The B-Movie Presidency With A-List Media Compliance

peaceThe other day, something prompted me to think of an old movie I haven’t seen in a long, long time. “I Come In Peace” is its name. It’s a low-budget, science-fiction flick from the early ’90s that stars Hollywood action icon, Dolph Lundgren. The movie was such a huge hit, that I think I’m one of about twelve people total who actually saw it in theaters during its brief run.

Anyway, I felt compelled to look the film up on the Internet Movie Database, but accidentally went to my Twitter account instead, typed the title into the search field, and hit the ‘enter’ key. Just as I realized my mistake, the search results poured in. I wasn’t at all surprised that nothing on the movie came up. After all, it was a pretty obscure film that has about as much a chance of trending in the year 2013 as Bugle Boy jeans does. I was pretty surprised, however, that two of the top results were the official Twitter feeds of both Barack Obama and The White House.

It seemed kind of odd to me. It’s not as if “I come in peace” is one of those irritating Obama catchphrases like “fair share” and “balanced approach” that might logically lead back to its source of repetitive tweets. Being a systems analyst, I spent a little time trying to figure it out but came up empty-handed.

Regardless of what’s causing the Twitter mystery, I can’t help but find some amusing irony in it because there is a striking parallel between that old sci-fi movie and the Obama administration.

You see, the film’s title comes from a phrase repeatedly spoken by its extraterrestrial villain character. The M.O. of this brazen alien, who came to Earth in search of drugs to sell to addicts on his home planet (yes, I really just typed that), was to enter the headquarters of sleazy drug cartels and calmly say, “I come in peace” right before brandishing a futuristic weapon, opening fire, and annihilating everyone in the room.

It was never explicitly explained why the villain preferred this contradictory choice of words. It just went without saying that there was a breathtaking disconnect between what came out of his mouth and what he actually did.

What does any of this have to do with President Obama? Well, the president certainly isn’t a drug dealer or an alien (despite what Donald Trump might say), but he and his administration do have an absolutely unbelievable knack for spreading rhetoric that often bears no resemblance to their actions.

While the fabric of our politics has long been lined with shameless spin and partial truths, we’ve seen things go to a whole new level under this administration. At times, it’s as if an alternate universe of false realities has been created, where spoken eloquence from the president not only becomes the latest national narrative, but also the widely-accepted conclusion. It’s incredibly frustrating for those of us who value answerability over lip-service.

It defies belief that a president can get away with regularly calling for “bipartisan compromise” and “reaching across the aisle”, while routinely attributing the most vile of intentions to the opposition party, and using them as a permanent scapegoat to explain his own failures.

It defies belief that a president can get away with claiming to lead the “most transparent administration in history”, while going to great lengths to avoid answering serious questions, avoid handing over information to congress, avoid documenting meetings with special-interest lobby groups, and discredit and marginalize news organizations and reporters (like Fox News and Bob Woodward) who refuse to tow the administration’s line.

It defies belief that a president can get away with the glaring hypocrisy of absolutely excoriating specific policies as a candidate, then adopting them (and in some cases, doubling-down on them) once he takes office.

It defies belief that a president can get away with the broken promises of doing something about debt reduction, while adding nearly as much debt to our country as all of his predecessors combined, and demagoguing every plan to fix the problem.

It defies belief that a president can get away with incessant fear-mongering about phony crises that our country will suffer if lawmakers don’t support his plans to increase taxes, increase spending, and expand government.

It defies belief that a president can get away with telling blatant lies to give himself political cover in the run-up to an election, like saying that the sequester was not his idea, that he has increased domestic oil drilling, and that he publicly identified the Benghazi assault as a terrorist attack the day after it happened.

And perhaps most disturbingly, it defies belief that a president has been able to get away with it all… with such incredible ease.

The result is a majority of the country that simply isn’t aware of the enormous gap between what this administration says and what it does. This is a scathing indictment of today’s media. It doesn’t take chaotic scenes with laser blasts, explosions, and a blaring soundtrack, to make it abundantly clear to the viewing public that someone just isn’t an honest person. All it takes, in the case of our leaders in Washington, is a responsible, curious media that recognizes the importance of their role in a free, democratic society.

We know the media’s capable of scrutinizing questionable rhetoric. They do it often with Republicans, whether it’s Sarah Palin’s “death panels” or Mitt Romney’s charge that Chrysler might move Jeep vehicle production to China. When has the media ever gone after President Obama’s dubiousness the way they went after those two, debatable claims?

Truth to power isn’t about letting ‘the powerful’ define the truth. If today’s media understood that concept in reference to our current president, the Obama overtures would most certainly be recognized as being about as believable and serious as a cheesy, Dolph Lundgren science-fiction movie from the early ’90s.

Only the acting might be a little better.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series. His first novel, "From a Dead Sleep," is available at all major retailers. His second novel, "Blood Trade" is available for pre-order and will be released in Sept. 2015. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
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  • Brian

    Question: how far away are we from the shooting war that is sure to come? It’s clear to me that one side or the other will finally resort to assassination or mass killing out of anger and frustration brought about by the state of affairs in America that you describe so eloquently in your columns.

  • Bob Weber

    I had to go to youtube and watch some bugle boy jeans commercials…

  • Paul Courtney

    John: In celebration of Sequestration Day, my post will use 2% less punctuation Saw on Fox that networks took a pass on the Woodward story. We now have Hagel and Kerry in office, and Rs were not able to get a single email or name, and progressive press could not BE less interested. At least when African embassies were bombed in ’98, Clinton hit an aspirin factory with a tomohawk, but these folks won’t even launch a spitball. Bob Gibbs was instructed to lie, and… silence. (I was gonna use more periods, happy Sequestration Day!) Don’t know how network folks can look in the mirror.

    • trailbee

      2% less is creative. On another note, though, the Prez has just handed Chuck Hagel a hot potato, due to Sequestration. It probably was not what he intended, but by signing that bill in 2011, and then going through his unbelievable WH antics, his disbelief trumped ours. It’s like sitting on the back legs of a chair, and have someone come along and just tip that extra inch. Oops.

      No, as a country, we don’t deserve what our Military is going to lose, but just once … I wonder how Chuck Hagel is going to handle these cuts/shortfalls and John Kerry is going to handle the Middle East because of them.

  • John Daly

    Thanks for blowing the ending for those who haven’t seen it! 😉

  • West Virginia Matt

    If only Mr. Obama were as masterful a leader of all Americans as he is a politician, I and many conservatives would have joined his cause years ago. Instead, he has chosen to be the Great Divider. What defies belief is this hypocrisy: Mr. Obama routinely claims the GOP’s motives are solely political in nature. Are you kidding me, Mr. President?

    I am reminded of the question, “How can you tell when a poker player is lying?” The answer is, of course, whenever his lips are moving. Other good poker players will eventually get a read on him, but this is where the comparison breaks down. If the MSM were poker players, they would fold anytime Obama placed a bet, believing without question that he’s for real. While I don’t expect the MSM to be harshly critical of the president, I would at least like to see some occasional skepticism!

    I suppose it’s hard to be skeptical when you have a thrill running up your leg.

  • cmacrider

    John: As evidenced by your articles, your a pretty bright guy. Therefore I suggest you read the American postmodern philosopher Richard Rorty and his theories on “Truth.”It seems Obama and his gang are heavily invested in Rorty’s idea that truth is a non existent and therefore everything is merely a perception. Truth, for Rorty, is nothing more than our justification for our perceptions. Once you buy into Rorty’s metaphysics then there are no “facts” as such and everything becomes a question of whose perception will prevail. That, I suggest, is the Obama world. That is why he can state such obvious fallacies … because he thinks that truth is nothing more than perceptions which we have justified as being “true.”

  • Debdeb

    Obama said, “I come in Peace” when he visited Roswell, New Mexico. Think he was just connecting with the people. Roswell is home of the ‘famous’ 1947 UFO incident. However, yesterday Dennis Rodman said on his trip in North Korea, “I come in Peace”. After reading your article, I hope that the North Koreans have never seen this obscure film. Statements with double meanings are tricky.

    • John Daly

      lol. Now Rodman… He may very well be an alien.