02 May 2011

The Man Who Shot Osama Bin Laden.

(Note: Below is a guest post by The Grey Man, with his unique and insightful take on recent events. Read it all.)

Sometimes, life imitates art.

Today I am reminded of a 1962 classic film, one of the great stories written by James Warner Bellah. This film was also a rare pairing of John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. Of course, I refer to "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance". There was even a very early sixties theme song.

For those of you who haven't seen the film, I'll have to summarize:

Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) is the classic bad guy who terrorizes the town. The only man in town who will stand up to Liberty is a local tough, but good guy, Tom Doniphon (John Wayne). One day a lawyer, Ransom Stoddard (Jimmy Stewart) comes to town, carrying law books but no gun. Of course, Liberty and Ransom come into conflict, and the local law, Marshal Link Appleyard (Andy Devine) is no use. It has to be settled with a gunfight. Ransom Stoddard wins, and becomes famous as "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance". Because of his fame, he gets Statehood passed, gets elected to the Senate, as Governor, etc. And he gets Doniphon's girl in the process.

But all is not as it seems. Actually, Doniphon killed Valance from the shadows. When Stoddard tries to set the record straight many years later, the press refuses to tell the facts. The money line is "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend".

Today, I think we have seen President Obama's re-election campaign laid out.

The President has been polling very poorly among independents, the soft center. Obamacare, gas prices, unemployment, foreign policy, etc., weigh heavily on their minds. Yet they are a patriotic group.

For the next 18 months, I predict criticism of the President will be answered with "He's the "Man Who Shot Osama Bin Laden"". Calling your opponents racist at every turn is a negative, and has become ineffective. Now, the President's supporters have something popular to point to. There's already a theme song written for this role.

This seems, historically, somewhat silly. Did the press laud President Roosevelt for giving the order to assassinate Admiral Yamamoto during the election of 1944? Also how will ordering assassinations play with the President's base?

Regardless, it seems that, politically, we are in for a remake of this classic film.

How will we cast this remake?

Liberty Valance - Osama Bin Laden. The big bad guy.

Ransom Stoddard - President Obama. This is the apparent hero, who gets the credit for something others have done. While he does not actively claim credit, neither does he give the appropriate credit until way too late. He also takes the great love of the true hero.

Tom Doniphon - Seal Team Six, and the entire US military. These are the real heroes, who do the right thing time and again with no thanks. They put it all on the line, time and again, and don't complain when the credit gets given to someone else.

Marshal Link Appleyard - Eric Holder. This is the bumbling law enforcement officer who is totally ineffective at stopping the terrorizing of the town.

Major Cassius Starbuckle - Any Republican presidential candidate. In the film, Maj. Starbuckle is the man who runs against Stoddard for office at the Territorial Convention. He gets called "The Cattlemen's Mouthpiece". Expect any Republican candidate to be called "The Oilman's Mouthpiece" or in the pocket of Big Something or Other.

Hallie Stoddard - The American voters. Hallie is Doniphon's love interest, who dumps him for Stoddard. Never mind that while both Stoddard and Doniphon had the courage to confront Valance's terror, only Doniphon had the skill to stop it. The President is hoping our appreciation for a difficult and dangerous job well done will accrue to him, not the ones who have been fighting terror for years.

We will, of course, have to forget that the President has been slashing the budget of the very operators who carried out this mission. Ignore what you just paid for gas, milk and bread. Pay no attention to the man groping your crotch at the airport. Just keep humming "The Man Who Shot Osama Bin Laden".


Tina said...

Well I like the way the Grey Man thinks! I have been stowing little events away to see how they connected: the newest digital image of a birth certificate, the co-opting of the Press Prom to "roast" the unsuspecting Mr Trump, the bizarre video of the Administration watching the newest Reality TV Concept Show, the burial at sea by an Administration that uses a large re-election committee to plot every day's calendar...
You've just wrapped it all up neatly. Nice job!

Tregonsee said...

Good approach. Stoddard was a good man, and used his fame, earned or not, to do genuinely good works. I believe at this point the similarities break down rather badly.