By Gary P Jackson
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Sarah Palin has often said one of her favorite movies is the 1939 classic Mr Smith Goes to Washington. Directed by Frank Capra and starring Jimmy Stewart, the movie follows newly appointed Senator Jefferson Smith [Stewart] , a naive and idealistic young man. As the story unfolds, Senator Smith runs up against the political machine, massive corruption and cronyism.
Before taking office, Smith was the leader of the Boy Rangers a fictional group akin to the Boy Scouts of America. It’s his goal, as Senator, to create a national boys camp, a noble idea that turns into a battle. It’s a great movie that I firmly believe all Americans should see. Like all Capra films, it has a strong message.
It’s easy to understand why Sarah Palin loves this movie. Sarah is a proven reformer, having gone after questionable politicians since her earliest days as a member of the Wasilla, Alaska city council.
In a move that kinda mirrors the movie, after an unsuccessful bid to be Alaska’s Lt. Governor, Sarah, whose political star was definitely on the rise, was appointed by Governor Frank Murkowski as Chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. This is one of the most powerful positions in the state. It was here that Sarah uncovered massive corruption at almost every level.
After uncovering all of this corruption, Sarah went to the Governor and demanded action. After being told to let it go, she told the Governor to either get something done, or she would go to the media with the facts. This, of course led to Murkowski sending then Attorney General Gregg Renkes, who was also neck deep in his own corrupt dealings, to pay Sarah a visit, threatening her with legal consequences if she blew the whistle.
In the end, Sarah resigned from her high paying gig at the AOGCC and took on the entire corrupt Republican Party in Alaska. The rest is history. The FBI would eventually get involved, and two years later, months into Governor Palin’s term, corrupt Republicans were still being hauled off to prison.
It’s easy to see why Governor Palin relates to the struggles of Senator Smith. She’s lived the movie, and then some!
For me though, it’s another Capra film that hits all of the right notes. Meet John Doe is a wonderful film starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. I relate to the film because of the parallels between the film and what is going on between the Republican Party and the Tea Party today.
Full Disclosure: I’m a huge Gary Cooper fan, something helped along by the fact that he was my mother’s favorite actor, and who I’m named after. And I simply adore Barbara Stanwyck. She is one of the greatest actresses ever to appear on film, and one of the most beautiful. As such, I love every film both of them made.
It’s interesting to note that Cooper and Stanwyck, as well as actors Clark Gable, Ginger Rogers, John Wayne, and Irene Dunne [among others] were members of The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. Within Stanwyck’s online bio, the Internet Movie Database describes this group as “a rabidly right-wing political action group during the McCarthy-era ‘blacklisting’ period in the early and mid-1950s.” Wonderful actors and Conservative to boot. Good enough for me! If they were alive today they would likely be Tea Party members themselves. BTW, as we now know, MaCarthy was spot on!
Released in 1941, while America was still in shambles due to Roosevelt’s failed liberal policies, that turned a bad recession into what is now known as The Great Depression, the movie opens in the town’s newspaper office. The local newspaper has been bought out by oil tycoon D. B. Norton, deliciously played by Edward Arnold, and the first order of business is firing almost everyone, including popular columnist Ann Mitchell. [Stanwyck]
Angered, especially after being told to make sure her last column is done before she hits the door, Mitchell decides to leave a parting shot. She quickly types up a fictional letter to the editor in which a desperate, unemployed man, who calls himself “John Doe,” goes on and on about the state of the country, the political corruption, and the decline of the American way. As a gesture, this fictional “John Doe” promises to commit suicide by jumping off the city’s municipal building on New Year’s Eve.
Once published, the letter creates an uproar in the community. The new editor Henry Connell [James Gleason] summons Mitchell back. Connell figures the letter is bogus, and the town’s other newspaper is already saying as much. Ann’s a fast talker though and convinces Connell that his only course of action is to run with the story, as any admission that the whole thing was made up would harm the paper’s credibility. Mitchell then convinces Connell to hire her back, with a substantial raise.
It’s decided they will run an article asking “John Doe” to come to the newspaper office, and that they have employment for him. The thinking here is people would show up claiming to be “John” and they could pick someone to play the part. It works, as a long line of sad looking tramps parade through the office claiming to be “John.” Of course, none of these characters will do, but as luck will have it, an injured baseball player “Long John” Willoughby [Gary Cooper] walks through the door. Unlike the rest, the humble Willoughby doesn’t claim to be “John Doe.” He tells Mitchell and Connell that he just figured if there was one job, maybe there was two. The newspaper just found itself a sucker to play “John Doe.”
As it turns out, Willoughby is a good speaker, and inspires people all over the nation, when he goes on a nation radio show with his message, a message written by Mitchell. In an organic movement that mirrors the formation of the Tea Party, “John Doe Clubs” start popping up across the country, built on the ideals that Willoughby, speaking the words written by Mitchell, sets forth.
Seeing what he has, D. B. Norton starts outlaying his own cash to fund a national tour with Willoughby and Mitchell, and to help start up these “John Doe Clubs” everywhere. Norton also puts a plan in motion for a national “John Doe” convention.
There are several plot twists, and Willoughby starts having feelings for Mitchell, but we’ll skip past that. Besides, if you haven’t seen the movie, you simply must, not only because you’ll better get where I’m going with all of this, but because this is simply a damned good movie and I want you to experience it yourself!
Moving along, we learn that the kindly D.B. Norton really isn’t kindly at all. The oil man has bought up newspapers and radio stations across the country and plans to use them, as well as the now powerful “John Doe” movement, to launch his political career. It seems Norton has his sights on the White House.
The plan is for Willoughby, as “John Doe” to deliver the keynote speech at the convention, and endorse Norton for president. At least that’s Norton’s plan. Meanwhile Mitchell has actually bought into the “John Doe” movement and has written a wonderful and inspiring speech for the convention.
It all comes to a head when the newspaper’s editor, Henry Connell, gets wind of what Norton is up to and grows a conscience, though not before getting all liquored up. He informs Mitchell of Norton’s plan, and catches Willoughby before the speech. Willoughby then approaches Norton and tells him he refuses to go along. Norton informs Willoughby that if he doesn’t go through with it, he will expose him as a fraud to the world, and destroy him.
At the convention Norton has his union thugs placed throughout the audience, and newspapers pre-printed exposing Willoughby, just in case. He also has Ann Mitchell on lockdown, so she can’t blow the whistle.
It’s cold and rainy as Willoughby takes to the stage. His conscience simply won’t allow him to do Norton’s bidding. As promised, Norton’s union thugs start calling him a fraud, when he starts with the speech Mitchell wrote, rather than the one Norton wanted him to give, and newspapers magically appeared exposing Willoughby, conveniently leaving out Norton and his newspaper’s part in it all. Pretty soon the entire crowd turns on Willoughby.
Destroyed, Willoughby takes the role of “John Doe” all of the way to the top of the town’s municipal building on New Year’s Eve, where he intends to jump.
Much like the fictional “John Doe” movement, the Tea Party is an organic movement that got it’s inspiration from a man who was fed up. On February 19, 2009 CNBC anchor Rick Santelli, reporting from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, went into a well deserved rant about the corrupt dealings going on in the financial markets and called for a new Boston Tea Party. This rant, heard around the world, spoke to tens of millions of fed up Americans who would form thousands of Tea Party groups nationwide.
Though mostly without a formal structure, and no national leadership unifying all of it’s members, the Tea Party has become a powerful force in American politics. It didn’t take long for politicians to try and co-opt the movement for their own gains. For the most part though, Tea Party members turned out to be more sophisticated than the politicians hoped, and with only a few notable exceptions, weren’t fooled by the phonies in the least.
That didn’t stop the GOP from riding the Tea Party’s coattails into 2010 and historic victories nationwide. With the help of Conservative leaders like Sarah Palin, we saw the greatest nationwide political turnover of power since Reconstruction after the Civil War.
Of course, not everyone the Tea Party helped put in power stayed true to their mandate, and those who have are despised by the Republican Elite. You see, true Conservatives cannot be corrupted by Washington, nor can they be controlled by the party bosses. The more the GOP has tried to get Tea Party members to “play ball” the more resistance they have met. The Republican Party bosses want to keeps the status quo. They want to keep their little power bases and corrupt deals alive and producing. They want nothing to do with real reform and real reformers.
True reformers, like Sarah Palin, are attacked unmercifully by the Republican Party Elite. The last thing they want are strong, powerful men and women who, if elected, would dismantle the entire corrupt establishment machine. [in both parties] Something that must be done if America is to survive.
Since they can’t control the Tea Party, the Republicans are again imitating the movie, and have moved into the seek and destroy phase. Recently we’ve seen Speaker of the House John Boehner purge Tea Party Republicans from leadership positions in Congress, and his minions bad mouth the Tea Party to any and all who would listen. As you can imagine, the democrats, and their corrupt media partners, are loving it all, and reporting it breathlessly.
History is being rewritten, and losses by establishment hacks are now being blamed on the Tea Party. The GOP is blaming the Tea Party for all of the loses in 2012, never mind it was their standard bearer, Mitt Romney, who lost to the worst president in American history, and it was their candidates who failed to win 10 seats. Seats that would have put the Senate in Republican hands.
Now we have Karl Rove, one of the most despicable human beings in politics today, renaming his failed political action group the “Conservative Victory Fund” in an attempt to not only co-opt the Conservative movement, but stop the Tea Party as well.
As we reported last November, Rove’s group spent between $100 million and $400 million [depending on who you ask] on various establishment candidates. Rove had a 1% success rate. In comparison, Sarah Palin had a 75% endorsement success rate and America Grizzlies United [Organize for Palin] a group of Palin supporters nationwide, had a 66% success rate, putting candidates in office locally, statewide, and of course, in national office. Thomas S Schmitz, Chairman of the Board of American Grizzlies United, tells me the group spent less that $1000 total, the rest was just good old fashioned hard work.
No wonder Rove wants to destroy the Tea Party and other Conservative groups. They are making him look like the worthless hack he is!
Though establishment candidates lost big in 2010, and Tea Party candidates won huge gains all over the country, the Rove wing of the GOP love to bring up two candidates who lost: Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle.
The elites use these two ladies as examples of why the Tea Party is a failure and can’t be taken seriously. For the establishment, this is a twofer, because they can bash Sarah Palin at the same time. The GOP lies when they bash Sarah, and they lie about Angle and O’Donnell.
First let’s look at Sharron Angle. For one thing, Sarah Palin didn’t endorse her in the primary. She didn’t endorse any candidate in that race, as both her dad and brother had endorsed Danny Tarkanian. BTW, Mitt Romney DID endorse Angle in the primary, something the GOP Elite never mention. Now Sarah did endorse Angle once she was the nominee, but so what. Who else was she gonna to endorse? Angle lost because many liberal Republicans in Nevada backed Harry Reid. Plain and simple.
Christine O’Donnell is another matter altogether, and if anyone is to blame for her loss it’s Karl Rove. Yeah, she was, and is, quirky. But O’Donnell was sincere and had a real Conservative message, and no doubt would have made a good Senator.
As it was, you had George Soros’ boy, Republican Congressman Mike Castle, who only voted like a Conservative at election time, and voted like a socialist democrat the rest of the time, or Mike Coons, the self-proclaimed “bearded Marxist” on the democrat side. Quirks and all, Christine O’Donnell would have made a far superior Senator then either one of those two idiots!
Karl Rove didn’t quite see it that way. You see, Rove had dealings with Congressman Castle, and had hoped to further them along with a Senator Castle. As Michelle Malkin reported at the time, Rove had met with Tea Party leaders in Delaware and tried to convince them to leave his boy Castle alone, and NOT support O’Donnell’s bid for the Senate. As it happened, the Tea Party told Rove to shove it, and O’Donnell got massive Tea Party support from around the country. She won the nomination handily.
O’Donnell was still giving her victory speech when Karl Rove took to the airwaves on Fox’s Sean Hannity Show and proceeded to rip her to shreds. In Fact, Fox [and Hannity] allowed Rove to bash O’Donnell for three nights in a row. As you can imagine, the left ate this up, and their media partners reported it all breathlessly.
Had Rove kept his yap shut, we’d probably be addressing her as Senator O’Donnell to this day. We’ll never know. What we do know, is before Rove’s despicable attacks, O’Donnell was favored to win over Coons by a respectable amount.
Now Rove, along with the rest of the Republican Party machine has targeted Conservatives for defeat. It’s Rove and the GOP’s intention to destroy the Tea Party, and stop Conservatives from winning primaries. Never mind that Conservatives have traditionally won, where the unprincipled squishes the establishment is in love with, do not, and cannot.
This is where you, the American People, come in. It’s time to hold ALL politicians accountable. All politicians from BOTH parties.
As Conservatives, we have very few places to go. The democrat party has been taken over by Marxists. The party of the KKK, Jim Crow, and Margret Sanger is beyond redemption. Thing is, the party of Lincoln and Reagan ain’t much better.
Since the days of Barry Goldwater, Conservatives have tried to reform the Republican Party, and force it to live up to the principles it pretends to stand for. The only brief moment of victory was the Reagan presidency, but Republican Elites have been trying to erase Reagan’s triumphs since the day he left office.
So what are we to do? There are dozens of registered political parties, but none have proven viable. I think at this point, a real reformer COULD win the presidency as an independent, but then what? A president without a party would have both the GOP and the democrats doing everything possible to stifle any attempts at real reform, both parties hoping to get back in power quickly. It would be a frustrating situation.
How about creating a new and vibrant alternative? I’m of the mindset that the Republican Party has become just as morally bankrupt and beyond redemption as the democrat party, but for different reasons. I personally think it’s time for the GOP to go the way of the Whigs, the party it replaced.
It takes time and money to create a new party, and one would have to convince many solid Conservatives already in office to leave the GOP and join that new party. Can it be done? I don’t know. It would take a dynamic leader, and a solid message of real reform. Sudden, and relentless reform. The American people thirst for that message and no-bullshit leaders who would deliver on it. But is it really possible to start a new party?
One thing I do know is the Republican Party machine, with the help of the corrupt media, and much to the delight of the democrats, aims to destroy the Tea Party and the entire Conservative movement, once and for all.
The question is, are you just going to stand by and let them get away with it?
The final scenes of Meet John Doe have D.B. Norton and all of his cronies atop the city municipal building waiting to see if Willoughby will show up and jump. In fact, Willoughby does show up, ready to make good on his threat, after mailing off a letter exposing everyone and everything.
Norton greets Willoughby and tells him that if he jumps, his people are already down there, ready to grab his body, and bury it in an unmarked grave, and no one will ever know. It’s at this point that Ann Mitchell, who has broken free of her captors, shows up and begs Willoughby not to jump, and in tears professes her undying love for him.
Willoughby is dead set on jumping, when members of the “John Doe Club,” folks we’d met earlier in the movie, make their way to the top of the building where Willoughby, Mitchell, and Norton are. They are accompanied by Henry Connell, the newspaper editor.
These “John Does” all plead with Willoughby not to jump. They tell him they don’t care how it all came to be, that they believe in his message, because they have used it in their own lives, and seen positive change in their own communities. It’s then that Ann Mitchell, crying, collapses in Willoughby’s arms and he picks her up and starts carrying her toward the crowd of “John Does”
In the very last scene Henry Connell looks at D.B. Norton
and says with a dare: “The people, you just TRY and lick ’em!”