When Kevin Kline becomes an accidental president, he summons his personal accountant, Murray Blum, to the White House to cut millions in silly programs out of the federal budget so he can give money to the homeless.
“Who does these books?” Blum says with disgust, red-penciling an ad campaign to boost consumers’ confidence in cars they’d already bought. “If I ran my office this way, I’d be out of business.”
Mr. Obama should have taken a red pencil to the $819 billion stimulus bill and slashed all the provisions that looked like caricatures of Democratic drunken-sailor spending.
It’s not just the budgetary advice that Mr. Obama should take.
Dave is one of my favorite films, and it’s not just because I think that Kevin Kline is a great actor. It’s because the message of the film is that when you get right down to it, there’s a real world out there with real people who are looking for guidance from wherever they can take it, and it’s easy to forget that duty when you have people who are sworn to take a real bullet for you and the band insists on playing a trumpet fanfare when you walk into a room.
I don’t think that Mr. Obama has completely forgotten that, if his nationally-televised contrition last night is any guide. But these trappings are hard to ignore, especially if you live in the bubble-wrapped world of top management, and it’s hard to find good help that doesn’t come with strings attached. The Tom Daschle episode makes that last point really clear.
It’s good that Mr. Obama is getting a reality check before he even gets his first paycheck, and I hope that he doesn’t forget it. Just in case, I’d be happy to loan him my DVD of Dave.