“When you’re hot, you’re hot and when you’re not, you’re not.” I cannot determine the source of that bit of political wisdom, but it certainly has a Yogi Berra ring to it.
With the countless hours now devoted to political analysis on television and in the press, few pundits have been able to reach the profound degree of insight contained in that old truism.
It explains a host of political and cultural phenomena without the need of the turgid and often painful analysis that clutters the airwaves, particularly talk radio and cable TV.
One need not be perplexed by the disappearance of Mike Dukakis, Al Gore, Martha Coakley, John Kerry, John Edwards, John McCain, or Rudy Guiliani. They once were hot, but they lost and now they’re not.
Rarely can someone come back after losing his heat, with sports being a prime exception; David Ortiz seems to go from cold to hot every season.
Also, once someone or something becomes hot, it inevitably begins to lose heat, sometimes slowly but more often rapidly. Hot items tend to get more attention, which normally has a cooling effect. This process is illustrated in the Japanese aphorism: “The nail that sticks out gets hammered.”
Donald Trump will do almost anything to stay hot. “I’d like to buy him for what I think of him and sell him for what he thinks of himself” is an observation that fits him perfectly.
Like a villain in a Batman movie, the name “Trump” suggests dominance; the winning card. It defines the assailant’s character.
Now toying with the idea of running for president, he has carried self promotion to heights that only he could have seen from his already lofty perch.
Having put the “Trump” brand on everything he owns, or in which he has an interest, he now wants to put it on the White House. Is he serious or is this just another ploy to further inflate his oversized ego?
He used the “birther” issue to catapult himself into the race by questioning the president’s legitimacy.
He is enough of a showman to know that someone of his “stature” could stir up the controversy and generate the attention he craves, and that is as important to his survival as air and water.
Humility to “The Donald” would be a grievous sin; it’s the opposite of what he represents. He is the perfect example of how mankind in the exercise of free will could have offended God by choosing self- gratification.
Some see him as a buffoon or clown, but Trump is smart enough to know there is a segment of the public and the press that is intrigued and even envious of one who appears so confident, powerful, and rich. He is the entertainer as businessman; too expansive to be confined to only one dimension.
In his quest to remain hot, he will do and say almost anything to remain in the spotlight. Coiffed, manicured, and impeccably dressed, he strides upon the earth like a minor deity demanding attention if not respect.
There is something sad about the man. What viral form of ambition drives him to be powerful and wealthy while also creating the need to be idolized as such? He is the “American Idol” notwithstanding all the others who clamor for that title.
My hope for “The Donald” is that one day the refreshing winds of humility will penetrate the heat and cool his passion for self-aggrandizement. The fact is that when you’re hot you’re hot, but when you’re not, you’re probably better off.
James W. Dolan is a retired Dorchester District Court judge who now practices law.