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A film by Thomas Lüchinger

USA minutes Hal Ashby. Hal Ashby's delightful, resonant satire stars Peter Sellers as a childlike gardener whose only knowledge of the world comes from what he sees on television, until he is thrust into the world of Washington D. In his penultimate performance, Peter Sellers stars as Chance, a childlike gardener who has spent his whole life inside a wealthy man's townhouse in Washington, D.

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Chance has never ventured further than the garden he tends to, and his knowledge of the outside comes entirely from what he watches on television. But when the wealthy old man dies, Chance is evicted.

Mistakenly believing that he is a wise, down-on-his-luck businessman named Chauncey Gardiner, Ben and his young wife Eve Shirley MacLaine bring the injured gardener to their palatial estate to recover and quickly take to his congenial personality. Eve mishears "Chance, the gardener" as "Chauncey Gardiner". Chance is wearing expensive tailored clothes from the s and '30s, which his benefactor had allowed him to take from the attic, and his manners are old-fashioned and courtly.

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When Ben Rand meets him, he assumes these are signs that Chance is an upper-class, highly educated businessman. Chance's simple words, spoken often due to confusion or to a stating of the obvious, are repeatedly misunderstood as profound; in particular, his simplistic utterances about gardens and the weather are interpreted as allegorical statements about business and the state of the economy.


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Ben Rand admires Chauncey, finding him direct and insightful. Rand is a confidant and adviser to the President of the United States, Jack Warden , whom he introduces to "Chauncey". The President likewise interprets Chance's remarks about the "garden" as economic and political advice. Chance, as Chauncey Gardiner, quickly rises to national public prominence.

After his appearance on a television talk show, he becomes a celebrity and soon rises to the top of Washington society.

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Public opinion polls start to reflect just how much his "simple brand of wisdom" resonates with the jaded American public. At Rand's funeral, while the President delivers a speech, the pall-bearers hold a whispered discussion over potential replacements for the President in the next term of office. As Rand's coffin is about to be interred in the family mausoleum, they unanimously agree on "Chauncey Gardiner". Oblivious to all this, Chance wanders through Rand's wintry estate.

He straightens out a pine sapling and then walks off across the surface of a small lake. He pauses, dips his umbrella into the deep water under his feet as if testing its depth, turns, and then continues to walk on the water as the President quotes Rand: "Life is a state of mind. Life is a state of mind.

It was in for a period of time in Being There with Peter Sellers in a starring role and it has been in with Ben Carson in a starring role until recently in Being Here. Carson was able to walk on water for a few months of the Fall. But, as we move into the dark days of December and the primaries loom larger in , it appears that he is slipping into electoral quicksand. Carson's initial popularity much like that of Chauncey was driven in part by his outsider status and soft spoken pronouncements of a "simple brand of wisdom which resonates with the jaded American public.

His position in the leadership ranks along with Donald Trump is an indication that a fairly large percentage of the American public is definitely in an outsider state of mind.

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They are absolutely "jaded" and totally fed up with politicians and government as usual. One of Carson's points of differentiation from Trump early on in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is that he seemed to be kinder and gentler in his assessments of matters or at least in his presentations and commentary. Then, he began to espouse ideas that seemed to be a little harsher, more judgmental and sometimes just plain weird. We detailed some of those "Carson-isms" in an earlier blog and will not repeat them all.

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Here, however, is a sampling of his more outlandish proclamations,". These statements probably didn't cost Carson much with his core constituency and supporters. In fact, they may have bumped his numbers up. But, it appears that media scrutiny and increased exposure has cost him quite a lot. Over the past month, Dr. Carson's polling numbers have declined.

Recent polls link his fall from grace with Republican voters to a lack of comprehension in the international relationships and foreign policy arena and a deficiency in terms of leadership qualities. Unlike Chance the Gardener, Dr. Carson the brain surgeon is not simple-minded. Like Chance though he has worked in a very small space with little exposure to or knowledge of the world outside the medical setting in which he excelled.

Unfortunately for him, that limited scope does not translate well onto a bigger platform and a candidacy for the Republican nomination. While Carson sinks, Trump holds steady and Cruz is rising in the polls in primary states and nationally. What does all of this mean for ? It most likely means that Ben Carson will not prevail and that Being Here as a candidate today will not lead to his being there as the nominee at the Republican convention in August.