This is about Barack Obama’s relationship to a charming, well-meaning but ultimately rather contemptible chap called Dave.
This Dave. Another guy called Lawrence also comes into it as well.
I loathe the film Dave. As entertainment it’s fine. Politically it is a liberal (US sense) wish fulfillment fantasy with the sole redeeming virtue that it implicitly acknowledges that the only way they would get their way is by lies. In it a nice but dopey guy called Dave substitutes for his double, the philandering, i.e. Republican, President of the United States. The switch was intended to be just for one appearance at first but ends up being permanent when the President has a stroke.
From the synopsis: “When he takes the extreme action of reworking (with the help of his friend Murray, an accountant from Baltimore) the national budget in order to save a $650 million program for helping the homeless … ” When he takes the extreme action, you mean, of foisting on the American people a programme they did not vote for and presumably voted against when they elected a President who opposed it. Again from the synopsis: “…Dave convinces her [the president’s wife] to remain and keep up the ruse, when he realizes he has a chance to improve the nation.” You mean, a chance to impose his will on the nation. “Dave then holds a news conference announcing that he is firing Alexander [conniving Chief of Staff], and proposing a comprehensive full-employment program to Congress. [Liberal wish fulfillment fantasy.]
For some reason the film does not cover the bit where he gets hammered in the mid-term elections, having suddenly proposed a lunatic plan to Congress that seems to come from the manifesto of the sort of party that Ralph Nader voted for when young and silly.
None of the nice characters in the film seem troubled by the idea what they are doing – unconstitutionally replacing the elected leader with an unelected leader who takes the country in the direction he personally thinks best – scarcely differs morally from a coup d’état. All is justified by Dave’s goodness.
The plot of Dave, a movie that deeply annoys me, is very close to that of a science fiction novel I love, Heinlein’s Double Star.
Can I think of a better reason than political partisanship for claiming that the people who substituted Dave Kovic for a political leader in a coma in Dave acted wrongly and the people who substituted Lawrence Smith a.k.a. The Great Lorenzo for a political leader in a coma in Double Star acted rightly? I think so. Heinlein, who had thought deeply about democracy even if he did not always like it, went to some trouble to give John Joseph Bonforte’s staff as little choice as possible.
Most urgently, if Bonforte does not turn up at a Martian ceremony in which he is to be adopted into a Martian clan it will be taken as an insult graver than any human can imagine and will probably cause inter-species war. That’s the whole reason he was kidnapped.
Secondly Bonforte is not out of commission because of natural causes but because his political enemies kidnapped him and used drugs to damage his mind. In other words the substitution is stopping the bad guys benefiting from their evil deeds. People are being deceived, yes, but the deceivers are doing all they can to make what would have happened without the crime happen despite it, not to make new things happen.
Oh yeah, thirdly, he is not actually in office when the substitution occurs. The voters are not having someone they did not vote for secretly substituted for someone they did; they are subject to the lesser deception of being asked to vote anew (in an election part-way through the book) for someone who is not really who he says he is. I think that makes a difference.
Anyway, back to Barack. This “secret Muslim” theory is conspiracy crap, or possibly people having a laugh when answering surveys. He was born in the US and Trig is Palin’s child so you can all put away your warming pans. And the man has a rather distinctive physical appearance that would be difficult to duplicate.
Bodily he is but morally he is not the Barack who campaigned as a centrist. Which deceiver does he resemble the most, do you think, Dave or the Great Lorenzo?
Added later: I would like to expand on my last sentence above in the light of thoughts prompted by the comments. Having an elected leader diverge from the manifesto he or she was elected upon is sometimes the price you pay and sometimes the benefit you get for electing a human being rather than an automaton. Human beings adapt to circumstances, which may include justifiably breaking a promise. They also deceive or – and this is an interesting case – are happy to let others deceive themselves. Caveat emptor.