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Don't believe the 'Vice' hype: Washington, DC is more like 'Veep'

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17.02.2019

There’s a scene in Adam McKay’s Oscar-nominated "Vice" that had me holding my laughter at the theater. Vice President Dick Cheney, portrayed by Christian Bale, attends Americans for Tax Reform’s “Wednesday Meeting” — a weekly staple in Washington’s center-right circles. In just a minute or so, the scene encapsulated what for me was the main flaw of the film: Hollywood doesn’t know how Washington works.

As he enters the room, Grover Norquist and the audience of at least 50 attendees rise to attention like Darth Vader and the stormtroopers greeting Emperor Palpatine on the Death Star. Norquist introduces “marketing guru Frank Luntz” to give a presentation about rebranding the federal estate tax as the “death tax” to inspire populist outrage towards an issue that only affects the wealthy.

As ATR’s John Kartch points out in the Daily Caller, the scene mangles the history of the “death tax” terminology, as the phrase was used well before when the meeting was supposedly set in 2001. More broadly, the scene completely misses the mark of what really........

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