Saturday, March 07, 2009

"Swing Vote II" (and "I"); recalling Florida in 2000, New Mexico in 2012?


The 2000 general election turned on maybe 500 or so votes in Florida, so imagine a movie where the general election depends on one vote.

Such is the premise of “Swing Vote”, directed by Joshua Michael Stern, bankrolled by Kevin Costner, who stars as struggling dad Bud Johnson who gets the chance to cast the deciding vote – and gets all the public attention.

His 12 year old daughter Molly (Madeline Carroll) lectures him about his duty to vote, and sneaks in on election day (in Texico, NM) and signs the register while the election judge, exhausted after an 18 hour day, snoozes. But the voting machine (reminding me of WinVote) fails when a janitor pulls the plug. (Nobody notes that in real life the polls would be closed.)

The election officials track the card down to him, and he gets wined and dined all right by both candidates, Republican president Andrew Boone (Kelsey Grammer) and Dennis Hopper as Democrat Donald Greenlead.

There is a lot of party line bending. Boone, probably influenced by Log Cabin Republicans, favors gay marriage (in quite a skit that reminds me of “The Gang’s All Here”) whereas the boll weevil (or bull dog) Democrat wants to overturn Roe v. Wade (he reminds me of Scoop Jackson).

Johnson himself gets fired from a job early (his boss talks about tardiness, but Johnson talks about “insourced immigrant labor” – and all this happens in a movie released shortly before the bailout crisis erupted).

At the end, he hosts a debate, but only after saying he is a man who never amounted to anything and who has never sacrificed.

Costner says that the movie was not intended to "influence" the 2008 election.

There was an earlier ABC TV film by the same name in 1999 "Swing Vote", first broadcast Monday, April 19, 1999, directed by David Anspaugh, starring Andy Garcia as a Supreme Court justice deciding, after Roe v. Wade is reversed, whether a conviction of a woman for an abortion should be overturned.

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