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

Preston on Politics: Michael Moore lobbies for West Wing job

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. DJ

    Michael would be an improvement for sure. There would be at least one person in Washington looking out for the people!!!

    March 8, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  2. farhorizons

    Do it! We need you Mike.

    March 8, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    "George Bush didn't seem to have any trouble getting his legislation through," she said.
    Leadership works much better than whatever this is we have been seeing in Washington lately.

    March 8, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. Susan L.

    I'm a Liberal. I love President Obama. I even have liked some of Mr. Moore's movies. But, please. This is grandstanding, showboating, attention-whoring more worthy of Sarah Palin. Or maybe it's just Moore being Moore. He is one who likes to shock. For the record, Mr. Moore, I think you'd be significantly worse at the job than Rahm Emmanuel.

    March 8, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  5. Nosey Canadians should mind their own business

    We want the Public Option.If you have to borrow Teddy Rooesvelts club do it.

    March 8, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. deb

    intelligence does not know body type or color...

    your message is right on the mark michael moore...

    obama you're exceedingly bright and capable but a little too polite...

    you've given the GOP every opportunity to contribute and collaborate with you and they have fallen short of their promises so its time to go balzy to the walzy with the mandate of the people... just work 5 days rather than michael's proposal of 7... 5 with lazer sharp intent and focus will result in a stupendously successful tenure...

    March 8, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  7. David Doney

    This is a great letter! No bank regs, escalation in Afghanistan, no balanced budget for the next 10 years, no significant cost reductions in the healthcare bill, trying to deal with Republicans who have gone far to the right where no centrist compromise is possible (Senator Graham is the exception, not the rule). Yep, time to just give up on them and ram it through.

    March 8, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Term Limits

    Al Franken is a Senator whats one more twit with a camera and a microphone going to do.

    PS – Does he know that Global Warming has been exposed as a unsubstantiated claim with faulty data? Or a FRAUD. Even the top scientist admits he faked the numbers and conclusions.

    March 8, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  9. jane

    I have to say, I like Moore's style!

    March 8, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  10. Tom

    Michael Moore needs to look in the mirror both figuratively and literally. He is a shining example of why the US cost of health care is skyrocketing. Plot our cost for HC along with our rising obesity rates and you will see the two in direct correlation.

    March 8, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  11. Robert from New Jersey

    I'm all for it. Obama needs someone to encourage to work to get things done because they are the right thing to do rather than trying to appease Republicans and right-wing Democrats. Michael knows how to get things done and especially how to work for what's right. I think Obama has become too isolated to hear what the public wants and needs.

    March 8, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  12. fhjetta

    I am amazed at the stupid remarks on this blog. The Democrats have had a large majority in the House and a Super Majority in the Senate for the past year for this President. The REPUBLICANS DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH VOTES TO OBSTRUCT ANYTHING. Look at your own party.

    March 8, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  13. S Callahan

    lol...Thank God we can all dream......why is it that I vision you puffing after ten jumps and Obama telling you to get up and continue. Smiles.

    March 8, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  14. Paul from Phoenix

    Uh Mike...the dems and Obama had almost a year of a filibuster-proof congress to get anything and everything passed.

    It is time for the dems to stop blaming the GOP for their incredibly pathetic first year in charge. But again, part of the Obama mantra, blame anyone and everyone else.

    I mean really, Bush had the dems in charge of the Senate after his first six months (remember Jeffords?), and he still got lots of what he wanted passed.

    Obama is incompetent. He let Reid and Pelosi fight over their versions of the health bill instead of having the courage to draft his own legislation.

    Yup, Obama is a coward, and an incompetent leader.

    March 8, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. cph9680

    For God's sake, this moron does an even better job than Bumbles at making this country look bad. Perhaps he could go to the Arctic Circle or something where no one would care!

    March 8, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  16. GuyInVA


    - Michael Moore

    March 8, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  17. brucenc

    Look at the size of this guy! This is why health costs are so High. He probably has every health problem under the sun.

    March 8, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  18. acfaber291

    looks like he could take emanuel's spot on shower duty.

    emanuel got his tutu wet stooping for Massa.

    March 8, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  19. Andy

    Just one fact for Moore and all the others who doesn't know: The president job is NOT to run the country, his job is to run the GOVERNMENT. He is the president of the United States GOVERNMENT, not the people.

    Hes job is not to call the shots over how the American people will live or what any individuals will do, his job is to make sure that the laws would be executed (that is why he is the head of the executive branch of the federal government). So Mr. Moore, better first learn some basics about the law and constitution of the US, about principles of government and about law and order before you offer your services.

    The US doesn't need a dictator the US need a president who will does his job which is to make sure as much as possible that every American individual would have the opportunity to succeed in his own goals in a free country where nobody, not even you as a "commander from the basement" can told him what to do and how to live his life.

    March 8, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  20. indiana voter

    I am sick and tired of people in the Democrat party and liberals on this website trying to excuse this President's performance as a race issue. Race has nothing to do with the radical left decisions that he is making. He is simply a bad president and his race has nothing to do with it. He could be a good President through if he starts listening to the American people and starts focusing on things that people actually want him to focus on: the economy. Instead, we continue on, over a year later, talking about his Obamacare, which the public does not support and Obama continues to push despite it's unpopularity. Drop the race card already! It is getting used so often it is now become a laughing matter and losing all meaning.

    March 8, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  21. Tracy

    This guy is a Moron and will fit right in with the rest of the slime in D.C. 50% of 38% voted for Obama hardly a majority of America supports him. And, yes the problem is he does want to ram Health Care down our throats.

    March 8, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  22. fatman

    Michael Moore can't do 100 jumping jacks.

    March 8, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  23. Jerry

    Moore is very right. President Obama is appearing very soft on numerous issues, and that's not the kind of leadership we were promised when we were all busting our humpos for his campaign. I have tremendous respect for President Obama, however, the time has come to get tough.

    March 8, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  24. dave denver

    I think he's the perfect choice, who would even notice another bozo in the white house.

    March 8, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  25. lmaof

    The GOP is so scare of the Healthcare Bill passing that they themselves are convince that they'll win seats in November 2010.

    The Healthcare Bill will pass, thus Republicans will see a different view come November 2010. Repubs will lose their footing and the Dems will come out on top because they helped american people with the health issues. Repubs did nothing but put their political careers first. So much for the Repub Agenda.

    March 8, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
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