Hollywood's White House

From post-material concerns such as same-sex marriage and contraception mandates to material perks such as killing the Keystone pipeline and funding green energy companies (where do you think actors and directors invest their royalties?) to film distribution deals with China to tax breaks for filmmakers to access to national security officials, Hollywood has gotten exactly what it wanted out of this president. The one possible exception to this rule has been the White House’s reluctance to embrace fully the Stop Online Piracy Act, but that move was likely a temporary hedge to preserve support from Silicon Valley until after the election. Obama is Hollywood’s man…

In Hollywood’s dramatization of the Obama campaign, the president is an idealist, confronted by catastrophe, who is improving things bit by bit. That was the message of “The Road We’ve Traveled,” the Obama propaganda film directed by Davis “An Inconvenient Truth” Guggenheim and narrated by Tom Hanks. It was the message of the president’s June 14 “reframing speech” in Cleveland. But it is also a message that has failed to persuade independent audiences, according to Democrats James Carville and Stan Greenberg, liberal journalists Al Hunt and Eleanor Clift, and Democratic pollster Peter Hart. “I got duped,” one Colorado swing voter, who supported Obama in 2008, told Hart. “I fell under his spell.”

What Spielberg and Katzenberg should know is that a film can have an expensive and superb marketing campaign, an A-list star, tremendous special effects, and a big-time budget, but still flop spectacularly if it does not tell a compelling story. All of Hollywood’s script doctoring cannot rescue this particular tale of a failed presidency—the story of how a young, ambitious, liberal Democratic senator promised a dispirited American people a new era of bipartisan reform, and then handed the controls of government to hard-knuckle lefty partisans such as Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, Barney Frank, and Harry Reid. No amount of glitz and glam can mask a four-year decrease in per capita disposable personal income and household wealth, decelerating economic growth, rising health care costs, and financial downgrades.

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