MEET EL PRESIDENTE
Rounding out my trend of watching the current crop of politically motivated documentaries, the store got in a screener of Nickolas Perry and Harry Thomason's excellent The Hunting of the President. It's the most straightforward stylistically of the crop, relying largely on news footage and new interviews, perhaps because there is just so much information here, frills would get in the way.
Inspired by the best-selling book by Joe Conason and Gene Lyons, The Hunting of the President is an examination of a right-wing campaign to take down Bill Clinton by any scandal possible, with Ken Starr being the most public face of the cabal. It's almost a political thriller, a labyrinth of behind-the-scenes deals and strange motivations, with the bottom line being that the Republicans behind it would take anything, true or not, that they could to knock Clinton out of office. It took years and millions of dollars to get to Monica Lewinsky, the only charge they found with any real foundation, and which ultimately didn't work as well as they had hoped in the end. I had known that the Clintons were exonerated in the Whitewater case, but I had not heard to what lengths the facts were bent and often fabricated to try to drag them down, nor the personal cost paid by Susan McDougal, who took the hit because she would not lie her way to freedom.
I had not heard, however, that both the Genifer Flowers and Paula Jones stories were not as concrete as we may have been lead to belief. Of course, it ends up coming down to which slant you prefer; the left has as much of an agenda as the right. Still, the case is pretty convincing once you ask those women to step aside so you can see who is standing behind them. Plus, the filmmakers are honest when it comes down to Lewinsky, and one of the strongest things that comes through in the movie is the hurt and betrayal felt by Clinton's friends and supporters that he allowed such a stupid thing to happen.
All in all, interesting viewing. Paul Begala closes the film by noting that the beauty of the information age is that information exists in forms that can't be squashed, and eventually it will catch up with the people who it needs to be caught up to.
I think this only leaves Outfoxed on my list. Oh, and a note to the marketing people behind The Hunting of the President: the fact that Thomason directed Designing Women is not really a selling point in this case. Regardless of how one feels about Meshach Taylor.
Never fear, I have been writing this week. Both Monday and Tuesday, I messed around some with a graphic novel project I am getting ready to pitch, and I also had a really good day on The Everlasting yesterday. I feel back on track. I've also started reading Craig Thompson's Carnet de Voyage, which I am happy to report is excellent.
[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page]