The GOP’s debt ceiling movie night — The Town? Really?

The House GOP leaders are really trying everything to get people behind the Boehner plan.

I mean everything.

In all the debt-related shenanigans, one feature of last night's meeting of the caucus has not been sufficiently noted.

The Post reported:

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the party’s vote counter, began his talk by showing a clip from the movie, “The Town”, trying to forge a sense of unity among the independent-minded caucus.
One character asks his friend: “I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later.”
“Whose car are we gonna take,” the character says.
After showing the clip, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), one of the most outspoken critics of leadership among the 87 freshmen, stood up to speak, according to GOP aides.
“I’m ready to drive the car,” West replied, surprising many Republicans by giving his full -throated support for the plan.

The first six times I read this, I could have sworn it was from the Onion. I am still not entirely sure that it isn’t.

Let's just pause for a moment and think about this. They showed a clip from Ben Affleck’s “The Town,” a movie about bank robbers, a group of people generally not recognized for their ability to keep their finances in order. But not just a clip. This particular clip. In the next scene, Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner go to the home of some dubious characters, break in, and beat them up.

Allow me to translate this into all-capital letters, for impact: TO CONVINCE PEOPLE TO VOTE FOR THE BOEHNER BILL, THEY WATCHED A CLIP ABOUT NOT ASKING QUESTIONS BEFORE BREAKING INTO A HOUSE AND BEATING PEOPLE UP?

Great. With inspirational tactics like this, who needs detractors?

On Wednesday, McCarthy tried giving other "inspirational" speeches, telling the caucus that “we need to stick together as a team.” Why didn’t he whip out the footage from “Mighty Ducks” while he was at it? You might as well go whole hog. “Ducks fly together! Ducks fly together!”

Whose idea was this?

"Golly, after that CBO report, this plan is hemorrhaging support, yet we need at least 217 votes! How are we going to fix it?"

"I know! Let's show a video clip from 'The Town.’"

“Yeah!” everyone at the table yelled. “Nothing says, ‘You should support this budget plan because it is a good idea’ like ‘We are going to hurt people and never talk about it later, and can I borrow your car?’”

Couldn't they think of any other clips? How about that clip from The Godfather where Jack Woltz wakes up in bed with 1/5 of a horse? (“This is an offer you can’t refuse!”) Or the first ten minutes of "Up," a heart-tugging montage capable of reducing the most savage beast to helpless complaisance. "I'll vote for anything!" the Recalcitrant Freshmen would sob, afterwards. "I now understand what love means." It’d definitely make Boehner cry.

Or the scene from "Reservoir Dogs" where one man brutally tortures another to the accompaniment of “Stuck in the Middle With You”? That would probably get some sort of response from the caucus. And, possibly, the same number of votes.

If anything, this reveals the limitations of using film clips as a strategy to gin up support for legislative initiatives. Anything short of Mighty Ducks probably won’t cut it.

Where do you go from here?

"Here is the stairway scene from ‘A History of Violence,’" McCarthy will say at the next meeting. "I don't know why we're watching it exactly, but we're sort of throwing the kitchen sink at the wall at this point."

"Can we go now?" freshmen members of the caucus will say, getting up nervously.

"Shhh," McCarrthy will respond. "Shhhh."

If they really want to use films for coercive purposes, at least they picked the right starring actor. "You better vote for the Boehner plan!" they'll yell. "Or we're watching ‘Gigli.’"

Hey, it’s about as good as the current strategy.

UPDATED, 3:39 PM: I initially misidentified the music used in the scene from “Reservoir Dogs.” Thanks, kevinsimpson1!

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".

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