The best political movie of my generation, "Primary Colors," tells the story of Jack Stanton, a small-time Southern governor who becomes president of the United States because he’s willing to sacrifice everything he says he stands for to gain power.
Of course, we all recognize Stanton for who he really is: A thinly disguised portrait of President Bill Clinton, the philandering, charming and wholly immoral talebearer; a simple-hearted liar who can lie about Uncle Charlie winning medals in World War II just as easily as he can lie about his sham marriage.
Far from detracting from the movie, the obvious parallels to Clinton serve to reinforce the cautionary vision that makes the movie so powerful: In a quest to reform the system, a young idealist loses his ideals and, in choosing power over ideals, he becomes the very thing he rails against.
For many of us, we thought that the cautionary tale reached a high watermark under Clinton. We were wrong.
Liberals, in turn, eventually revolted against the Clintons, against the hard-knuckle tactics, bare-chested romanticism and semen stains that turned high ideals into just another temporary high.
Instead, they turned to another idealist, President Barack Obama, who, while free of the stains of Uncle Charlie -- and those that come from bare chests that go thump in the night -- apparently has the same willingness to become what he rails against hardest.
In his latest bid to turn the presidency into a cheap, traveling revival of socialism, radical 1960s ideology and black “power” politics, Obama has begun to sell even more access to the White House.
It’s not surprising that Obama would do that.
He's, after all, exactly who we thought he was: A professional liberal and dealer in outrage who stays in business by selling a mythical tonic called “fairness.”
Previously -- all in the pursuit of “fairness”-- he sold access to companies like GE, GM, Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Solydnra, Microsoft, Google, Kaiser Permanente, DreamWorks and 220 celebrities, like comedian Will Ferrell, who donated $5,000 to Obama’s campaign.
What’s surprising is that many of the 1960s radicals and their progeny who now rail against corporate greed would be willing to follow Obama’s Pied Piper money parade, not seeing the greed in the president as readily as they see greed everywhere else.
Ferrell, for example, made a generally funny movie called "The Campaign" during the 2012 election, which eventually descended into a political plea to shut up the Koch Brothers, famous for both their wealth and their opposition to Obama. Farrell apparently thinks companies and celebrities that like Obama equal good, and those who don’t, like the Koch Brothers, equal bad.
The First Amendment for Ferrell only applies to issues he agrees with apparently.
I know many liberals to be hypocrites, but I don’t believe all of them, or even a majority of them, are. I reserve that judgment generally for those who are professional liberals like Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and our newest Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew.
Guys like Ferrell, the amateur liberals, are usually just gullible, unwitting bagmen for politicos who want the thin patina of credibility and thick cash that celebrities afford them.
Obama, who's the very definition of professional liberal and politico, needs cash. Obama always needs cash. Like all professional liberals, he’s greedy. He needs money for his mansion in Chicago, he needs money to buy votes, he needs money for vacations, but above all he needs money to keep the good times rolling. Although denied a third-term by law, Obama is determined that the campaigning will never, ever, ever stop.
Did I say never? Good, because I meant it.
“President Obama’s political team is fanning out across the country in pursuit of an ambitious goal: Raising $50 million to convert his re-election campaign into a powerhouse national advocacy network [called Organizing for Action],” the New York Times reported. “A sum that would rank the new group as one of Washington’s biggest lobbying operations.”
And although some liberals seem to be going along with selling White House access to donors for "Obama’s Really Big Campaign," to their credit, not all liberals are OK with it.
In the Washington Post editorial “The Dark Temptation of Money,” the Post editorial board writes: “Judging by recent reports, Organizing for Action should be renamed Paying for Access. The Obama team has been talking about raising half the group’s money through $500,000 donations from the president’s top supporters. They will apparently be offered a spot on an advisory board with the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president.”
And even the New York Times, not known for having second thoughts about bad liberal ideas, is uneasy.
“A closer look at this group shows how disturbing its work really is,” the New York Times editorial board wrote. “Its name is Organizing for Action, and if its initials seem familiar, that’s because the group is the direct descendant of Obama for America, the president’s campaign organization in 2008 and 2012. That organization is now defunct, but its new incarnation has its extremely valuable voter database and many of the same strategists.”
And many of the same dangerous ideas that keeps Washington, Wall Street and Hollywood on the wrong side of Main Street.
You want to get money out of politics? The easiest way is to get politics out of the business of money. There’s only one reason why the GE’s of the world knock on the door of the government. And that reason is money.
Maybe it’s just me, but I hardly think the thing that will cut the Gordian Knot in Washington will be another high-priced, high-donor lobbying effort by people who can afford to bundle $500,000 donations whether they come from Washington, Wall Street or even Hollywood.
I think even Will Ferrell would agree.