The Conversation

Hollywood takes a shot at Lee Atwater and Karl Rove

A new movie called "College Republicans" is set to star Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, as a young Lee Atwater and Dane DeHaan of "Chronicle" as Karl Rove.  (Evidently the stars are only "considering" the roles, according to The Wrap.)  

Based on true events from 1973, the story finds aspiring politician Karl Rove (DeHaan) running a dirty campaign for national College Republican Chairman under the guidance of campaign manager Lee Atwater (Radcliffe). The duo take a spirited road trip to drum up support for Rove’s candidacy.

While it deals in serious politics, the light-hearted buddy comedy could serve as a quasi-origin story for the modern political campaign and the byzantine strategies that are often employed today.

What could go wrong?  I don't get the impression this script sets out to humanize Atwater, Rove, college Republicans, or adult Republicans.  What could an America wrestling with the dawn of the imperial Presidency, and the sheer destructive incompetence of Big Government, use more than a black comedy about the youthful misadventures of the emperor's opponents?  

Say, when do we get a light-hearted buddy comedy about Barack Obama's youthful misadventures with his terrorist mentor, Bill Ayers, or maybe his crazy days with the Choom Gang?  Will we be seeing a dark satire about the "byzantine strategy" Obama used to get elected to the Senate, namely arranging for his opponent's divorce records to be unsealed so he could be pilloried by the media and nearly driven out of the campaign?  How about a wacky slapstick comedy about one (entirely fictional) pair of reporters bumbling around Chicago in search of details about Obama's past, while the entire rest of the media causes pratfalls and havok by packing into tiny Wasilla, Alaska?

I'm not a big Karl Rove fan, mind you, but isn't it weird that our brave, transgressive, irreverent film community thinks he and Lee Atwater are the people America needs to be horrified of at this particular juncture?  Household names, are they?


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