Obama documentarian: Only ‘negative’ was ‘too many accomplishments’ to cover
posted at 11:31 am on March 9, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
Davis Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning director (An Inconvenient Truth) responsible for the upcoming Obama campaign video The Road We’ve Traveled, was interviewed by CNN’s Piers Morgan on Thursday. For those who feared that a dose of hard cold reality had washed over the left, damping its infatuation with Barack Obama, I’m here to tell you that for some liberals the flame of love burns bright.
To his credit, Morgan demonstrated he is not one of them. In this video clip, he observes that “most documentary makers balance these movies with the negative as well as the positive.” He then asks Guggenheim, “What are the negatives in your movie about Barack Obama.” Here is the filmmaker’s jaw drop-inducing answer:
Well, I mean, the negative for me was there were too many accomplishments. I have 17 minutes to put them all in there.
When Morgan scoffs at the reaction, saying, “Come off it—you can’t say that with a straight face,” Guggenheim sticks to his guns, allowing as how the only negatives he sees in Obama’s first term are the “toxic environment” the president has faced and the “opposition he’s had in terms of the political climate in Washington.” When Morgan digs further, asking, “Where do you find fault in him,” Guggenheim giggles like a schoolgirl, thinks on the question for a moment, then answers, “I don’t.”
Morgan avoids asking sarcastically, “Tell us how you really feel,” but Guggenheim answers that question anyway. “I’m really quite in awe of him,” he reveals.
Before you wrongly assume that Davis Guggenheim is descended from Crazy Guggenheim, a recurring fictional character on the Jackie Gleason Show, note that he is not alone in his view of Obama’s lofty achievements. A cover story appearing in the March/April issue of Washington Monthly is titled “The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama.” Its author, Paul Glastris, writes:
In mid-January, pollsters for the Washington Post and ABC News asked a representative sampling of Americans the following question: ‘Obama has been president for about three years. Would you say he has accomplished a great deal during that time, a good amount, not very much, or little or nothing?’
When the poll’s results were released on January 18, even the most seasoned White House staffers, who know the president faces a tough battle for reelection, must have spit up their coffee: more than half the respondents—52 percent—said the president has accomplished ‘not very much’ or ‘little or nothing.’
It is often said that there are no right or wrong answers in opinion polling, but in this case, there is an empirically right answer—one chosen by only 12 percent of the poll’s respondents. The answer is that Obama has accomplished ‘a great deal.’
The flaw in Glastris’s reason is obvious to anyone who isn’t either an Obama personality cultist or a doctrinaire liberal. The word ‘accomplished’ has normative connotations as well as empirical ones, so that the question was a qualitative as well as a quantitative one. To say that Obama has accomplished ‘a great deal’ is to say both that he has done a lot and that one approves of what he has done.
That one doesn’t approve of Obama’s record is evident in the poll numbers that Glastris, in his own infinite ego, elects to dismiss in favor of his own learned opinion. At least the airing of Glastris’s views assures that Davis Guggenheim will have one viewer who fully appreciates his film’s message.
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