This is a highly technical and sophisticated political science construct, but you can pretty much conclude a political party has just a pinch of a problem when one of its leading presidential candidates runs around with what looks like a golden retriever on his head.
When Donald Trump showed up at a tea party rally in Boca Raton over the weekend, it was hard to tell whether his adoring crowds should have applauded — or gone on point.
But there the Donald was, along with a coiffure that is more intricate than the double helix, inveighing against all things Obama and suggesting he would make a better president than Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln combined. After all, he stared down Omarosa Stallworth, The Apprentice's answer to "Mommie Dearest," and lived to tell the tale without being turned into a Vienna Boys' Choir soprano.
At the moment, the entire predicate for Trump's vanity campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is that he is both stinking rich and apparently a bigger blowhard than Rush Limbaugh. Well, Bubba the Love Sponge probably meets that standard, too, but it hardly qualifies him to live in the White House.
Judging from his early forays on the stump, it would seem Trump has concluded that his best bet in adding the GOP nomination to his portfolio is by throwing more blood-dripping red meat at the fulminating wing of the tea party than could be found on Lion Bobble-head Day at Nero's Roman Coliseum.
So it's no surprise Trump's "Fear Really Is an Option" campaign has fully embraced the tea party birther fiction that Barack Obama is in fact the Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyite/socialist/communist who was born on a planet far, far away. This despite the best efforts of Hawaiian officials who have argued that unless Kenya annexed Hawaii when no one was looking, the president is and always has been a U.S. citizen.
At this rate, could Trump be far from claiming that Barack Obama cannot account for his whereabouts the day Elvis died; that Air Force One is actually a cleverly disguised UFO; or that thing on top of his head is not an attempt to grow his own coonskin cap?
Since he first divorced his way into the national consciousness, Trump has vigorously self-promoted himself as a savvy tycoon whose vast wealth makes Daddy Warbucks look like a Tunisian fruit peddler.
It is true that, according to Forbes magazine, Trump is tied as the 420th wealthiest person in the world with an estimated net worth of about $2.7 billion. He's done well, especially for someone who was born with a silver pacifier in his mouth to parents who were already multimillionaires. Or put another way, this chap has never had to worry where his next tube of Brylcreem was coming from.
But when you are hustling yourself to the electorate as a high financier who makes Warren Buffett grovel in humiliation before your feet, it probably doesn't help to be reminded of the occasional business setback.
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump was in the full flower of his bloviating Donaldness when he was asked how his several bankruptcies comported with the image of possessing such a keen business acumen.
Trump first denied he had ever filed for bankruptcy, not quite the brightest thing to do when you're being interviewed by the Journal, which sorta keeps track of this stuff. And although it is accurate that Trump had never personally gone belly up, his companies, which he is supposed to be in control of, have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganizations in 1991, 1992, 2004 and as recently as 2009.
There may be room for a new catchphrase here: "You're Mired!"
Trump fumed that the questions about his past financial woes were "sneaky" and "dishonest," which is what politicians often say when confronted by their own behavior.
Still, Trump needn't worry too much about his association with red ink, especially in Florida. After all, this is a state that just elected Rick Scott as governor despite the fact he had overseen a company that paid a record fine for Medicare fraud. So it's rather doubtful the tea party politic will give a rat's patootie if Trump takes hairstyling tips from Ronald McDonald or had a few business deals go bad.
Besides, it was probably Barack Obama's fault anyway.
A recent column suggested Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority head David Armijo was still residing in a home owned by a lawyer who represents the agency. Armijo no longer lives in the residence.