FOR a brief, embarrassing moment, real estate mogul Donald Trump was one of the hottest political commodities in the country. It didn't take much for the tough-talking New York billionaire to cast a shadow across a weak Republican field.
Though there were signs that the thrice-married host of Celebrity Apprentice was never serious about a presidential run that would have exposed him to intense scrutiny, the Donald was sometimes treated like a credible candidate by pundits who were bored by the prospect of legitimate policy debates.
Mr. Trump made headway against more conventional Republican contenders by championing the much-discredited theory that President Obama was born in Kenya. When Mr. Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate from Hawaii, the birther movement stood exposed as a ridiculous political cult.
When the President mocked Mr. Trump's preoccupation with conspiracy theories at the White House Correspondents' Dinner last month, the reality show star was humiliated in front of the whole world. The following night, NBC News interrupted the broadcast of Celebrity Apprentice to announce that Mr. Obama had succeeded in having U.S. forces kill Osama bin Laden.
You can't script political irony like that.
In recent weeks, Mr. Trump has fallen into the lower strata of the Republican pack. His attempt to steer the national conversation back toward OPEC and America's trade imbalance with China didn't work. Because running for president suddenly was not as much fun as assigning tasks to Gary Busey and Meat Loaf, Mr. Trump and NBC announced that the network's biggest star would be returning for another season of his show.
Those who predicted that Mr. Trump would never give up the money and glamor of television for public service were correct. His ego is better suited for television boardroom firings than the daily grind of a national campaign.
The celebrity boss may have begun to believe his own hype about his chances of beating President Obama if he were the GOP nominee, but the nation knows better.
Donald Trump will never be fired by America because he would never have been hired.