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Politics and the "Dave" Principles

April 3, 2011 - Joselyn King
This past week, I had the opportunity to rewatch (perhaps for the 150th time) the movie "Dave," one of my all time favorites.

Those of you who have seen the movie likely agree with me -- it should be mandatory viewing for anyone considering a run for public office.

For those of you who haven't seen it (and you should), I'll summarize its plot:

Dave runs a temp agency and finds jobs for people everyday. He also happens to look identical to the not-so-ethical U.S. president. The resemblance is such that the Secret Service shows up on Dave's doorstep and ask him to stand in for the president.

The patriotic Dave accepts, but while he is on the job the real president suffers a near-fatal and brain damaging stroke durying a tryst with his secretary. The chief of staff -- who wants to be the next president -- near persuades Dave to stay on as president "for national security purposes" while he figures out a way to dump the president's illegal behaviors onto the vice president. All the while, the real president is being kept alive by machine at a secret location.

"And don't worry about the first lady," Dave is told. "They haven't spoken in months."

But it doesn't take the first lady long to figure out the rouse, as she quickly realizes the president now is a lot nicer than her husband ever was.

And the nation comes to love the energetic "President Dave," who is much more engaged with the people and the issues of the day.

Dave and the first lady join forces, fire the chief of staff and start their own plan to get passed a jobs bill that will put people to work.

Dave makes a wonderful speech to announce his initiative, beginning that the problems of the world are so great often we become overridden by them. But when someone has a job, they feel a sense of purpose and obligation, and the problems don't feel as great and unsurmountable to them anymore.

It was all about jobs to Dave.

But unfortunately the real president's illegal dealings catch up to President Dave, who must say in a speech to the American people, "I should have cared more about you than I did about me. . ."

In between, Dave saves a homeless shelfter programás funding after calling in his accountant friend Murray to review the books.

"I would be out of business if I kept my books like this," Murray tells Dave.

It may be overly simplistic in many ways, but Dave (made nearly two centuries ago) drives home important lessons about government and elected service, and may have been ahead of its time.

The issues of job creation, ethics , fiscal responsibility and a politician's personal interest in constituent concerns are what American voters seek these days from their politicians.


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