In a move befitting his months long flirtation with the Republican nomination Donald Trump announced he would not run for president in 2012 at a Hollywood event.
The NBC “Upfronts” where the network announces the fall line-up featured Trump announcing that he would not run for president by simply saying:
“After getting so many calls from (top NBC executives), I’ve decided that we are going to continue onward with Celebrity Apprentice. I will not be running for president, as much as I’d like to, and I want to thank everybody very much.”
Rumor has it that NBC executives were also pressuring Trump to give an answer sooner than his season finale so that they could re-arrange the fall schedule or replace him on the show if necessary. Apparently the lure of belittling people on television for another few years, as well as somewhere close to a $60 Million television deal, was enough get “The Donald” to not throw his hat into the ring.
It’s a shame to think that something as seemingly trivial as keeping a television contract could be a deciding factor in whether or not someone wants to seek the highest office in the world. Unfortunately the lure of being a Political Celebrity has claimed other potential 2012 GOP candidates before Trump. Being a Political Celebrity has all of the perks of politics without the stress of accountability and having to show any results. Political celebrities just talk about politics. In fact they almost never stop talking or tweeting or babbling about issues in the public domain, but they never actually solve anything and have shown a penchant for flirting with public office but never actually running, just enough to stay relevant. Trump is just the latest to be bitten by the Political Celebrity bug but he won’t be the last.
The first in the recent crop of political celebrities was Sarah Palin. Since losing in 2008 and quitting her job as Governor of Alaska, Caribou Barbie has run her mouth about every single issue facing the country from the oil spill in the gulf to the economy to sugary snacks for kids. However there has been a surprising lack of effort on her behalf to actually make any moves to become active in real politics again, either locally or nationally. Palin hasn’t bothered to visit many of the major primary states, and she’s been uncharacteristically silent as Michelle “Chewbachman” has slowly but surely taken away her title as pin-up girl for the Tea-Party movement. After just about every candidate she endorsed in 2010 lost in the primary, I was sure that Palin would at least pretend that she was running for president in 2012 just to keep herself relevant and not become a self- parody.
Instead she’s just gone full bore into reality t.v.
shows, overpriced speaking engagements and any other money making venture that she can get into. I fully except baby Trig to be on Toddlers and Tiaras before the year is out. Sarah Palin is simply enjoying her waning status as a political power broker and parlaying that into cultural money maker. Sound business but lousy politics.
Then there’s Mike Huckabee, whom by many accounts was considered the strongest most electable of the potential Republican candidates. Huckabee is a Christian, but he doesn’t hate anybody. He’s a fiscal conservative but believes that heating oil subsidies to the poor should be protected. He had the temerity to stand up to Sarah Palin’s pointless attacks on Michelle Obama, and overall he had a good sense of humor. However, he decided not to run with the lure of TV money and FoxFame tapping on his shoulder. To be honest, I knew Huckabee wasn’t running a month ago when I saw him interviewed on the Daily Show with John Stewart.
He looked happy, relaxed and had gained about 40 pounds since his ‘running weight’ in 2008. All he did was talk about how he was making more money now than he ever had, the house he and his wife were building and how hard it would be to beat Obama. Anyone who’s biggest joys are interviewing Mario Lopez and creating conservative cartoons for kids isn’t going to run for president.
And now Donald Trump, the latest of the celebrity polls to drop out of the race. To be fair, by most accounts Donald Trump was not going to be a major factor in the Republican primary since his chances of beating the president were slim. However he did promise to bring a certain amount of notoriety to an otherwise dismal field desperately in need of some passion in order to gin up interest. But Trump eventually bowed out because of the money and the fame. Let’s be honest, by all accounts, he could’ve pushed to announce his decision on the season finale of the Celebrity Apprentice, but executives at NBC drove a truckload of money up to his house and insisted that he give them an answer now. Such powerful decision making in the face of pressure surely would’ve served him well on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Outside of Huckabee, these other two ‘contenders’ weren’t likely to make the final cut heading into the nomination of 2012. At best Sarah Palin might’ve stayed in until Super Tuesday and I believe that Donald Trump likely would have dropped out of the race before Iowa. Nevertheless the fact that a relationship with fame and television is the overriding reason behind why these individuals didn’t seek the world’s highest office is something to keep an eye on. In the end we’ll never know what quite led to the decisions of these three candidates but we do know this. That unlike politicos of the past they will not fade quietly into the sunset but will be part of our regularly scheduled broadcast.
This article originally appeared in TheLoop21.com under the headline “Celebrity Trumps Presidency: Why The Donald, Palin and Huckabee won’t run in 2012.”