Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bush, Congress and Box-Office Bombs

As they bicker over Iraq and posture about immigration, Washington’s elected elite bring to mind Hollywood’s legendary disasters. Approval ratings, politicians’ equivalent of movie revenues, keep sinking.

Stooping to self-quotation, this 2006 pre-election post ended with a warning for Democrats:

“’I’ m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more!’

“That line, from a 30-year-old movie written by my high-school classmate, Paddy Chayevsky, looks like the key to this election. In ‘Network,’ it was a loony anchorman who inspired people to open their windows and yell. This year, Diebold willing, voters will vent their rage in the booth and give Democrats control of both houses.

“As the scene shifts from Ted Turner’s old movie channel to his other brainchild, CNN, newly elected Dems may want to recall how ‘Network’ ends. When the public doesn’t get what it wants, the hero gets killed on camera.”

Now, the news is sounding like reviews of “Ishtar,” “Heaven’s Gate” and “The Adventures of Pluto Nash,” which one critic compared to “watching 90 minutes of outtakes--deleted scenes randomly assembled by a drunken night watchman at the studio.”

While auditioning new stars for ’08, Washington’s movers and shakers should be getting the message that the public won’t be buying more of the same.

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