March 8th, 2010
04:42 PM ET
5 years ago

Preston on Politics: Michael Moore lobbies for West Wing job

Director Michael Moore has written an open letter to President Obama.
Director Michael Moore has written an open letter to President Obama.

Washington (CNN) - President Obama, get in line and give me 100 jumping jacks. And as for you Congress, drop to the floor and pound out 50 pushups.

Michael Moore is pledging to whip Obama and Democrats in Congress into shape – liberal shape – if he is named the next White House chief of staff. And Moore vows to sleep in the White House basement and work for $1 per year if the president hires him.

"Now, don't get too giddy with excitement over my offer, because you and I are going to be up at 5 in the morning, 7 days a week and I am going to get you pumped up for battle every single day," Moore writes in a letter posted on his Web site that he said was sent to Obama. "Each morning you and I will do 100 jumping jacks and you will repeat after me: "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ELECTED ME, NOT THE REPUBLICANS, TO RUN THE COUNTRY! I AM IN CHARGE! I WILL ORDER ALL OBSTRUCTIONISTS OUTTA MY WAY! IF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DON'T LIKE WHAT I'M DOING THEY CAN THROW MY ASS OUT IN 2012. IN THE MEANTIME, I CALL THE SHOTS ON THEIR BEHALF! NOW, CONGRESS, DROP AND GIVE ME 50!!"

Will it happen? No. There is no indication that current chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is headed for the exit, and even if he was, Obama would never name the liberal filmmaker/commentator/provocateur to this top administration post.

Yet, Moore's rant in many ways echoes a frustrated liberal base that has watched Obama's agenda stall and Republicans regain their footing all within a year's time.

"The idea that even when you elect a Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress with the biggest majorities we have seen in decades, we still end up getting a White House pushing a bunch of corporate-friendly legislation," Jane Hamsher, publisher of the liberal blog Firedoglake, said in an interview with CNN.

Hamsher added that former President George W. Bush didn't enjoy as strong majorities in the House and Senate, yet he was able to marshal his policies though Congress.

"George Bush didn't seem to have any trouble getting his legislation through," she said.

With the midterm elections only months away, Moore is sounding an alarm, warning Obama that he is on the verge of losing control of Congress.

"Let me be clear about one thing: The Democrats on Election Day 2010 are going to get an ass-whoopin' of biblical proportions if things don't change right now," Moore predicts in his letter. "And after the new Republican majority takes over, they, along with a few conservative Democrats in Congress, will get to bipartisanly impeach you for being a socialist and a citizen of Kenya. How nice to see both sides of the aisle working together again! And the brief window we had to fix this country will be gone."

Will Democrats lose control of Congress? Republicans, themselves, acknowledge it is still very much a longshot. But the GOP has come a long way in the past 12 months when they were preoccupied by internal fights and, without a doubt, was a party without a compass.

In his letter, Moore criticizes Obama and Democrats for failing to use their majorities in Congress to help turn the economy around, institute banking reforms and pass health care reform, among other things. And he takes particular aim at Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, for demanding favorable treatment for his state in order to get his support for health care reform.

"Just to give you an idea of the new style I'll be bringing with me, when a cornhole like Sen. Ben Nelson tries to hold you up next time, this is what I will tell him in order to get his vote: 'You've got exactly 30 seconds to rescind your demand or I will personally make sure that Nebraska doesn't get one more federal dollar for the rest of Obama's term,' " Moore says in his letter. "And then I will let everyone in your state know that you wear Sooner panties, backwards. NOW DROP AND GIVE ME 50!'"

Such declarations don't necessarily sit well with many Democrats, especially those who represent so-called Republican "Red States."

While Moore praises Emanuel for devising the campaign strategy that returned House Democrats to power in 2006, the filmmaker charges that the former Illinois congressman is now using his talents to attack liberals. And Moore calls into question the effectiveness of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Senior Adviser David Axelrod.

"I don't know what your team has been up to, but they haven't served you well," Moore says in the letter. "And Rahm, poor Rahm, has turned into a fighter – not of Republicans, but of the left. He called those of us who want universal health care 'f***ing retarded.' Look, I don't know if Rahm is the problem or if it's Gibbs or Axelrod or any of the other great people we owe a debt of thanks to for getting you elected. All I know is that whatever is fueling your White House it's now running on fumes. Time to shake things up! Time to bring me in to get you pumped up every morning! Go Barack! Yay Obama! Fight, Team, Fight!"

Unfortunately, for Moore, he won't be the one in the corner toweling down Obama between rounds with Republicans in the coming months. The best Moore can hope for, the best liberals can hope for, is that the White House starts embracing their policies and political strategies. But even if the White House does move to the left politically, will that help Democrats on Election Day?

No, says a good friend and ace political handicapper Stuart Rothenberg.

"With or without Michael Moore, Democrats are in for a rude awakening in November," says Rothenberg, editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report. "They are going to lose a significant number of seats in the House and Senate and during the second two years of the Obama administration the White House will have little alternative but to deal with Congressional Republicans if it wants to pass any legislation."


Filed under: Extra • Michael Moore • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. poot

    Listening to Michael's rant sort of brings up Joe the plumber....wanna be politicians. I wonder where has he been lately.

    March 8, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    @gspdx – what we're seeing here is 30 plus years of trickle down economics, better known as Reaganomics as well as irresponsible deregulation, all to benefit Corporate America and Wall Street. And both sides of the aisle are guilty. We need to get the corporations and banks out of the halls of Congress. Now thanks to the Supreme Court that will be more difficult than ever. Where do we start?

    March 8, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Sue

    Michael Moore is a joke........just like Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are jokes.

    Michael Moore slams capitalism---the same capitalism that enabled him to make millions off of his trash movies.

    Did Michael Moore donate all of the money from his movies to charity????? No, he became wealthy from the movies/money.

    Go to Cuba to live and get your health care IDIOT.........The majority in the country do not want the socialist/marxist agendas/policies of Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of the loony left liberal Dems.

    March 8, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. Michael

    You go, Michael! Time for a new WH chief of staff.

    March 8, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. Marilyn

    Michael Moore has become a joke! The more he speaks the less inclined I am to ever vote for a Democrat again.

    March 8, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Brian

    Sounds exactly what Bush did ... the people elected him, not the democrats...and if they ddn't like what he did why did they re-elect him in 2004? And Moore was up in arms about all that back then, but now that "his guy" is in office that attitude is okay for a President.

    March 8, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. Annie, Atlanta

    CNN – did you read the comment made by jason @5:08? And did you think it was appropriate?

    March 8, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. Kevin

    So when a Republican is in office is he (Michael) going to shut up and "get outta the way??"... I doubt it

    March 8, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Nick San Diego

    I think Obama finally got the message. Check him out today at the University speaking on the Health Care Bill.
    Like Michael says , just do it and if the people don;t like it vote me out.In the meantime get the f-- out of the way.

    March 8, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. Annie, Atlanta

    Sue – do you know what he did with some of that money? You may want to check the information out before spouting off your usual hateful rhetoric.

    March 8, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. JS007

    The fantasy (or nightmare :) of MM doing jumping jacks aside, he is completely right. Obama hired too many triangulating politicos to his team and it has been a failure – the change he promised has been lost in the corrupt ways of Washington. Having said that, I will feel little pity for the fickle and forgetful American electorate if they actually elect more corrupt corporate drones (Republicans/Blue Dog Democrats) to Congress in November. How many positive things has the GOP done for America over the last 10 years? I can't think of any.

    March 8, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  12. Marc

    I like his documentaries (albeit I admit that he stretch too much on the issues), but that doesn't means that I support him or his views.
    One of my favorites actors is Charlton Heston, and he was a very great actor!, but I couldn't disagree more with his stances and strategies about low and lower gun control.
    Go back behind a camera Mr. Moore.

    March 8, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Steve (the real one)

    Annie, Atlanta March 8th, 2010 5:10 pm ET
    @gspdx – what we're seeing here is 30 plus years of trickle down economics, better known as Reaganomics as well as irresponsible deregulation, all to benefit Corporate America and Wall Street. .....
    -------------------
    What you have failed to mention (and is most problematic) is a lack of PERSONNEL RESPONSIBILITY! Nobody forces anybody to max out 15-20 credit cards or buy a house they could never reasonably afford!
    I know some people lose their jobs dand homes due to no fault of their own but I don't believe that is the majority of people with issues!

    March 8, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. Minnesotan

    Mr. Moore has more brains and common sense than all of the Republicans combined. It's good to see the GOP getting nailed on their luddite and obstructionist tactics, since they do nothing to move America forward. It seems like the Republicans would prefer to live in the Stone Age instead of the 21st century.

    March 8, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Steve (the real one) March 8th, 2010 4:55 pm ET

    I understand your point Steve. I am not sure it is ALWAYS a case of racism when White conservatives do not support the President. Speaking for myself, I am not bothered by anyone that disagrees with the President, I am greatly bothered by the words that SOME use when this is done. I do not find a place for rational discourse, for example, with anyone that starts out by addressing the President of our country as Odombu, or "boy". Surely there is a way to express anger, disagreement and anything in between without resorting to demeaning and historically "racist' phrases and wording.

    I have voted in the past for who I thought was the best candidate. I am NOT a diehard Democrat (or these days Democrap). The candidates were all White. Made no difference to me. I found an outstanding candidate, that happenned to be Black in this last election. I cast my vote, I stand by it unti he proves me wrong.

    To deny that racism has reared it's ugly head with the election of Obama would be disingeneous. However, to deny that America and the majority of it's citizens (White) decided to turn to a fresh page by voting for him is what I hang on to. It gives me hope for a better future. It makes my voice louder to help stamp out the ugly grip racism has had in our country for far too long.

    March 8, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Sandy

    You mean the guys in the little white coats with the butterfly nets haven't caught this cuckoo yet?

    March 8, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. Jon

    – hey, wait, wasn't Moore just saying that he wasn't going to support Obama ever again after the Afghanistan surge? Not like this should come as much of a surprise, but how bipolar can you get?

    March 8, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    Joe the plumber all over again

    March 8, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. David G

    I have to agree with Michael Moore. President O'Bama, Michael Moore neeeds to be you Chief of staff. It is time for the Democrats to stand up to the lieing, cheating, dishonest Republican's.

    March 8, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. Nick San Diego

    All you that comment on Liberal this and Liberal that. What have Conservatives done to be so proud of ? The Patriot Act with its wiretapping, lying us into a war,outing a CIA agent, allowing 911 to happen on your watch,and the one that trumps them all is ,is where was your fiscal responsibility by borrowing and spending into the future.Don't try that tax and spend on Democrats any longer. It won;t fly
    Hell if it was still up to you, women still would;nt be allowed to vote.
    Anytime anything was done to keep pace with the times, it was Liberals with progressive ideas.

    March 8, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. Marc

    Steve (the real one) – March 8th, 2010 4:55 pm ET
    By your answer I take that you are black (I don't use PC words because I find them hipocryt), so could you please tell me when did you went to a Tea Party Rally? Every time I check them in the TV I see white people, plus white people, plus more and more white people!!!
    Angry and very divisive white people, the kind of divisiviness that don't have anything to offer (no viable alternative) but repeat ad nauseam its 'rally points'.
    So no, it's not about reverse racism, it is about racism against the first black president.
    BTW, I am white.

    March 8, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  22. single mom

    The inability of the Democrats to get their precious socialist agenda through is not the fault of Republicans, but moderate Democrats who thought for themselves and refused to kowtow to the demands of Pelosi, Reid and Obama.
    All this Party first nonsense reminds me of another time and place – I'd really rather not have the Soviet Union transplanted and renewed twenty years later, thank you very much.

    March 8, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  23. Eddie

    I would've worded his statements a bit better, but Moore is absolutely right. Screw bi-partisanship. The Republican Party HATES Barack Obama, and they will oppose him on EVERYTHING purely for the sake of opposing him. It's time for Obama and the Dems to call out the torrent of GOP lies and obstructionism. Americans cannot allow these racist, lunatic fascists to regain control of our country.

    March 8, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. blake

    good luck.....

    March 8, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. leo

    Moore is a bigot and an idiot.

    March 8, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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