President Barack Obama's re-election campaign received some wonderful news the other day: A Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll found Donald Trump had shot up to a tie for second place among potential contenders for the Republican nomination in 2012.
The only thing better, as far as Democrats are concerned, would be if Sarah Palin, the polarizing and preachy former Alaska governor, joined him on the ticket.
Mr. Trump, a real estate tycoon/casino mogul turned reality TV star, has scored political points among the lunatic fringe by jumping on the "birther" bandwagon - expressing doubt that President Obama was born in this country and therefore should be ineligible to hold its highest office. Perpetuating this crackpot notion - embraced by some tea party elements within the GOP despite evidence showing the president was born in Hawaii - brands Mr. Trump as a political airhead whose views on substantive issues should never be taken seriously.
Mr. Trump is a shameless self-promoter who has made and lost billions, which begs the question: Why would anyone in the tea party, which purports to represent the struggling common man, rally to the side of this over-inflated plutocrat?
The new poll must be especially galling to the rest of the GOP field: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who came in first place (21 percent); former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who tied Mr. Trump with 17 percent; former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (11 percent); Ms. Palin (10 percent); and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (6 percent).
Mr. Trump has never held elective office. The only contests he's been involved in have been the Miss USA beauty pageants hosted by his Atlantic City casino.
With this nation's stalled economy, stubborn unemployment, questions over the handling of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and military involvement in Libya, Republicans should have enough fodder to challenge Mr. Obama without getting distracted by nonsensical issues promoted by a lightweight candidate.