"The Genesis Code" -- Cinema as Campaign Tactic

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 17 2011 1:09 PM

"The Genesis Code" -- Cinema as Campaign Tactic

Haley Barbour is heading to New Hampshire for a premiere of a movie called The Genesis Code . He's following in the steps of Sharron Angle, who headed to Iowa (and did not dismiss 2012 campaign rumors) for a premiere of the movie. And he's going to be joined in spirit by Christine O'Donnell, who'll attend a premiere in Delaware, and Ken Buck, who'll be at one in Colorado.

What is The Genesis Code ? It's one of those films marketed to Christians but generally ignored by critics when it's released in theaters; the title echoes The Omega Code , which was the most popular movie of this kind until The Passion of the Christ . (Obviously, critics didn't ignore that one; on the campaign trail, O'Donnell spoke often of her work promoting Mel Gibson's movie.)

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The trailer gives you some indication of what's in the movie. Please note the appearance of Fred Thompson as a disappointed bureaucrat.

And the origins of the movie can explain why its marketers are courting politicians. It was filmed in Michigan -- in part because of the state's generous, Democrat-sponsored tax subsidies -- thanks to Jerry Zandstra, a minister who served as a kind of script doctor and who has a small role in the film. Zandstra ran for US Senate in 2006, then founded the Pro-Life Federation of Michigan, and then became chairman of Michigan's chapter of Americans for Prosperity, which is funded in part by the Koch brothers. So think on this the next time somebody posits that social conservatives have lost their sway in the GOP.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.