Philip Maddocks: Hoping to regain their fighting spirit, Democrats hire Sylvester Stallone to toughen them up

Philip Maddocks

Convinced they have a story to tell and lack only the guts to tell it, the Democratic Party has hired Sylvester Stallone to add toughness and grit to its leaders.

“By November, we expect to win the Senate, the House, and the White House and to get bloody while we do it,” said an animated Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader and a former amateur boxer himself.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the minority whip, said he is looking forward to bringing his new fighting game to bear in the House this summer.

“I think when the American people see my improved uppercut, they are going to respond favorably,” said Mr. Hoyer, taking a break between work on the heavy bag. “As Sly has told us, a punch is worth a thousand talking points.”

Mr. Hoyer and other Democrats are convinced the party’s new pugilistic image will appeal to young voters and Hispanic voters, two demographics that are seen as key to their party’s success in November.

While the young and the recently immigrated don’t always find personal kinship with graying, middle-aged politicians, they will identify with Democrats’ quest at making themselves over into Stallone-like action heroes, Hoyer said.

“The fist,” said Mr. Hoyer, “is eternally youthful and multicultural.”

Calling it the greatest challenge of his career, Mr. Stallone said he was ecstatic when the Democratic Party came calling.

“I was so excited I called up Dolph and told him to punch me as hard as he could in the chest,” Mr. Stallone recalled, referring to Dolph Lundgren, his co-star in “Rocky IV” and “The Expendables.” “Then I remembered what happened the last time he did that. I ended up in intensive care for four days. So I thought, maybe it would be better if Dolph hit (House Majority Leader) Eric Cantor instead.”

In preparation for his new role, Mr. Stallone said he has been reading up on constitutional law and holding mock debates with fellow actor Bruce Willis, who is playing the role of the uncompromising Republican who keeps threatening to shut down the federal government if he doesn’t get his way.

Mr. Stallone said the sessions with Mr. Willis, which often extend well into the night and frequently end in fisticuffs, have given him new insights into what it’s going to take to march his new pupils into manhood.

“I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but it’s certainly doable,” said Mr. Stallone, adding that he is already impressed with Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s jab, President Obama’s speed and ring savvy, and Mr. Hoyer’s gray hair.

Mr. Stallone said he planned to begin light sparring sessions with some of the junior senators and representatives on Monday and by next month have the whole Democratic Party machine, including Mr. Obama and his re-election team, doing abdominal crunches and sprinting up the 72 steps to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“As long as Dolph doesn’t punch them in the chest or Steve (Austin) doesn’t break their neck, they’re going to find that fighting is more fun than they thought — certainly more fun than trying to sound reasonable in the face of a partisan attack,” Mr. Stallone said.

Speaking from his gritty Beverly Hills gym, the indomitable actor, whose resilience and nerve have proven to be unconquerable in celluloid encounters in boxing rings, on mountains tops, and in jungles, said he hoped to capture the same iconic magic with his new Democratic clientele that he has found on the big screen  — adding that he wouldn’t rule out rewriting some of the Democratic campaign script and bringing in some of the cast of action characters he worked with in “The Expendables” to help whip the flaccid political party leaders into fighting shape.

“My job is to help them forget they are a politician when they climb into that Capitol Rotunda,” he said. “They are not in there to reason with their Republican counterparts. They are there to bloody them. That’s how you score points in this game.”

Mr. Stallone said he is confident he will soon have the Democrats spoiling for a fight even more than their Republican opponents.

“It may not be in their nature now,” he said. “But once they see how much money I have raised through my ‘Rocky’ and ‘Rambo’ films, I think they’ll be ready to rumble.”

Philip Maddocks is a political satire columnist for GateHouse News Service. He can be reached at