Watching the Academy Awards each year is a window into the mindset of the Hollywood elite. It is a time for actors to make speeches that often reference current events and express political opinions. This time around the Academy chose Sean Penn as Best Actor for his portrayal of gay activist Harvey Milk. Fellow nominee, Mickey Rourke, who seemed to be an odds-on sentimental favorite, lost to Penn in what many thought to be a huge upset. The week before the Academy Awards, Rourke spoke out in defense of President Bush, saying, “It's too easy to blame everything on one guy. These are unpredictable, dangerous times, and I don't think that anyone really knows quite what to do." Best Actor winner Sean Penn, on the other hand, has attacked President Bush for the last eight years. Penn recently gave a speech in which he bashed the entire Bush Administration, ranting, “You, Misters Bush and Cheney; you, Ms. Rice, are villainously and criminally obscene people, obscene human beings.” Coincidence? Only the Members of the Academy know for sure.
While the Academy was busy handing out its traditional awards, one performance has eclipsed all others: the part of President of the United States as interpreted by Barack Obama. In his first speech to the joint session of Congress this week, President Obama wowed the audience. He spoke out against earmarks, after signing the largest pork-laden piece of legislation in history. He blamed the previous administration for gutting unspecified regulations, when in fact Republicans attempted to sound the alarm several times regarding Fannie and Freddie and were repeatedly thwarted by Democrats. President Obama continued to blame tax cuts for the rich as a cause for our current economic crisis, and he seemingly ignored altogether the Global War on Terror, which has miraculously ended since he took office. All that needed to be done was to announce the closing of Gitmo and to make some overtures to Iran and Al Arabiya. Problem solved. Obama’s ability to ignore facts and speak so convincingly, while at the same time totally lacking substance, is an amazing feat. If the Academy gave out an award for Best Political Performance, there is absolutely no question that President Obama would win hands down. After one month in office, President Obama still does not seem to grasp the challenges that lie ahead. We need a President who not only performs on cue, but who realizes the gravity of our current situation, both economically and militarily. As Sean Penn gears up to play the part of Valerie Plame’s husband in his next movie role, Republicans need to gear up to stop the Democrats in their unprecedented power grab. We need a Republican to take the stage, and quick. Who will be our nominee for Best Republican Leader in the midst of a national crisis? Stay tuned.