Over the years since directing Wag The Dog I have been asked whether Hollywood producers are directly involved in political campaigns. I hear rumors from time to time that they might be pulling the strings but no hard evidence. But my suspicion is, no Hollywood producer is involved in the McCain presidential run. I say this for a simple reason, it's badly orchestrated, lacks a narrative, and when they come across a good story idea they bungle it. An example: When McCain left the campaign trail to return to Washington to help solve the financial crisis it blew up in his face. It made him seem erratic, ineffectual, and worse of all, not true to his words. There's an old Hollywood axiom that says, "Don't put the leading man in a scene that makes him look bad."
The shooting script of McCain's failed political move would have been played out differently.
EXT. CAMPAIGN RALLY - DAY
(A light rain falls.)
(DON ANDERSON, a young correspondent, talks to the camera)
We are getting reports that John McCain is leaving the campaign trail within the hour.
(Now on a split screen)
What reason are they giving, Don?
What we are hearing and this is unconfirmed, but Senator McCain is going to Washington. The speculation is, it has to do with the economic crisis the country is now facing.
This would be unprecedented, actually stop campaigning?
That's right. But I have no other information at this time. We can only confirm that he in fact is going to Washington
This is a big story and we're going to stay on top of it.
(4 hours later)
(Don, our correspondent, now in front of the capital.)
We have been hearing rumors that John McCain has been meeting with members of both parties in private talks about the economic crisis. I have heard this from a number of Congressmen, but no one in the McCain camp will confirm this.
And Senator McCain has not spoken to any reporters at all?
No. But an aide has said to me privately that John McCain is trying to stay under the radar--he doesn't want to make this about him. He is trying to work with various members of Congress without the glare of the cameras.
What about the debate on Friday?
Hold on one second, I am getting some new information here.....A close aide to John McCain had this to say, "John would prefer to cancel the debate on Friday due to this unprecedented financial crisis, but if his opponent, Mr. Obama, wants to debate, John McCain will make himself available." So the ball is in Obama's court now.
Will McCain make a public appearance on this situation?
What I am hearing is "no" ......His camp has made it clear, he doesn't want to make this a political football.....there is too much at stake. But I re-iterate, John McCain has not made any statement on what might be called a historic decision. In my memory, I have never heard of a candidate leaving the campaign trail. But it is consistent with his maverick style.
This is a rough draft of a scene, but the point being nothing is better than letting others build the drama, others talking about your integrity, others calling you a maverick.
In the old westerns, the fastest gun in the west never said he was the fastest, others said it. And if the gunslinger said he was the fastest? That was comic relief.