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Going Bulworth | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Going Bulworth


President Barack Obama walks to the podium to speaks to reporters at the White House in 2011. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)  

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.  

Going Bulworth.  

The New York Times reported last week that President Obama fantasizes with aides about “going Bulworth.” For those who don’t remember, Bulworth is a brilliant 1998 film by Warren Beatty, depicting a corrupted and suicidal liberal senator from California who is facing a primary challenge while dealing with financial ruin. Unable to sleep or eat, Bulworth suddenly busts out before an African-American congregation in a black church in South Central Los Angeles and begins rapping the unspeakable truths about our politics. The Times report has led commentators to speculate on what the president might say if he went “Bulworth.” What’s revealing, however, is how much could be taken directly from the movie itself.  

As Republicans and the press hyperventilate about inflated scandals, the president could simply “go Bulworth” by borrowing directly from the movie to talk about what the actual scandals are:  

We got babies in South Central dying as young as they do in Peru.

We got public schools that’re nightmares  

We got a Congress that ain’t got a clue

The real crises are mass unemployment and falling wages. Mindless cuts in government spending are costing jobs, slowing any recovery. We have an economy that rewards only the few. Corporations are pocketing record amounts of the economy in profits, while wages hit new lows. The richest 1 percent captured more than 100 percent of the income growth of the society in the two years coming out of the recession. Yet Republicans continue to demand more cuts in programs for the vulnerable and reject even closing tax havens for the wealthy.

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

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