I saw a political movie last week that jumped to the top of my pantheon.
It's about two guys running for president while the country is anxious about attacks from abroad. One of them is a left-leaning egghead, a philosophic and persuasive speaker. The other is a blunt, right-leaning senator with a glamorous blonde wife and a solid military record, a guy who promises to hammer would-be assailants.
The man who unrepentantly calls himself a liberal argues that his opponent is rash and uninformed, prone to fly off the handle and committed to policies that haven't proven effective. The man who classifies himself as a conservative claims his foe wouldn't be decisive enough in a crisis or tough enough to stare down our enemies.
The righty speaks of his faith in God. The lefty, told by staffers to play the religion card as a trump, chafes at that idea. The righty questions the other man's fitness to sit in the White House. The lefty seems to want a campaign with a more respectful tone, but advisers talk him into trying a low blow.
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A formidable woman, who isn't running herself but may become a kingmaker, hollers counsel from the sidelines. An ex-president says he looks forward to America someday having a president of color – but not this year.
This wasn't a documentary, though. It was “The Best Man,” a 1964 drama adapted by Gore Vidal from his 1960 play. The more things change, the more they stay the same.