Hooray For Hollywood

Rich Galen
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Posted: Jul 13, 2017 12:01 AM
Hooray For Hollywood

Following the Adventures of Don, Jr. this week was one of the remarkable political events of my lifetime. I was on an Amtrak from DC to New York to appear on CNN International.

All the way up I was glued to my Twitter feed (@RichGalen) as the story unfolded in real time.

As the train was about to enter the Hudson Tunnel between New Jersey and New York I got a call from CNN HQ in Atlanta telling me I had been bumped because they decided they needed a lawyer.

The woman who had to give me the bad news had to wait for my response because I lost service while we were in the tunnel. When I got into Penn Station, I walked directly into the Acela Club, changed my 4 pm ticket for a 1 pm ticket. Went down the appropriate escalator and got on the train coming back.

I will spend seven hours (up and back) on a train to be on TV for 17 minutes in Jakarta or Dubai because I have an ego the size of Wyoming.

I called Atlanta and said it was the nature of live TV and that I understood. I told her about my 17 minutes on the air theory and said, "So, actually, all this cost me was that 17 minutes."

Is this the end of the Presidency of Donald J. Trump?

I wouldn't bet on it.

Since he came down that escalator in June 2015 there has been time after time after time when, along with all the other outsized egos on cable TV, I thought, "This is the end of Trump; it wasn't.

This, based upon what we know as I type, will not be the end, either.

Aside from the comparisons of Don, Jr. to Freddo Corleone, the next strongest story line has been: Do people outside the Acela (see above) corridor care about Russia?

To that end, I got a call from a British journalist who asked me that approximate question. As luck would have it, I had spoken with friends who live across the nation and the answer was: Sorta.

I described it to the reporter as living in Los Angeles. I asked him how often he thought about movies. He thought there was an Americanism with which he was unaquainted (like "elevator" and "apartment") but I had said, "movies."

He allowed as to how he and his girlfriend thought about them when they wanted to go to one.

"Exactly," I said. "But if you lived in Hollywood and were in the movie business, you would think about movies all the time. What's opening next weekend? What was the budget? Who's up for which part? Who's shopping a new screenplay? And on and on."

"Russia," I continued, "is that way for those of us who are in the business of politics. We think about it all the time." Regular people might talk about Don, Jr. and that meeting with Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner while waiting their turn at the Keurig machine in the coffee room.

But, they likely go right back to their regular work - seeing what deals they might have missed out on during Prime Day on Amazon.

To look at it another way, our representative form of government works - when it works - because we choose people to go to the national or state capital to deal with things we don't want to have to think about all day, every day: Bridge and road repairs, health insurance, taxes, trade policy and the rest.

We pay some of those same people - Members of House and Senate investigative committees, FBI agents, Department of Justice Lawyers and, yes, journalists, to think about Russia all day so the rest of America don’t have to.

Just because you don't think about upgrading your community's water system all the time, doesn't mean it isn't important. It will become really important if it breaks. So, the people at city hall who are thinking about it are doing you a big favor.

Same with the people who are thinking about the Trump family and Russia, and the people who are thinking about the movies.

Sooner or later it will probably become very important to you, too.