Fighting Dem Documentary: Discovery's "Taking the Hill"
by howardpark, Sat Dec 09, 2006 at 11:32:10 AM EST
Last week I saw a partial screening (55 minutes) of one of the best political documentary films I've ever seen, "Taking the Hill". The final product (90 minutes) airs on the Discovery Times Channel this Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 9:00 EST. Discovery Times is available on most digital & satellite cable systems.
The film, produced by brothers Criag & Brent Renaud, intimately tracks four "Fighting Dem" candidates: Eric Massa, Tammy Duckworth, John Balanas and (Rep-Elect) Patrick Murphy and their strong supporter, Sen. Max Cleland. It also documents the gathering of about 50 "Fighting Dem" candidates in Washington in February, 2006.
I've never seen a political documentary before that addresses the ins & outs of fundraising pressure, the interaction between candidates, consultants & staff and the relationship between local House candidates, PACs and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In one memorable scene, Cleland says "Fuck him" of DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel, another frequent subject of the film -- you will have to watch it to find out why! In another scene, Balanas comforts the South Texas family whose 19 year old daughter had been killed in Iraq -- anybody who doesn't cry or come close would have to have a heart of stone. Overall, Massa is the star. Tammy Duckworth comes off great. Patrick Murphy is a natural politician, in the best sense of the word.
"Taking the Hill" is very revealing about personalities, but at its heart it is about how the system, via party leaders like Emanuel, tries to mold strong personalities into politicians and fundraising machines. There have been endless blog posts about internal battles during the 2006 campaign between candidates who were favored by the party establishment vs. others who seems to grow organically from the grass roots, including the netroots. "Taking the Hill" is a well done, 90 minute version of what so many of us were blogging about.
One fact from the end of "Taking the Hill": there will be fewer Veterans in the 110th Congress than any since before World War One.
Clips of "taking the Hill"& other info is at: http://www.press.discovery.com/ekits/tak ingthehill/template.cfm?page=pressreleas e
(P.S. my flacking for Taking the Hill is volunteer & pro bono. It's good and nobody paid me to say so!)