As a kick-off to the White House Correspondents Dinner
this evening, Slate
, the thought-leadership digital magazine
, hosted a breakfast at the Washington Post headquarters and explored the underlying reasons behind the possible appeal of a Donald Trump presidency.
The breakfast featured an informal conversation between Jacob Weisberg, Slate
's editor-at-large and John Dickerson, chief political correspondent for Slate
The discussion centered on the Republican 2012 presidential candidates, and it could not have been a complete analysis without an exploration of the potential presidential bid from real estate billionaire Donald Trump.
"It is interesting that Trump has been in New Hampshire," Dickerson said. "He is talking to pollsters, so he appears serious."
Dickerson attributed his success to his overall visibility and recall and to the fact that Trump has his own media platform.
"But this is a show," Dickerson continued. "Visiting with pollsters is part of the show."
But Dickerson also explained that as the campaign unfolds across the variety of regional influences that compose the US voting populace, voters are going to want to make sure that this is not a show and that their candidates have substance. According to Dickerson, Sarah Palin has the same challenge. All show. No sustainable substance.
However, the Obama birth certificate issue that was elevated again by Trump has unveiled an American public that is unaccustomed to the kind of personal background they have in President Obama, according to Dickerson.
"Obama's non-traditional upbringing is something voters have not seen before," Dickerson said.
And Dickerson believes it is this lack of familiarity that may be feeding the collective distrust in some circles of President Obama and feeding also the appeal of the "birther" conspiracy.
According to a recent Gallup / USA Today poll
, 24 percent of Americans still believe President Obama was definitely/probably born in another country.