s Donald Trump surges in polls of potential 2012 GOP presidential candidates, he's starting to take fire from mainstream Republicans. Karl Rove, the architect of George W. Bush's successful presidential campaigns, called Trump a "joke candidate," and influential conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer says the real estate magnate and reality TV star is the "Al Sharpton of the Republican Party — provocateur and clown, unserious." Krauthammer says Sharpton hurt Democrats with his 2004 presidential run, and Trump will do the same to Republicans, by using his celebrity and "irrelevant" issues — like Obama's birthplace — to distract attention from serious issues and candidates. Does he have a point?
Yes, Trump is the GOP's Sharpton: Krauthammer "is right, of course," says James Joyner at Outside the Beltway. "The only caveat is that Palin and Bachmann are only slightly less hamhanded on the birther issue and other foolishness." If all three of them run, the GOP primaries will be "entertaining, but not exactly illuminating."
"Krauthammer: Trump GOP's Al Sharpton"
No, Trump is worse: There's no real evidence that Sharpton hurt John Kerry's chances in 2004, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. "Trump is more of a concern because he specializes in a fringe issue" — the stubborn belief that President Obama was not born in the U.S. — "that'll put the rest of the field on the spot." Still, it should be easy enough that Trump's "more 'substantive' positions, like starting a trade war with China," are just plain "nutty."
"Krauthammer: Trump is the Al Sharpton of the GOP"
Actually, Trump is more like Rudy Giuliani: In 2008, the mainstream GOP shunned former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani over his liberal record on social issues, says Steve Kornacki at Salon. Trump has at least as much "ideological and personal baggage" as Rudy. And this Sharpton crack by Krauthammer, who has already helped marginalize Sarah Palin, is only the beginning of a push to sour GOP voters on The Donald.
"Is the right (finally) turning on Trump?"
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