Thursday, June 21, 2007

Casting Call

Bill Richardson has used up most of the tread on his "rock star" line (i.e. "I'm running against two rock stars but the American people don't want or need a rock star for a president"). But given the scripted nature of presidential politics, there's still some mileage to be gained from a "movie star" analogy.

And since there's a momentary lull in the campaign (and because we watched Ocean's 13 the other night) I wondered what it would be like if current presidential candidates were cast in Ocean's 11 (the 2001 version, not the original).

I've yet to learn how to not act on coming soon to a theater (or diner, if you live in Iowa) near you...

Hillary Clinton as Danny Ocean (George Clooney). Both are the better half of attractive scene-stealers (Bill Clinton and Julia "Tess" Roberts). Both have spent time in prison (Ocean literally, Clinton figuratively). Both are smooth and calculating enough to give you the impression that they're the masterminds when, in fact, someone else is doing most of the heavy lifting.

Barack Obama as Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt). Both are charming and charismatic with a little renegade streak running through them. They're magnetic despite their flaws (eating constantly and sleeping with federal agents for Rusty and smoking and inexperience for Obama). Plus, their names are fun to say: Rusty, Obama, Rusty, Obama.

John Edwards as Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon). Both are handsome, intelligent and capable of running the show yet are always playing third fiddle to Rusty and Danny (or Hillary and Obama). The kind of character you root for without really caring whether they win or lose.

Bill Richardson as Frank Catton (Bernie Mac). Richardson is actually an amalgam of several characters (a little Livingston, some Linus and maybe a bit of Basher) but he fits in here because Frank always seems to be in the middle of everything without being part of the braintrust (Danny, Rusty and Linus). He's a useful guy to have around (either as a card-dealer or as a Presidential undercard) but his charisma is most useful as a distraction while the others raid a vault, steal diamonds or win the Democratic nomination.

Joe Biden as Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle). Both are likeable characters, albeit for different facets of the same reason. Basher is entertaining because of his British wit and his tendency to blow things up. Biden is entertaining for his New England wit and his tendency to self-implode with incendiary comments like "You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent."

Dennis Kucinich as The Amazing Yen (Shaobo Quin). Both are elfin in stature but agile at maneuvering in tight spots (Yen squeezing into a room service cart and Kucinich convincing people he's a US Rep from Ohio instead of an unemployed Keebler Elf). That said, you don’t really notice either of them until they’re doing a backflip in a bank vault (or shouting “No strings!” at a Democratic forum).

Mike Gravel as Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner). Both are old, crotchety and short-tempered if they don't take their pills. Both are prone to nonsensical outbursts. But while they're a serious threat to keel over at any given moment, they both fulfill a purpose. Saul is an old, crotchety, short-tempered master of impersonating German businessmen and Gravel is an an old, crotchety, short-tempered master of impersonating old, crotchety, short-tempered former Senators from Alaska.

Chris Dodd as Livingston Dell (Eddie Jemison). While both Dodd & Livingston (sounds like a brokerage firm) hold heady credentials (Dodd as a US Senator and Dell as a computer nerd) nobody really pays much attention to either of them.

Mitt Romney as The Mormon Twins (Casey Affleck and Scott Caan). No, not just because Romney is Mormon. More because pre-candidacy Romney is a completely different person than post-candidacy Romney. And his two halfs tend to argue with each other a lot (I support a woman's right to choose! No, I don't! Yes, I do! No, I don't...etc.).

Rudy Guiliani as Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould). Both Rudy and Reuben seem to play big roles in the larger scheme of things but it's tough to say what, exactly, they do. Other than talk funny and bankroll nefarious operations (casino heists and/or presidential campaigns) with hard (millions of dollars) and political (9/11) currency.

John McCain as Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). Both are stiff, cold and more than willing to give up Julia Roberts to either A) Get their money back or B) Win over the conservative right.

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