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Sunday, March 4, 2007

Bonus: Movie Review

In my love of all things DC, I enjoy a good politically/DC minded movie or book from time to time. As a little change of pace and to keep things different, I plan on reviewing those books or movies that are related to the theme of this blog.

I am probably the last person in DC to have seen The War Room, the campaign documentary about Clinton's first presidential run. This is the movie that put James Carville on the map, before he became his own parody. Any Democratic political type has already seen this movie; I missed the memo and only got around to netflixing it this weekend.

The movie is a lot of fun, if only for the nostalgia it inspires. Bill was still a fresh face, Carville still had hair, Hillary wears an array and rainbow of headbands, and Gennifer Flowers was demanding to be the center of attention back before anyone was willing to listen. Also, as someone who has worked on a variety of campaigns, it does an accurate job of capturing that ragged, exhausted, faking-your-way-through quality of any campaign. Well, of any Democratic campaign, because those are the only ones I've worked on. Maybe Republican campaigns are well rested, well put together and planned all the way through. Maybe that's why they keep winning.

But I digress. The documentary is not narrated, nor are any of the people labeled at any given time, so you're pretty much left to your own devices to figure out who is who and what is going on. Which is fine for someone like Paul Begala, but I'm less inclined to know who Stan Greenberg is by sight alone. And given the relentless pace of a campaign, the movie moves kind of slowly. That said, it is great fun to watch Stephanopoulos and Carville tweak and finesse their messages, spinning the debates, refuting the attacks and rallying the troops. Perhaps the most interesting of all is the footage of Carville on Election Day, ad libbing the various concession speeches Clinton may have to give later that day. We all have our doubts, even the cockiest among us.