The film takes place in the 1950's during the heyday of radio, and the beginnings of television. Its main focus was a character named Lonesome Rhodes as played by a youngish Andy Griffith. Griffith was absolutely captivating in this film, and if you get the chance to see it you will never be able to watch his series The Andy Griffith Show again without instinctively recoiling at his saccharine voice. The character Rhodes is a found star living among the captives at a small town jail who likes to dispense advise, and grassroots wisdom, while plucking a guitar. Lonesome likes the limelight, and power that comes from the attention his populist screeds on television, and radio bring. He gins up hatred, and anger in a way I find comparable to the way the modern GOP does today.
If they are not able to do so, we may be seeing the real end of the GOP as we ever knew them. History shows again, and again how mob mentality eventually leads to the path of destruction. Generally the destruction of those behind the curtains pulling the strings.
It was during last years election that I first saw similarity between this "found star" Rhodes, and the Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. She too, (just like ol' Lonesome) can muster mobs of people and raise anger toward made up boogie men, and fake issues using an amazingly sweet voice. People like Sarah, and Lonesome Rhodes often do get the attention they seek, but in real life, as in the film they too find themselves washed up when former allies turn on them. I do not believe it will be long before the cooler heads in the GOP begin to reel in their crazy activist counterparts, and give them a map to the door. If they ever plan to make a run at 2012 in a serious way, they will need to be able to point to level headed leadership in order to woo a majority of voters.
Make no mistake, it IS the GOP pulling the strings, and pushing a mob mentality this weekend. For every congress person the GOP sends people to scream at, and shout down at town hall meetings this month, they are loosing many voters that came to hear about the health care plan they want and need badly. This time voters will not blame the Democrats for the destruction of health care reform, as the evidence is clear that Republicans are the party of NO!