“I don’t have to play dirty anymore. I got Morris.”
Press secretary Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) says this early on in the new political thriller, “The Ides of March.” The film tells the story of a naïve campaign employee who has become enchanted by the governor he works for. The story resonates strongly today because of the obvious similarities between President Obama and the up-and-coming politician in the film.
George Clooney directed and stars in this film as Governor Mike Morris, a liberal politician who is fighting against a moderate candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. The story starts out showing Morris spewing liberal propaganda about how he wants to change the country. Morris believes in more governmental programs and says that terrorists and wars would disappear if America stopped importing foreign oil.
However, just when conservatives might feel inclined to leave the theater, the film takes a few surprising turns and Morris is revealed to be a calculating and cold politician.
If films reflect the political times in which they are made, “The Ides of March” speaks volumes about President Obama. The similarities between Morris and the 44th President are obvious to those who followed the 2008 campaign closely. For one, Morris doesn’t have supporters. He has disciples. His fans, including Myers, are so enamored with the candidate and his agenda that they can’t see that the whole campaign is selling a fantasy, not a candidate.
If Morris was elected in the real world, he would become what Obama now is: a disappointment to the naively idealistic campaign supporters who put him in the White House.
In addition to the undying devotion of their followers, Morris is similar to Obama in many other ways. Aside from the similarities in their political posters, both Obama and Morris are both liberals who are fighting against more moderate candidates. Also, in “The Ides of March,” conservative radio talk show hosts push for Republicans and moderates to vote in the Democratic primary so that they can weaken Morris. Sound familiar?
Myers’ political optimism eventually begins to fade when he realizes that Morris is an unethical politician who is willing to make political deals in order to win.