WSJ: A New York Times story on President Obama's plague of scandal contains this eyebrow-raising revelation:
Yet Mr. Obama also expresses exasperation. In private, he has talked longingly of "going Bulworth," a reference to a little-remembered 1998 Warren Beatty movie about a senator who risked it all to say what he really thought. While Mr. Beatty's character had neither the power nor the platform of a president, the metaphor highlights Mr. Obama's desire to be liberated from what he sees as the hindrances on him.
"Probably every president says that from time to time," said David Axelrod, another longtime adviser who has heard Mr. Obama's movie-inspired aspiration. "It's probably cathartic just to say it. But the reality is that while you want to be truthful, you want to be straightforward, you also want to be practical about whatever you're saying."
Perhaps the Times didn't want to spoil the film for its readers--which we are about to do, so please skip the subsequent four paragraphs if you're planning on seeing it and want to be surprised. But the Times's description comes nowhere near doing justice to the film and Beatty's character--and to how strange it is that it is the object of a presidential fantasy.
"Bulworth" is a satire about a politician going through something of a midlife crisis. Sen. Jay Billington Bulworth, a veteran Democrat from California, is a radical leftist at heart, but the exigencies of electoral politics have required him to pose as a moderate. He's up for re-election and running behind a young challenger. His marriage is on the rocks.
Depressed and suicidal, he offers a favorable vote to an insurance company in exchange for a bribe--a $10 million life policy with his daughter as beneficiary. Of course the policy is void if he takes his own life, so he hires a hit man to assassinate him instead.
He drinks heavily, and the combination of alcohol and imminent death has a disinhibiting effect. He begins speaking his mind at campaign events. Then he begins rapping his mind. We're not making this up: "Yo, everybody gonna get sick someday / But nobody knows how they gonna pay / Health care, managed care, HMOs / Ain't gonna work, no sir, not those / 'Cause the thing that's the same in every one of these / Is these m-----f---ers there, the insurance companies! . . . Yeah, yeah / You can call it single-payer or Canadian way / Only socialized medicine will ever save the day! Come on now, lemme hear that dirty word--SOCIALISM!"