The New Republic: Opinion: Hanif Willis-Abdurraqif- America’s Most Electable Fictional Presidents

TNR

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review: The New Republic: Opinion: Hanif Willis-Abdurraqif- America’s Most Electable Fictional Presidents

Hey, what do you know. The New Republic with an article not only worth sharing, but commenting on and blogging about all in one. Maybe they’re partially only dead and when they’re finally sold and hopefully bought by people who know what they’re doing this time and who aren’t to the left of Bernie Sanders they may come back to life. And return as a great Center-Left liberal magazine that they use to be. And stop doing their impersonation of Salon. And leave socialism and political correctness for Socialists and political correctness warriors. Not people who call themselves Liberals.

I’m going to cover a few of the Hollywood president’s that I’m actually familiar with. I know, why not instead speak about Hollywood characters you know almost nothing about and pretend to be intelligent about them like every other asshole blogger out there who knows so much about nothing. I guess I just have this weakness called character and a conscience that prevents me from talking about people and things I’m simply not familiar with, because I lack interest in them. Anyone born before 1980 might think I’m talking about people from the 19th Century, or something. So you might want to leave this page and get back to your favorite reality TV programs. There’s the asshole in me.

This might sound corny, but I guess my favorite Hollywood president is Andrew Shepard. Who sounds like a Founding Father or something from New England, or some place. But even if Carl Reiner only spent all of two-minutes coming up with the name for Michael Douglas in The American President, this character is a great character. Douglas, plays a president with big progressive goals, but knows how to work with people even in his own party in order to move the ball forward and get a progressive accomplishment. Which is the definition of a pragmatic Progressive, something that I believe Franklin Roosevelt would be proud of. While at the same time he’s also a man and a widower and has needs and falls in love. And hopefully you’re familiar with the rest of the story.

Jack Evans from The Contender from 2000 played by Jeff Bridges. Someone whose determined to nominate and get confirmed a female Vice President after his first Vice President has the nerve to die before his term is up. There’s an unfortunate political correctness slant to this as well. That a President would go out-of-their-way to pick a women as his VP simply because there’s never been a female VP before. But the story is great and the Republican opposition especially in the House of Representatives wants to make Senator Lane Evans personal life especially her sexual history the focal point there. Instead whether she’s qualified for the actual job of both Vice President and President of the United States. Where they never question her credentials. And President Evans and Senator Hanson, never play ball with the House Republicans on her past and nomination.

I would be lax in my duty here if I didn’t mention a character who I spent too much of my life during their seven-year run watching, if I didn’t mention Jeb Bartlett. Who of course is played by the great Martin Sheen in The West Wing. I can’t think of a Hollywood character who was better suited for the job of President of the United States than Jeb Bartlett. Who always knew what was going on what needed to be done and what he needed to do to get it done. That he had his own politics and policies, but who never let the perfect be the enemy of the good. To use a cliché, but who had a Republican Congress his entire time as President. And had to deal with all sorts of horrible issues and a lot tough decisions that yielded him no political benefit. But made them, because they had to be made.

I think if you’re going to do a show or movie about an American president, you should be realistic. Either cover someone who has already had the job, but give your character a different name. But with the same character, personality, intelligence, demeanor, judgement and everything else. And cover similar stories that the real president dealt with. Or come up with your own president that perhaps represents America at its best, or worst and deal with stories that haven’t been dealt with, but are
realistic. I think the problem with a lot of Hollywood political movies especially about the President, is that they look like they come from Hollywood. And they look almost completely make-believe. Like Dave from 1993. The Hollywood president’s that I mentioned are realistic, because the characters are believable and so are the issues that they dealt with.

Video Detective: The Seduction Of Joe Tynan 1979: About a Politician Who Wants it All and Almost Loses Everything

Meryl Streep & Alan Alda
Meryl Streep & Alan Alda

Source: Video Detective: The Seduction Of Joe Tynan Trailer 1979: About a Politician Who Wants it All and Almost Loses Everything

The Seduction of Joe Tynan is one of the best political movies I’ve ever seen and it reminds me a little bit of the Ted Kennedy-Jimmy Carter 1979-80 Democratic race for president, which I’ll get into later. Alan Alda plays Senator Joe Tynan from New York, who has solid Progressive Democratic credentials. Who is in love with his job and wants to move up and be a national player in the party if not President of the United States.

What separates him from Senator Ted Kennedy is that Senator Tynan, actually wants to be President. Ted Kennedy ran for president in the 1980, because he didn’t like where the country was going with the bad economy and everything else, didn’t think President Carter was progressive enough, but more importantly he felt some obligation to the progressive wing to run for president and put another Kennedy in the White House.

Joe Tynan, loves the president, loves campaigning, loves politics. I would say loves his kids back in New York as well, just not enough to make them a major priority as far as attending their major events. And I would say likes his wife a lot and perhaps loves her and is attracted to her, but doesn’t have much respect for her and sees her as bit of lightweight, at least as far as the people he deals with in Washington. And I believe this comes out pretty clearly in the movie as far as how Tynan talks about his wife whose played by the adorable and funny Barbara Harris.

What makes Tynan a strong potential presidential candidate is that the President a Democrat, has a U.S. Supreme Court nominee up. Who is a bit of a right-winger, at least on civil rights issues and supported forced segregation in the past, who comes from Arkansas. And that puts Senator Tynan in a tough position of having to consider taking on the leader of his party.

Joe Tynan, doesn’t want to take on the President and his Democratic Leadership in the Senate, but he’s not going to support right-wing Supreme Court nominee who supports forced segregation either. Especially since he’s looking at running for president himself. And is approached by civil rights and labor lawyers in the party who want him to vote against Supreme Court nominee. And is approached by Karen Traynor. (played by Meryl Streep)

Who is one of the Democratic activists trying to bring Tynan to their side and oppose Edward Anderson (played by Maurice Copeland) who is the Supreme Court nominee. She gets Tynan real evidence that he’s against civil rights with video of a speech that he gave in the 1960s and that’s how Senator Tynan comes out against Anderson. Which pisses off his close friend Senator Birney (played by Melvyn Douglas) who is a close friend of Anderson and a big supporter of him.

What you have in Joe Tynan is a workaholic who has become a career politician whose always focused on politics and always looking for the next big move in his career and when he’s not doing that and takes any free time, he does it with people other than his wife and family. Starts an affair with Karen Traynor, becomes a national player and hero in the Democratic Party, decides to run for president without even talking to his wife and kids.

Who starts off the movie having basically everything he wants and has everything going for him as a young influential U.S. Senator who can move legislation. But sees an opening to furthering his political career and jumps on that and in the process almost loses everything that he has. I think this is a very good movie about an ambitious workaholic career politician who is never completely happy and satisfied. And is always looking for more, even if it means losing everything that he already has.

Brave New Foundation: Law & Disorder: How the System Really Works

RIP Dennis Farina
RIP Dennis Farina

Source: Brave New Foundation: Law & Disorder: How the System Really Works

A lot of these law enforcement shows about the justice system, all though most of them are entertaining, only focus on a small percentage of the crimes. But again we are talking about entertainment here. Who would want to watch a show that’s about shoplifting, or traffic stops, drunk driving an so-forth. People need to be able to differentiate between reality and entertainment and many times they are not the same thing. But even if the law enforcement shows showed the criminal justice system for what it is that it a lot about drug crimes and drug offenders and that a lot of these supposed crimes happen in African-American communities in urban areas, these shows would be accused of racism. For always highlighting young African-American men as suspects and criminals.

If these law enforcement shows showed the criminal justice system for what it really is, that it is basically about low-level felonies like shoplifting and misdemeanors, who would watch? Again I get back to the entertainment factor here. A lot of these shows as far as the crimes and how the detectives and prosecutors do their jobs even though they aren’t completely accurate, are at least realistic. As professionals in the criminal justice system will tell you. And even though they do tend to concentrate on a low percentage of crimes that are committed in America, they tend to do a good and accurate job. And they are realistic in the sense that crimes in America are committed by all Americans as far as ethnicity and race. And they don’t focus on one racial, or ethnic group in America.

Again to go back to Hollywood and reality it’s not the job of Hollywood to show exactly what life if like and the subjects that they cover. There job is to be entertaining and hopefully realistic. Smart viewers want both, but unfortunately for lot of Americans they simply want to be entertained when they are watching TV. And even if these shows don’t show the criminal justice system for exactly what it is, again its Hollywood and if you’re a smart person you’re going to anyway how realistic the show is anyway by how informed you are about how the country works. And how much you know about current affairs in America including criminal justice, or whatever the issue is.