Pro-War Politicians Have Written a Check Their Asses Can't Cash, Part 2 - On the Potomac Waterfront:
On the Waterfront is a great fuckin' film, one of the Rude Pundit's favorites. It taught the Rude Pundit nearly all he needed to know about cowardice, bravery, and everything in between, including having the 'nads to face the most powerful, ruthless motherfuckers. If you've never seen it, do it, now. If you're someone who's avoided it because of director Elia Kazan and his HUAC-blabbin' ways, don't be an idiot. The movie ain't about bullshit justification for Kazan rolling over like a five-buck-a-fuck whore in a bed full of sailor boys. It's about how the very people who are supposed to be looking out for the average person can become violent, power-hungry thugs only in it for themselves. And it's about how to take them down.

The Rude Pundit was reminded of On the Waterfront when he read this: "Karl Rove, a top political adviser to President Bush said on Thursday he had called Sen. Joseph Lieberman to wish him well in the Democratic primary in Connecticut this week." This would be the same Joe Lieberman who repeatedly accused his vanquisher, Ned Lamont, of using "partisan polarization" to win the primary (which, as the Rude Pundit said yesterday, is about as idiotic thing as you can say about a party's primary). Rove said, "I called him. He's a personal friend." Let's just let that sit for a moment: Ned Lamont, polarizer. Karl Rove, friend. Mmmmm, the fresh smell of horse manure and hypocrisy - bottle that shit and call it "Eau de Lieberman."

If you'll remember, On the Waterfront ends with a cathartic moment. Johnny Friendly, played by big damn Lee J. Cobb, is the corrupt union boss, and the men who get to work on the docks are the ones who obey Friendly and knuckle under to his will. It's a simple equation: you cross Johnny Friendly, you might get killed, but you'll at least be out of a job. After a bunch of events you can read about elsewhere, Marlon Brando's fallen boxer Terry Malloy fingers Friendly in court for ordering a murder, and he finds himself ostracized and out of work for squealing.

Malloy finally confronts Friendly, in front of all the other longshoremen, shouting at him and his goons, "You take them heaters away from you and you're nothin', you know that?...You take the good goods away and the kickbacks and the shakedown cabbage and them pistoleros and you're nothin'. Your guts is all in your wallet and your trigger finger - you know that?... You think you're God almighty. But you know what you are?...You're a cheap, lousy, dirty, stinkin', mug. And I'm glad what I've done to you." And then it's on.

Friendly and Malloy have a throwdown bare-knuckle brawl that'd do a Toughman Competition proud. When it looks like Friendly's losing, his men jump in and beat the shit out of Malloy, leaving him a bleeding, bruised heap. But then something remarkable happens: the longshoremen refuse to work without Malloy with them. They want Malloy to walk in to unload the ships, saying they'll follow if he leads. The film ends with a staggering, wounded Malloy entering the gate of a loading pier, with the others behind him, while an impotent Friendly screams in rage as they ignore his threats.

The midterm elections are a chance, a small one, to repudiate the politics of Karl Rove (and, by extension, the dark master himself, Lee Atwater). And the Iraq war is the final proof of how it has all spun out of control for the Rove-Bush school of political hardball. And Rove's about to be left behind screaming at a crowd he no longer can threaten.

Today: metaphor. Tomorrow: how.

Note: If you want to make Ned Lamont the Terry Malloy of this scenario, go ahead. But, if you know the film, it doesn't work. Besides, the Rude Pundit intended another analogy for Terry Malloy.