On Thursday February 19, HBO Documentary Films presented Alexandra Pelosi’s “Right America, Feeling Wronged: Some Voices from the Campaign Trail”, 44 minutes. The HBO film link is here.
The film starts with McCain’s concession on Election Night and ends with it, but in between it manages to make a lot of his supporters look foolish. At one point, McCain has to correct an elderly woman who asks him a question inappropriately.
The film follows the “Straight Line Express” bus around the heartland, and it tends to take its (the bus’s) own pun seriously. Almost the first redneck says, “there’s working people and there’s gays”, as if gays are the “freeloaders.” The next one says that the two most important issues are abortion and homosexuality. The rhetoric calms down a little, but not too much. Later on, the filmmaker interviews a young man and asks him about his belief that Barack Obama is a socialist, and to explain what socialism is (like a test question, isn’t it!), and the man says it is something like Hitler, something between communism and the other system whose name he can’t remember (it’s fascism).
A guy in the South says, “we’re backwards” and that he isn’t too partial to … and that it’s not that the South is backward, it’s that the rest of the country is forward. A man in Mississippi says, “we are not ready.” Pretty soon some very bad words get used in the film.
The film shows rallies in a lot of Midwestern places, like Fort Wayne and Columbus, mostly former “red state” country. The film selects the flattest country to show (not all the Midwest is as flat as everybody thinks). The film also visits Springfield, VA and a few other places in the South. There are posters with Obama’s middle name (he did use it in the inauguration). There were some nasty games played with the president’s name. There is mention of the “Anti-Christ” and “666” movies as if anyone with the charisma of Obama somehow presents a risk to repeat the worst of world history.
Katie Couric is briefly interviewed, and she is presented as reviled by the crowd since she is part of the “liberal” media, but Couric insists that an objective press is essential to democracy. One man says that he listens only to Fox news.
One slender, younger man speaks to Pelosi and says that a lot of the other supporters are probably making themselves and their candidate look bad. There is a constant thread among McCain’s supporters to keep the intellectual substance of things very simple.