Major Endorsement and Movie Review

There’s been a lot of speculation about it this weekend but today it is official. Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama for President. Despite my consternation for his (however reluctant) support of W’s rush to war in Iraq, I still respect General Powell and appreciate the import of his choice. Powell is still very well respected in our country and – along with the many thinking conservatives who have come to the conclusion that Obama is our best choice – I hope Powell’s endorsement will sway some persuadables out there that Obama is ready to be Commander and Chief.

I have long thought that Obama’s cabinet would include both Democrats and Republicans and Powell’s name was on my list. I think this pretty well seals it though I could be wrong. One thing I’ve learned over these last months is that I can’t always anticipate what Obama will do. But he’s been right about so many things, including the choice of Biden as a running mate, of which I was at first skeptical. I trust him to make good choices for his cabinet, too.

Coming down to the wire. Early voting has started in many states. If you are in one of the states that allows early voting, I urge you to do so as I think Nov 4 is going to be hectic at many, many polling places. I almost applied for an absentee ballot here in Cali but Darren and I both agree that just doesn’t seem momentous enough. We want to go pull the lever (ok, in our case, fill in the bubble) for Obama in person.

Also, No on 8. Regardless of how you feel about the issue of same sex marriage, the ideal of the United States has always been the safe-guarding of the rights and equality to her citizens. We in California have a proud tradition of protecting those rights as well. Our courts repealed anti-miscegenation laws in 1948, almost two decades before the Loving decision. We should not let bigots and out-of-state forces scare us into amending our state Constitution to take away rights guaranteed by our Equal Protection clause.

On a slightly different note, went to see Oliver Stone’s W. last night. I have to admit I am torn between admiration at Stone’s audacity for bringing this out so close to the election – and months before the man himself leaves office – and being appalled by same.

Overall I thought the movie was well done. Stone doesn’t take as many of his usual liberties with historical accuracy as in past movies perhaps because so much of it revolves around very recent events. In some ways this is a far more sympathetic look at our 43rd president than I think he deserves. I get the feeling Stone actually feels sorry for this man. The daddy-complex seemed a bit overdone to me – though by all indications that does seem to be a pretty big motivation for the real-life W.

Josh Brolin does an eerily good George W. Bush including that slightly grating Texan accent. Elizabeth Banks is absolutely stellar  as Laura Bush. The relationship between the two is surprisingly sweet but her role as his “helpmeet” is pretty much what I had always imagined. James Cromwell and Ellen Burstyn are wonderful as George HW and Barbara, managing not to turn their characterizations into caricatures. And Cromwell does have the hands-down funniest line of the movie: “Who do you think you are – a Kennedy?”

Richard Dreyfuss portrays Cheney as just evil enough and gives about the most coherent explanation of what he and his cronies were really trying to accomplish in Iraq (hint: it really was all about the oil.) And Toby Jones oozes Rove’s sleaze without being over the top. I hated the portrayal of Condoleeza Rice. Not too strong a word. Hated. Whatever else she may be, Rice is neither stupid nor a toady – and Thandie Newton couldn’t do anything with the terrible script she was given. (Kinda wonder what Stone has against Rice over all the other scary criminals in this Administration.) The portrayals of Wolfowitz (Dennis Boutsikaris) and Rumsfeld (Scott Glenn) are predictably one-dimensional but understandable given Stone’s decidedly anti-war stance and their limited screen time. The picture of George Tenet (Bruce McGill) asleep in his bed while W makes his now infamous “Iraq trying to build a nuke” proclamation on the TV in the background is absolutely brilliant.

Which brings me back, as it were, full circle to Jeffrey Wright’s roll as Colin Powell. I think Stone nails the tight spot that Powell was in with this war. Powell knew that it was a bad idea, knew we needed international approval, more troops, an exit strategy before we could be remotely successful in Iraq. Powell walked a fine line between his duty to serve the President to the best of his ability and his own certainty that this was a Very Bad Idea. But as the lone voice of reason in an Administration determined to march to war, he is over-whelmed and gives in. As I said, I was and remain disappointed by his decision to go along with what he had to know was a horrible mistake, though I think he can be forgiven for not foreseeing the extend of the incompetence that has followed the invasion.

I’m hopeful that he will be offered and accept a place in an Obama administration and lend his undoubted experience and gravitas to the work of putting our nation back on track.

OK, now that I’ve gotten my political rant out of the way… eventually I promise I will post on our adoption. I wish I had some big news to announce but it really is more of the same – hurry up and wait.

Also, please send energy or prayers to my friend Amy who lost her mother this week after a long illness. I know just how hard that is and what she must be going through now. My heart goes out to her.

Hug your families. Call or write your far away relatives. Life really is just too short.

Bright blessings,

Janice

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