Hollywood figured out a long time ago that they could make a lot of money on a sequel to a popular movie. They could count on attracting most of the original audience without having to think too hard or spend a lot of money. If the sequel was just the original with a couple new twists, then it was easy money. The reboot is a similar concept, except it relies on nostalgia to sell the concept. Fans of the original Star Wars movies could take their kids to the reboot of the franchise.
The general consensus is that the reboot and remake are a sign that Hollywood has run out of creative writers. The wrinkly brains are now in the technical end, making cool graphics and special effects. The writers arrive in a short bus. This cultural dead end where they just keep rebooting prior ideas has reached a point where they are rebooting reboots of reboots now. The only novelty is they are stripping away anything of interest and replacing it with ideology.
The same process has been happening with politics. The first little hint of it happened with Bill Clinton who was sold as his generation’s JFK. This played on Baby Boomer nostalgia, which has been powerful juju since the 1980’s. The first genuine political reboot was Obama. He was pitched as the black JFK, which was a foreshadowing of what has been happening in popular culture. Just as the role of JFK was being played by a black guy, everything on TV is now played by nonwhites.
The thing that was interesting about Obama was that despite all the talk about the future, they were obsessed with the past. His signature program, health care, was a re-do of the failed health care fight in the 1990’s. His Russian reset was a rebuke of Reagan’s tough approach to the Soviets. His Iran policy was a re-do of what happened in the late 1970’s under Carter. The Obama years were a series of remakes of old defeats by the Left, but this time they were the winners.
Of course, the Trump years had a strong undertone of nostalgia for the 1980’s and Reagan’s “Morning in America” theme. It was clear Trump planned to run a similar reelection campaign until Covid. The crazies, of course, relived the Nixon years, replaying the fantasy version where they got to actually impeach their foe, rather than have him resign. The Trump era was a very weird nostalgia trip for an aging political class unable to contemplate what comes next for them.
It appears that this election season, the Republicans are planning to release a reboot of one of their old franchises, the Contract with America. To great fanfare, Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, has unleashed the Commitment to America, which is a remake of the New Gingrich program. According to the poster, “Republicans helped build the greatest economy in a generation and the American way of life was thriving. We are ready to do it again. This is our commitment to you.”
The problem with the sequel was always that the original successfully followed the woman’s swimsuit model. It was long enough to cover the important bits and short enough to keep everyone interested. In other words, the original addressed all the important plot points and the characters had finished their arc. Reboots offer the chance to retell the original story with a slightly new angle. Today, of course, that means replacing the white males with strong diverse females.
The problem for the Republicans trying to reboot the Gingrich franchise is that most people recall that it was not a scintillating success. It was a clever marketing strategy that got Gingrich the speaker’s gavel, but exactly no one is romantic for the early 1990’s or has warm thoughts about Newt Gingrich. If anything, Newt Gingrich is a reminder that managerial conservatism was a disaster. It led directly to the “Big Government Conservatism” of the Bush years.
Looking at the site, it is clear that the Republicans went to Hollywood and snatched a few writers off the short bus. “Restore. Rebuild. Renew” is the answer to “Build Back Better” which is itself a hollow slogan. Under each word is a list of “promises” that are so vague and meaningless, you wonder if this is a deliberate insult. The top item under “Restore” is a promise to do the same things for Covid that the government has been doing for two years now. “What do we want? More of the same!”
Perhaps the most amusing and ridiculous claim under the “Restore” tab is the promise to address tech censorship. Kevin McCarthy and the House GOP is so mobbed up with Silicon Valley cash they should be forced to wear corporates logos on their suits like race car drivers. They have opposed every effort to do something about the gross abuse of civil rights by these firms. This is also true of Conservative Inc., which is bought and paid for by big tech money as well.
What is most remarkable about the plan is that it manages to avoid every issue of interest to the typical Republican voter. The Gingrich strategy was to sound like radical reformers, while not threatening anything important like entitlements. McCarthy’s strategy is to sound completely harmless while promising to let the crazies continue smashing the civic life of the country. You get the sense this is a promise to the oligarchs that they will have no trouble with the Republicans.
Notably, there is nothing in this plan on immigration. That is because the GOP is not just the party of open borders, but the party of aggressive importation of the least desirable people into your neighborhood. When you vote Republican, you are voting for your children and grandchildren to live as hated minorities. The GOP is the other side of the turd sandwich with regards to immigration. One side wants open borders and the other side wants to build massive welcome signs.
Getting back to the reboot topic, what this plan suggests is that the critics of Hollywood are correct about the lack of ideas. The Republicans have nothing to offer, so they are rebooting old campaigns. McCarthy has never had a job or met a normal American, so he has no idea who he is pitching with this slop. It sounds good to the feckless airheads in marketing, so he just assumes it will work. It will not get him in trouble with his handlers, which is what really matters to him.
Finally, what is shaping up in the 2022 midterms is a replay of the Biden strategy in the 2020 election. The Democrats hid Biden away and made the election about Trump being Hitler. McCarthy and the Republicans will hide under their beds and hope the public is sick of the Democrats. In other words, it is another election in which one side wins by default. The political class has nothing to offer, because from their perspective, everything is going great and you need to shut up.
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