Roger Ebert, the late movie critic, panned movies that were heavy on laughs, explosions or both, but lacking in character development. There should be something about a character that makes you care about them, Ebert reasoned.

Such a movie is playing out in the White House. Between President Donald Trump’s petulance, Nancy Pelosi’s hand-wringing, tense walks to the podium and our latest post-gun violence finger-pointing, I can’t find a character to care about.

Movie comparison aside, there is a way to be right about something. The word magnanimous comes to mind. A magnanimous person is generally the grown-up in a dispute.

Despite their hard-fought 1992 presidential election contest, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush became close friends.

Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, after being stung by the infamous Willie Horton ads and losing his bitter 1988 presidential campaign to George H.W. Bush said he was disappointed, but not bitter. Today, bitter seems to be the default setting for whichever side doesn’t get its way.

Maybe social media caused that, or, maybe, our leaders were just better people then.

Returning to the movie analogy: If the current White House mess played in a theatre, I’d want my money back. The characters aren’t believable, the plot’s all over the place and the running time is way too long.

Two thumbs down.

Jim Newton


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