Friday, June 22, 2012

The Downfall of Carmen Trutanich YouTube parody may save the clown from ruin

On June 5, 2012, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich suffered a personally humiliating and politically devastating defeat when, as the widely perceived 'front-runner' in the election for Los Angeles County District Attorney, Trutanich finished in a lowly third place, losing to a pair of political novices who had less than one-third of the campaign warchest Trutanich had amassed to advance his political career.

Trutanich now joins the ranks of other failed politicians who have had their spectacular defeats parodied to a four minute scene from the 2004 critically acclaimed movie 'The Downfall' documenting the final days of the Third Reich and featuring what has become known as the 'Hitler Rant Scene.'  This scene lends itself to other historically significant failures as an embattled leader reacts badly to news of impending disaster and casts blame on everyone but himself.

The Downfall of Carmen Trutanich, released on YouTube June 14, 2012, focuses on Trutanich's failed attempt to avoid a barrage of questions from the media arising from accusations that he had lied about being surrounded and shot at by gangmembers. The avoidance technique, believed to have been the brainchild of John Shallman (Trutanich's chief political strategist), was for Trutanich to 'partially suspend' the media portion of his campaign because his mother was ill.

Although Trutanich did successfully duck the media using this pretext, Shallman incredibly decided to agree to be interviewed by FOX 11 News Anchor Jeff Michael instead of Trutanich. Most observers agree that Shallman's failure to respond to Michael's pin-pointed questions put the final nail in the coffin of Trutanich's political career. Shallman's interview was described as so 'weaselly' that it defied belief.

In addition to Trutanch's anger at Shallman for messing up on Fox News, the embattled leader also lashes out at Shallman's failure to defend him from attacks on his reputation by the media. The ranting Trutanich bemoans KFI AM640's John and Ken labeling Trutanich 'a lying boob,' KABC 790AM's Doug McIntyre calling Trutanich 'Truth Challenged,' and LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus front-pager entitled 'Carmen the Barbarian.' After cataloguing the many media character attacks, Trutanich rhetorically asks his inner circle 'Where was Shallman when my reputation was getting jail raped?' leaving little doubt that Trutanich blames Shallman for his downfall.

Trutanich, having realized that 'the campaign is over,' nevertheless vows to battle on to the end, reminding all that he still holds power for another year. Although the Downfall of Carmen Trutanich is a parody, and clearly intended to be satyrical, recent events suggest that the makers had informed sources. Since the Downfall of Carmen Trutanich was released, Trutanich has now indicated that he will 'fight on' and run for reelection in 2013. Also, not surprisingly, Trutanich has split with Shallman who he now blames for his downfall.

Although some may be offended by analogizing Carmen Trutanich's downfall to that of the despised mass-murdering leader of Nazi Germany, Trutanich is but one of the latest of a long series of failed politicians, including Hillary Clinton and John McCain, who have had their downfalls parodied to the last days of Adolf Hitler.

Trutanich may even benefit from the being associated with larger political failures, perhaps keeping his name in the press as he reinvents himself in preparation for his 2013 campaign. Others , however, may find the ranting, screaming and blame-shifting in the parody chillingly reminiscent of real events in the Executive Offices on the 8th floor of City Hall East.