“People say satire is dead. It’s not dead; it’s alive and living in the White House.”

— Robin Williams

The first 2015 Republican “debate” was a magnificent affair, a perfect opera bouffe with a star-studded cast. Those of us who are political show junkies have waited weeks for the show to take place, while enduring the endless pre-debate about who would be allowed to grace the stage for the grand premiere.

What with television languishing in the summer doldrums, and all the good books having been read, I looked forward to this debate.

I have no skin in this game, and as yet, I’m not sure how much I have in the future Democratic debate. This will be a small cast show, five at last count, and it doesn’t appear to hold the same entertainment glitter.

But the first Republican debate that took place on Aug. 6 held great promise.

Like those 19th-century debutantes’ balls held at the old Plaza Hotel in New York that always promised the presence of the “very best people,” the GOP debate came through. Like the police lineup in Bryan Singer’s 1995 film “The Usual Suspects,” the GOP’s parade of gentlemen of the world of politics stood cheek by jowl, blue-suited, white-shirted and sober-faced.

These gentlemen are, of course, sincere, dedicated, patriotic, religious family men, and we applaud their courage. But to keep my sanity and just for fun, I view it as if I were a casting agent for independent film king Harvey Weinstein, and these would be my favorites:

I would hire George H.W. Bush’s youngest son, Jeb, well-coiffed, conservatively clad in a nice wool summer-weight suit and buttoned-down oxford shirt with laced Cole Haan shoes (I doubt if Jeb would be up to sassy tassels) for the part of the dean of students at a Midwestern girls’ college.

Any mother placing her daughter in the care of such a well-mannered dean, with that Jimmy Stewart stammer, would feel safe.

Poor former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee showed up having put back on all of that famous weight he lost years ago. That’s got to be a drag, especially in that Midwestern summer heat. (I know how you feel, Mike.) I would cast Mike in the film bio of the late, great Hubert Humphrey. Easy choice.

The mysterious retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is a tough cast. I like Dr. Carson. He’s one cool cat. He never seems to sweat, keeps his voice modulated to a “Ray Donovan” tone, takes his good time answering questions and clearly has a good tailor. I would cast him as the Eastern surgeon who has been called in the dark of a rainy North Carolina night to save the life of the late Sen. Jesse Helms. Imagine the closeups.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is a casting agent’s delight. Were I going to shoot a movie this year about the Mexican drug cartels, I would rush to cast Cruz in the role of the smooth Harvard-educated Latino consigliere the really bad guys send to negotiate with the New York boys. He has that kind of scary, cool confidence and sweat-free black-suited chilliness. He would sit there across the table from the New York mobsters, smiling that weird smile and tapping his pencil constantly on the table. Ted would make the deal.

The one candidate who will be most in demand for cinema remakes this year will certainly be New Jersey’s Chris Christie. Old timers have waited years for Lou Costello’s (Abbott’s old partner) life story. Who else would be better suited to do the bio of Oliver Hardy, of Laurel and Hardy fame, paired with Lindsay Graham as Stan Laurel? Wow!

But my pick for Chris would be the life of the Great One, Jackie Gleason. Operators are waiting.

I would pick Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio to play a fresh-faced, just-out-of-the-seminary young priest being tempted by Charlize Theron. He would break hearts.

Kentucky’s Rand Paul, with his fabulous hair style, is a decent man, along with Ohio’s straight-laced John Kasich; but both are too bland to arouse passion in female moviegoers.

And then there is the Donald. Who else would be perfect in a movie bio of the late, great comic Red Skelton? Who can forget those great roles Red made famous with his traditional blue suit, white shirt and red tie: Going door to door as The “Fuller Brush Man,” the aging burlesque clown in “The Clown,” and the loud and raucous con man in “The Show Off.”

The first Democratic debate is in the works, and I’m looking forward to casting all the players. Let’s see … Hillary Clinton … .

J.P Devine is a Waterville writer.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: