The vision of America that Sarah Palin puts forward in her latest book has a precedent in the classic films of Frank Capra, commentator Stanley Fish writes in an online essay for The New York Times
. Fish contends that Palin and Capra — in their portrayals of freedom and individuality — promote values championed by the tea party.
In “America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag,” Palin pays tribute to Jefferson Smith (pictured, as portrayed by James Stewart), the everyman hero of Capra’s 1939 movie, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
Fish writes that Capra films depict ordinary people trumping “the forces of statism, corporatism, and mercantilism . . . by declaring, living, and fighting for a simple basic creed of individualism, self-help, independence, and freedom.
“Does that sound familiar? It should. It describes what we have come to know as the tea party, which famously has no leaders, no organization, no official platform, no funds from the public trough.”
Although "America by Heart" only briefly mentions the tea party, “Palin is busy elaborating its principles . . . in the lengthy discussion of Capra’s Jefferson Smith,” Fish writes.
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