The PJ Tatler

Did Steven Spielberg Inspire Obama to Attack Bain?

Uh, hooray for Hollywood?

At DreamWorks Studios, Steven Spielberg spent three hours explaining how to capture an audience’s attention and offered a number of ideas that will be rolled out before Election Day. An early example of Spielberg’s influence is, a website designed by the Obama team to tell the story—a horror story, by their reckoning—of Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital. Afterward, Spielberg insisted that Messina sit down with the DreamWorks marketing team. Hollywood movie studios are expert, as presidential campaigns also must be, at spending huge sums over a few weeks to reach and motivate millions of Americans.

This points up a problem with Obama’s campaign that they do not seem to get yet. They’re approaching November as if they’re selling a product. To some extent they are, and that approach worked for them four years ago when Obama was just a fresh faced guy in a suit saying things that sounded nice. He was a walking talking movie poster for the fall blockbuster Hope and Change. But now he’s a real president with real failures. The product pitch, the turnaround speech, the kicking of the same of cardboard cutout villains, none of that stuff is working for him anymore. He has a record and has to show real achievements that real Americans back in majority numbers. Americans are hurting, and while The Avengers satisfies for a couple of hours, we know that when we emerge blinking from the fantasy, we’re back in a world with high unemployment and financial struggle in a weakened America that the president tells us is “doing fine.” That’s reality.

Spielberg sells fantasy, and he’s exceptionally good at it. He uses archetypes to create two-hour universes that take us places we cannot go to otherwise. But outside the Hollywood image and Obama’s community organizer mind, Bain Capital isn’t a villain. It actually saved and created real jobs, and Mitt Romney was at its helm. That’s reality, and attacking Bain has split the Democrats between those who understand that reality, and those who don’t.