It turns out the way to George Bush's heart is through a TV or movie screen.
Remember how he was finally moved to action on Katrina only after Dan Bartlett put together a DVD compilation of the horrors in New Orleans?
Now comes word that Bush was inspired to create the world's largest marine protected area after watching a private White House screening of Voyage to Kure, a PBS documentary on the dangers facing the area's endangered marine life made by Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jacques Cousteau's son. The presidential order is the single biggest act of conservation in U.S. history, creating the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument, a marine preserve larger than all of America's national parks combined.
That must have been some documentary.
After all, Bush has never hesitated to put short-term business interests above long-term environmental concerns. And, true to form, his administration had originally planned to roll back the limited protections for the Pacific Ocean area put in place by President Clinton. But, after watching the Cousteau film, Bush suddenly started channeling Julia Butterfly Hill. From the L.A. Times:
The film seemed to catch Bush's imagination, according to senior officials and others in attendance. The president popped up from his front-row seat after the screening; congratulated filmmaker Jean-Michel Cousteau... and urged the White House staff to get moving on protecting these waters.
"He was enthusiastic," Cousteau said. "The show had a major impact on him... I think he really made a discovery -- a connection between the quality of our lives and the oceans."
All of which got me thinking: we need to show this guy more movies and TV shows! Maybe make an event out of it. Sundance on the Potomac. Call it the "Inspire George Bush Film Festival."
Opening night could kick off with a global warming double feature: Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and HBO's Too Hot Not to Handle.
It now makes perfect sense why, when reporters asked if he was planning to see Gore's movie, the president answered with a curt "Doubt it": he was afraid if he saw it he might just run out and sign the Kyoto Protocol or force Congress to finally pass tougher car-mileage standards. (While we're at it, we could have a special screening of the new film Who Killed the Electric Car? and see if it causes the president to place a few stern phone calls to Detroit.)
Since the president continues to avoid the funerals of the 2,500 soldiers killed in Iraq, we should probably follow up with a run of films that captures the ravages of unnecessary wars. How about Born on the Fourth of July, Coming Home, Casualties of War, The War Tapes, Gunner Palace, and Uncovered: the War on Iraq?
Top this off with Fog of War (gotta invite Rummy over for that one. And while he's there, the Secretary can catch Michael Winterbottom's withering new film Road to Guantanamo. Bring the popcorn and the waterboards.)
And since Sy Hersh tells us that the White House has not ruled out using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran, we'll pop in Dr. Strangelove.
Then, as reminder of the kinds of things the president's corporate cronies can get up to when left to their own devices, we'll screen Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room, The Corporation, Silkwood, Erin Brockovich, The Insider, and The Rainmaker.
Darfur genocide still not hitting home? Let's add Hotel Rwanda, God Sleeps in Rwanda, and The Killing Fields to the schedule.
Drug war still absorbing billions of dollars and thousands of FBI agents who could be fighting the war on terror? Show Bush Traffic.
And as a closing-night reminder of leadership gone wrong: a special 30th anniversary showing of All the President's Men. Maybe the ending will give the president some ideas.
Okay, I can't book this festival all on my own. So what films do you think we need to show the president and why? Post your suggestions below... But let's keep this on the downlow. I've got a feeling if word gets out Cheney or Rove will pull an Elvis and blast a hole in the White House screening room.