By Sylvia Gurinsky
Donald Trump, who's mulling a run for president, certainly doesn't have a pristine life. He's had three marriages and two divorces, a couple of bankruptcies and endless jokes from David Letterman about how his hair looks.
But he would be seen as a credible candidate because of his business chops. He's gotten in the hole a couple of times, but he's gotten back out.
He's also been respected by many people for not caring much about conventional wisdom in making his decisions.
Politically, Trump has been a "Rockefeller Republican" - that almost-extinct breed of fiscal conservative and social liberal. One would think he'd be a breath of fresh air in a primary that seems to be going extreme right, more extreme right and totalitarian.
Unfortunately, it seems Trump is going in the other direction - trying to appeal to the Republican extremists instead of trying to lead them back to rationality.
The evidence lies in his adoption of that coded method of racism known as the "birther" campaign. For the sake of right-wing appeal, apparently, Trump has embraced the cause to persuade President Barack Obama to release his birth certificate.
Donald, Donald, Donald (as your friend Mr. Letterman might say). You're smarter than that.
Trump has made some valid points about the United States lagging in the world economically (although he hasn't put money where his mouth is with initiatives for businesses that aren't his own or for schools). But if, presumably, he wants to be taken seriously as a candidate by the majority of Americans, he should drop his dangerous waltz with the birther movement. For a man who really isn't like that, it sends the wrong message to voters.