Friday, September 14, 2007

Going Wobbly

When the first President Bush (the good-ish one) was considering a course of retaliation for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, he phoned up then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for counsel. Her famous words were, "Remember, George, this is no time to go wobbly." Guess what? When it comes to my choice for the Democratic nomination for President, I've gone wobbly. I was on the Obama train early on...going all the way back to his stemwinding keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. I've hit the streets for the man, participating in the national Walk For Change on a ninety-plus-degree Saturday afternoon in downtown Athens. Still, the seemingly unmovable national poll numbers and Senator Obama's own rhetorical missteps have me, well, wobbling. I've been expressing this wobbliness to my wife in a running percentage based on where my thoughts are regarding Obama and Hillary Clinton on any given day. I love the Clintons. Always have. So right from the beginning, my own inner poll was something like Obama: 70%, Hillary: 30%. Today, I'd say I'm somewhere around...oh...Obama: 54%, Hillary: 46% and rising.

I mean...look at these numbers. It looks like Obama got a bump in the summer...right around the time of the Walk For Change and the announcement of his phenomenal fundraising numbers. But other than that, it's a rock-solid, double-digit lead for Hillary over the course of the last nine months. As a matter of more practical, tangible concern, I worry about Obama's inexperience on the national stage. Not that I don't think he'd be a fine President from day one...I do. But being a new face leaves him open to being defined by the Republicans and their lethal, but effective, opposition research/character assassination apparatus. Say what you will about Hillary, she is already firmly defined in the eyes of the electorate. The good news for Democrats is that her definition is not nearly as dire as the likes of Karl Rove would have you believe.

So, I'll wobble on. Ultimately, this kind of dilemma is far preferable to the one I had in 2004...namely, squinting and cocking my head while perusing the field in hopes of finding somebody I could vote for without twitching uncontrollably. I could walk into the voting booth and yank a handle right now for either Obama or Hillary with enthusiasm and commitment. And the polling numbers could, and in fact probably will, move when we get a few more weeks down the road and Obama opens that huge war chest and starts airing commercials. At any on. And may the best candidate win.

And now, the most ridiculous transition in tone and content I have ever made on this blog: A brief DVD review of The Marine...starring my homeboy and non-sexual mancrush, WWE Heavyweight Champion John Cena. First off? Okay, this is not exactly a Merchant-Ivory production. It's a straight-up homage to the Schwarzenegger/Stallone escapist, implausible, blow-everything-straight-to-Kingdom-Come action/adventure flicks of the eighties. Indestructable hero, impossibly hot love interest, doofus sidekick, wisecracking black guy, angry scowling Latino...they're all here. Plot? Who needs one? But, if you do, Cena plays a Marine one-man-battallion who was unfairly (of course) drummed out of the Corps for going against orders and killing about twenty terrorists with his bare hands. Upon returning home, he discovers he has anger-management issues that come in pretty handy, along with his Marine training, when his wife is kidnapped by jewel thieves. There you go.

Director John Bonito puts it best in the film's making-of feature on the DVD: "If we built it, we blew it up." Plus, the darn thing is over in less than ninety minutes. It's the movie equivalent of a king-sized Snickers bar...tasty, filling, and not a damn bit good for you (a compliment, BTW). Robert Patrick has a field day as the bad guy, furiously chewing up scenery and tossing off one-liners. Yes, there's even a Terminator 2 gag in there...a quick one, but it's a chuckle. As for The Champ? I gotta tell you, Cena acquits himself pretty well. He's always been terrific on the mic in WWE and he has charisma to spare. The problem is that the part of John Triton(!), the titular Marine, is far too serious and somber. It would've been better if the writers would've taken the character's stoney demeanor even farther and played it for camp, like Leslie Nielsen in...well, almost every movie he's made the last two decades. As it is, just enough of Cena's charm and good humor shines through to make you wish there had been a lot more of it on display. Luckily, the DVD has a lengthy bonus feature on John's wrestling career...where he can be seen in his element. With the right scripts, Cena should be able to carve out his own niche of the Hollywood action/adventure market, much like The Rock has done.

The bottom line (Hey! Wrong wrestler!)? Tread extremely lightly if you're not an action buff or wrestling fan. But I thought The Marine was a lot of fun.

Finally, back with a Quick Prediction for the Georgia game tonight. Later, taters.


Steve said...

Odd that just now I am moving BACK towards Obama!

Mike-El said...

I'm tellin' ya...I've got Obama's The Audacity of Hope right here on the desk next to Susan Estrich's The Case for Hillary Clinton. I'm going back and forth. I'm just so nervous that all that money and all of the grassroots enthusiam that Obama has generated just isn't translating into measurable momentum. Obviously, anything can happen over the next three months...but it's distressing that so little has happened over the last nine.

Steve said...

You know from reading my blog that i am feeling pretty down about the political situation right now. I've got "Audacity" also but havent finished it. I liked it, and will pick it back up closer in. I just cant reved up for this one like i did back in 2004. I was really, really into it then and losing that was devastating.

Being a 2/3 Georgia and 1/3 North Carolinian (where I work), I can tell you we are bl;essed in the peach state to at least have a say in the process. The Tarheeels dont vote until May. Sheesh.

C U MIke