Upon hearing that Donald Trump will interview his fellow neocons at another GOP debate in late December, I recalled that Trump gave the Republican nomination a shot himself in 2000, and of course again briefly in the past year. A quick Web search unearthed quite a few of Trump's political opinions on topics ranging from civil rights to war. After reading through some of these Trumpisms I thought I'd attempt to anticipate some questions that "The Donald," as he is sometimes called, would ask his fellow neocons who are seeking the Republican nomination. So here goes.
"Mr. Gingrich, when I sought the nomination in 2000 I asked the question, u2018Who else has called for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea?' Would you agree with me that we should start another war with North Korea?"
"Senator Santorum, when I was running I said that Israel is "our unsinkable Mideast aircraft carrier" that "is there for us." But, well, not exactly. There are no Israeli soldiers fighting side-by-side with "us" in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you become president, would you pressure Israel to supply soldiers for our Mideast wars?"
"Governor Romney, I know you have taken a lot of heat for being, well, a socialist by introducing socialized healthcare in Massachusetts. I suspect you might agree with me that there's nothing inherently bad about socialism as long as it's run by smart, deal-making businessmen like you and me. For example, when I was running I proposed a 14.25% wealth tax on "the wealthiest Americans," something the Marxist-inspired "Occupy Wall Street" movement would probably go for. I also called for universal healthcare, stating that what we need is a "well-administered single-payer system." Would you in fact agree with me that socialism of this sort is OK as long as it is well administered by smart and handsome businessmen like us?"
"Governor Perry, when I was running I advocated the death penalty for convicted murderers, and stated that "lethal injections are too comfortable a way to go." Would you, as president, issue an executive order to allow a state like Texas to ignore the constitutional prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and allow the state to publicly behead convicted murderers?"
"Back to Mr. Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, even though we now have a military presence in over 150 countries and our military budget exceeds that of all the other nations of the world combined, I stand by my statement made eleven years ago that u2018the defense budget is too low.' Don't you agree?'"
"Here's a question for all the panelists: I have often said that u2018a good deal maker is cunning, secretive, and focused,' and that, as such, Richard Nixon was one of our best political deal makers ever. If president, would you resurrect the Nixonian art of deal making, as I have suggested?"
"At the risk of appearing to be a bitter, small-minded cheap shot artist, here's a question for Congressman Ron Paul, who is not here tonight (as Trump addresses an empty chair on the stage): Congressman Paul, wouldn't your agenda of peace, real, free-market capitalism, and free trade with all leave you, as president, with almost nothing to do? Why would anyone vote for a man who simply wants to leave everyone alone to pursue their own interests with government doing nothing but protecting life, liberty, and property? And a defense policy that defends America sounds nice, but then who would be the world's policeman? Who would make sure that everyone is behaving themselves in Central Africa and the Far East? I won't stay up all night waiting for answers to these questions – I've got a Miss USA contest to prepare for."
Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton's Curse: How Jefferson's Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution — And What It Means for America Today.