“BOB ROBERTS,” written and directed by Tim Robbins, who also plays the title role, is a very funny, sometimes prescient satire of American politics, and of the comparatively small, voting portion of the electorate that makes a Bob Roberts phenomenon possible. Recent events haven’t completely overtaken the movie, but they do indicate just how wild a satire must be these days to remain on the cutting edge of the outrageous.
When Bob strums his guitar and sings such upbeat numbers as “My Land,” “Times Are Changin’ Back” and “Wall Street Rap,” he is selling family values and patriotism and assuring his supporters that, in effect, it’s their duty to “take, make and win by any means,” even if they can’t. Among other things, Bob understands the appeal of an ultra-conservative political and economic policy even to those who have nothing: anticipating the day when they do have it all, they want to make sure they will be able to keep it.
Trump has taken what once seemed crazy and mainstreamed it.