style — with two ears and the tail. At the end of his town hall session Thursday, the garrulous Trump had Cooper and everyone sitting there spellbound, regaling us with tales of his family life, why he has never smoked, drank or taken drugs (compare that to the Democratic Party crew), and how he preached that to his kids from early childhood (sometimes frustrating Ivanka). Donald Trump as the family values candidate — who’d a thunk it? But it’s true.
Nevertheless, David Gergen — the wise man of wise men (or so we’re told) — assured us that “at some point he [Trump] is going to have to raise his game.” Uh-huh. Right. Does he mean be like David Gergen and be so “judicious” his opinions become nearly non-existent and terminally dull? If so, as Samuel Goldwyn once said, “Include me out.” (Okay, maybe he didn’t say it, but I wish he did.)
It’s been a long time since we have had a president who actually entertains us. Few people currently alive heard FDR’s Fireside Chats when they were delivered. Even Reagan only appeared intermittently as president, far less than he did as host of GE Theater when I was kid.
So I have a proposal to make. If we elect Donald, he must also agree to be our national talk show host, making a firm campaign pledge that he will appear five nights a week at eleven for an hour or so with guests of his choice (Putin, Beyoncé, etc.). It shouldn’t be that hard for him. He said he’s a workaholic and only sleeps three or four hours a night — something easy to believe. And CBS is probably already looking for a replacement for Colbert, despite their protestations.
Now some — including my friends over at National Review — are probably thinking this is a fundamentally unserious approach to politics and the crucial issues of our time. But I say — lighten up. Besides, we have just lived through seven years of the shiftiest, most prevaricating administration in decades, simultaneously claiming it was the most transparent. This would be real transparency — the president on television every night. We could even have the White House press corps in the studio audience. And if we want to make it really exciting, we could add a co-host (okay, a sub-host, Donald being Donald) to keep him on his toes and ask the usual Facebook questions. My suggestion: Megyn Kelly.