{Empty title} | The Nation

"It's not because John McCain doesn't care," Obama said. "It's because John McCain doesn't get it." Indeed, one of the more memorable lines of the "dueling conventions." Pain's "In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change" was just as clever. But there is a difference between writing good speeches and hiring good speech writers. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I am solidly behind Obama.

However, I couldn't help but wonder whether Senator Obama "borrowed" his "doesn't get it" line from another writer, this one in Hollywood.

In the 1995 film "The American President" staring Richard Dreyfuss as the acerbic protagonist Senator Bob Rumson, with Michael Douglas, Annette Benning, Michael J. Fox and Martin Sheen--a well-written, well-acted, clever and funny film, with a plethora of memorable lines--Douglas's character, President Andrew Shepherd, thunders in his climactic State of the Union address: "I've known Bob Rumson for years, and I've been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn't get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it."

Now granted, the Obama line is not quite on all fours with fictional President Andrew Sheperd, but the applause line is very similar.

And then there is the following excerpt from Sheperd's rousing speech, also similar to an Obama theme: "We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious men to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, friend, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections."

No, unlike Rumson, I do not cast aspersions upon the candidate's character. After all, political speechs frequently "borrow" phrases, ideas and lines from others. And what's wrong with that? In legal circles, such behavior is practiced as "citing precedent." In the medical community, ideas and practices are regurtiated, repeated and recognized as the "standard of care." In the political realm it is known--to some, pejoratively--as "political correctness."

No, I am not dissing you, Barack. But I am curious. Did you see "The American President." Good movie, no?

And to all of you, I ask, do you think, in this case, perhaps life imitated art?