March 9th, 2010
08:34 AM ET
4 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."


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