political-theater

Capitol Ink | The Warren Archives

‘Running with Beto’: The offstage version of Beto O’Rourke
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 77

Beto O’Rourke’s campaign for Senate in Texas provided plenty of fodder, warts and all, for David Modigliani’s ‘Running with Beto’ documentary on HBO. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Filmmaker David Modigliani got to first base with Beto O’Rourke. At an amateur club baseball game in Austin, Texas, in early 2017, O’Rourke, center fielder for the Los Diablitos de El Paso, singled and introduced himself to Modigliani, first baseman for the Texas Playboys Baseball Club, and said he was a congressman running for Senate.

This anecdote doesn’t make it into Modigliani’s documentary for HBO, “Running with Beto,” but it fits right into the movie’s vibe. O’Rourke’s “Let’s put on a multimillion-dollar Senate campaign” approach did not suffer from a lack of exposure, but Modigliani casts it in a different light by showing more than just the Texas Democrat’s armpit-sweat and crowd-surfing, DIY schtick. He wanted to document someone like O’Rourke “trying something new” in Texas, where Democrats “have been banging their heads against the wall for 30 years.”

Capitol Ink | MNGA

Capitol Ink | Barr-tleby the Scrivener

Why the Grim Reaper thing works for Mitch McConnell
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 76

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has his own way of doing things, to the consternation of his political foes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mitch McConnell is an extraordinarily successful politician, despite lacking what might be described as traditional attributes of a public official.

The Senate majority leader pursues his policy goals with metronomic unflashiness. He is almost proudly uncharismatic, brandishing his fuddy-duddyism as a boy scout might display a merit badge.

Capitol Ink | Donald Duck

Capitol Ink | Party Trick

Capitol Ink | The Art of the Census

When Werner met Mikhail … ‘Meeting Gorbachev’
Political Theater, Episode 75

Filmmaker Werner Herzog, seen here in 2016 promoting his film “Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World” discussed his documentary “Meeting Gorbachev” recently with Political Theater podcast host Jason Dick. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Everything about Werner Herzog becomes theater. Talk to the iconic German filmmaker about his documentary “Meeting Gorbachev” and he might just end up scolding you about your interpretation of Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov. Scroll through historic footage of the fall of the Iron Curtain, and you could end up learning how much beer garden slugs like to drink. Quote from his movie about worries that the U.S. and Russia are heading toward an arms race, and he will downplay that Russia is a threat, while also saying world leaders need to “look beyond the horizon again,” and strive toward peace, much like Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev once did.

For better or worse, he’s always interesting. He doesn’t have much patience for small talk, so your latest Political Theater podcast, which features our conversation with him about his film on the last president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, is a real ride. “I never would have dreamed I would have spoken to Gorbachev himself,” he says. The movie demonstrates his undreamed reality. Listen for yourself: 

Capitol Ink | Federal Disaster Relief Bill