The Hollywood connection to the White House is not new. Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger were actors before they held public office, and rumors of an affair between John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe exist today. Now Biden is guest-starring on Parks and Rec? The line between celebrities and politicians has become blurred — if it exists at all. Are we okay with that?
The presidential race was littered with celebrity endorsements, some of which the candidates probably could have done without. We doubt Obama was overjoyed with Madonna when she hopped on stage and told concertgoers to “f***ing vote for Obama,” and that having a “black Muslim” in the White House was some “amazing sh**.” Yikes. And Romney probably could have done without Meatloaf slobbering his way through America the Beautiful in support of his campaign. Double yikes.
Naturally, celebrities are also Americans and have as much right to an opinion as the rest of the country. Do they, however, have the right to use their celebrity status (which they owe to the American public) to espouse their views? Are celebrities any more enlightened than the rest of us? Is being uber-rich/popular synonymous with having a better-formulated opinion? Has the seat in the Oval Office become a popularity contest? Hey, don’t kill the messenger — just asking the questions. Share your opinions and comments below.
Many Americans are raising a collective brow at the reported $2 billion dollars that was spent on this campaign, and naturally asking the question about how else that money could have been spent. Beyonce and Jay-Z, Sarah Jessica Parker and George Clooney all hosted intimate dinner fundraisers (to the tune of as much as $40,000 per plate) for Obama. Clooney’s raked in a record $15 million. We would share first-hand accounts of those fundraisers, but we couldn’t find anything to wear that night — oh, and we also couldn’t find the 40-grand entry fee.
Clint Eastwood, Cindy Crawford and Kid Rock were a part of the Romney campaign, and in September $6 million was raised for Mitt at an event where Jerry Bruckheimer, Gary Sinese and Patricia Heaton were in attendance.
All of this begs the question: If you don’t like the candidate that a celebrity gives money to, will you boycott that celebrity? Probably not, right? Even though when all is said and done, celebrities wouldn’t have millions to throw at presidential candidates if you and I were not going to their concerts and movies.
Romney avoided the late-night circuit, with the exception of a visit with Jay Leno last March. Obama appeared on Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Daily Show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, among other shows. Late-night jokes, according to a George Mason study, slammed Romney over Obama 2 to 1. Romney chose not to do the late-night shows, but the Obama campaign said it was a less conventional way to reach out to undecided voters. Next question: Do people really decide who will run our country based on their appearance on a late-night program? Well, if the results of the election are any indication, the answer must be yes!
Again, celebrities have just as much right to the use of social media as the rest of us. But after reviewing 171 celebrity tweets, we learned that only four of them were in favor of Romney (Stacey Dash, Donald Trump, Melissa Joan Hart and Glenn Beck). In fairness, many of the tweets were just encouraging people to vote, and this particular collection of tweets was on the Huffington Post, which has made no bones about its support of Obama. So how much attention do you think people paid to celebrity tweets during the election?
We would love to hear your comments on these questions! Just how much influence do celebrities have? How much influence should they have? Is it okay with you if they spend money they’ve earned from the adoration of the American public on politicians? (To clarify, most people make money off the American public, but if you don’t like, for example, a Home Depot endorsement of something, you have the option to shop at Lowes. Would you boycott a celebrity whose political viewpoints differ from yours?) Is the connection between celebrities and politicians appropriate, or is it time for a change? Do you really care one way or the other?