In the 1968 film adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, there is a scene where the Baron of Vulgaria steals Chitty, kidnaps Grandpa and assembles all the smart guys of the kingdom to make the car fly. It is reasoned that if they just kinda disassemble the car, examine every piece of hardware, then glue a life preserver on another car, put a wing here and there, their car will also float and fly.
And, to sweeten the deal, the Baron will execute anyone who can’t make his car fly by his birthday party, a few days hence.
The truth of why Chitty Chitty Bang Bang can fly is because it is in her soul, it is who she is. It is becasue she has a great spirit of having once been great on the race track and once again, has a “family” (the Potts) who adore and cherish her, enabling her to soar. The “smart guys” fail because they start by asking “what” instead of “why.”
Barack Obama is a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He is able to inspire, speak with ease and eloquence, think through complex issues quickly and articulate a plan that is at once detailed, yet understandable. Faced with this “Chitty,” the Republicans immediately race to “disassemble” Obama, identify those things that make him soar and attempt to make a flying car of their own – Sarah Palin.
Palin is young, she is attractive, she is daring, she has executive experience (minimal, but we can spin that.) She is all those things that Barack Obama is; until she starts talking. Then, it becomes painfully clear that she can’t motivate a country to action, that she has not found that “soul” to inspire a nation. That she is divisive and that she just is not very bright. (ahem, sorry, intellectually curious)
But, since the smart guys assembled her and they wish not to be executed, they start yelling at the top of their lungs, “She can fly, she can.. I’ve seen it with my own eyes!” And, the people around them who have clearly seen Palin not fly repeat the chant because they too, do not want to die. They so desperately believe their own dream that they fail to see the facts in front of them.
In the end, the common folk (children) rescues Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, she spreads her wings, repels the baron and his smart guys, Grandpa is rescued and the Baron (and Baroness) are seen for what they really are. But, in an ironic twist, the Baron never understands why his car did not fly. I suspect — if the Baron were a GOP leader — he would still be trying to make a flying car from Chitty parts.
Perhaps if he tried harder. Perhaps if his smart guys were able to analyze the magic coat of paint three more layers deep. Perhaps if he believed more. Perhaps if he put on lipstick one more time and winked one more wink, he too could have a flying car.