Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Big Lebowski Rolls Through the 2008 Primaries

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the release of The Big Lebowski. It is not only one of our favorites ‘round these parts, it may be the most quotable movie of all time. If you’ve been following the political landscape at all for the last year plus, you’ve been privy to one of the most exciting, random, and entertaining set of elections in American history. At the risk of being labeled a plagiarist by certain aggressive factions, I’m using an approach borrowed from Bill Simmons to review these events through the voice of the landmark film. We generally shy away from politics here at FtY, but sometimes we can’t help but mix things up. I’m going to do my best to be bi-partisan, but certain transgressions will not stand, man.

Note – there’s going to be a ton of cursing here, so those with more prudent sensibilities may want to take a pass on this entry.

I know this photoshop is beyond terrible. Let's just move on.

“Jeff Lebowski, the other Jeffrey Lebowski. The millionaire.”
“That’s fucking interesting, man. That’s fucking interesting.”
– The initial idea that led the Dude to his wild journey might as well be that same nebulous theme that initially propelled the campaign in all camps, and has remained throughout. “Change.” Whatever that means. It is apparently all things to all people. If George W. Bush was running right now, he’d be calling himself the change candidate.

“Wu?” Yeah. “Isn’t this guy supposed to be a millionaire?”
“He looks like a fuckin’ loser.”
“Hey, at least I’m housebroken.”
– to Bill O’Reilly. Not only has he been doing his recent spewing, at an Obama campaign event, he shoved one of Obama’s aides. You’d think anyone would know better than to do that, let alone someone who’s a member of the press, let alone the fact that O’Reilly actually went after someone even taller than he is.

“Is this him with, uh, Nancy?”
“Yes, indeed, that is Mr. Lebowski with the first lady. This picture was taken when Mrs. Reagan was first lady of the nation. Yes, yes not of California. In fact, he met privately with the president, though unfortunately there wasn’t enough time for a photo opportunity.”
“Nancy’s pretty good.”
“Oh yes, wonderful woman.”
– For every single Republican candidate who in debate after debate did everything they could to show how they were the second coming of Ronald Reagan. Even Barack Obama got in on the act a bit.

“The fuck is this?” (holding bowling ball)
“Obviously you’re not a golfer.”
– Rudy Guiliani thought he could just set up shop in Florida and wait until January 30th to start the meat of his campaign. Then he only got 15% of the vote, which ended his campaign the day it began. As clueless as the thug who attacks the Dude to open the film, Guiliani’s campaign proved it had no idea what it was doing and was ready with a McCain endorsement the following day. No word on whether he hit the links while he was down there.

“Are you sure he won’t mind?”
“He doesn’t care about anything. He’s a nihilist.”
“That must be exhausting.”
– Fred Thompson never really seemed to say anything of substance other than to trust him. Not to mention he made reference to the Soviet Union which doesn’t exist any more.

“Donny, you’re out of your element!” – Ralph Nader is going for the threepeat. If it didn’t work four years ago, when Nader received scant few votes, it ain’t gonna work now. Did you know he’s older than John McCain? Truly, we have nothing but admiration for Nader, and find it ludicrous that people blame him for the “outcome” of the 2000 election when there are so many other people who should be held more accountable (Katherine Harris, the Supreme Court, Al Gore’s campaign, etc.). But his efforts to affect the country would be better served in other endeavors.

“I’ll suck your cock for a thousand dollars. Brandt can’t watch, though, or he has to pay a hundred.”
“Ah-haha. That’s marvelous.”
“Uh, I’m just gonna go find a cash machine.”
– Mitt Romney was pretty much the human cash machine throughout this campaign, funding his run largely by his own hand. We may see him again in four years time if he doesn’t squander his fortune.

“Smokey my friend, you are entering a world of pain.” - For Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd who, despite saying all the right things, never really seemed to make a mark regarding what they were doing here or why they were running. Richardson consistently labeled himself as the foreign policy expert on the dais, but none of the voters, particularly those on the democratic side, seemed to give a hoot. Dodd went back to Washington to filibuster the FISA telecom-immunity bill right before the Iowa caucuses, pretty much giving up on the presidency in the process. Wait a minute. Didn’t the Senate eventually pass telecom immunity anyway? Where’s that filibuster, Chris?!?

“Your money is being held by a kid named Larry Sellers. He lives in North Hollywood on Radford. By the In N Out Burger. Fucking brat, but I’m sure your goons can get it off him. I mean, he’s fifteen. Flunking social studies.” – To Joe Biden, who also flunked social studies. Biden’s campaing was probably the shortest in history. It was pretty much done as soon as he started because he called Barack Obama “clean”.

“I can look back on a life of achievement, challenges met, competitors bested, obstacles overcome. I’ve accomplished more than most men and without the use of my legs. What – what makes a man, Mr. Lebowksi?”
“I don’t know sir.”
“Is it being prepared to do the right thing – whatever the cost? Isn’t that what makes a man?”
“Sure that and a pair of testicles.”
“Joking. But perhaps you’re right.”
“You mind if I do a J?”
“‘Scuse me?”
“Bunny Lebwoksi. She is the light of my life. Are you surprised at my tears sir?”
“Oh, fuckin’ A!”
“Strong men also cry. Strong men also cry.”
– Hillary Clinton spent the entire rampup to the primaries trying to show how rough and tumble she is, but in New Hampshire got a bit feclempt and then later claimed to have “found her own voice.” It was as persuasive as the pleas enlisting the Dude’s help. Much like the big Lebowski, she went back to talking tough for the remainder of the campaign.

“Mr. Treehorn treats objects like women, man.” – Chris Matthews and David Schuster over at MSNBC both got slammed for comments they made about female Clintons. Honestly, Schuster got a bad rap for using a colloquialism he shouldn’t have, asking if the Clinton campaign was “pimping out” Chelsea. Certainly over the line verbiage, but a differently worded question would have probably been fine. Matthews, on the other hand, claimed Hillary Clinton’s success was largely due to her husband cheating on her. Um… that didn’t result in a suspension?

“What do you do for recreation?”
“Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback.”
– Mike Gravel injected spirit and enthusiasm into the early campaign. Nobody really viewed him as a viable candidate, but he sure was entertaining, coining the phrase “Colbert Bump,” making debates interesting, and, well, actually driving around:

“Where’s the money Lebowski? Where’s the fucking money, shithead?!?”
“It’s uh… uh… it’s down there somewhere let me take another look.”
- Both Rudy Guiliani and Hillary Clinton found their campaigns in a state of bankruptcy. Guiliani had to stop paying his staff more than a week before the Florida primary, and Clinton had to loan her own campaign five million dollars. Mitt Romney didn’t experience such problems.

“I am the walrus.” The most random non sequitur of the movie goes to the most random non sequitur of the campaign, when Barack Obama blew his nose, people cheered, and somehow that made the news reports. Many pundits were quick to condemn the Obama supporters for this, but the blame rests solely at their feet. I realize it’s gotta be monotonous to be a reporter covering these things every day, but that’s hardly news.

“OK, we proceed, but only if there is no funny stuff.” – A supposed truce established in the aftermath of the ugliness on display between Obama and Clinton at the Nevada debate proved to be short-lived. Indeed, by the time South Carolina rolled around, funny stuff abounded.

“Look, just because we’re bereaved, that doesn’t make us saps!” – The right wing of the conservative portion of the Republican party made it very clear they were upset with the notion of having John McCain as the party’s nominee. While Walter and the Dude were able to hit Ralph’s to buy a coffee can, Rush Limbaugh and his ilk are stuck with Johnny boy.

“So racially, he’s pretty cool?” - Mitt Romney. Uh… just watch the tape:

“You know, Dude, I myself dabbled in pacifism at one point. Not in ‘nam of course.” - John McCain went from being the candidate most likely to reach across the aisle to the standard-bearer of all things right wing. He changed his stance on waterboarding, and on the Bush tax cuts in order to court conservative voters. We’ll see if he dabbles in pacifism again. Or if he continues with his singing career.

“And so, Theodore Donald Karavotsoz, in accordance with what we think your dying wishes might well have been, we commit your final mortal remains to the bosom of the Pacific ocean, which you love so well. Good night, sweet prince.” – John Edwards was clearly the candidate that everyone admired, respected, and just generally thought was a good guy. But he was odd man out in the Democratic primaries, unable to build on his second place finish in Iowa. He found himself back home after South Carolina.

“Sometimes there’s a man – and I won’t say a hero, ‘cause what’s a hero? Sometimes there’s a man – and I’m talkin’ about the Dude here. Sometimes there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there.” – Mike Huckabee, despite not being a truly viable candidate for Republicans, has been able to keep his campaign going thanks to fitting “right in there” for all the conservatives who don’t like McCain or the Church of Latter Day Saints. Furthermore, frequent commenter PMaz declared long ago that Mike Huckabee “is a dude.”

“Here’s the number of a doctor who will look at it for you. You will receive no bill. He’s a good man and thorough.” – Because I couldn’t think of any other place to put him, we’ll go with Ron Paul here. He is a doctor, and he’s clearly a good man. And probably thorough as well. But populist messages just don’t resonate with Republicans, apparently, despite the devotion and hope of his supporters.

“Hey! What’s this day of rest shit?!? What’s this bullshit!?! I don’t fuckin’ care. It don’t matter to Jesus. But you not foolin’ me, man. You might fool the fucks at the league office, but you don’t fool Jesus. Is bush league psyche-out stuff. Laughable man – ha ha! I would have fucked you in the ass Saturday. I fuck you in the ass next Wednesday instead. Woooh! You got a date Wednesday, baby!”
“He’s crackin’.”
– When Hillary Clinton tried to claim Obama was a plagiarist for using a line his friend urged him to use, it was bush league psych-out stuff considering she was doing the exact same thing throughout her campaign. In fact, I can’t remember the last presidential candidate who wrote all his own speeches. It culminated in the Texas debate when she claimed that it was proof of Obama’s “change you can Xerox.” The ploy resulted in boos from the crowd and embarrassment for Hillary.
“She’s not my special lady, she’s my fuckn’ lady-friend. I’m just helping her conceive, man.” - At the risk of being totally unfair and perhaps incorrect, the quote just fits too well. John McCain gets this award for his lady-friend, Vicki Iseman. McCain denied any romantic entanglements with the woman, but that aspect of the story was wholly overblown. The bigger issue has to do with whether he had given lobbyists and the groups they represent special treatment. Naturally, that’s not what the media chose to focus their attention on

“I like your style, Dude.” – You gotta give it up for Hillary never wearing the same outfit twice. Well, until that recent SNL appearance.

“Oh Jesus, what’s that smell, man?”
“Yeah, probably a vagrant slept in the car. Or maybe just used it as a toilet and moved on.”
– Ann Coulter gets this quote, just ‘cause it’s the nicest thing we can possibly say about her.

“Are you gonna find these guys? You got any promising leads?”
“Leads? Yeah, sure. I’ll just check with the boys down at the crime lab. They got four more detectives working on the case. They got us working in shifts! Hahahaha. Leads! Hahahaha. Leads!”
– Though it appears now to be changing, for most of Obama’s campaign, he has been able to avoid any major inquiry to the Tony Rezko thing. It doesn’t appear that Obama’s hiding anything, or maybe it does. Of course any connection to the corrupt Rezko is surely a black eye at the least. The Clintons continually complained that the press hadn’t unearthed anything yet.

“Are you read to be fucked, man? I see you rolled your way into the semis. Dios mio, man. Liam and me, we’re gonna fuck you up.”
“Yeah, well, that’s just like uh your opinion man.”
“Let me tell you something, pendejo. You pull any of your crazy shit with us, you flash your piece out on the lanes, I’ll take it away form you, and stick it up your ass and pull the fuckin’ trigger ‘till it goes.. click.”
“You said it, man. Nobody fucks with the Jesus.”
– John McCain said he was “pleased” to be endorsed by John Hagee, despite the fact that Hagee has called Catholicism “the great whore” and also condemned Jews and Muslims. While Obama was getting flack for using the word “denounce” instead of “reject” regarding Louis Farrakhan, McCain thus far has skated by just fine while embracing Hagee.

“Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax – you’re goddamn right I’m living in the fucking past!” – All the Bill Clinton praise really seemed to backfire for Hillary, particularly after his behavior in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Those who assumed just having Bill in her corner would be enough for a coronation were indeed living in the past. Since his outbursts, they have kept him on a pretty tight leash.

“Has the whole world gone CRAZY?!? Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules?!? Mark it zero!” – Shockingly, nobody in the press has really called out Hillary Clinton’s camp for trying to: 1) Change the rules of the Nevada caucuses. 2) Include the results from Florida and Michigan, even though it was agreed by all that they wouldn’t count. All other major candidates took their names off the ballot in Michigan, Hillary was supposed to as well, but didn’t. Nobody was supposed to campaign in Florida, but Hillary had several fundraisers there. 3) Recently challenging the way Texas runs their primary – just days before the voting even though the process there has been established for the last ten years. Rules are rules, Hill. Stealing the nomination won’t make you president.

“We got a nice, quiet beachfront community here, and I am to keep it nice and quiet. So let me make something plain. I don’t like you suckin’ around bothering our citizens, Lebowski. I don’t like your jerkoff name. I don’t like your jerkoff face. I don’t your your jerkoff behavior. And I don’t like you, jerkoff. Do I make myself clear?”
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.” Police chief throws coffee mug off the Dude’s forehead “Ow! Fuckin’ fascist!”
“Stay outta Malibu, Lebowski. Stay outta Malibu, deadbeat! Keep your ugly, fuckin’ gold-brickin’ ass out of my beach community.”
– Dennis Kucinich was marginalized by the powers that be from the get go. His views are very much in line with much of the populous – in 2004 he was the one running who said, “We need to get out of Iraq now,” but nobody took him seriously. This time around, debate moderators rarely called on him, forcing him to call on himself when given the opportunity. Later, they shut him out of the debates completely, with NBC changing their rules solely in order to bar him entry.

“Listen, Maude, I’m sorry your stepmother is a nympho, but I don’t see what this has to do with, uh – do you have any Kahlua?” - Much as the Dude is distracted by Maude’s bar, you may have found yourself distracted by Chuck Norris’ beard and teeth at many a Huckabee rally. What was Norris doing there? And why was he available week after week?

“Are you employed, sir?”
“Employed? Uh-heh.”
“You don’t go out looking for a job dressed like that do you, on a weekday?”
“Is this a, what day is this?”
– This one goes to me for being in a state of gainful unemployment. But let’s throw Chuck Norris in here, too for the reasons stated above. Heck, throw Bill Cinton in, too if you want.
“Walter, I’m sure there’s a reason you brought your dirty undies, man.” – to everyone trying to claim that they’re using Barack Obama’s middle name, Hussein, because “that’s just his name and it’s what you call someone running for president.” The mendacity involved in such a claim is so over the top, it’s amazing. The same people go on television and don’t know that John McCain’s middle name is Sidney. What are the odds they know Gerald Ford’s middle name? Or Mike Dukakis, or Bob Dole, or H. Ross Perot’s first name!

“Nothing is fucked here.”
“Nothing is fucked?!?”
“No man.”
“The god damned plane has crashed into the mountain!”
- On the evening of Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney said, “It's not all done tonight. We’re gonna keep on battling. We're gonna go all the way to the convention, we're gonna win this thing and we're gonna get into the White House.” The next day, he “suspended” his campaign. That’s what happens when it’s your money, I guess.

“Hey, this is a private residence, man!” – With Barack Obama scheduled to meet with John Edwards at his home, it was beset with reporters and helicopters trying to cover the meeting. Obama had to come later and in secret.

“The story is ludicrous!” – The indignant ire Maude displays for Logjammin’ has also been on display by the Clinton campaign claiming media bias has worked against them. Much like Maude chooses to ignore the fact that she’s not exactly watching a piece of filmic art, the Clinton crew has gotten a free pass on: 1) Hillary’s “experience”, particularly on foreign policy when they were stumped for minutes in reaction to a simple question on a recent media conference call, 2) Hillary’s stalling of the release of her tax returns – all the more relevant because she lent her own campaign five million dollars, 3) The fact that she had lost 11 straight contests and was still being treated as viable, when any other candidate on the planet would have been run out on a rail. Not to mention the fact that many of her campaign’s attacks on Obama have been logjamminy ludicrous in their own right. Kind of hard for the media to take someone to task on being a plagiarist when they’re not, or for voting “present” in the Illinois legislature when it’s a common practice in that state.

“His girlfriend gave up her toe!”
“She thought we’d be getting million dollars!”
“It’s not fair!”
“Fair?!? Who’s the fucking nihilist around here you bunch of fuckin’ crybabies???”
– Hillary Clinton’s staffers have been whining ever since Iowa. More than anything else, they’re upset because they went from presumptive favorites to (most likely) coming in second, and though Obama has been an impressive candidate, they really only have themselves to blame. They squandered their money, didn’t take their opponents seriously, and had no plan past Super Tuesday.

“Ah, fuck it, Dude. Let’s go bowling.” - What I can only imagine Ron Paul supporters must be saying to one another now. Their campaign is over, and there is no remotely viable candidate in the race reflecting their interests.

“Look, man I’ve got certain information. All right? Certain things have come to light, and, you know, has it ever occurred to you, that instead of, uh, you know, running around, uh, uh, blaming me, youknow given the nature of all this new shit, you know, i-i-i-i this could be a lot more uh, uh, uh, uh, complex . I mean it’s not just – it might not be just such a simple, uh – you know?”
“What in God’s holy name are you blathering about?!”
– The Dude’s hilarious stammer to end all stammers goes to John McCain’s reaction when a woman at a fundraiser Q&A pointedly asked him, “How do we beat the bitch?”

“Ah, fuck it.”
“That’s your answer to everything. Tattoo it on your forehead. Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. The bums lost! My advice to you is to do what your parents did. Get a job, sir. The bums will always lose! Do you hear me Lebowski? The bums will always lose!”
– The most impassioned yelling of the movie (which is a really strong statement considering it doesn’t come from the mouth of Walter Sobchak), goes to Hillary Clinton for her comical grandstanding in Cincinnati last week – just a day after praising her opponent and claiming respect for him.

“He thinks the carpet pissers did this?”
“Well, dude, we just don’t know.”
- Someone leaked a photo of Barack Obama in native Kenyan garb to the press with the claim that if Hillary Clinton had been photographed the same way, the press would have been all over it. The Clinton campaign denied responsibility, though also didn’t say that they had nothing to do with it. Actually, they attacked Obama’s camp for being upset about it.

“That rug really tied the room together.” – to Rachel Maddow who is just the coolest voice of reason on the planet. She makes Pat Buchanan not just tolerable but viable. She has been along for the entire ride, starting with her Campaign Asylum youtube videos and continuing on MSNBC’s coverage throughout the year.
“Take it easy, Dude. I know that you will.”
“Yeah, well. The Dude abides.”
– This was supposed to go to Hillary Clinton. She can’t win without pulling a fast one, in which case she would get trounced in the general election for pulling a fast one. She was supposed to drop out. But it appears she is going to stay in it for the long haul, good of her party be damned. Instead, Tuesday night Mike Huckabee gave the best concession speech of the primaries. He lost with dignity and grace and spent most of his time thanking the people who worked on his campaign. He stayed in the race, but didn’t harm his party’s candidate in the process. For those who say Hillary is “pulling a Huckabee,” that sullies the good name of Mike Huckabee. Even if he does think that the earth is only 6,000 years old.

1 comment:

ryanshaunkelly said...

gravel kucinich paul nader,
dare speak truth,
demand peace.