In the 1972 movie The Godfather Marlin Brando played Don Corleone, head of a New York crime family. Michael, one of his sons, is trying to woo Kay Adams. Upon introducing her to his family he relates a story regarding singer/actor Johnny Fontane:
Michael Corleone: When Johnny was first starting out, he was signed to this personal services contract with a big band leader. And as his career got better and better, he wanted to get out of it. Now, Johnny is my father’s godson and my father went to see this band leader and offered him $10,000 to let Johnny go, but the band leader said no. So the next day, my father went to see him, only this time with Luca Brasi and within an hour he signed the release for a certified check of $1000.
Kay Adams: How did he do that?
Michael Corleone: My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Kay Adams: What was that?
Michael Corleone: Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract. That’s a true story.
[cut to Johnny singing again for about 10 more seconds before going back to Michael]
Michael Corleone: That’s my family Kay, that’s not me.
The Godfather was the highest grossing movie ever for several years, garnered many awards, and was credited for reviving Marlon Brando’s career. Two sequels followed, in 1974 and 1990. The cast including Robert Duvall, Al Pacino, James Caan and Diane Keaton as well as Brando was a near Who’s Who of film stars. It is still considered a classic by film buffs and is a part of many film study classes.
Now what business does this scene and movie have in an article regarding policy and politics in the 2012 election cycle? I believe it illustrates accurately the tactics of the current Administration, especially as they relate to getting him reelected. This comparison was triggered by a story related on a talk radio station in Milwaukee Friday morning, October 5. According to the host, a Chicago NAACP representative was threatened by Obama campaign staffer Louis Raymond during a phone conversation. David Lowry says he called police and filed a report, “in case something happens” after being told by Raymond, “I know everything about you…and since you don’t support Obama, we’ll deal with you.”
As usual, the campaign is backing away from both the statement and the person who made it while sending some other lackey out to smear, threaten and intimidate anyone who gets in their way. Want some evidence?
Stephanie Cutter, campaign spokesperson: This summer an ad from a left-leaning super pac accused Mitt Romney of being responsible for a woman’s death from cancer. Her husband, Joe Soptic, lost his job when a steel plant closed. This plant was part of a Bain Capital (Romney’s company) takeover and was closed in 2001 two years after Romney left to save the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Soptic’s wife died in 2006 FIVE YEARS after the plant closing yet, according to the ad, she lived only 22 days after being diagnosed. After questions arose regarding the facts of the ad, Cutter said she was unaware of the facts of the ad. Interesting considering she had participated in a conference call with Soptic during which the story was related.
AFSCME: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has an internet ad running featuring a man who says he is the guy who picks up Romney’s trash at his California mansion. The ad implies Romney is the kind of guy who never sees guys like him who collect trash and states that those who do this work are “invisible people”. Interesting phrase, especially since they stole it from Romney’s 2010 book, No Apologies: The Case for American Greatness. In it Romney recalls the day he spent collecting garbage in Massachusetts during his campaign for Governor where he saw garbageman appear invisible to residents: “Perhaps it is because a lot of us don’t think that garbage men are worthy of notice; I disagree – anyone who works out hard is worthy of our respect.”
So what’s the point? In the Godfather scene I see the Corleone “family” as Cutter, AFSCME, and the staffer who threatened David Lowry. I see the President in the role of Michael Corleone and the American Electorate in the role of Kay Adams. Whenever the “family” smears, threatens or attacks- “That’s my family, Kay- not me.” The Obama Administration sends out minions to lie, attack, threaten and who knows what else while they pretend to be untouched by the slimy underbelly of politics. The President gives hints of his true colors when accusing Republicans of wanting to abandon some of the most vulnerable in our society even though he tries to stay above the fray.
At the end of the first Godfather movie, Michael Corleone takes over for his deceased father and has the heads of competing families murdered, ensuring his ascension to head of New York’s organized crime families. While he is brutally seizing power he is also promising his new bride, Kay, that he will make the family business legitimate. The President’s “family” is brutalizing Romney, his running mate, and all who disagree while Obama tries to make us an offer we can’t refuse.
Pray America refuses.