Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Ides of March

I didn’t like Ides of March that much, although my parents really enjoyed it.  It seems to be an attempt by George Clooney, who directs and co-stars, to do an updated (and darker) version of Robert Redford’s 1972 film The Candidate. There are number of contemporary allegories in the movie, which was based on the 2008 play Farragut North.  In an echo of Barack Obama, Clooney plays an inspiring progressive presidential candidate.  Ryan Gosling plays a political consultant who is in thrall to Clooney and believes he is a man who will change the country.  The Obama connection seems complete when a New York Times reporter accuses Gosling of having drunk the Kool Aid on Clooney and tells him that he is a politician who will eventually let him down.  Perhaps an echo of the liberal disaffection with Obama? Without giving away too much, let’s just say that Clooney’s character also has a little bit of Bill Clinton in him and gets in trouble with a sexual indiscretion.
In the film, the Democrats are in the middle of a heated primary that appears to be more important than the general election because the Republicans are in such bad shape.  This seems similar to 2008 when the Hilary-Obama race seemed like the main event given how Bush’s unpopularity was going to hinder the GOP nominee.  Another echo of ’08 is how Republicans are encouraging their flock to vote in the Democratic primary to help Clooney’s opponent, who is perceived to be weaker and to also extend the primary campaign.  This seems earliy similiar to Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos, which asked conservatives to support Hilary in open primaries when it appeared Obama was going to wrap up the nomination. This actually helped Obama in the end, forcing him to build a campaign infrastructure across the country, paving the way for his wins in GOP-leaning states like North Carolina and Indiana.
In the end, I would recommend Clooney’s 2005 Good Night and Good Luck for a political film.

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