Whoever is choosing the psych-up movies for the House Republican caucus is…not having a good year. First, the caucus used a speech by Ben Affleck’s bank robber character in The Town to rally enthusiasm for House Speaker John Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan, a spectacle that ended with Rep. Allen West (who has his own questionable taste in movies) to volunteer to drive the getaway car. Now they’re taking inspiration from Braveheart, which of course ends with its hero getting tortured and beheaded, perhaps a sign of psychological anxiety about their approval ratings?
What’s baffling about this is why the caucus doesn’t turn to the most anodyne, psychologically unmuddled psych-up genre, the sports movie? The speeches are martial without glorying in actual violence, a parallel way to set up climactic conflicts, and leave an out to feel good about yourself even if you lose:
It’s one thing to scapegoat cultural elites. It’s another to stumble into super-awkward cultural allusion after super-awkward cultural allusion. If you care about message discipline, sports movies are totally safe and reliable, and perhaps most importantly, Heartland-appropriate.