Why Does Obama Want to Go "Bulworth?" And What Does "Bulworth" Mean?
Peter Barker writes in the New York Times of President Obama's secret desires to "go Bulworth," referencing the late 90s political satire film.
If you've listened to any of his recent pressers, it seems the president already has.
If you're unfamiliar with the film, allow me to give you a brief synopsis. The Warren Beaty satire follows the second term of a Democratic senator who has traded his ideological progressivism for electability. Devastated by the realization that he's a complete sellout controlled by big money, he decides to go rogue and say and do exactly what he feels.
See a clip of Bulworth below:
As the rather hilarious comedy unfolds, he tackles ranging issues from catering to minorities for votes (then abandoning them) to the failed healthcare system. In my personal favorite scene in the absurd comedy, Bulworth shows up to a political fundraiser, surrounded by top dollar donors, executives from big banks, etc. and launches into a rap.
"You can call it single-payer or Canadian way / Only socialized medicine will ever save the day!"
The scene would not be complete without the entire room descending into a chant of "socialism!"
After reading Barker's article on the many woes plaguing the Obama Administration (Benghazi, failed gun control legislation, the IRS scandal, and the DOJ's "investigation" into the Associated Press) the one line about the President's private desire to "go Bulworth" stood out to me as it did many.
Obama's Bulworth ambitions likely spring from the reality that the president realizes the clock is ticking on what he will be able to accomplish in his presidency. Jonathan Allen wrote in Politico that Capitol Hill holds Obama's legacy in its hands — and the president seems to be aware of this.
The three policy issues, Allen writes, that will likely shape the president's second term — if not his legacy as a whole — will be gun control legislation, immigration reform, and a long-term deficit reduction plan. Unfortunately for President Obama, Congress has already put the breaks on his first push for gun control, and he has equally difficult uphill battles on the other two issues ahead of him.
As Allen points out, the window of time for President Obama to act is small, with the midterm elections in full swing by 2014 followed by partisan posturing for 2016.
It seems as though President Obama may be aware of his time table and has thus adopted a less cautious, more "Bulworthian" attitude. The Huffington Post noted that in recent weeks the generally cool and collected Obama has fired back at opponents much more strongly.
He called Republicans continuing demand for answers over Benghazi a "sideshow" motivated by a political agenda.
After the defeat of bipartisan gun control legislation, he harshly stated that the gun lobby "willfully lied."
The president seems to be aware that his legacy is in the hands of a historically resistant Congress and perhaps believes adopting Bulworth's signature "tell-it-like-it-is" attitude will help him overcome the uphill battle he has ahead.
While Bulworth makes for hilarious and timeless political satire that surely every politician could take a lesson from, one would hope in dealing with heavy issues like the Benghazi attacks, the president won't get carried away with Bulworth's "Ain't nobody got time for that" attitude.