DAVID Mamet is a Hollywood type who can't be type-cast as a typical L.A. limousine liberal. Years ago, the director and playwright went over to the dark side with opinions that go against the grain of Barack Obama-loving movie folk.
C-SPAN is featuring Mamet this month in discussions of his book “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture.” Mamet's political turn was noted in his 2008 essay for the Village Voice, headlined “Why I Am No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal.” He was featured speaker earlier this month at the Manhattan Institute's annual Wriston Lecture. Past headliners include Condi Rice, George F. Will and Clarence Thomas.
Mamet joins a small group of entertainment celebrities who march to a different drummer. The group includes Tom Wolfe, Ben Stein, Dennis Miller and, of course, Clint Eastwood. These aren't tea party sippers, but they're a long way from George Clooney. More tellingly, they're a long way from their own previous way of thinking.
Mamet's work includes two movies dealing with confidence games (“House of Games” and “The Spanish Prisoner”). The progressive movement is a type of shell game, helping Obama win another term with promises of taking care of people with money he'll have to print or borrow.
In a 2011 op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Mamet recalls visiting a Brooklyn silk-screen printer offering shirts with adoring portraits of President Obama. The vendor quoted two prices, including a cash-only lower one that would allow him to skirt paying taxes. “Reminds me,” Mamet wrote, “of the old joke that Oklahomans will vote their state dry as long as they can stagger to the polls.”
The staggering debt Obama has run up is troubling, but too many people are like the shirt vendor. “For the more I think about it,” Mamet wrote, “the more the question of taxes is central to that of liberty in general ... Cut taxes and these intellectual wards of the state will have to find a method of support that actually fulfills a need.”
In a 2011 interview, Mamet said that before he moved to California (he's originally from Chicago), he'd never met people who described themselves as conservative. He'd never read anything by conservative intellects such as Shelby Steele or Thomas Sowell. “No one on the left has,” he said. “I realized I lived in this bubble.”
That bubble doesn't burst often in the entertainment world, which is as bound by political correctness as it is by the worship of diversity. Mamet is also an outlander culturally. He's a Jew who implored fellow Jews to vote for Mitt Romney. Here's a Mamet line you won't hear much within the movie industry: The Israelis “would like to live in peace within their borders; the Arabs would like to kill them all.”
Clint Eastwood's empty chair “dialogue” with Obama was a highlight of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Romney won't fill the chair in the Oval Office come January, and conservative scriptwriters and directors might not fill a single theater.
As far as we can tell, though, Hollywood liberals haven't been sending checks to Washington to help offset revenue losses from the “Bush tax cuts” they purportedly dislike. Like the shirt vendor, they've had it both ways.