Thursday, July 14, 2016

What voters have created

I offer the following movie clips from two dark comedies as a cram course in political science.  They also alert us to the futility of handing over our lives at the ballot box.

Domestic policy: The Distinguished Gentleman (1992)

From Wikipedia:
A Florida con man named Thomas Jefferson Johnson uses the passing of the longtime Congressman from his district, Jeff Johnson (who died of a heart attack while having sex with his secretary), to get elected to the United States Congress as a freshman Congressman, where the money flows from lobbyists. Omitting his first name, and abbreviating his middle name, he calls himself "Jeff" Johnson. He then manages to get on the ballot by pitching a seniors organization, the Silver Foxes, to nominate him as their candidate for office. 
Once on the election ballot, he uses the dead Congressman's old campaign material and runs a low budget campaign that appeals to name recognition, figuring most people do not pay much attention and simply vote for the "name you know." He wins a slim victory and is off to Washington, a place where the "streets are lined with gold." 



Foreign Policy: Wag the Dog (1997)

From Wikipedia
The film follows a Washington, D.C. spin doctor (De Niro) who, mere days before a presidential election, distracts the electorate from a sex scandal by hiring a Hollywood film producer (Hoffman) to construct a fake war with Albania. 
Wag the Dog was released one month before the outbreak of the Lewinsky scandal and the subsequent bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan by the Clinton administration, which prompted the media to draw comparisons between the film and reality.












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