The Popcorn Stand: Advise and Consent repeated

I’ve written before about “Advise and Consent,” the 1962 movie based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book written by Allen Drury. I had the pleasure to interview Drury, a Porterville High graduate, when I worked at the Porterville (Calif.) Recorder. What a class act.

In the movie, the president’s controversial nomination for secretary of state Robert Leffingwell, played by Henry Fonda, is considered for confirmation by the Senate. I won’t totally give away what happens, but in the climatic scene of this outstanding movie, the votes are taken for each senator and it’s a nailbiter which provides for a dramatic and surprising ending.

This week’s Senate wrangling when it comes to repealing Obamacare has reminded me of the vote taken at the end of “Advise and Consent.” Spoiler alert: the closest the Senate has come this week to the drama of the vote in “Advise and Consent” came when it approved a proposal to move ahead with the debate on repealing Obamacare by a 51-50 vote with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie.

Sen. Dean Heller, who has had one “Heller” of a time, voted yes to move on with the debate. I admit, part of the reason to write this Popcorn Stand was so I could throw in that previous phrase because I know I would never be able to use it in a headline.

But as of this writing Wednesday afternoon, there hasn’t been the drama featured in “Advise and Consent” with two proposals to repeal Obamacare being rejected several votes shy of creating any real drama. Heller has voted against both proposals.

Still it’s been fascinating to look at the result of the votes much like when I was fascinated by watching the fictional climatic vote in “Advise and Consent,” which had its share of surprises.

Will there be any drama when it comes to the repeal of Obamacare similar to that in “Advise and Consent?” I’d say it’s 50-50.

— Charles Whisnand


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