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I agree. Period.

The Heretik

I know I will be damned to an even deeper ring closer to the eternral fires in hell for saying this, but Lost in Translation lost me. Flat light, flat lines. Flat out flat lined me. Oy. Not even Bill Murray could save that turkey. Is it getting warm in here?


I think you mentioned Lost in Translation just to pick a fight with me.

Agi T. Prop

Excellent post Lance. The politics of celebrity (or the celebrity of politics) is an alarming trend for the republic. Then again I'm of the view that our republic has morphed into an empire, so there is a lot of "saving" to be done.

Lost in Translation? Hmm, I must have missed that one.


For further reading on the subject of American aristocracy, try any of Kevin Phillips' last few books. I haven't yet read the Bush one, but "Wealth and Democracy" was enlightening and depressing at the same time.


Oh man, you captured so much of what is worrying me about our fragile democracy...

The legacy stuff is terrible as it implies to me that folks are not thinking about candidates and where they stand, but rather are looking for familiarity...

I see a parallel with Hollywood and these political thinktanks - take no risk! Just like Hollywood keeps making movies about crappy old TV shows, isntead of coming up with new ideas, the Political machines are pushing for safe recognizable things - afraid of taking risks...

Kevin Wolf

You have certainly put more thought into and created a more reasoned post than I ever would simply because I think the Democrats are toast. Unless they change the party leadership, abandon their current strategy and actually get back to basics, it won't matter one bit who gets nominated.

I do think, however, that the entire field is skewed to wealthy (and white), pro-business (at the expense of everything else) candidates - self-made or not - who swim in donated money and know which side their bread is buttered on. They probably mix their metaphors too.

blue girl

Heretik: I totally agree with you. Lost in Translation lost me too. I've always wanted to see it again -- cuz obviously I missed something the first time.

mac macgillicuddy

Not too long ago, I was talking to my brother about Hillary Clintons' supposed candidacy. He pointed out that there really are only two entities who want her to run: the right wingers, because they know they can have fun dissing her and digging up all the old Clintonian ghosts; and the media, who can cover all of that and get some "great TV" out of it.

That's why we keep hearing so much about her as a viable candidate. But in fact, I don't think any reasonable Democrat who wants to win the White House back would consider Hillary a candidate, much less a viable one.

If this country is ready for a female president (we've had female governors, even in the most unlikely of states; female senators who wield a lot of influence; and female Supreme Court justices -- so why not a woman president -- well...why not?), and I don't believe it is, the first female president will not be a perceived liberal, and she won't be anyone associated with a past controversial (btw, I'm waiting for enough history to be written so that Bill's presidency will finally emerge as the very effective and transformative -- i.e., great -- presidency it was) president.

If the Democrats want to put forward the first women presidential candidate in an election that will make a huge difference one way or the other in the direction of the republic (and the democracy), they'd better counter that risk with a less risky candidate. And I'm sure there are many fine ones.

That's why I'm not worried about Hillary running for president (teeth chattering). If she did, I'm not sure if I'd vote for her in a primary or not. We'd have to see. But I'm not worried about the risk-averse Democrats taking that kind of risk. What really bothers me, though, is that a few talk radio hosts and some corporate media moguls can get us all talking about something so unlikely to happen.

Or is it...?

mac macgillicuddy

A footnote to my comment above: I just thought of this. When Doonesbury starts writing about Hillary's candidacy, that means it's going to happen.


Actually, it's pretty hard to depict either Frist or McCain as self-made men. Frist's family founded Hospital Corporation of America and has a net-worth of over $2 billion. The Frist family has also long been involved in TN politics. HCA is one of the largest firms in TN, and Bill Frist spent over $3million of his family's money in order to win his first political race. It's true that Frist has had a relatively prestigious career before entering politics, but his political career was largely built upon his family's influence.

McCain is a bit more of an ambivalent case, but both his father and grandfather were pretty prominent admirals. I don't personally know whether the initial event of McCain's political career, his term as a Navy Liason to the US Senate, was a result of his father's influence or not.

George Bush, Sr. (41) is the son of the long-time Senator from Connecticut 1952-1963, Prescott Bush. Until 41's election as Vice-President, his political career essentially mirrored Prescott's in many ways. (Prescott was also Nixon's mentor and head of the Yale Corporation). Prescott Bush's father, Samuel P Bush, was a major official in the WWI war effort and a close advisor to Herbert Hoover. 41 certainly did not get his start in business by his lonesome - his initial job in the oil industry was working for Dresser Industries (Prescott essentially founded the company and served on it's board into the 1950s) and 41's initial independent oil ventures were financed by friends of Prescott.



What about bloggers? Surely we've done our bit to hype Hil?


Your point's a good one. I knew Frist came from money, but I didn't know he was TN political royalty, even of a lower estate. McCain's family history certainly helped him. But I still think he counts as a self-made man in the world of politics, and that's what I was concerned with.

George H.W. Bush is an aristocrat, no question. But he still worked hard and accomplished things through his own effort. Same with Jeb.

I don't believe that anybody succeeds or even survives anywhere in life with help. Really, there are no self-made men or women, and all the Horatio Alger stories turn on the young hero's catching the eye of a rich and influential adult. I used the term because I don't know a better one to describe people like Clinton and Johnson, Nixon and Reagan, none of whom got anywhere without the help of rich and influential people early in their careers. But whatever you call them, Frist included, they are different from Hillary and George W. and Evan Bayh in that their political offices weren't handed to them because of their last names.

And Gore, Bayh, Hillary, and even Mitt Romney are hardworking and talented people.


Any time anyone starts praising the "self-made man" and how they made it without any government help, silence them by stuffing a copy of "The Fountainhead" in their mouths.

However, everything you wrote made me think of why I have such a soft spot for John Edwards. As hokey as his "son of a mill worker" jive was, it felt good to hear it in contrast to all the people who had a little more help in life.

Debates about "Lost in Translation" aside, anybody see "CQ"? If you have, you know there's at least one Coppola who shouldn't be getting his/her mitts anywhere near a camera!

Bill Altreuter

A couple of points. First, at this stage of the game the lists of likely candidates mostly draw from the Senate. There are several reasons for this, perhaps the most important one being that every morning when any senator looks in the mirror the first thought that passes through his (or her) mind is, "There's someone who should be President." It hasn't worked out that way since Kennedy ran, but that doesn't stop the dreamers, or the list makers.

I am inclined to believe that it'll be a dark horse entry from both stables, and I can't help wondering if Al Gore might not be able to reinvent himself in time to pull it off. Nixon did-- a much more difficult job of reinvention, I'd say. Kerry still thinks he is entitled to another whack, but he's no Adali Stevenson-- Gore will have been out of the limelight for a while, and may have had time to develop a looser style.

I'm afraid that Hillary hasn't been all that as a Senator from New York, although I still hold out the hope that she'll develop over time. I cannot imagine pulling the lever in a Presidential Primary for someone with her voting record.



Haven't seen CQ and I won't now.

And, by the way, Roxanne, I wasn't trying to pick a fight. I wouldn't knowingly add any more aggravation to the life of someone who is closing on a new house. Congrats, again!

Bill, my money rides on Gore, my hopes on that Dark Horse.


My favourite movie of all times is AristoCATS!



Everybody wants to be a cat, because a cat's the only cat who knows where it's at...


I'm not by any means Hillary's biggest fan, but I think you sell her short. Every book I've read on the Clinton administration reveals that she was a large part of its success. She has brains, and yes, charm as well. (Lots of it in person, from what I hear.) I saw her speak at the 2000 Dem convention, and was amazed at how poised she was compared to the other speakers.

The other advantage of a Hillary candidacy is, she's already been accused of everything including murder, and none of it proved true. Of course, that means nothing in these days of Swift Boat politics, but it is hard to come up with a new plot twist when all the others have been done.

And if I hear one more time that "America isn't ready for a woman president" I'm going to rip off my bra! That's baloney.

And Lost in Translation must have lost something in the translation, from big screen to small screen. No one who saw it on TV liked it, apparently, including me.

Exiled in NJ

I voted for Hillary in 2000; how could I vote for a doofus whose only platform was that he was not Hillary? From my time in Columbia County, I could never see her becoming an effective senator for all of the people like her compadre, the man who proves that white men can't dance or clap their hands in unison. Brooklyn boy Schumer would actually come out and stand in the cow manure while talking with our farmers.

I think you have it backwards: politics is not based on who your father was, but it sure pays in Hollywood. I will be watching something on the Dish when Pam will say, 'she is Goldie Hawn's daughter' or Jon Voight's daughter~~~but Pam hates JV for the way he treated AJ~~~and that is Julia Roberts brother ad infinitum.


Well, with politics, I don't believe in dynasties, period. Look what dynasties did for Europe. (Remember that endless Vanity Fair piece on royal nobodies? for god's sakes, who cares?)

As for Hollywood, here comes one of the Siren's huge pet peeves: the pampered scion of a wealthy Hollywood family saying, "Well, my name may have opened doors, but then I was on my own." Attention, please. Getting in the door is the whole razzafrazzin' battle. That's IT, the hardest part, folks! Don't sit there and act like anybody could have gotten in that door, because they can't!

For 2008: Barack Obama. Please, please, please.

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