The Ego Has (Not) Landed

Countering claims that his perceived association with the Democratic party helped cost John Kerry the election, Michael Moore asserts that his involvement (combined with other celebs) was actually helpful: “…what we did was we prevented a Bush landslide.”

“For the last month, we’ve had to listen to a lot of conservative pundits talk about how Democrats need to run away from Hollywood,” Moore said. “It’s actually the opposite. Democrats need to embrace Hollywood because this is where they need to come to learn how to tell a story.”

Moore’s experience is different than mine. Most of the conservatives I know are licking their chops at the prospect of the Democrats’ continuing to court celebrities. On the other hand, those who supported Kerry’s candidacy think that the Democrats need to fundamentally change the way they approach the public. In a country that had endured horrible terrorist attacks, an economic downturn, the disappearance of a balanced budget, and a war whose end the President celebrated with the “Mission Accomplished” landing, but that threatens to be a long-term quagmire, stories are unnecessary. The Bush Administration’s less-than-stellar record needed not the Hollywood touch, but rather some simple clarity. One of the reasons for the mixed message was doubtless the myriad talking heads from Beverly Hills, who for much of America, were de factro proxies for the Democratic party. Moore suggests that Bush “had a more compelling story to tell and the Democrats didn’t.” Interesting, isn’t it? The party that eschews Hollywood was able to develop a clear, consistent narrative, ultimately turning four years of lemon policy into lemonade.

Moore points to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s victory in California as proof that “America loves Hollywood. America loves the people in the movies and on TV. And the thing that the Republicans have already figured out is that America likes to vote for Hollywood…” Perhaps the rabble-rousing filmmaker failed to note that the Governator now leads a state that was handily won by Kerry. California and New York were not in play in the last election; pandering to two coastal powerhouses is not sufficient to elect a president. An inability to recognize that his approach was fundamentally flawed resulted in Ralph Nader’s 2004 candidacy, forever tarnishing his reputation as a force for positive change in the U.S. Michael Moore seems destined to join Nader among the ranks of the American political undead. These vampires stare into the mirror, they remain unable to see what is reflected back.

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