Has there been a movie this year that even comes close to generating the drama and suspense that marked the 2008 presidential campaign?
From the highly contentious battle royale between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination to the surprise (and scary-funny) choice of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s Republican running mate, the race for the White House dwarfed any and all movie output in terms of both entertainment value and audience interest. There was even a Hollywood ending — a young, charismatic man named Barack Hussein Obama became the first African-American U.S. president. Yes, thankfully, the ultimate twist ending to this two-year saga — a McCain upset on Nov. 4 — failed to materialize.
(Tangentially, it’s curious that it was left to David Letterman and the seemingly harmless women of The View to ask the toughest questions during this once-in-a-lifetime political season.)
Palin’s sassy, faux-populist presence gave the campaign an American Idol feel — a devolution of issue-based discourse in which style trumps substance. The synthesis of entertainment and politics reached its surreal apex during the simultaneous Saturday Night Live appearance of Palin, who stepped in for doppelganger Tina Fey, and guest host Josh Brolin, whose uncanny portrayal of George W. Bush in Oliver Stone’s W. had just hit theaters. Palin, a readymade TV star (and masturbation fantasy to hordes of hapless right-wing males across the nation), seemed right at home usurping the fictional version of herself, just another sign of the further fracturing of reality as we know it.
What could possibly be in store for the 2012 sequel? Palin picking Joe the Plumber as her running mate?