Joe Biden employs a political strategy of underpromising and overperforming. In other words, he sets the bar low and then he looks like he’s succeeded beyond his own expectations. It’s a bit odd that one time he very publicly experiences a failure in that strategy, he and his White House staff are declaring a celebration. The White House will celebrate a COVID Independence Day, complete with beer and the help of a Hollywood actor.
On Saturday, Joe Biden and his merry band of administration officials will fan out across America to celebrate that hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 are way down. Life is getting back to normal. Joe Biden set a goal of 70% of American adults receiving their first COVID-19 vaccination shot by Independence day. It was to be Joe’s big pandemic milestone. Instead, the news of a celebratory holiday weekend comes from actor Bill Pullman, the actor who played President Thomas Whitmore in Independence Day, the 1996 movie. That movie was wildly successful, though it was about an alien invasion, not a doddering old man acting as the leader of the free world.
Bill Pullman comes in with the Budweiser beer promotion. Budweiser is officially unlocking its free beer giveaway, an incentive to encourage people to get a jab by July 4. The beer incentive was part of Biden’s “month of action” to encourage an early summer surge in vaccinations. Instead, vaccination participation is tapering off, with most people inclined to be vaccinated having already received their full doses. June was declared a critical month in the path to normal. Joe Biden is accustomed to failing up so he’s declaring a celebratory weekend anyway. Vaccinations bring freedom.
“We’re fighting for freedom for all, not from alien invaders, from separation, from being cooped up while baking bread and ignoring basic hygiene,” Pullman says, wearing a bomber jacket and standing at a lectern in an aircraft hanger with music swelling behind him, just like in the movie.
At first, Pullman resisted the idea of reprising his big speech. When Budweiser made some changes he suggested, he changed his mind. The focus on his speech isn’t America-centric, even though it is the 4th of July, Independence Day weekend, it has a more global appeal. Of course, it does. The global citizenry is still popular on the left side of the aisle. Pullman even voiced surprise that Budweiser fell for it, er, agreed to his suggestions.
“So many times over the years, people say, ‘Do you want to do the speech? We’ve got a funny version of it. You could deliver it,’” says Pullman, who has generally avoided such overtures for fear of “violating” or “deluding” the original speech, written by Independence Day screenwriter Dean Devlin.
Pullman initially hesitated when approached by Budweiser for this version, and the actor had some notes, wanting to tweak the pitch.
“It [originally] was kind of oriented toward, ‘We got through COVID, let’s party,’ and I thought, ‘You know, that is still kind of not right,” recalls the actor, who pushed to make the message more globally oriented to acknowledge the fight is not done.
The Budweiser team liked Pullman’s thoughts and also pledged to donate to vaccine charity Direct Relief. Pullman is donating his fee to COVAX, a vaccine access organization.
The video was shot in Canada earlier this month using some of the crew from his USA series, The Sinner. One person in the crew was born in Hong Kong and emigrated to the U.S. and referenced his love of the movie Independence Day. Pullman gushed, “It was just so rewarding to have this full-circle moment.”
This is the second time Pullman has reprised a version of the famous speech.
This is actually the second time Pullman has reprised the Independence Day speech. The first was for the Super Bowl in 2016, which came ahead of the sequel, Independence Day Resurgence. Studio 20th Century Fox asked Pullman to record a spot for the Carolina Panthers. He declined at first, but ultimately agreed after director Roland Emmerich and Devlin gave their blessing and the studio agreed to donate $100,000 to charities of Pullman’s choice.
Remember when Biden first said if everyone was good and got their shots, we could have a small gathering of family and friends in our backyards for the Fourth of July holiday? It will probably come as a surprise to the Biden White House bubble dwellers that most Americans are living their lives as they see fit, vaccinated or not. We’re pandemic-weary and using common sense. The waning pandemic doesn’t get to steal another holiday celebration away from us. We lost enough of those in 2020, into early 2021. Independence Day, indeed. We see you, Joe.
For the first time in 25 years, Bill Pullman is back with a new speech to celebrate Independence Day. Watch now and #GoFourthAmerica.
— Budweiser (@budweiserusa) June 30, 2021
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