Laughlin Eastwood Obama

Tom Laughlin and Dolores Taylor‘s website contains a pitch for Billy Jack’s Moral Revolution, a “new 2007 film” that’s not a movie but a plan. The pitch is breathlessly over-written — a super-loaded political-cultural mouthful about a film that would trigger an earthquake of change — a political, sexual, spiritual and psychological revolution that includes ejecting the Bushies and turning away from the Bush Doctrine and managing an end to the Iraq War.


Tom Laughlin, Barack Obama, Clint Eastwood

The idea of Billy Jack’s Moral Revolution doesn’t seem to have been received with sufficient enthusiasm by Laughlin’s network of would-be, small-time financiers. The same ideas and goals were expressed by Laughlin in 6.20.05 article by N.Y. Times reporter Sharon Waxman, and it makes you wonder if he’ll be proposing the same package — he’s trying to raise $12 million — 18 or 36 or 72 months hence.
Laughlin is the original tough-minded independent, but he sounds like a street- corner nutter when he writes that his film will contain “four exciting, highly-charged love stories, with a unique focus on the difference between sex and eros and violence in human relationships — especially among teenagers, including the problem of abortion. Like the original Billy Jack, it will be an uplifting, ten-handkerchief tearjerker.”
But as undisciplined and wiggy as some of Laughlin’s agenda seems to be, a lot of what he says about why this country is deeply loathed and the effects of the Bush Doctrine makes basic sense. I completely agree with Laughlin 100% that the three greatest evils afflicting this country right now are (a) corporate oligarchs, (b) totalitarian neo-con agendas and (c) false evangelicals .
Laughlin is a a devout believer in the fundamental tenets of freedom and individual rights that this country was…I’m not going to say it was entirely founded upon these beliefs (I’m too much of a James Ellroy fan to swallow that one whole), but Laughlin truly believes in the myth of the once-good-and-noble-U.S.A., and there’s something touching in that.

You know who’s also into the idea of restoring the spiritual American dream? Clint Eastwood.
In his Time magazine interview with Richard Schickel, Eastwood sounds standardly cynical when he says that “everyone is looking for who’s the hero that is going to get us out of what we’re in now. I heard somebody on the radio the other day — one of these talk shows — saying, ‘Oh, where’s the new General Patton? Where’s the guy who says, ‘I don’t give a shit what the politicians want — this is what we should do.’ Well, that era’s gone.”
But later in the piece he’s asked by Schickel if “there’s any conceivable possibility in the modern world for the assertion of conventional heroism,” and Eastwood’s reply shows he very much wants to somehow see things made right.
“I certainly don’t see any politician that’s a hero in any party anywhere,” he begins. “I think John McCain did something that I don’t know if I could do and I don’t think many men can look in the mirror and say they’d do: give up a chance to get out of prison because his dad was an admiral and the Vietnamese were going to let him go. Pat Tillman, giving up his NFL career to fight — and die — for his country is like that for me too.

“But all that said, is there a hunger among Americans for heroic behavior? I think there is a hunger. I think that most people would love to see a heroic figure step forward. I can almost sound like one of those Christian-right guys: Where is the Messiah?”
I’m not saying that 75 year-old Tom Laughlin — part visionary, part wack-doodle, part eminently sensible American who’s not stupid and who genuinely cares — is any kind of marketable Messiah, but there’s a common chord in what he and Eastwood are saying — a common lament and a hope-against-hope that I’ll bet hundreds of thousands of Americans are feeling as well.
Barack Obama is no messiah and no saint and he’s not as tough as he could be on issues like health care, but he’s The Guy right now. He’s got that Bobby Kennedy-in-’68, special-aura thing. People of different political tribes, persuasions and affiliations seem to be hugely taken with the guy. And I just think he really has to go for it in ’08 and not four years later. People know he’s Presidential timber and that it’s all but inevitable he’ll run.
If Obama declares, I have a feeling that Laughlin and Eastwood and many, many people in between will vote for him.

31 thoughts on “Laughlin Eastwood Obama

  1. I agree that Obama has an ‘aura’ about him but I think he’s been too coddled by the press and his party. He looks rather frail and I’ve never really seen him get terribly passionate or persuasive. I think most people are looking for an outsider. Someone totally different that they can relate too but doesn’t rely on the wedge issues that every other politician seems to do.

  2. “I completely agree with Laughlin 100% that the three greatest evils afflicting this country right now are (a) corporate oligarchs, (b) totalitarian neo-con agendas and (c) false evangelicals.”
    What about the ignorance, intolerance, and selfishness creating these evils and many more?

  3. I look forward to checking this thread tomorrow, when it sits at about 75 posts, most of them back-and-forth between NYC and D.Z.
    I will say, though, that this post is an impressive job of connect-the-dots between Billy Jack and Barack Obama. If we’re looking to Chuck Norris-wannabe Laughlin for political wisdom, this country is in a whole lot worse shape than I thought.
    By the way, does anyone else see the irony in Jeff’s declaring that “corporate oligarchs” are one of the “three greatest evils afflicting this country,” and then twice linking to a Time Magazine article as proof that Obama is “the man?”

  4. Laughlin is a tired old fool and Wells can’t wait to agree with him. If this were a political website, perhaps I’d bother to correct your elementary misunderstandings, but wouldn’t it be better if we talked about film instead?

  5. I just watched Robert Altman’s Tanner ’88 sequel (Tanner on Tanner) recently and the brief clip of Barack Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democrat convention was enough to renew my belief in his presidential potential. He’s not just some naive idealist — as he’s often portrayed — he’s a well-trained politician with a point-of-view that genuinely sounds like the antidote to much of what ails the USA in 2006. In the most disturbing Nixonian tradition, neocons have been dividing the American people for the past 6 years (at least), condemning anyone who doesn’t see things the way they do. But Obama doesn’t speak to a base or speak down to an opposition, he just speaks…to everyone. When was the last time a politican tried that?

  6. I agree, Jeffrey, that corporate oligarchs are destroying the country, politically, especially those financiers such as George Soros (and the fact that the Democratic Party gets more corporate funds raised than the Republican). Oh, wait, those weren’t the ones you were referring to? Typical idiot liberal hypocrite.
    Once liberals get out from under their mindless Bush hatred, they’ll see that Obama isn’t nearly far-left for them. He doesn’t hate rural people, he speaks well of Christians, he supports prayer in school and strongly supports gun rights. He’ll never get out of the primaries.

  7. I agree with the poster who said Obama is too coddled by the media. Need to see him toe to toe in a heat with someone to make a call.
    I also must laugh at those who say ‘neo-cons’ are dividing the country.
    Because y’know everyone else agrees on such majority consensus issues as SSM, abortion on demand, and that terrorism is just not a threat to the country.

  8. as somebody who grew up loving billy jack, i could not be happier he’s finally going to debate george bush mano y mano.
    but you didn’t mention laughlin’s 1976 BILLY JACK GOES TO WASHINGTON, an expensive flop that tried to turn billy into jimmy.
    nonetheless, i’ll kick in some cash. if only to wake up my bush supporting brother who took me to those billy jack films and was stunned to hear about this.
    as per obama, fantastic speaker tho he is, he’s not stood up to team bush with any hardcore stance and seems a little too vaciliating.

  9. and is george soros the only one apparently single handedly funding every liberal or democrat?
    i guess that makes it one versus fortune 500…
    sean hannity taught me that cindy sheehan is being used by this evil man. in fact, soros helped set it up so her son would die in iraq therefore guaranteeing her support…
    of course, it was actually george bush and sean hannity who used sheehan to birth a soldier to die for a lie. but who’s counting?

  10. To NYCBusybody, the “libertarian” who defends Bush on every issue. Your characterization of Obama (“he doesn’t hate rural people, he speaks well of Christians, he supports prayer in school and strongly supports gun rights”) is exactly the grey area strength I’m talking about. You want to place everyone into two convenient categories so you can shield yourself from any ideas outside your own status quo, but liberals aren’t as simple as your caricature picture of them. Living in NYC and all, you may not realize that roughly 50% of the USA’s rural population voted Democrat in the last election. Plus, roughly half the urban population (ie. you) voted Republican. Can we put an end to this red state/blue state myth, once and for all?
    And Nicol D, I’ll have you know that the majority of the American population is pro-choice (it was roughly 65% last I heard), which is also a fundamentally conservative position (ie. keeping the government out our private lives). The only reason the right pretends to care about this issue — and the only reason George W. had that strategic “religious awakening” back in the 90s — is because of the all-important vote of the religious right, a minority group whose ideas are consistently and inexplicably treated like mainstream thought by people like you.

  11. “I’ll have you know that the majority of the American population is pro-choice (it was roughly 65% last I heard)”
    Where did you hear? Pro-Choice is a vague term. Most American’s believe abortion should at least be greatly restriced to the early couple months of pregnancy and that parents should be notified if their daughter is going to have one.
    Are these typical Democratic positions?

  12. As you know Nicol, liberals are of many minds on the issue of term restrictions. The religious right (aka Bush’s base), on the other hand, has a zero tolerance, across-the-board, anti-abortion stance.
    And you do realize that stipulations about notifying parents of abortions — the purpose of which is not entirely clear — have lead many troubled teenagers to have back-alley abortions, resulting in death? Are you in favour of that?

  13. “Typical idiot liberal hypocrite.”
    Yawn. Be more clever next time. Just reciting from the “Conservative Handbook for Retorts to Serious Questions” is beyond tired.
    Think for yourself for once.

  14. NYC: “I agree, Jeffrey, that corporate oligarchs are destroying the country, politically, especially those financiers such as George Soros”
    Yes, he’s a real traitor supporting the end of apartheid and freedom in ex-communist countries.
    “(and the fact that the Democratic Party gets more corporate funds raised than the Republican).”
    Well if it makes you feel any better, the Republicans get more kick-backs.

  15. “And you do realize that stipulations about notifying parents of abortions — the purpose of which is not entirely clear — have lead many troubled teenagers to have back-alley abortions, resulting in death? ”
    Can you give me some concrete examples of this? Really, this rhetoric is tiresome. I can return it though…have you ever heard someone speak who survived a botched abortion as a baby? Do you think that they should not have the right to live? Do you think Gianna Jessen should be dead?
    As far as people who say no to all abortions…well what do you expect? If one believes abortion is murder of innocent babies, how can one compromise on this?
    And please, I see very little willingness to compromise on this issue on the Democratic parties side.
    Most people believe abortion should be legal but severly restriced and parents to be notified. If you do not understand why a parent should be notified…then what on earth do you believe a parent should know about their kids?
    Again, feel free to disagree, but that is my point. It’s not just ‘right wing neo-cons’ who are dividing this country right now.

  16. Nicol:
    “Most American’s believe abortion should at least be greatly restriced to the early couple months of pregnancy and that parents should be notified if their daughter is going to have one.
    Are these typical Democratic positions?”
    For me, and all the Democrats I know, yes.

  17. Nicol: “As far as people who say no to all abortions…well what do you expect? If one believes abortion is murder of innocent babies, how can one compromise on this?”
    Apparently they compromise by calling the aborting of fetuses in the womb “murder”, not dropping bombs on them or shooting pregnant women at checkpoints. Oh, and then there’s that double-standard of them supporting the death penalty…

  18. Maybe you guys should settle this with a knife fight. It would be a lot more entertaining and the result would help thin the herd a little.

  19. I don’t have anything against Obama….. problem is I, like most of the people who sing his praises, don’t know a whole lot about him. Democrats and media types (redundant?) seem to love him because he’s black, telegenic, charming and oh so “articulate”, (“articulate” being white-people code for “doesn’t talk like one of those rap stars”)
    As for “Billy Jack”…. I know we all remember it as being this really heavy indie film with a deep message about freedom and love, but try watching it now….. actually works great as an unintentional comedy… (“please Mister, we want some ice cream!”)

  20. well maybe some parts are funny but certainly not the scene with delores taylor expressing her emotions about her rape.
    this was the major reason pauline kael singled out the film in her very perceptive review of the film and its filmmakers — imagine one of america’s finest film critics analyzing a drive in symbolic kung fu movie and nailing it.
    as for me and my friends in the day, billy jack stood close behind bruce lee as one of our heroes. altho i was seriously traumatized by THE TRIAL OF BILLY JACK which features children geting machine gunned by the feds.
    the country needs jack back.

  21. I’m with Walter; people love Obama because he’s the equivalent of Boba Fett…we don’t know a lot about him so we can project on him what we want. I think he’s great, but it’s based wholly on his convention speech.
    Bobby Kennedy in ’68…yeesh. The smell of desperation comes through the screen. Dems need to learn how to run a campaign…they don’t need a Bobby Kennedy.

  22. When are Liberals going to realize they are the problem? Americans dont want your values or what you represent. A few movies pandering to your most hardcore audience just gives you all a false sense that people agree with you. When they don’t.
    And Obama as savior? Why? because he can speak coherently and is black? He has done nothing in the Senate. His position are way too left wing extreme and left wing extreme doesnt win elections.
    Ask Lamont in Conn.

  23. uh gee david, barbara boxer just keeps getting re-elected over and over and won the most votes for a senator in american history — she’s also the most leftist senator on the hill.
    and your right wing values of greed over God; incessant war and poverty for all; moral hypocrisy and closeted sexuality; bigotry and religious fanaticism…
    and rush limbaugh.
    yeah, what a buffet.

  24. I think a lot of the discussion here embodies a lot of the problems that we face as a nation. (It’s still we, isn’t it?!) We make everything too black and white, especially when we vote. A candidate, unfortunately, cannot win (usually) if s/he isn’t completely on one side of the fence on EVERYTHING. I don’t understand how that is realistic or effective, particularly in governing people.
    For example, ask yourself this question: Do you believe abortion is murder. If you say yes, then I would ask: Is a woman who has been raped who gets an abortion a murderer? If you say yes to the first question, you MUST say yes to the second. No, it’s not fair, and you probably didn’t mean in cases of rape, incest, or health of the mother. But we make candidates make those blanket statements. If you say abortion IS murder, then it must ALWAYS be murder. Now most people who believe that abortion is murder wouldn’t say a woman who aborts a rapist’s baby committed murder. And we let people get away with that contradiction. Unless, of course, that person is an elected official.
    What would the country be like if we allowed our politicians to decide things on a case by case basis? Probably better than it is, but instead we would call that politician a flip-flopper. The majority of us ARE flip-floppers. We always look at the individual cases. Why do we force politicians to pigeon-hole themselves? It is absolutely irrational to live that way, yet we have been for more years than we can count. If you pull out of Iraq, then you are cutting and running. If you stay in Iraq, then you are a fool who can’t admit when he’s wrong. We offer these fallacies to our politicians, they offer them to each other, and then they try to sell them back to us.
    It’s never as simple as always one way or the other. Never. So why do we continue to believe and vote that way?
    Instead of looking for a saviour, which is rationalization at its best (a reason/outcome good for only you or to ease your ego), why don’t we just accept that there isn’t one. There is no politician out there to save us. When will we just accept that we must all do this on our own? Even if we had a saviour, if things went the least bit wrong, we would turn that person into a scapegoat 2 minutes later, so why bother looking for someone to save us when we need to do it ourselves?

  25. good post iamannerd, but your answe lay (or lie) in your question.
    there are two representative parties in america:
    democrat
    republican
    this puts the majority of the country into fitting everything or nothing into two boxes. which leads to the schizophrenic nature of politics and what we demand.
    a true democracy would allow more nuanced thought and action, but keeping the two party system is the single thing that dems and repubs will stand and fight together on.
    to our peril.

  26. Christian,
    I agree that we do have that darned two party system in America, but I don’t blame the flaws I see in that. I blame us. Sure, we have a two party system, but the candidate who usually wins the primaries within those parties is usually the one that doesn’t seem to think about each issue. It is usually the candidate who acts the way we usually vote–straight ticket. We expect our Democratic presidential candidate to be pro-choice, pro-science/evolution in the classroom, to tax us more, wary of big business, etc. etc. etc. We expect our Republican candidate to be pro-life, anti science/evolution, pro-big business, in favor of tax cuts, etc. etc. etc. (I MEAN ALL OF THIS IN THEORY AND AM USING BROAD EXAMPLES.) Usually, the guy/gal who doesn’t play along with our black and white idea of a politician causes a minor stir, gets some publicity, but quickly is defeated when it actually counts. This could be a total chicken/egg argument, but I blame us, the voting public, for these empty vessels we elect. If it is a democrat, we fill him/her up with these all or nothing beliefs. Same with Republicans. I just think that where those beliefs/leanings were more moderate a few years ago, now they have become farther and farther away from the center, which is where I believe most of us live/act/feel/believe. I just think that WE have pushed our news coverage to the far left or right, our politicians to the far left or right, and our rhetoric. We talk about this all or nothing world, but live in the middle. How many of us when we were 18 talked of how conservative we were while we went out and drank every weekend in college? We liked the idea of premarital sex when we could get it, but probably talked about family values and traditional beliefs in position papers. Or looked down our nose at people on welfare while we managed to live off of student loans and peanut butter. I just blame us. I am the problem. I want it both ways in my life, to live in that grey area 24/7, but I am ready to pounce on ANY politician who steps back and thinks about an issue.

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