Magazine article The Spectator

Remember Your Morals

Magazine article The Spectator

Remember Your Morals

Article excerpt

What is it we want in a head of state? It's something Her Majesty's subjects have been asking in the last week, though mostly (as far as this one is concerned) in an utterly repugnant fashion. Still, the answer seems reasonably clear: Queen Oprah. For Americans, after five years under an Oprah in drag, that isn't enough. So each summer Hollywood releases movies about the kind of chief of state they'd really like. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, but celluloid presidents have to be from both - adept at the Clintonesque touchy-feely stuff, but also willing to kick butt; they start off feeling your pain, and end up causing it. Thus, in last year's Independence Day, when President Bill Pullman's strategy of talking the aliens to death comes to naught, he gets in touch with his masculine side, climbs into the cockpit and takes off to zap the space invaders himself. In Air Force One, President Harrison Ford starts by giving a speech in Moscow and doing his best Robin Cook impersonation: `Never again will I allow our national selfinterest to deter us from doing what is morally right'; by the time it's over, he's shot dead several terrorists; cunningly spoken fluent Russian to them; taught himself to fly the jet and dodge MiG fighters; hung off the edge of the plane's open parachute bay, clinging on by his fingernails; hung off the edge of the parachute bay a second time, with the added complication of being locked in mortal combat with a Kazakh terrorist leader while snarling through clenched teeth, `Get. Off. My. Plane.' Poor old Clinton, by contrast, can't speak Russian, can't fly jets, can't hang off planes, can't even walk down the stairs at Greg Norman's house without stumbling and putting himself out of commission for six weeks. On the other hand, the President who asked the Supreme Court to delay Paula Jones's sexual harassment suit because it would distract him from the burdens of office -- somehow found time to see Air Force One twice, in between his other onerous duties of recent weeks: installing a White House hot tub, playing golf with the basketball superstar Michael Jordan and attending celebrity parties for three weeks on Martha's Vineyard.

Wolfgang Peterson begins his film with a joint Russo-American commando raid against Kazakhstani strongman General Radek, a born-again commie. …

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