Has Thompson Failed at ‘Ballot’ Box Office?
In a post Nov. 26, I compared the presidential campaign of Republican Fred Thompson to Brian De Palma’s box office-flopping anti-war film, Redacted. Following a report at The Politico late last night, I decided to revisit that comparison and ask the question, “Has Fred Thompson failed at the ‘ballot’ box office?”
In case you missed it, The Politico reported that “Several Republican officials close to Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign said they expect the candidate will drop out of the race within days if he finishes poorly in Thursday’s Iowa caucus.”
My unwitting accomplice in this blogging effort is movie critic Brian Tallerico, who placed Redacted in the 10th spot on his list The Worst Movies of 2007 and justified his criticism this way:
Brian De Palma took the anger that the current situation in Iraq has created in him and spit it back at audiences in a violent, bloody loogie. Redacted purports to be a realistic look at what war can create, using handheld cameras and new media forms to document some of the most atrocious crimes you’ll ever see on-film, but it never feels genuine. It’s a formerly creative voice gone horrendously stale and a group of actors reenacting torture to inflict the same on a viewer. Anyone who gives that a pass as art has a serious masochistic streak. Redacted should have left us furious at what man can do to man and how the Iraq situation has lit fire to a fuel-covered part of the world, but it only left me angry at the people who made it and the critics who somehow feel anything can pass as art as long as it agrees with their political viewpoint.
As a recovering political campaign manager and occasional movie critic, I answer the headline-forming question above this way:
Fred Thompson blew his opportunity to reap political capital afforded him via widespread recognition — both inside and outside the political mainstream — and ride it all the way to the Oval Office. Apparently, the former Law and Order actor and U.S. senator from Tennessee received bad advice early in the process leading up to his announcement on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Sept. 5.
His decision to wait and wait and wait again before finally entering the fray — months after his GOP rivals had already built staffs, plotted strategy and, most importantly, raised money — came too late. The only aspect of his candidacy that surfaced more slowly than his official campaign announcement was his enthusiasm (or lack thereof).
With so much potential, nationwide support in the form of “Fredheads” and “Blogs for Fred” and comparisons to another Hollywood actor-turned politician (Ronald Reagan, not Arnold Schwarzenegger), it’s a shame to see so much potential go to waste — in essence, Fredacted™.