“The War Room” is a movie worth watching in 2016, for how much things have changed for the world’s only superpower in obvious decline.
You’ll recognize the young and middle-aged stars of the last 15 years: George Stephanopoulos, Paul Begala, and — front ‘n’ center, James Carville, now an old man. Bill Clinton is the Big Dog, not as he is now, the frail old man trying to recall better days while pumping up his wife as the next president.
The doc is shot as the legacy. Bill Clinton, a people’s candidate.
There’s a moment from a speech by Al Gore in a campaign rally that could be exactly like something Bernie Sanders roarded at crowds. America was down, jobs and the economy, not fair. “The country’s gone el busto,” says Carville. “If you can’t fix it, get out of the way!”
George H. W. Bush: “America is still great!”
Time and history have reversed. God has a sense of humor. Hillary Clinton has proclaimed “America never stopped being great,” refuting the Sanders insurgency. Now she’s the stodge portrayed in “The War Room,” virtually indistinguishable from the patrician centrist Republican elder Bush.
George H. W. Bush wasn’t a bad president. He wasn’t a great one. Hillary Clinton is a career politician, known world-wide, no better. In fact, of the same DNA as GHWB, the establishment — wealth and political power that has done nothing but reward itself, corporations and the military at the expense of everyone else, finally bringing on a revolt in their party, right now just less vehement than the other side’s rejection of its money mad extremist lifers.
George Stephanopouls, a charismatic young man, says it’s about “jobs and education,” we’ll pay for school etc. Today, the Democratic Party has nothing to offer except “get more education.” And everyone goes into crushing debt for it.
“The War Room” ends on an optimistic note with Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” playing, how tomorrow was, if not quite as fast, soon here.
Bill Clinton subsequently abandoned all the positions briefly espoused in “The War Room,” moving the Democratic Party to the right.
Make no mistake, this is a good, maybe great documentary. There are many excellent moments: George Stephanopoulos canning some imbecile from a news agency trying to shake the roots of the campaigh by threatening to run a story on an alleged illegitimate mixed race child of Bill Clinton’s. James Carville and the staff laughing out loud at Ross Perot dancing with his wife to Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” at a final televised campaign rally. “The greatest example of political masturbation in the history of the world,” or something like that, Carville laughs.
Today, the Ragin’ Cajun’, along with his wife, Mary Matalin, who was the elder Bush’s campaign manager, are out of the story. Bill Clinton is still in the news but not because anyone thinks he’s a hero. His Fleetwood Mac tomorrow is here. It stinks, all across the board. And the good guys in this movie became just as the George Herbert Walker Bush pols they laughed at.
It’s available free on YouTube.
“He represented something more: Youth, energy, change, progress.”
That’s Clinton campaign advisor Mickey Cantor at the end of CNN’s “Race for the White House: Clinton vs. Bush.” It’s worth another look because of where we are now.
Clinton crushed Bush. He had the youth vote, here portrayed as a result of the genius stroke of going on Arsenio Hall to toot out a bit of “Heartbreak Hotel” on sax while wearing James Carville’s sunglasses.
Again we see the Clinton campaign runs on the accusation that America is in decline and they can make it great again. Old George Bush says, how dare Bill Clinton say that. America is never in decline.
In 2016 the hourglass containing the sands of time has reversed. Bill’s wife is running. Trump will make America great again. HRC challenges, just like old George: America has never been in decline.
The Clinton’s were cool, if you see them here. It’s worth noting, too, that it was something of a sham. They were just as square and out of it as anyone else in the high-button snoot crowd. Al Gore’s wife, Tipper, eventually gave us the PMRC and Congressional hearings on pop music that made the Mentors, an obscure southern California heavy metal act that wore black hoods onstage way more famous (“smell my anal vapors) than was apt.
Bill Clinton sells the necessity of balancing the budget, something irrelevant then and even moreso now, although it has always sounded good.
Balancing the budget means austerity and stagnation, something virtually impossible if a country’s money is the reserve currency of the world and it can print as much of it as it wants. It also means sticking it to the middle class, the working class and the poor.
Old George Bush gets destroyed in a debate when asked about how the national debt has affected him personally. He can’t answer because there is no answer. He wasn’t affected by it. You weren’t affected by it. No one was.
Bill Clinton answers with a non-answer but the younger crowd likes the sound and style of it. The game is over and he’ll be the next president.
Tomorrow, what happens when the Clinton machine runs into the debate buzzsaw of Donald Trump? Trump might blow himself up before then but, in truth, nobody knows. If you believe there’s a deity, he likes to play games with dice and he’s rolling them in the back room, out of sight, right now. Is it snake eyes or 7s and 11s?
Not as good as “The War Room,” but definitely worth your time.