Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Democratic Administrations Seem Less Stressful

Ever notice that life is less stressful when the Democrats hold the White House? Actually, I’m serious. I’ve lived through several now and I can honestly say that the country seems much more at ease when the Democrats are in charge. Bear with me as I try to figure this out (or bare with me if you prefer).

Honest Jimmy Carter
My first real experience with a Democratic President was Honest Jimmy Carter. Good times, let me tell you.

Sure, we had 7.6% unemployment, 13.5% inflation, falling incomes, gas lines, labor strikes and the such, but that’s part of life. Anyone who says differently is just expecting too much. . . or so the media constantly assured us. Besides, Jimmy was such an honest man that you couldn't fault him. At least, that was the standard media motif.

With nothing to worry about, there were no nasty movies about Carter either. In fact, if I remember correctly, Hollywood was largely apolitical at the time, except for the occasional movie attacking Nixon. Oh, and the music. . . the apolitical music?! Great stuff!
The Evil Ronald Reagan
Then came Reagan. Man, the Reagan years were tense. The economy was crap. Sure, he got unemployment down to 5.2% and inflation down to 1.9%, but those weren’t real jobs. The real jobs were vanishing at an alarming rate, leaving us to sell hamburgers to each other. . . and our Japanese masters.

What caused all of our jobs to vanish? Greedy corporate types, all personal friends of Reagan, would forcibly buy our prosperous companies and part them out just to make a quick buck. I remember seeing a film about this. In fact, I recall a bunch of films attacking this horrible thing called mergers and acquisitions, and vulture..., er, venture capital.

And don’t forget what Reagan did to us with his debts! He sold our futures! Deficits of around 3% of GNP?! What was he thinking? (For cynics who note that Obama’s deficit is 12.6% of GNP, all I can say is that it was a different time and 3% meant more than it does today.)

Fortunately, there was strong oversight. The media kept on him day. . . after day. . . after day! He may have been made of Teflon, but that wasn't going to stop them. And who can forget all those Congressional hearings to investigate every single thing Reagan or anyone in his administration did (or didn’t) do! Even Hollywood and the music industry strove to point out how horrible Reaganomics was over and over again.

Oh (almost forgot), Reagan was dangerous too. He dreamed of getting us killed. He wanted to start a nuclear war! At least, that’s what a dozen movies (like Dreamscape) told us. . . and the protesters chanted. . . and a few Congressional Democrats proclaimed. . . and a bunch of singers sang about. It is any wonder things were so damn tense!
Heartless George Bush
Then we got Bush. He wasn’t Reagan, but he wasn’t much better. Bush brought us the wars that Reagan always wanted. He attacked Iraq to get its oil. In fact, I remember protestors screaming this daily, and of course Hollywood and the music industry backed this up in their films and music. The media did a great job of investigating this too. . . constantly. As I recall, they really dug into the idea that he sold Iraq the very weapons they would use to kill so many American soldiers and he encouraged Iraq to attack Kuwait, a ruthless dictatorship of the kind that Bush favors, just to cause the war. True evil there.

Man, wasn’t it funny when he threw up in Japan? How many times did I see that on television!

Bush also gave us junk bonds, increasing the pace of jobs disappearing, and the S&L crisis -- caused by his nephew Neil Bush! He brought us the age of the never-ending Independent Counsel. And he created homelessness to kill poor people. Robert Redford told us so himself (Sneakers anyone?). I’m pretty sure the media backed Redford up on that. I don’t recall exactly, because there were so many stories about the 200 million homeless that it got a little confusing, but I think they did confirm it.

Very tense times.
Good-Natured Rogue Bill Clinton
Bush gave way to Clinton and things changed. Sure, Clinton loved women, but man was he a good guy. He was the Great Communicator II, the greatest politician of our time!

Let’s see, great economy, budget surpluses, nothing happened overseas. He ended homelessness. Sure, there were more mergers during the Clinton years than the Reagan/Bush years, but those were good mergers. They made America efficient.

Unlike Bush, Clinton never sold any influence. At least, I don’t recall hearing about that in the media.

Strangely, the number of films about presidents dropped off to almost nothing during his term. In fact, Hollywood largely went apolitical again, hmm. But that’s not to say they were playing favorites just because they were all FOBs. . . we got their word on that. Plus, don’t forget, they did do that one film about Clinton being a good-natured rogue who loves McDonalds. I remember a good deal of consternation in the media over that.

I don’t recall any protest music. But then what would you protest? He only used the military where it was absolutely necessary -- when the safety of the United States was at issue. . . like in Yugoslavia, and Somalia, and Haiti. And unlike Bush, whose failures led to a second Gulf war, Clinton solved the Somalia and Haiti problems completely -- or if he didn't, we never heard about it. He would have solved that Al Qaeda problem too, if the Republicans had let him. And you can't really blame him for Rwanda, no one knew what to do about that.

All in all, it was a very tension free time.
But all that changed when Bushitler stole the election and imposed himself upon us. I don’t even know where to begin with Bushitler.

Look at the problems he didn't solve in Rwanda, Somalia, and the genocide in Darfur!

And I’m not saying he caused 9/11, but I read that he knew about it and he didn’t call the airport to stop those guys because he wanted to create an incident to let Dick Cheney’s firm take Iraq’s oil. I don’t have any facts to back that up, and neither does the media, but I seem to recall reading that daily in real newspapers. I guess, sometimes the truth transcends the facts.

Seriously, was there anything he did right in Iraq or Afghanistan? Not according to the media, or Hollywood, or the music industry, or the protestors, or Democratic Congressmen, or Senators, or governors. And wow was Hollywood busy with movies about Bush and Iraq. The music industry too (how unfair to attack the Dixie Chicks for saying what everyone in the media was already saying).

And that was just the beginning. He tried to kill black people when he caused Katrina. He destroyed our economy, causing an unemployment rate that reached almost 7% -- no economy can survive with an unemployment rate that high, and the President is directly responsible for unemployment. . . except Obama and his 10.5%, that’s not his fault.

Bushitler also generated a massive deficit of around $200 billion! And don’t even think of comparing Obama’s $1.4 trillion deficit to Bushitler’s, they just aren’t the same thing. In fact, they're so different that the media doesn't even bother making the comparison.

Don’t forget Bushitler forced an entire generation of soldiers to develop mental illness and to become homeless. Everybody lost their homes! He let AIDS run wild in Africa, and, let’s be honest, he was stupid. How many times did I hear that! Probably every day. And didn’t he cause a school shooting?

Thank God he’s gone. Too tense.
Barack “The Messiah” Obama
Finally, we have the Obamatopia of today. What pleasant times. Sure there’s 10.5% unemployment, but that’s to be expected -- employment always lags in a recovery. We have $1.4 trillion deficits, but that’s Bush’s fault too, and those should drop again in 5-10 years. The dollar is falling, but that’s good for the stock market.

We’ve had no mass shootings and no terrorist attacks that have made the news. We have no homeless, and all of our soldiers are fine again. Foreclosures have stopped. We have no racial strife, except that racist cop. AIDS in Africa has ended. He solved Darfur. Obama brought peace to South America, I don’t think we’ve heard a peep out of Chavez in some time. . . certainly no criticism from him. Our relations with the Middle East are great, or so we're told.

What’s not to like? In fact, times are so good that most journalists have little to do except report what Obama tells them. I don't think I've heard a body count since Bush left office? And I guess the media dropped their demand to film caskets coming home. Who needs the stress of seeing that!

Hollywood too seems to have become apolitical again, except for the few films honoring Obama. Of course, the television industry also has worked hard to help Obama out with bringing us together and doing a few good things.

All very stress free.
My Point
Ok, enough. I think you get my point. I am actually being quite serious when I say the world seems less dangerous and less contentious when the Democrats are in power. For most people, it does. And there is a reason for that: the Democrats’ fellow travelers in the media and in the culture industry work to generate that perception.

They will savage Republicans on a 24/7 basis, including making things up when there is nothing to complain about. Angry films get cranked out, personal attacks are made nightly on television or in songs, Congressional investigations are held, and a chorus of hate arises all to keep the public on edge.

Why? Because the perception that life is contentious when the Republicans are in charge can be a powerful force to wear people out under Republican regimes, to get them to give Democratic another chance, and to keep fence-sitters voting for Democrats.

This is why it’s so important that conservatives reinsert themselves into the culture -- from Hollywood, to Madison Avenue, to the music world, to the media. We cannot allow this perception to continue unchallenged. It's like letting your competitor send people to your restaurant to bother the customers.

By the way, lest anyone suggest that the left is merely acting on principle, explain to me why they suddenly go silent on those same principles, and will ignore or forgo them, when the Democrats win the job? It’s all for show folks.


Unknown said...

Andrew: The other phenomenon I've noticed is how the homeless completely disappear during peaceful, generous Democratic administrations, then immediately re-appear in larger numbers than ever on the day of the Republican president's inauguration.

Writer X said...

Rather than reinsert (I agree with you; we should)conservatives are flocking away and ignoring the media, movies, and popular culture and, in some cases like Breitbart and Big Government, creating their own. And maybe that's the answer. I hate that Conservatives are always on the defense. We should care less what Hollywood or Katie Couric thinks. I can't remember the last time that I went to the movies.

Only in a Democratic administration is a 10% employment rate and trillion dollar deficit a good thing. This time, unlike the Carter years, I think most people are onto them, especially as the economy gets worse. And it will get worse before it gets better, especially under a Democratic administration. Bring on 2010 and 2012!

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I think that the internet has shattered the media's grip. There is just too much easy access to information and opinion now for a small group of gatekeepers at the major newspapers and the networks to cover up Democratic mistakes and highlight Republican ones.

However, the internet alone isn't good enough unless we get some actual journalists on our side to start doing the research it takes to locate the facts in the first place. The internet world can analyze the facts once they are known, but can't find them in the first place.

And when it comes to film, television, music and books, we must engage the left. If that can be done by going around them and creating a parallel culture, that's great. But I don't think it can be done. I think that's likely to result in little more than preaching to the choir.

I think we need to move back into the "recognized" culture and reshape it.

And my article is the reason I think that's important.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Yep. As I said, they appear under Republicans and vanish under Democrats.

ScottDS said...

Writer X -

I must agree with Andrew. Even though I'm an independent, I feel a little uncomfortable with the idea of a parallel right-wing version of Hollywood (and there's no guarantee the product would be better or that the stars would start behaving themselves).

Whenever I read about how someone doesn't go to the movies anymore, I admit my two initial reactions are, "Really? You can't find one movie worth watching out there?" and the other is, "Ya know, you're not helping! By the time us young upstarts get to Hollywood, there may be nothing left."

Of course, I have my own issues with the biz (and I only saw two films in the theater this whole year: Star Trek and The Hangover). But if people would at least embrace the good product, whether it's V and Chuck on TV, or The Dark Knight and Taken in the theater, then maybe someone, somewhere will connect two and two together.

And maybe the next generation of execs and filmmakers will put politics aside. There are other factors at work but I'll save that spiel for another article. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I see several problems with creating a parallel culture industry.

1. It will be seen as a purely political creation, and will have little ability to attract those who do not already share its views. It will be far too easy to describe as propaganda.

2. I suspect it will be too difficult to create such an industry as there will be a blackballing effect, which will keep the talent out.

3. The lack of talent (and hence poor product) will only confirm that our side "doesn't get it" when it comes to culture -- a very damaging stereotype, that would only strengthen the other side.

4. I think the pressure to be right wing, and the lack of input from the other half, would cause the product to be little more than the inverse of the left wing crap we get today.

5. By isolating our side, we give up the chance to influence their product.

I would rather see conservative America start to support conservative product that comes out of Hollywood with money, patronage and postive feedback.

At the same time, I think conservatives need to be more willing to go into the cultural industries. Too many conservatives view that as playing around or somehow not worthy of doing. I think we need to change that mindset.

StanH said...

Great minds think alike, Rush had the same shtick on his show today, you’ve embellished the point. The internet has changed everything with a mouse and a minute you can find out what’s going on throughout the world. Just as you, and Commentarama scooped the lamestream media on three stories. No more can the press play keep away, and I agree with WriterX the public is hip to the intentional distortion. I haven’t watched the evening news on any of the formally big three, ABC, NBC, CBS in twenty plus years. I used to subscribe to the local paper, US-News & Worldreport, Newsweek, WSJ, no more. I acquired my jaundiced eye in the build up to the 1980 election of Reagan, hearing all of the gobbledygook about how wonderful Carter was, and that Reagan was a dangerous old man. I caught the press in distortion after distortion, yak. I could go on for a while on this one, but to surmise, you are correct in your article, that perception is reality, …not!

ScottDS said...

Andrew - I agree though the vibe I get at BH (and got at Nolte's old site) was that, in theory, a right-leaning version of Hollywood would function very much like Hollywood itself did under the studio system (without the Hays Code) and both sides of the aisle would have a degree of creative latitude.

Of course, this was just one guy's opinion but, in theory, this kind of studio could finance and distribute both Fahrenheit 9/11 and Michael Moore Hates America, thus catering to both sides.

Again, just theory. Besides, as you and I have both talked about ad infinitum, what makes a movie conservative? For someone who thinks any conservative-friendly movie should be a G-rated family film, the second said studio releases some R-rated Iraq War movie, how soon until the cries of "Boycott!" begin? :-)

I'm bored here in Texas - I have time to think!

Writer X said...

Andrew & Scott,

Scott, if you make a movie, I absolutely promise you that I would come see it. ;-)

I guess I'm really not suggesting two distinct cultures (left and right); but I do think that the audiences are big enough to support both. Why do most movies have to always have a left slant? Same with theatre? Same, to a certain extent, with most of the books that get published (although that is changing, certainly in nonfiction).

Regarding movies, I would love to go see a movie every now and again. Unfortunately, it's rare that there's something out there that I would want to see. I'm usually disappointed; that's why I rent more than go to see a flick.

I guess what I'm trying to say (not very well) is that it gets tiring being the square peg all the time that has to fit in the round hole. As a writer, I too, have to deal with the whims of editors and publishers who only see the world in a certain way. It gets tiring, that's all.

Writer X said...

Just one more point, I've not been enamored with every Conservative-leaning book, movie, or even play that I've seen or read either. I'm just saying that there's room enough for both. Unfortunately, it always feels like it's Conservatives who have to compromise.

Take the show "V" for example. From reading the papers, you'd think it was the antichrist.

ScottDS said...

Writer X -

Thanks!! (Although it's looking less likely by the day - you'll find out more in the blog starting in January.)

And I know what you mean. My answer is too long and rambling to go into here but, as I indicated above, I believe there are other factors at work here too.

And yes, there is plenty of room in the marketplace for all kinds. For me, the depressing part is simply all the spec scripts that are sitting on a shelf, rejected, because the studio decided to play it safe and make a movie based on an existing property (Transformers, etc.).

Writer X said...

Scott, if it makes you feel any better, it's the same way in publishing. It's a rare editor (even an agent) who'll take a leap on something different, something out of the mainstream. The ones that do are usually the most successful and that's what kills me: You'd think someone would recognize that already.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, Rush did something like this? Really? Cool. I can honestly say that I have not listened to Rush in some time, so this was not copied.

I got my distrust of Democrats watching the Reagan election. Lawhawk and I were talking about this the other day in fact. I have never had a good view of the Democrats because I first really noticed politics when they were being so venomous to Reagan.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I'm sorry to hear you're bored. Put your brain to work!

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I feel your pain. ;-)

I agree that it's ridiculous that every film needs to slant left. Most films should be apolitical. But they just can't seem to stop themselves from adding leftwing things that do nothing for the story except needlessly tick me off.

I would like to see a world where both left and right can produce their films, but most films are really overtly neither. I'd like to see a de-politicized culture.

And I think that can only happen if conservatives get back into the fight, on the left's turf, and start throwing our weight around. Use your money wisely. Support the right things and reject the wrong ones. Write letters. Encourage conservatives to participate and work to help each other out (and most importantly, to improve our skills and talents).

(P.S. I have not been enamored of any overtly conservative films or books I've seen either -- I have too often found that they are using the thirst for conservative things to get away with poor quality.)

AndrewPrice said...

X & Scott,

What kills me are the guys who have made it, like a Cameron (who is now richer than God), but who keep turning out the same old cliched garbage. Of all the people out there, guys like him should be taking chances.

Writer X said...

Andrew, excellent point about Cameron.

As another example, when a director or writer pokes at a Republican or a conservative principle, it's seen as risk-taking, thought-provoking, revolutionary. Conversely, when someone takes a risk like "V" it's seen as outrageous. And yet the audiences love it, based on the ratings. Go figure.

Okay, I'm done ranting. ;-) Must go watch "V" now. It's getting ready to start....

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, You're right about the difference between attacking Republicans and Democrats. . . ridiculous!

I'd join in watching V, but I don't get the networks at the moment.

Individualist said...


I guess I have to disagree with you somewhat in your ealier post that a conservative Hollywood would fail due to lack of talent and that we need to encourage right leaning content coming out of Hollywood. While I agree with you about the issue of talent I still don't ever see Hollywood supporting right wing cultural norms because of who is in control.

While it may take time to develop I feel that if the people backing the plays, movies, tv shows etc. are not conservative themselves and dedicated to at least giving conservative values a fair hearing that it just won't happen.

Remember it is the Hollywood executives that Obama had a secret meeting where he explained he was going to bankrupt the coal industry before he was elected and they went along with it.

Personally I feel that an enterprising conservative could start a cable channel with entertainment, news shows and the like which have either an apolitical bias or sometimes a conservative bias. It would take someone willing to spend the capital. I think we have talent out there that would only shine the more if given an opportunity. Carrie Prajean, Bill Whittle, Alonzo Rachel, Klavan, Steven Crowder. Such an executive could try and coopt true libertarians such as Greg Gutfeld, Penn of Penn and Teller. We need to build. I know it is daunting but you are freer when you can do for yourselves. I just don't see TV and movie executives who make films like the Punisher where a villian states he'll get hired thugs the way the military does form the poor and dispossed and then from the back drop of an American flag states he'll help gang bangers get into college if they help him kill innocent people. These people will never praise Reagan for taking down the Berlin wall.

BevfromNYC said...

"...[S]ometimes the truth transcends the facts."

That is a beautiful phrase that I am going to steal...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Be my guest!

AndrewPrice said...


I think that a conservative could do what you are saying, but only if they weren't overt about it.

As soon as people knew what you were up to, they would tag you as a propagandist and that would bring on all the problems I addressed above.

I think our goal needs to be to de-politicize Hollywood. Hollywood was run by leftists in the 1920s-1960s and still turned out non-leftwing product. It's only since then that they moved left. And that can be undone (because these are all public companies now) by attacking their bottom line.

We need to aim to make Hollywood apolitical by (1) demanding that they remove leftist messages, (2) voting with our wallets, and (3) going after sponsors.

Finally, while I like the people you mention, they are extremely small time, with narrow talent. They are also small in numbers. If we compared the talent of both sides through a battlefield analogy, Hollywood would be the US Military and our side right now looks like the local police. We can't win that kind of fight straight up, we need to engage in an "asymmetrical war."

Tennessee Jed said...

When you mention the need for journalists to do the investigating, I immediately thought of the two young kids who did such a magnificent job bringing down acorn. That is the first time I can ever remember something that slick being pulled on liberals. It got out so quickly, they couldn't ignore it.

Individualist said...


Make no mistake I understand what you are saying and it would be the best outcome to have Hollywood become apolitical. I just dpn't like the idea on having to rely on the "fairness" of liberals. I find the word means something different to them.

And a cable channel would be small but after all it should at least be easy enough to equal MSNBC in the ratings even if they were labeled "right wing" propaganda.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That was impressive. That was exactly the type of work that real reporters used to do. Hopefull, this will inspire more people to follow their lead!

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, I get your point, and I see no reason we shouldn't try both strategies.

But one point of clarification, I'm not relying on the "fairness" of liberals -- there's no such thing. What I'm saying is to make it unpalatable for their shareholders (and the guys whose jobs are at stake if the shareholders turn on them) to continue to put out this stuff. If the public start voting with their wallets, these people will respond.

After all, principle comes after self-interest in liberal circles.

Tennessee Jed said...

I am all for hitting Hollywood in the wallet to the extent that I can. I try not to patronize shows, movies, actors etc. who really go out of their way to offend me. Here are two good examples in my view, each on opposite ends of the spectrum. Natalie Mains was so crappy and offensive, I immediately tossed out my one Dixie Chicks CD. Reese Witherspoon, until recently, kept her politics relatively quiet, and even now, other than the horrible rendition movie and a visit or two to the white house has not to my knowledge done anything to make me stop seeing her movies (which historically were very apolitical.)

I always keep ending up with the same question, and I don't know who might have the answers. For example, David Letterman got incredibly offensive in imposing his particular political beliefs on his audience. Now I have not watched his show in years other than a blurb on you tube or my space. I have to believe many of my fellow conservatives have done the same. So, how much is that show bleeding, I have to wonder. I don't know what else to do, but not watch, yet he seems to keep on grinding it out year after year.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, The entertainment industry is always behind the times because they look at how successful someone has been over the past few years rather than how they are today -- except in rare instances like a sex crimes arrest. In other words, you can live for a long time on past success.

Letterman is fading and has been for years. I suspect he will be gone soon, especially now that he's starting to get into trouble. But he's still bigger than the alternatives. But that can change at any time.

Individualist said...

Well I will digress to defend some of the folks at PJTV.

I could easily see Bill Whittle hosting the Tonight Show. I think he is likeable, affable, upbeat and intelligent. Maybe he isn't practiced at telling jokes but honestly when did Carson tell good jokes. (9 out of 10 were bombs).

I think Andrew Klavan is a spectacular orator and certainly holds his own against the likes of Bill Mayer and John Stewart.

I think that Crowder is as talented as Janine -- (Sorry Lawhawk GBEAST666).

I think that Alonzo Rachel has talent in line with Chris Rock (who I like by the way).

They are not famous and are small time but I would not say "narrow" talent. Leastwise not any more "narrow" than some of these liberals that are famous. I think all they lack is the opportunity and if given such an opportunity would shine all the more.

Let's not buy into the meme that Conservatives can't be great entertainers or lack talent. I'll agree with you about small time and the hurdles in the way for sure but talent is something not affected by that. These guys do have it and we should not let the liberals get away with inflicting that on our psyche. It's a psychological ploy.

Just got thinking about what you said and I have watched a lot of PJTV lately so I had to pipe up. I would love to see them graduate to a cable channel.

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, I'm not saying at all that they don't have talent, and that wasn't quite what I meant by narrow... sorry for the misunderstanding.

Certainly conservatives can have talent -- there are many talented ones. But they are far outnumbered and "out-famed" right now by the left. If you lined them up against the best the left has to offer, we'd get no ratings.

What I meant by narrow is that Hollywood requires an entire industry of thousands of people to do anything. We can only identify a handful of people in those industries. And from what I hear, the overwhelming majority of them are leftist/liberals.

Also, while I do like the people you mention, I'm not sure that they would do well outside of a political context.

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