Bulworth did not finish off Warren Beatty’s career. That honor belonged to Town and Country. But Bulworth, the story of a corrupt Democrat who rejects his moderate views and turns to radical leftism, eventually proposing his own BulworthCare, did finish off Beatty as a director.
The director of Reds never made another movie after that. And hardly anyone watched Bulworth. The movie was a commercial failure, but the one man who remembered the story of an aging white Democratic senator who gets in touch with his inner young black rapper is Barack Obama.
We learn from a sonorous New York Times puff piece that Obama “In private, he has talked longingly of “going Bulworth”. Obama going Bullworth, aside from the bad rapping, would probably be the best thing that could happen to the country, but considering that Obama did openly talk about wealth redistribution, destroying the coal industry and asserting “You did not build that”, it’s not clear that anyone would even be paying attention.
At the White House Correspondents Association dinner last month, he bristled at the idea that he should pattern himself after Michael Douglas’s assertive character in “The American President.”
Turning to Mr. Douglas, who was in the audience, he jokingly asked what his secret was. “Could it be that you were an actor in an Aaron Sorkin liberal fantasy?” Mr. Obama asked. He added later, “I get frustrated sometimes.”
Bulworth was another Aaron Sorkin liberal fantasy, though Sorkin was uncredited for his work on Bulworth, made right after The American President.
Both movies were tellingly made during the Clinton era. If the 1995 American President was somewhat optimistic about Clinton’s chances, Bulworth was more pessimistic. It wanted Clinton to find his inner black rapper. Obama was supposed to be that inner black radical hiding inside every white liberal.
But he can never be radical enough for his supporters.
In confessing his dreams of “going Bulworth,” Obama confirmed that what he thinks and what he says out loud are two different things. He let slip the mask of a center-left moderate — a “pragmatist” who only cares about “what works.”
With nothing left to lose, Bulworth speaks his mind and becomes a sensation and unexpected contender for the presidency by giving far-left campaign speeches in rap form. In the movie’s centerpiece moment, Bulworth does a rap about health care and cries, “Socialism!” to a stunned crowd. (The lyrics run, “Yeah, yeah / You can call it single-payer or Canadian way / Only socialized medicine will ever save the day! Come on now, lemme hear that dirty word: Socialism!”)
This is President Obama’s id, the little man he wishes he could let out to party.
Apparently Obama has been taking advice from Sean Penn. “I would love to see Barack Obama be Bulworth,”Sean Penn, said on Piers Morgan Tonight in Oct. 2011.