The purpose of what I write here is not a movie review. It is a warning.
First, I am a big fan of Atlas Shrugged—the book. The movie? Well, let me say that I really like the actors, and the director was clever using high gas prices rational for why railroads are so important; however, Atlas Shrugged-the movie is devoid of passion or emotion. The one exception is a really good scene where a parts supplier begs for forgiveness for abandoning the movie’s heroine because he must protect his family from threats and intimidation.
In the book, I felt frustrated as power hungry government agencies and poverty pimps kept putting road blocks in front people striving to achieve. I felt anger as incompetent producers used political connections to create laws preventing competitors with better products from winning. I felt despair as, at every turn, there seemed to be yet another attempt to punish the successful for the benefit of the lazy and corrupt.
The movie failed to envoke these emotions. No one will be compelled to the conservative view by this movie.
This made me worry.
No, I’m not worried that Atlas Shrugged not being a great movie will harm the conservative movement. I am worried because it reminds me that politics is driven by emotion and Republican leadership and even Tea Party leaders have failed to make an emotionally appeal or an appeal to a higher purpose.
I am reminded of the expression that came out of the last government shutdown:
‘Republicans have to avoid being seen as the guy with the green eyeshades–the souless, expressionless accountant.’ Unless Republicans can create strong emotions in voters, all the numbers, such as the budget deficit, will be meaningless.
Let me illustrate why an non-emotional analytical approach is ineffective. A politician might say “Our budget deficit last year was 1.4 Trillion dollars. This is the highest it has ever been” The politician then may try to relate its importance by saying something like “how can we leave this debt to our grandkids. It will leave them $38,000 in debt”
Did you feel anger? Disgust? Worry? Fear? Sadness?
No. Of course not.
Now compare the same issue with an emotional push. A politician might say “To pay for this tremendous deficit, our government has been printing money. Haven’t you wondered why gas and food prices have been going up so dramatically? Families accross this great country are suffering. As gas prices have risen, families have had to make hard sacrifices. Parents have less money to save for their kid’s college.
Our businesses owners are strained under high energy prices and higher taxes created by run-away Democratic spending. Some busines owners worry how they will be able to pay an extra $6000 under ObamaCare to keep an employee who only creates $3000 of profits. They worry whether they may have to layoff trusted employees, or whether they will close forever.
Seniors worry about whether they life savings will be decimated by inflation. Parents worry that our jobs and our kid’s jobs are leaving the country as employers find they can no longer compete in a world economy if they stay in our high tax nation and now President Obama talks of raising taxes even more.
Where will our kids work? Will they be able to enjoy the same quality of life as we did? These budget deficits caused by reckless spending are killing the American dream and we may look back and wonder what happened to that great nation that could out produce, out innovate, and out class the rest of the world. ”
This second arguement has an emotional pull that the first one does not. The problem is that the Republican leadership has not been voicing this type of emotional pull. If we want to win the next battle, we must make this connection or we are doomed to failure.