Politics & Policy

Love for Sale

With the mother of all sequels looming in 2012, what’s a billion bucks among friends?

As is well known, the movie business is pretty much dead to audiences unless you’re a teenage boy, so times is hard out here in Tinseltown for a scribe like me. I mean, how am I supposed to write a hit sequel if there’s no breakout original for me to rip off? Like our fearless leader, His Serene Majesty the Emperor Barack Hussein Obama II, Lord of the Flies, Keeper of the Hoops, Master of the Greens, Bringer of Kinetic Military Action, Vacationer-in-Chief, Slayer of Osama, Atomizer of the Economy, Sultan of the Slippers, and Protector of the Holy Cities of Honolulu and Chicago, I need love and inspiration. And right now, except for Ginger, I’m not feelin’ it.

Where is the spirit of Hope and her lovely sister, Change? Where are the triumphal Styrofoam columns of Denver, the shouting ersatz Volk of Grant Park, united in their fervid love for The One? If you ask me, America-of-KKK-A has been going downhill since that historic moment on the steps of the Capitol in January 2009, when this rotten country finally put its racist past behind it for all of two minutes before Rush Limbaugh and the rest of you fascists began raining on the inaugural parade.

It’s no wonder, then, that the movie business has followed it down the drain. We did our best during the Darth Vader years to show you wingnuts the error of your ways but, no, you wouldn’t listen to us, so we had to beat it out of you at the ballot box in 2008, and even then your morale didn’t improve — in fact, it got worse.

As is well known, we progressives are nothing if not patriotic, even if our brand of patriotism has more to do with the future than with the past, more with the country that will come than with the country that has been. We’re like those heroic Soviet peasants in the posters on my wall here at my palatial pad in Echo Park, eyes lifted to the glorious future, feet planted in ingloriously present mud. But like Michelle Obama, all we want to be is, finally, proud of this great land of ours. And you won’t let us — you and that crowd of reactionary revanchists and irredentists you call the American people.

So, with nothing to do until someone more creative than myself comes along, Ginger and I went down to Lanskyland in Florida recently to visit my father, the sainted “Che” Kahane, and the first thing he said to me when he un-padlocked the door, threw back four or five dead bolts, and sent the pit bulls out back to feast on the remains of one of the stray neighborhood children who had unaccountably escaped the abortion mill and now faced the prospect of a miserable life of poverty and crime, was: “Wäre es da Nicht doch einfacher, die Regierung Löste das Volk auf und Wählte ein anderes?

For a moment there, I could tell that Ginger was flashing back to her XXX remake of Ilsa, She-Wolf of the Social Security Department — you remember, the one set in the Amerikkka of &*^%BUSH*&$!. Yeah, I wrote that one under a pseudonym. But she surprised me.

“Why is your old man’s German so idiosyncratically capitalized?” she whispered. Ginger never ceases to amaze, and I’m not just talking about after the sun goes down.

Che’s ears are still almost as sharp as they were back in the day when he was informing on fellow cell members in the Village in exchange for a lighter sentence, although he’s always denied it. “Because I’m speaking in poetry, Dummkopfin,” he thundered. Che sure knows his German gender, something beaten into him back in Frankfurt when he was a grade-school kid studying at the Institute for Social Research before, having destabilized Germany, it decamped across the pond to my alma mater, Columbia, to continue its great mission of “critical theory.” He still speaks the language at least as well as Matt Damon did in The Bourne Identity.

“Dad, this is Ginger.”

“I know,” he said, ushering us inside, with a wink and a leer.

Uncle Joe was waiting for us. “Well, wouldn’t it be easier for the regime to dissolve the People and elect another?’” he demanded. Like Dad, Uncle Joe always gets right to the heart of the matter.

“If you say so, Uncle Joe.”

“We both say so,” said Che. “Because Barry’s blowing it and something must be done.”

“Ruining it for all of us,” lamented Uncle Joe. “But that’s because he’s not feeling the love. We’re just not good enough for him. We’re not worthy.”

Che nodded in agreement. “Our lack of faith in him is threatening the legacy of the New Deal.” I nudged Ginger to notice the framed portrait of FDR over the faux-fireplace, flanked by votive candles — the Kahane family’s very own version of the Eternal Flame. “Social Security, the National Recovery Administration, Manzanar, the last section of Footlight Parade . . . ”

“ . . . with Cagney and Keeler,” sighed Uncle Joe. “Now those were some hoofers. Not to mention the Great Society — Medicare, Medicaid, free love . . . ”

“ . . . don’t forget the free clinics. Think of how many kids I would have had without them . . . ”

“When you’ve got your health care, you’ve got everything,” said Uncle Joe, nodding his head in self-satisfaction.

“But we’re letting the president down, which is threatening our most fundamental values as a caring, compassionate, and tolerant nation.”

“So tolerant that it tolerates people like us,” said Uncle Joe.

“Who only want to tear this rotten country down and start all over again. That’s what Adorno told me.”

“You mean Horkheimer.”

“I mean Marcuse.”

“Whatever. Anyway, who could possibly object to that?”

“Only a fascist or a Republican. But Barry’s still blowing it.”

“That’s because he’s not feeling the love, like I said,” said Uncle Joe.

I knew we were in for an endless feedback loop of sibling wrangling, so I took Ginger by the arm and showed her Che’s complete collection of the Daily Worker, all Pete Seeger’s records, and half a dozen books conclusively proving the innocence of the Rosenbergs.

She whistled in admiration — the “Internationale.” And you wonder why I’m crazy about her.

The evening ended with a couple of bottles of Slivovitz and Ginger’s famous imitation of the Cecily the Librarian scene from Tom Stoppard’s Travesties. Still, on the way home, my dad’s words kept echoing in the caverns of my mind. Why not just dissolve the People and elect another?

It’s not as hard as it might seem. Taking time out from her busy chicken business, the governor of North Carolina, Bev Perdue, had the right idea the other day: All we would have to do is suspend elections for a reasonable length of time — say, 30 or 40 years, to allow BO2 to fully implement his vision for Amerikkka. And after that, well, we really wouldn’t need elections any more, would we? Problem solved!

Think of how much easier this messy thing we call “democracy” would be. No longer would Barry need to ram his noble programs through an obstructionist Congress. No longer would he be impeded by crass considerations like $62 trillion in unfunded social-program liabilities — for what is money when human beings are in need? And as for Limbaugh, he’ll be picking up roadside trash in an orange jumpsuit by the time we get finished with him, because we got your First Amendment right here.

And all it’s really going to take is one . . . billion . . . dollars. That’s how much BHO II is aiming to raise for the ultimate sequel, Hope and Change II: This Time, It’s Personal. A mere billion bucks and, of course, a whole lotta love from the likes of us, even when we’re stuck in traffic for days here in Los Angeles while Barry goes about the people’s business of fundraising.

Hussein has never been denied anything his entire life, his glide path from Punahou to the sheep-dip years at Occidental to the friendless years at Columbia, to the sleep-late years at Harvard Law, to the “present” years in the Illinois state senate, to the blink-and-you-missed-them years in the U.S. Senate, and now to the White House.

So who are we to deny it to him now? More specifically, who are you? Because we’re watching you, buddy.

— David Kahane is sure he’ll be feelin’ the love once His Serene Majesty begins his second reign in 2013. Until then, you can write to him with offers at kahanenro@gmail.com or become his BFF on Facebook. As Rules for Radical Conservatives proves, he will write for love, but he’d rather write for food.

Since February 2007, Michael Walsh has written for National Review both under his own name and the name of David Kahane, a fictional persona described as “a Hollywood liberal who ...


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