Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Clinton's Last Hurrah

Are you familiar with The Last Hurrah?  The recent election got me thinking about it.

The movie (and the book) are truly classic but unfortunately the movie (and the book) have started to fade from the public consciousness. The movie was directed by the legendary John Ford and the screenplay was the work of Frank Nugent (who also wrote the screenplay for Ford's The Quiet Man and Forte Apache).

The basic plot of the book is both a thinly veiled biopic of Boston's James Michael Curley and also a tale of the changing of the guard in politics. The tale of the old, machine politics, ward boss, dispenser of favors vs the new, young telegenic politician is very spot on. Does this sound like it could also be a brief synopsis of the election last Tuesday (except that Donald Trump isn't exactly young).

The problem with those old Frank Skeffington / James Michael Curley ways is that A: the ugly side of graft and extortion are glossed over and B: they just wouldn't work today. They wouldn't work today because the spoils system of patronage has been replaced by affirmative action and civil service. At least that's what I used to think.

Bill and Hillary Clinton were much in their own way old school machine politics animals. The pay to play with the Clinton's and the Clinton Foundation though wasn't patronage for jobs - it was millions in exchange for access to power. Maybe the real cause of Hillary's downfall was in the pursuit of global graft they forgot Tip O'Neil's dictum that all politics is local.

Hollywood is always looking for remakes. Why not a remake of The Last Hurrah? But instead of basing it on James Michael Curley - base it on Bill and Hillary Clinton. Like the original movie - the remake could be a thinly veiled biopic and a tale of the changing of the guard in politics.

I'd go to see it.

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