The highly anticipated Obama documentary is out and it's definitely worth a look. As someone with a background in media and as a moderate Republican woman who voted for President Obama, my response to the film was mixed.
From a production standpoint, it's great. My issue is in the messaging. In shot after shot, we are supposed to see President Obama as a young buck, alone and facing a series of unprecedented and unpredictable crises. That's why the documentary opens with a snowstorm.
But if you look at the supporting cast -- David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden -- the story of what really happened in the last four years emerges. A good, smart guy went to Washington with the hope of bringing reason and compromise to the land of partisan-lock. And his agenda got hijacked by hardened insiders.
The Democrats saw how frustrated the American people were with the housing market collapse and saw an opening, which they exploited, to drive through programs, most people now realize we couldn't afford. Rahm Emanuel said it himself:
You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.
It would be boring and more of the same to argue the film point by point here. (I'd rather just produce a rock-u-mentary about a rock star who has a great family, managed to deliver a fantastic Olympics experience, and helped return more than one company to the black -- Mitt Romney.) The Washington Post had something to say about Obama's taking credit for the middle class tax cuts, though.
I do remember having coffee with a friend and each of us trying to wrap our heads around the fact that the deficit had just hit 10 trillion dollars. Which begs the following scene: Uncle Sam is feeling inspired. He's never driven a hot air balloon before but everyone thinks he can do it, so he decides to give it a whirl. There is a storm on the horizon but he gets through all the weather and is so confident that he decides to cross a mountain range. Emboldened, he sees the wide open sea and sets out. It's all good news until he's caught out on the ocean and the balloon begins to deflate because there isn't enough propane in the tank. That's my takeaway on the film.
On a personal front, the Obama story is emotional and even inspiring. But the reality is the costs of his leadership are going to saddle generations to come. All of those feel good measures added 5 trillion dollars to the deficit. In just four years. I can't justify that to my kids. Can you?
We Americans love movies. They are an escape from reality. And with the current tone in politics, who can blame us? I just hope the Republicans get their story together before November!
This post is part of a weekly conversation with our 5 Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other writers have to say, read The Road We've Traveled': What Do You Think of Obama's New Video?
Image via BarackObamadotcom/YouTube