Tuesday, February 15, 2011

From reality TV to the White House

     History calls on Rob Dyrdek.

     A nation awaits word. Run for president, Rob. Run as a Republican. You have what it takes.

     Mainly, and most importantly, you have a reality television show. Make that two. That makes you doubly qualified.

     One could not help but think of Dyrdek, he of MTV's "Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory," the other day when Donald Trump appeared before the Conservative Political Action Conference and all but announced he's running. He told the crowd that he's anti-abortion and pro-gun, and with his own reality TV show, he's as close to qualified as one can get to the GOP nomination, judging by the prospective field.

     Trump joins reality TV figure Sarah Palin as both make moves toward throwing their hair in the ring.

     When Trump does, he will have broken the by-now-accepted rule for becoming a Republican presidential contender: Quit your job. Write a book. Get on the Fox News payroll. Mush for face time like it's the Iditarod.

      Mitt Romney, you piker.

      Rob Dyrdek is no piker. He's a skateboarder, and a brilliant businessman.

      Unlike Trump, he doesn't do business suits. He wears mostly oversized T-shirts, and a ball cap that seems not to fit his head that well. He also makes money hand over jewel-encrusted fist. He is all over MTV with a show — his second show — about living the Generation Y dream and punking his pals. He endorses and invents products. He has cornered more markets than Procter & Gamble. He's everything the leader of our country should be. Did I mention he has a reality TV show?

       Sure, Trump and Palin will have challengers. Rachael Ray has yet to reveal her intentions. So, too, the Kardashian sisters. Simon Cowell. Dr. Phil. Dr. Oz. Dr. Gupta. We wait for the field to form.

       People talk up the possible southern challenge of former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. But, really — if you want to win the South, kitchen queen Paula Deen is the choice in the red states, with heavy backing by big dairy.

       All along, while Palin has perused the political landscape through her designer rifle scope, I've mentally compared her qualifications to that of Dyrdek, the skateboard king whose reality ratings put hers to shame. Nielsen numbers aside: To be honest, it's no contest.

      Oddball entrepreneur Dyrdek is smart verging on spooky. Palin is, well, simply spooky as someone presuming to lead the free world.

      We are told that having written a best-seller certifies Palin as high-brow and visionary. Pending this month's sales figures, that could apply as well to "Jersey Shore" hot-tub philosophess Snooki. She has a book out, too. It's called A Shore Thing. Really.

     If Snooki's book isn't a best-seller like Palin's, such a distinction is no empty boast for TV talk sister Chelsea Handler. Her My Horizontal Life is No. 20 on the New York Times list.

      Always trust market forces when deciphering wisdom. They will not mislead.

     Oh, and George W. Bush's new book rationalizing his presidency is at No. 5, though somehow classified as non-fiction.

       When it comes to winnowing down our reality stars for the nation's No. 1 job, one can understand why Donald Trump might rise to the top. The times call for a businessman to run the country, sort of like Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney did all those years ago.

       Regardless, and more crucial: A TV star is what the people demand in times of uncertainty. Ronald Reagan, whom Palin loves to quote trashing Medicare, was that before he was president. And what a president he turned out to be.

       All of this is to affirm, by review, that the presidency is no fantasly for one Rob Dyrdek. 

       Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. E-mail: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

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