The Washington Post has a bizarre story to the effect that filmmaker Steven Spielberg is consulting with now former Speaker Nancy Pelosi on how to “rebrand” the Democrats. At first, it appeared to be a parody story.
Besides churning out many hit movies like E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Saving Private Ryan (and a few duds like Munich), Spielberg is a big power broker for the Democratic Party in Hollywood. He has worked for the Democrats before, raising money and producing events. But any marketing specialist could tell you that all the slick marketing in the world cannot sell a product that the people don’t want to buy.
Not all of the slick marketing or “rebranding” could make movies like 1941 or Hook, two of Spielberg’s rare bombs, better films. For the Democratic Party to be like a hit movie, extensive changes in the product would need to be made. Here are some suggestions.
First, fire the cast. Obama, Pelosi, and Harry Reid are just not working out. In their place cast Morgan Freeman as the president (he worked very well in Deep Impact), Karen Allen as the House Minority Leader, and Harrison Ford as the Senate Majority Leader. All three of them have the star power the current cast members do not have.
Next, rewrite the script. Clearly the logline for “Democrats the Movie” that says, “Power mad, corrupt, incompetent politician becomes first African American president and then alienates everyone by trying to turn the United States into a socialist welfare state” doesn’t work.
How about this one? “Failed president has an epiphany, decides to listen to the people, work for the advancement of human freedom and strive for the greatness of America.” Spielberg will need someone who understands contemporary politics to write the script. I suggest Jonah Goldberg, the author of “Liberal Fascism,” who is a big TV and film fan.
There are several ways, based on previous Spielberg films, that one could approach the revised story.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind – President Obama is taken up in an alien space ship and is shown the truth about human history. He comes back a wiser man and becomes a great president.
Always – The ghost of Audrey Hepburn enlists the ghost of Ronald Reagan to give Obama sub-conscious hints on how to be a better president.
Raiders of the Lost Ark – President Obama remembers how, in his youth, he went on a quest for Abraham Lincoln’s hat, which is said to have mystic powers. He uses the power of Lincoln’s Hat to regain control of his presidency.
Impossible? Unbelievable? Silly? Perhaps, but Spielberg has pulled off bigger challenges. Maybe there is hope for this tragic farce of a movie that we are all bit players in yet.
All fun aside, all of this talk of “rebranding” sounds a lot like what the Republicans went through after 2006 and 2008. Republican leaders talked about “rebranding” as well as a means to get people to support that party. But Republican fortunes were reversed not by clever marketing, but by an unprecedented revolt called the Tea Party and the decision of many Republicans to listen to it. Democrats should take heed as well.
Source: Steven Spielberg advising Nancy Pelosi on rebranding Democrats, Rachel Weiner, Washngton Post, December 22nd, 2010