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U.S. Government: getting down to business

Trump’s business savvy might be good for Washington. (AP Photo)

Matt Hammond

Donald Trump thought out loud about his presidential chops. We laughed louder.

He called himself “the man that will easily go down as the greatest president in the history of the United States” during his Comedy Central roast on March 22. If that wasn’t an official announcement, it will officially be TV’s most self-important stunt since LeBron James’s “The Decision.”

But he sounded serious. And that sounded ludicrous. Should it have? Maybe it was equal parts Trump’s hair and first-and-last-time roaster Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino’s 15th minute, but the nation rolled over laughing.

The clip made the March 22 “Daily Show” with John Stewart’s “Moment of Zen,” a segment reserved for Capitol Hill’s nit-witticisms. Steve Huntley of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “I don’t know who Trump’s base is” when stacking up Trump’s and other GOP hopefuls’ support.

Should we back him? OK, maybe not as the guy who’s known for a $6 billion hand-out from his dad. Or for running a hotel, casino and pro sports league (the former USFL) into the ground.

But Trump as a businessman? In that light, he might be refreshing.

Maybe the nation needs to tinker its selection process. Maybe the rubric for good presidential material is outdated. Back in the day, having politico-militaristic leader made some sense. War berthed the nation into a warzone. Selecting someone with a forte in leading armies and international diplomacy was probably a good idea.

But times have changed in the past 20 years, let alone 200-plus. Consider today’s domestic problems: national debt and fiscal accountability, valuating socialized medicine and financing it and rebuilding Japan and mending the Middle East. Who’s to say Corporate America can’t do the job, or do it better?

How different are the two worlds? Barack Obama is a Harvard Man. Mark Zuckerberg isn’t. He dropped out, yet somehow did OK for himself.

Both handle the press. Both politick up the pecking order. Both balance short-term evaluations (quarterly figures and four-year terms) and long-term sustainability. CEOs temper business units with conflicting agendas, like commanders-in-chief with Congress. Politicians have constituents. Corporate officers have shareholders. One might be Granny Smith, the other Red Delicious. But they’re still apples.

Who gets the nod, from conventions to CNN to the polls, couldn’t be more about intangibles. About corresponding piecemeal résumés with problems that haven’t happened yet; who served as what state’s governor and which senator wrote which bill.

In that breath, couldn’t it just as easily be what firm you acquired, and at how big a discount?

For how many World Trade Organization sanctions you sidestepped? For which of your company’s innovations hit which markets how hard, and how long after the previous generation’s?

Instead of the 150 governors and senators, maybe parties should pick from the Forbes 400.

If there’s ever a time for a recalibration, it’s now. “Globalization” is our operative term du jour. Corporations can make campaign donations. Forget the States, the international community is more business-centric than ever. And Americans have been as fidgety these past four years as any, with the same old style of leader.

Maybe it’s time for a change.

I’m not pushing for it, Trump, Obama or anyone/thing, per se. I’m not saying roll the dice with national safety and economic stability. But we should consider every option. Even if it’s unconventional, even if we pluck the man to curb the debt ceiling from a board meeting.

Even if it’s Trump. Even if it makes me laugh my ass off.


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