POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Never Gonna Dance

by David Trumbull

January 23, 2009

“pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off” –President Barack Hussein Obama, January 20, 2009

When I heard President Obama say those words in his inaugural address to the nation I mentally added—start all over again, thus completing the Dorothy Fields lyric introduced in the 1936 Astaire and Rogers vehicle, Swing Time. Set, as well as made, in the economic depression of the 1930s, Ginger’s first encounter in the picture with Fred leaves her believing he has pinched a quarter out of her pocketbook. Yes, a quarter of a dollar—25 cents—in 1936 was real money, which shows just how far our politicians have gone in devaluing our currency. Just wait ‘til we print the scrip to pay for Obama’s multi-imbecilian dollar stimulus.

Fields’ delightful words, mated to a jaunty Jerome Kern tune, acknowledge the “down-and-out” condition of the protagonists while pointing to their ultimate rise above temporary setbacks. But it is the dance that moves the film. Swing Time is one of the earliest movie musicals where dance, without dialogue, advances the narrative. Rogers’ character begins the “Pick Yourself Up” dance despising “Lucky,” the Astaire character, as a pick-up artist and cheap thief; over the course of the something under four minutes duration of a standard popular song she discovers that he is the savior of both her love life and employment prospects.

The Obama Administration offers us the prospect of Swing Time in reverse. Hailed from the start as the Messiah, he has a little under four years to reveal himself as yet another sweet-talking politician with his hand in our wallets. I predict it won’t take that long and that by November 2010 Republicans will be feeling pretty peppy about our election prospects and Democrats, especially the far left who have given their hearts to the Chosen One will be singing “A Fine Romance” the Swing Time number about love gone wrong. As for the Obama love-fest conga-line—I’ll sit this one out.

[David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee. Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.]