Ferdy on Films - The Manchurian Candidate

Topics: Commentary, Existentialism, Politics

"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." Orange Satan, Snopes

Note: The disdain of a conman is he has no respect for his marks. If they fall for his shtick, he respects and fears them far less than the clear-eyed who won't be fooled.

Mutt without Jeff? Corn beef sans cabbage? Unthinkable. Knebel without Bailey? Well, it's hard to tell the difference. It's still the same sort of push button/panic button story about politics from the Pentagon to the Hill, only this time one of the levers got stuck close to the beginning. The one called Idea. This is, namely, that a president of the United States, and he's got his button (The Bomb), has lost his other buttons. He's mentally disabled. No one suspects that Mark Hollenbach, a figure of great rectitude and a strong drive for excellence, is paranoid. Except Jim MacVeagh, a senator, whom he has just tapped as his next running mate. Jim, young, attractive, but lazy, has a family. He also has had, on the side, Rita, ""the urgency and solace of sex."" As the F.B.I. investigates this, at Hollenbach's instigation, Jim tries to persuade others just before a private Summit meeting. They remain unconvinced, think Jim is disturbed, and only Rita can supply the evidence until the President's unreasonableness becomes apparent elsewhere, and action, sadly missing throughout the book, is finally taken...Let's see now -- it could be Fredric March, Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner. Oh, no, that was Seven Days in May. This isn't.

KIRKUS REVIEW, "Night of Camp David" by Fletcher Knebel.

There has been the flourishing of a cottage industry, from "Fire and Fury" by Mike Wolff; "A Higher Loyalty" by Former FBI Director James Comey; "What Happened" by Former Secretary and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton; "Unhinged" by Omarosa Manigault Newman and the soon-coming "Fear" by Bob Woodward. It's been a great year for authors; terrible for trees. He has been referred to as "a poor man's idea of what a rich man is like." He refers to himself in third person with the single syllable contraction of his name to invoke a Mafia kingpin. He's more a caricature of a caricature of actual mob bosses: imagining himself Vito or Michael Corleone of "The Godfather," when he's actually Fredo.

The New York Times Op Ed from a staffer that is internal to this "administration" is literally the icing on the cake. I am not sure if a five-deferment draft dodger, serial adulterer that pays off the silence of his mistresses and insults all of our allies, but routinely avoids insulting a foreign adversary with all the deference of a sex worker to a pimp can call the author "gutless." This is a Constitutional Crisis as David Frum, former speech writer for President George W. Bush (he was the "axis of evil" guy), opined such in The Atlantic. Real patriots step out of the shadows into the light. Real courageous actors don't "look the other way" and get tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation to the same Wall Street entities that caused the last Great Recessions (almost becoming a Great Depression). We appear determined to prove the definition of insanity.

Hans Christian Anderson's "The Emperor's New Clothes" has been shortened to a byword and pejorative "the emperor has no clothes," shouted originally from the mouth of a small child of his constituency in the story, saying what the more reserved adults around him dared not say. It is stating the blatantly obvious as the "Southern Strategy" grandparents of MAGA supporters once did, now parroted by their progeny:

"The Manchurian Candidate" as a movie came out in my birth year. It, like Knebel's Camp David is admittedly dystopian. It was a plausible thriller during the Cold War with the former Soviet Union that posited a hostile power could have unparalleled and unwanted influence on a political figure; the potential for controlling the office of the presidency. Plausible, but until recent events unthinkable. Life is stranger than art.

"Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over." Op Ed by Anonymous in the New York Times

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