Actors and Politics: Can There Ever Be Another Ronald Reagan?
When actor George Clooney told Newsweek he doesn”t believe he could run for political office because he”s “f**ked too many chicks and did too many drugs,” he might as well have been speaking for a whole generation of his A-list friends.
But why can”t a truly qualified person just admit their past misbehavior and move on without irrelevant muckraking from opponents Clooney is smart and politically active; the actor opposed the war in Iraq, does humanitarian work for the Darfur conflict, raised millions last year for Haitian earthquake relief and continuously creates documentaries to raise awareness of serious issues around the world. He”d actually be an admirable political candidate. But given how dirty today”s politicians play, can there ever be another Ronald Reagan
If U.S. political races could attract candidates like Clooney — who recently said he would rather have a prostate exam than be on Facebook — this country could see a totally new class of political nominees who care about the country for the right reasons.
Clooney is currently directing and starring in “The Ides of March,” a political drama loosely based on Howard Dean”s 2004 presidential campaign, which is set for a December release. He is clearly interested in making political statements, but unlike many actual politicians, his passion for the causes he supports comes from a totally authentic place — he doesn”t really gain anything from taking a political stance.
“With the celebrity culture as big as it is, it is only a matter of time before a big time actor runs for president,” a political operative tells PopEater. “And I don”t mean an Arnold Schwarzenegger, who already has his foot in the door. More interesting would be a younger activist actor who has the attention of the masses, especially females who make up a great deal of the voting block.”
Actors, for example, have had the opportunity to live in different parts of the U.S. and around the world, so they have firsthand knowledge of what is wrong with the status quo.
Take Clooney”s friend Ben Affleck, the respected director and actor. He and wife Jennifer Garner spent months traveling around the U.S. during the last presidential election campaigning for Barack Obama. They hosted rallies, talked to the people and truly got involved.
And in the past few years, Affleck has further shown his political mettle.
From talking about gun control with FOX News” Bill O”Reilly and describing the Iraq war to Chris Matthews on MSNBC”s “Hardball” to engaging in feisty discourse about George W. Bush on HBO”s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” Affleck has proven to be a politically astute dude with a perfect potential First Lady in Garner.
However, like Clooney, Affleck has said many times, “My background is too controversial to run for office.”
But what about his childhood Boston buddy Matt Damon, who collaborated with him on the 1997 Academy Award-winning screenplay for “Good Will Hunting,” which made them both stars (The guys are now working on “The Trade,” a film about a pair of New York Yankees who swapped wives in the 1970s.)
The prolific actor, who seems to have a squeaky-clean family image and travels to boost Democratic candidates” profiles before Massachusetts elections, also says he would not be a good candidate.
How could this be Damon founded H20 African Foundation, the charity division of Running the Sahara, which merged with WaterPartners in 2009. Among other things, he supports the ONE campaign to fight AIDS and poverty in Third World countries, and he is an ambassador for OneXOne, a non-profit foundation that improves the lives of children around the world.
Plus, the father of four girls is a spokesman for Feeding America, the hunger relief organization.
And what about Brad Pitt Already an activist and film actor who has starred in movies about politics — “Babel,” “Seven Years in Tibet” and “Twelve Monkeys” — Pitt is an environmentalist and loves to tackle issues concerning poverty, AIDS and alternative fuels. He and partner Angelina Jolie have stated that they will not marry until gay and lesbian Americans have marriage equality nationwide.
In addition to traveling around the world in hopes of bettering it with Jolie, who is arguably the highest profile United Nations Goodwill Ambassador in the world, Pitt, who hails from President Harry Truman”s state of Missouri, is an architectural buff involved with Global Green, which promotes the rebuilding of New Orleans after the destruction from Hurricane Katrina.
During a press conference for the One campaign several years ago, Pitt talked about how lucky he has been to travel around the world for the last 20 years. But in his domestic excursions to make movies, he has seen a real shift in the idea of what America is.
“The idea is growing that we are opportunists; we are only there if it serves us,” Pitt said. “But this is not the complete picture. This is not who we are, and it”s certainly not our history.”
Sounds like he might have a better grasp on the real America than many of our elected officials.
- Clooney: I"ve Had "Too Many Chicks, Too Many Drugs" for Political Run
- Has Matt Damon Lost His Passion for President Obama?