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. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    This is obviously a fantasy. No way can Michael Moore do 100 jumping jacks.

    March 8, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Big John

    Way to go Michael, I'd love to see you in that position!

    March 8, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. Annie, Atlanta

    @leo – I'm just curious. How is Michael Moore a bigot? Or did you learn a new word today. A bigot? Really?

    March 8, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. Esther

    I think Michael Moore should go ahead and do those jumping jacks whether or not he gets hired- whip himself into shape and start looking and acting healthy so he can make an excellent movie about the FDA and the disgusting foods and drugs they are allowing their people to be poisoned with!

    March 8, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. Mr Joshua

    Oh I wish Moore was put in the White House!!! Talk about great Comedy! As a Conservative, this would be the best thing for me to enjoy!

    March 8, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. AccessRevised

    Michael Moore is right in terms of what he is saying. Obama needs to get his actions through, he is the boss, and his ideas WILL work. Health Care like Obama's works well most places in the world where similar legislation is performed. People need to stop bashing on Obama, he is an intelligent man and will be great for this country if bipartisanship is reached.

    March 8, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Why is it that those of both left and right extremes of politics are always so ready to promote themselves to Tyrant in Chief? Why are they always so ready to trash the Constitution and more than two hundred years of American tradition?

    March 8, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. MikeH

    Michael Moore is a disgusting fatbody,however...

    I thought "Bowling for Columbine" was so excessive the message, what there was of it, was lost. "Sicko" was much better and "Capitalism" was just OK.

    The gist of what he said on "Real Time" and what he posts on his website are right on though.

    His message, when you peel away all the Moore adipose, is sound and true, the problem is with the messenger's slovenly persona. Moore certainly should not be telling other people to exercise, even metaphorically.

    (I used a lot of big words most ignant repubikans won't understand but I don't care)

    March 8, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Otto

    I like the $1 per year part but I think The President would whip Michael into shape. Good ideas though but not what this political climate call for.
    There is a think about this president, I think he still believes he is in college and still a broker. He sits there, listen to both sides then steps into the middle and says, hey guys; can't we just get along? Yeah, some say he is not tough enough, others say...well...a hole lot on things.
    Perhaps if he had a Dick Cheney who does not give a crap and when you gets upset; gives you the middle finger, he'd get more done.
    Maybe he should take a few pages out of Karl Rove and Cheney's books and stick it to those who disagree...

    March 8, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Jon

    David Az March 8th, 2010 4:43 pm ET

    Mr. Moore is Right, President Obama needs to learn that his current job takes more than making everybody like him!! The Grand Obstructionist Party; does not like him, will not like him, and has never liked him. Reasons can vary why? The color of his skin can be one, that he is smarter that all of them put together is another one, and that they plainlly don't care about US CITIZENS. The cry babies Republicans care about Oil, Government Contracts (Blackwater, Halliburton extc, extc), Slogans, Brain Washing, FEAR and thats all. No Policy, no solving probrems, just cry cry cry, what a jib.

    David, you said that Obummer is smarter that all of them put together (you must mean Republicans, conservative democrats and independents). My question to you is that have you checked into how he got into Columbia and Harvard? Was it because he is very smart with an IQ of 2000 no body has? Or because of his color and the famed Affirmative action policies that allowed him to barely squeez in. You may notice that during the 2004 election, Kerry and liberals said that he is much smarter than Bush, who is dumb by liberal standards. BUT only after both college transcripts were released by Yale, liberal lies are finally broken into light.

    March 8, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Rickster

    What? Wouldn't Fidel and Raoul hire you? After all, Cuba is the country Michael Moore and the democrats most admire.

    March 8, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. Adam

    Please, Mr. President, challenge Michael Moore to one hundred jumping jacks.

    Problem solved forever.

    March 8, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. beevee

    Mr. Moore is right to some extent. The president may be a bit over extending to please the GOP while the GOP leadership seems hell bent on making him a one-term prsident. I wish he shows some aggressive stance in pushing his agenda and not come across as a softy but not become an extreme leftwing.

    March 8, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. Lauren

    Please hire Michael Moore. His bizarre ideas will probably do more to remind Americans what's great about our country, our government, capitalism, and the reasons the Founders created our constitution than any right-wing Republican or Libertarian evangelist ever could. Please hire him. You'll guarantee a one-term martyrdom.

    March 8, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. felicia

    President Obama is the only one who is not showing the repigs any fear.

    March 8, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  16. Joe

    Just what the WH needs–an overinflated, self deluded, pompous, rabble-rousing blowhard to make everything better. Go away, Michael. Make a movie about the sex life of squirrels or something.

    March 8, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. sara

    I really think you should give it a go Mr. President, all you have to lose is a dollar. If nothing else it could be of interest.

    March 8, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. Steve (the real one)

    Marc March 8th, 2010 5:27 pm ET

    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? BTW, I am white
    ----------------–
    Marc,
    I am black, never been to a tea party!, never will! I don't need a tea party to define me! I have said before racism does exist. Yet many people paint a entire group based upon the actions of a few! It is those few who get the media attention! For me and many conservatives like me, IT IS all about POLICY and race has NOTHING to do with it! The media dishes it up and most eat it up! My point is many support based upon policy ONLY. Some support due to race. Some oppose due to POLICY ONLY, and yes, some due to race. Those few don't define most conservatives, and they don't define me! Soem in your party fail to understand that!

    March 8, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. Cali

    GO MIKE GO!!! The President must realize the time is getting shorter to get things done. Once the repubs are back in, the corporations will give a collective sigh of relief and the country will suffer even more.

    March 8, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  20. Allen in Hartwell GA

    While I am not a liberal, I did vote for Obama and I sincerely hope that he turns around and does what is best for the country and the majority of it's citizens.
    Moore is right about Obama using what he has while he has it. The Republicans have found a common enemy for themselves and a good portion of the whites in America, and that enemy is Obama. They couch it in several terms, but it all boils down to racism. I never thought I'd live to see white Americans revert to racial attitudes that I thought were dead, but we can't deny what has happened. I remember my Dad and uncles changing partys back in the 60s because of the Civil Rights Act, and I remember why. It's the "southern stratagy" all over again, but this time on a national scale. It makes me sick to hear people who I thought were open-minded Christians say the things they say. It makes me ashamed to be considered one of them.

    March 8, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. Jim

    Before he gets anyone "into shape for battle..." Maybe Moore should take his own advice.

    While I am a liberal, I am tired of Moore. I am tired of his self-importance, I am tired of his whole "I know better than you!" crap. He doesn't speak for me, he doesn't speak for most of the people in the USA. He speaks to his own beliefs, many of which are wayyy to Left leaning for me, and his own values ... Money... Money... Money!

    March 8, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. Obama the Arrogant Liar

    What would one more socialist in Chairman Obamas cabinet do to damage this once great Country ?

    March 8, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  23. Mr Joshua

    Reagan had his Jelly Beans...........

    Moore would introduce the White House to the pleasure of Twinkies!

    I mean really, Are we not in enough trouble already?

    March 8, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  24. Kay

    I think it is a great idea! The GOP would be so distracted and busy drawing cartoons of Michael Moore that we could get Unniversal Healthcare passed by St. Patrick's Day!!!

    March 8, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  25. Bugs

    What a Maroon !

    March 8, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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