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The Ides of March: the First Post-Obama Movie

Clooney lacks the guts to run for office (the idea of all of his old girlfriends suddenly having the power to break him makes him queasy), but this movie must have been the next best thing. Can you imagine what a kick he got out of standing at a podium while paid extras playing devoted followers held up Shepard Fairey-style signs showing his face gazing manfully into the future above the legend, “BELIEVE”? Picture how dazed by his own greatness Clooney must have been when he pretended to be at a town hall meeting where he patiently explained to young voters that Americans would enthusiastically back gay marriage if only you compared the plight of gays to that of blacks under Jim Crow. Think about how dearly Clooney would love to hear President Obama step up in front of a crowd of cheering throngs and confess to being an atheist (as Gov. Morris sort of does, in an odd speech in which he declares he’s not a Christian or a Jew or an atheist but simply a believer in the Constitution -- even the Second and Tenth Amendments, Governor?).

The pitiful state of the national economy doesn’t get mentioned in this movie because Clooney and the others behind The Ides of March honestly think that social issues (including the apocalyptic religion of global warming alarmism) are all that matter, or at least all that should matter. Moreover, Clooney thinks that a candidate who honestly and non-defensively laid out far-left positions on all of these issues would actually be hugely popular, all evidence to the contrary. Gov. Morris -- to huge cheers -- announces that, on day one as president, he will simply order a ban on the internal combustion engine in automobiles, to take effect in ten years.  Because to liberals, solving global warming is just that easy: Diktats shall be handed down, and if the person giving them is charismatic and handsome, hoi polloi will gratefully comply.

So why is it that, back in reality, liberal presidents invariably get cut down in the polls according to how many liberal schemes they promote? Maybe it isn’t because people think ideas like ordering all gasoline-powered cars off the road are silly, expensive, and impractical. It’s because of corruption in the system (a powerful Ohio politician played by Jeffrey Wright offers to put Morris over the top by delivering the delegates he controls, asking to be made secretary of state in return, but Morris refuses to compromise on principle) and it’s because of flaws in the voters. In what is meant to be the movie’s big applause line and a damning indictment of American mores, we are told that a president can start wars, lie, cheat, drive the country into bankruptcy, and in general do anything he wants -- but he can’t enjoy a casual romp with an intern.

In other words: Even a presidential candidate must placate voting blocs as represented by powerful politicos and the voters may exercise their right to reject a candidate on moral grounds. The problem with this country is, according to The Ides of March, simple: There’s too much damn democracy.