|"[T]his exposes their warnings about Trump for what they are: the recycled hysteria that’s hurled at every Republican leader."|
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Why Hollywood’s new attack on Cheney is a boost for Trump
By Abe Greenwald
It was only a matter of time before Hollywood unleashed a big-budget hit job on the former vice president known half-jokingly as Darth Vader. The $60 million Dick Cheney biopic “Vice” opens on Christmas Day, and its director, Adam McKay, has left little doubt about the movie’s political slant: He’s told the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd that Cheney is “way worse” than a “frothing maniac with a meat cleaver.”
The movie will only make conservatives that much more likely to tune out current Hollywood sermonizing about President Donald Trump.
Many on the left — wrongly — see the former VP as the all-powerful warmonger who forced the country into the Iraq War. So it’s tempting to say that Cheney, with his curled upper lip and evil-schemer persona, holds a special place in the liberal imagination. But there’s nothing special about Hollywood’s understanding of a major Republican figure as being more dangerous than a homicidal psychopath.
The movie’s take on Cheney, portrayed by a physically transformed Christian Bale, as a diabolical threat to world peace is standard fare for the Hollywood left. And this exposes their warnings about Trump for what they are: the recycled hysteria that’s hurled at every Republican leader.
After Trump’s election in 2016, talk show host Bill Maher admitted that he and his fellow progressives had merely “cried wolf” about “honorable men” like George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. “And that was wrong,” he said. But his confession came only because he now saw the real wolf at the door — Trump.
“This is real,” Maher claimed. “This is going to be way different.” Do we believe him this time?
President Bush was considered “way different” because he was rumored to confer with God about apocalyptic foreign policy or was, according to Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” practically a member of the Saudi royal family. Take your pick. Bush, like Trump, was the subject of multiple articles and books purporting to reveal his plans for a fascist America.
Romney was “way different” because he would have been the first Mormon president. And because, those on the left claimed, he was the most heartless capitalist ever to aim for the presidency.
Of course, Trump is different. He’d be the first to admit it. We’ve never had a president so willing to break with precedent and protocol. We’ve never seen an occupant of the White House so openly combative with his political opponents and detractors in the press.
And the country has never been led by someone so impulsive. Some of this is for the good and some of it is surely not. But is Trump, as Maher claims, “the worst person ever”? Or, as George Clooney believes, “a xenophobic fascist”? Or, as Robert De Niro has said, “the devil”?
If he were that bad, then the larger liberal left wouldn’t resort to doomsday hyperbole over his fairly benign conservative policies. When Trump signed a tax reform bill last year, Larry Summers, former economic adviser to President Barack Obama, said the cuts might kill as many as an estimated 10,000 Americans annually. Earlier this month, former Secretary of State John Kerry said that “people are going to die” because Trump pulled the US out of the Paris agreement on climate change.
They must have missed Bill Maher’s memo on crying wolf.
Make no mistake. If Marco Rubio had become president in 2016, Hollywood would frame him as a fresh-faced neocon wolf. And if Ted Cruz had won, he would be treated as an extremist Tea Party wolf. And so on.
To liberals — especially those in the Hollywood bubble — Republicans are frightening, incomprehensible creatures. All of them.
That’s why they’re portrayed in movies as monsters. Oliver Stone’s 2008 “W.” turned Bush into an almost-sympathetic but brainless and deadly Frankenstein. Perhaps on the big screen, Cheney will be like one of those master vampires who’s been around longer than anyone else and who knows every trick of the monster trade.
And Trump — maybe he’s the left’s Godzilla, terrorizing coastal cities, roaring, breathing fire and tearing up everything in sight.
But in real life, they’re just men who come to power every now and then. And when they go, they open up a spot for the next “real” wolf.
Abe Greenwald is senior editor of Commentary.
LIBERTY HAS NO EXPIRATION DATEDemocrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.
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