If you don’t know the scene from On the Waterfront, you should.
Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy is in the back of the taxi with Rod Steiger who plays his brother Charley. Brando’s character is talking about his failed boxing career, “a one-way ticket to Palookaville,” as Malloy describes it. “You don’t understand I could have had class, I could have been a contender, I could have been somebody – instead of a bum which is what I am. Let’s face it.”
Let’s face the increasingly bizarre admissions of President Barack Obama who is beginning to resemble – during those bizarre moments that he crafts so well – a world-weary politician who is blaming the coming obliteration of his presidential legacy on dark forces. Obama, who is perhaps the first image ever elected president, was a consummate actor who expertly played the role of chief executive. He played it so well, that most Americans eventually began to believe that he was actually governing the country and not just feathering his narcissistic nest and building an impressive CV.
So he is now channeling Brando in his first Oscar-winning role, whining about the lost opportunities of his presidency and the precious “what ifs” that are never to be.
This was never so apparent as in his latest appeal to the readers of the truly failed Rolling Stone non-news magazine. In what could be a combination end of term/Christmas retrospective interview, Obama faces the Democrat’s recent electoral defeat squarely, admitting the party has failed to communicate with working class voters and blaming it on “Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country…” He also admits that “part of it is also Democrats not working at a grassroots level, being in there, showing up, making arguments.”
As he has implied before, it was Hillary Clinton who was demonstrating an inadequacy at working with the grassroots, who did not show up in those little Iowa towns and make the arguments. But if not for Fox News in all those equally diminutive bars and restaurants in those Obama-forsaken backwater regions of the country, it might have been different. Yes, television-land might otherwise have been populated by a liberal mainstream media choir that had thoroughly learned the election songbook and was singing in sweet Democratic unity.
But as Obama staggers across the stage and nearly falls off it in his endless pursuit of another “to be or not to be” political soliloquy, it is clear that his party, schizophrenically endorsing and opposing ballot recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and already forgetting the lessons it should have learned from the last election, is displaying its own corporate disorder on the way to blessed Palookaville.
How else can you account for Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer accusing the Republicans of waging a “war on seniors” if President-elect Donald Trump sustains his pledge to repeal Obamacare?
Haven’t the Dems ineffectively tried the war scare approach before and failed? We can all remember the “war on women” refrain that was a staple of leftist non-arguments for at least the last eight years. It’s not just that the talking points are both stale and utterly inaccurate; but Schumer obviously doesn’t understand that the nation has come to despise the vicissitudes and failures of the Unaffordable Health Act.
And Rep. Nancy Pelosi will be back leading the Democrats in the House. Pelosi might have some first-hand knowledge of what it means to be a senior but this champagne socialist from California is far removed from the working-class vote that Obama laments losing to Trump.
So thank God for Fox News playing in those bars and restaurants and for internet news that dares to tell another story than the one on CNN. The mainstream media treated Obama not as a politician but as a movie star, for whom a difficult or impertinent question was always too gauche to raise. And that is exactly how Obama saw himself and his relationship with the media. There was never anything wrong with this picture for either participant.
The only one to suffer was the viewer: but they just went to the bar or restaurant and watched Fox.
Follow David on Twitter @DavidKrayden.