Why Barack Obama Is the Real Donald Trump

Forget about the birth certificate. Obama's a self-made millionaire who rescued Wall Street and Detroit. Trump is not.

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Donald Trump built his headline-grabbing, undeclared presidential run -- and a double-digit lead in early GOP 2012 primary polling -- on the theory that President Barack Obama isn't actually American. If Trump plans to keep on running, now that a copy of the president's long-form birth certificate is posted on whitehouse.gov and the Obama "Birther" conspiracies have been, or should be, all but put to rest, he'll have to fall back on the belief -- held by no one more strongly than himself -- that his own famous combination of conspicuous wealth and in-your-face bravado will be the winning formula for the nation's next chief executive.

Speaking to press gathered on a New Hampshire tarmac Wednesday, Trump said that he was "really proud" to be the one who forced Obama to make his birth certificate public, and then quickly pivoted to his latest charge about Obama's admission to Harvard Law -- that he'd "heard he was a terrible student, terrible."

In his version of things, Trump's the great American rags-to-riches story, and Obama is the suspicious, out-of-touch law professor. His pitch hinges on the public buying Trump as a one-man money factory who can solve America's problems by telling China's leaders "We're going to tax you 25 percent" and ordering the Saudis to bring down the price of a gallon of gas.

But when you look at the two of them side by side, it's hard not to notice that Obama is the real Horatio Alger story here, and Trump is more like Richie Rich -- comfortably drafting off of someone else's American dream. Forget about birth certificates. Here's why Obama is the real Donald Trump:

The Millions

Trump's appeal is based largely on his moneymaking prowess, but he rarely points out that he made his money the old-fashioned way: by inheriting a multimillion-dollar real estate empire from his father. Obama's millions pale in comparison with Trump's reported billions, but with brisk sales from best-selling books, Obama made his fortune the even more old-fashioned way: He earned it.

The Market

If the business of America is business, then America's most important statistic is the Dow Jones industrial average. It dropped all the way down to the 7,000s after the 2008 financial sector collapse, and Obama nursed it back to the 12,000s. It doesn't matter how many club invites that Trump -- the businessman -- hands out for his Mar-a-Lago golf resort, he'll never top what Obama's done for the investor class.

The Automobile

Trump says that he's never personally gone bankrupt. He's just taken his companies into bankruptcy and "used the laws of this country" to make himself richer -- something that no one really begrudged him or ever seriously doubted.