“Bad Politics” by Michael Moore is a witty and biting political comedy. It tells the story of Moore, a fourth grader who frustrates his teachers with his comments and lack of schoolwork. He is also foul-mouthed and bullies his classmates. When a Black student bullies him in school, he retaliates with a tirade of political incorrectness and even reveals some of his own bad habits and wrong doings.
The United States of America is perhaps the most capitalist country in the world. That is to say, it is a country that allows free enterprise, relatively free government, and competitive businesses. All of this is to say that American politics is perhaps the most “capitalism” system in the world. However, some economists believe that the level of capitalism in the United States has been declining because the business world has become so corrupt. As more businesses fail, more citizens turn to the political system as a last resort.
With his movie, Michael Moore addresses what he perceives as the flaws within American politics and the problems with the economic reforms that have been passed since the Reagan Revolution. The movie highlights three main issues: Corporate interests, crony capitalism, and ineffective leadership. Specifically, he focuses on the relationship between Congress, Wall Street, and big business. He also makes a good point when criticizing economic reforms that have been passed over the years, such as the regulatory agencies concerning bailouts and worker protections. However, it would have been better if he had produced his documentary before these agencies were created.
While discussing the political system in the United States, Michael Moore misses an important point. He fails to recognize that the political system in the United States is fundamentally a capitalist one. Most citizens of the United States live in a capitalist society. Whether we like it or not, that is the reality of our existence. Therefore, anyone making criticisms of the United States government or capitalism without actually thinking of their country as a capitalist society is making a big mistake.
The second major error that Moore makes in his documentary is his continual recourse to Democratic and Republican politicians to attack Republicans. It is ironic that his own party makes him go after them. Instead of trying to build bridges with Democrats and independents to promote his own party, he resorts to trying to undermine the Republicans. This could only be viewed as bad politics, yet many Americans seem to support his accusations.
The third error that I find in his film is his incorrect use of political logic and the collapse of reasoning. In his criticism of the Democrats and Republicans, he compares the Carbon Tax with the Gestapo. He says that the Democrats are worse than the Gestapo because they are more willing to sacrifice the well-being of the American people for their political gain. Incorrect political logic indeed; this is quite an erroneous argument, and I would love to see him back up on this.
Further, Moore makes a fatal mistake in his comparison of economic policies with Communism. The reality is that there were no communist regimes in India prior to Independence, and yet the Congress party brought one in. Further, why should we stop with the Soviet Union when India has over 30 socialist parties? Furthermore, did the Indians suffer any worse economic policies than the former communist governments? Well, no, they didn’t suffer nearly as much economic hardships as the former Soviet Union countries, but perhaps they got it right when they elected their leaders based on their philosophies and values, which are not far different from socialism.
As far as Bad Politics goes, I would give it four stars out of five. There is nothing inherently wrong with a documentary like this, as long as all the facts are studied and analyzed. Moore’s errors can be rectified with more research and by watching his other documentaries. Unfortunately, this is not enough for me, as I am thoroughly disgusted with the way the film was produced and its utterly poor quality. Please consider all this.