- The Washington Times - Friday, February 11, 2011

Donald Trump jetted into the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington Thursday to put himself forward as a potential Republican candidate for president in 2012. The big-time developer and media star played to the crowd and made a splash. In the months ahead, we’ll see if he can make some political headway.

For those who were curious where he stands on bread-and-butter GOP issues, the Donald offered a concise summary of his outlook. “I’m pro-life, I’m against gun control and I will fight to end Obamacare and replace it with something that makes sense for people in business and not bankrupt the country,” he said to wild applause. Mr. Trump also promised to take on unfair Chinese trade practices, play hardball with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to bring down gas prices, and not to raise taxes.

There’s no doubt this country could use a businessman in the White House. It used to be said that the business of America is business. More recently, the name of the game has been bailouts, handouts and defaults. Whoever gets the Republican nod next year must be a leader who understands big government is a millstone around the neck of the private sector, and cutting government is necessary for vibrant growth. Mr. Trump’s TV show “The Apprentice” gained fame for the boss summarily firing underperformers; perhaps this is the man who has the guts to finally take on the inefficient bureaucratic leviathan.

Mr. Trump is tough, brash and has all the traits of a successful entrepreneur. He riled up the CPAC crowd by taking some shots at libertarian Texas Rep. Ron Paul. “I think he’s a good guy, but honestly he just has zero chance of getting elected - you have to win an election,” he said. The Donald has obvious positives but in the end, the same question will be asked about him: Is the colorful Mr. Trump electable? Either way, a competitor who actually has won in the marketplace would bring a lot to the presidential race.