The Campaigns Go To The Movies

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Like Hollywood, the Presidential candidates are selling our dreams back to us.

The Republicans offer their old fantasy flick of tough-guy-kicks-butt. The candidates fetishize cowboy boots, big guns and red power ties. The only effective diplomacy is a loaded gun, compromise is sellout, and every problem is the same: the bad guys are winning because the people in charge are too wimpy to crush them. Islamic terrorists are schoolyard bullies, liberals and moderates are Officer Krupke, and Obama is both.

Bernie Sanders is selling a different dream. Exit Dirty Harry. Enter Robin Hood, giving the ill-gotten gains of the filthy rich to you and me. Add Atticus Finch, the principled crusader against intolerance. The oligarchs tremble, The People rule. In the world-according-to-Bernie, there is no red America and blue America, only a blue America about to become even more blue because Kansas will realize what's the matter with it.

These are bad movies, confusing simplicity for authenticity and both for virtue. But they may be more appealing to primary voters than no movie at all. That would be the Hillary movie. Hillary would like to be Thelma and Louise, but she isn't wild. She would like to be Rocky, but she's no underdog. For every simplistic storyline, she has reason to hedge that bet, and for every bet she hedges, she ends up seeming like The Candidate, that Robert Redford character who stood for nothing except his need to get elected.

Hillary was actually portrayed in a movie, by Emma Thompson in 'Primary Colors'. She was unpretentious, accomplished, and ruthless---probably closer to Hillary than this year's version. But that Hillary wasn't running for President.


After the election, the movies will change as the new president faces the world, not just the voters. Prediction: the dreams that sold this year will look quaint.

Anyone for "Got hope?"

With a Perspective, I'm Jeremy Friedlander.

Jeremy Friedlander lives in San Francisco.