Saturday, April 28, 2012

Running for re-election: Mel Gibson and Barack Obama.

Let's start with the man once known as Mad Max and Martin Riggs: I wish Alan Nierob or someone in Mel Gibson's agency/management/PR camp had begged Mel not to go on Jay Leno's THE TONIGHT SHOW.  The kerfluffle over Joe Eszterhas' self-serving reveal of Mel-in-anger-again had quieted, and it did Gibson no good to go out and spin his version of the Eszterhas problems (mainly Eszterhas' alleged underwork on a screenplay).  It just made Mel look churlish and smug, even with Jay doing his best to kiss Mel's posterior by whining about Eszterhas' violation of Mel's "privacy" by going public.  Then, there was the sad spectacle of Mel Gibson plugging what's now his first film to completely bypass U.S. theatrical release for a combination satellite TV/DVD unveiling (complete with underwhelming clip of Mel doing a Clint Eastwood imitation-by-phone to fellow actor Bob Gunton).  Since Jay has lowered the bar for plugs-by-guests, perhaps Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal can now promote direct-to-video movies on THE TONIGHT SHOW.

Now, our President (Barack Obama) is again cynically treating his re-election as a chess game of checkmate-the-GOP by touting the killing of Osama bin Laden in an unseemly manner.  It's one thing to show some solemn gravitas when the death of a (or, one might say, THE) major terrorist leader is announced--but it's quite another when bin Laden's death is turned into another campaign talking point (remembering that the Davis Guggenheim-directed, Tom Hanks-narrated re-election featurette film kicked off this effort a little while back).  To be honest, this seems to be only two steps away from releasing photos of bin Laden's corpse--something that, thankfully, never happened.  And it doesn't reflect well on Obama, Joe Biden, David Axelrod and Jim Messina (the re-election leader, not the former musical partner of Kenny Loggins) to keep up this distasteful effort to win "swing" voters by showing "toughness."

A lot of us voted for Obama the first time around because he was/is smart--and in 2008 gave the illusion of being a JFK/RFK for our times.

Most likely, the 2012 election will be a replay of Bill Clinton's slam-dunk 1996 re-election--though there will be a great deal of coordinated dog-whistle racism, classism, and you're-a-Commie mudslings from certain high-level Republicans, their financial providers and their media propaganda arms.

But it must be pointed out that at his core Obama is the same kind of moderate Republican as Mitt Romney--and blind-faith supporters of Obama must be prepared for more of the same just-mild-at-best social programs along with more bloodless decision-making (drone warfare and its collateral-damage deaths won't go away) and let-them-off-easy treatment of Wall Street thievery/greed (not to mention pandering to pro-fracking and oil-sands interests regardless of long-term environmental damage).

Safe to guess, though, that four more years of an unwilling-to-change-and-be-who-he-sold-himself-as-in-2008 Obama will be more appealing to many than watching Mitt Romney pretend to be Ronald Reagan on the outside and governing like George H.W. Bush on the inside.

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