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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 04/16/2007

Comment Box: All-Star Politicians

By Liz Kelly

Since Fred Thompson probably running [for] president has arguably pulled presidential politics into your "ology", are there any other actors or actresses out there who you think could be viable presidential contenders? -- Submitted during last week's Celebritology Live


Fred Thompson, playing a fictionalized version of himself in 'Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World.' (Shangri-La Entertainment)

Is this a trick question?

I don't know your name, but I'll call you Barbra and, Barbra (if you are indeed for real), you may be one of the few Americans actually open to the idea of an actor insinuating himself (or herself) into the political arena. To give you some idea of what an anomaly you are, here is an example of the question I'd expect to receive on this topic:

"Actors are narcissists who have no business exercising the same basic right of every American citizen to run for office. Don't these pinheads understand that what we voters want are qualified candidates -- helmet-headed old men who talk like Foghorn Leghorn, political widows and lawyers. You just can't have too many lawyers in office."

So you'll understand my trepidation at your devil-may-care attitude about our country's governance. Or, more to the point, your willingness to admit to it.

Actors are notorious for confusing public adoration with interest in their pronouncements on an array of topics. Hence we get Sean Penn covering Iran for the San Francisco Chronicle and Angelina Jolie writing about Darfur on The Post's oped page; we get Democratic candidates just at the beginning of the 2008 presidential slog already raising record amounts of cash in Hollywood; we get one Fred Dalton Thompson, who has long lived the double life of actor and politician, potentially running for president.

The usual response to a politically-charged star is distrust. Most of us may not be able to name the capitals of all 50 U.S. states, yet we are very quick to say "What does [insert star's name here] know about politics? That idiot should stick to acting." Yet (as I hinted above), I can unequivocally state that you are not alone in your willingness to elect a thespian.

What makes me so certain? Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sonny Bono, Fred Grandy (Gopher from "Loveboat") -- all actors (hey, Sonny did skits on the "Sonny and Cher Show") and all eventually elected to the upper echelons of our government in elections both popular and electoral.

I'm not a politicalologist, so I'm in no position to grade each star's public service, but I have heard that Ronald Reagan is held up as some kind of GOP saint and that Gopher was much loved by his Iowa constituency. Good for them. Not many people can say they worked with a chimp named Bonzo and Margaret Thatcher.

Still, what qualifies anyone as a viable presidential candidate? Governance of a state? A couple of Senate terms and previous residency in the White House? Being born into a political legacy? Isn't the diversity of our population -- and those we choose to elect -- what makes America so peachy-keen anyway? (Cue "Yankee Doodle Dandy" music.)

Plus, as evidenced by his roles in "The Hunt for Red October" and "Law & Order," Thompson really brings the right blend of gravitas and southern twang to his parts and that could really come in handy at the next IMF meeting.

More:
List: Actor Politicians
Fred Thompson's Senate Web Site
Fred Thompson on IMDB.com

By Liz Kelly  | April 16, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Comments

I freaking love the fact that Republicans castigate Democrats for being "too close" to Hollywood - whatever that means - but when you look at the list of actors turned pols, it's ALWAYS the Republican party that embraced them and of which they were a member when they were elected.

Posted by: Lala | April 16, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Bracing self for the return of Che.

Posted by: BF | April 16, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

i remember seeing air force one when it came out years agao and saying to a buddy that the appeal of the movie was the fantasy of having someone like harrison ford (or at least someone like the high integrity/tough as nails characters he almost always plays) be president of the us.

Posted by: charlie | April 16, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

How come the actors who run for political office are the less appealing ones? Sorry, for being superficial, but why not have some "hot" run for office. I would vote for George Clooney. You know his press conference would be entertaining and have a "cool" factor.

Posted by: Lisa1 | April 16, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I think you mean (hanging) Chad not Che.

Posted by: BF | April 16, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm.... W as president vs. an actor (any actor) as president....hmmmmm

I mean, an actor might actually learn his/her lines, speak them like he/she had an intellect and hopefully be less of an embarassment on the world scene.

I'm just saying.

Posted by: barbAra | April 16, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I could get all kinds of behind the "Clooney For President" campaign, where do we sign him up & what should he wear?

Posted by: Bored @ work | April 16, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Having seen Martin Sheen play the president so long, would anyone notice him playing the real thing? (not that I watched "The West Wing," but I was familiar with it)

Some actors are so political that they obscure their acting. My wife refuses to watch Tim Robbins or Susan Sarandon because of their political outspokenness. Tim Robbins' views hasn't made me think any less of "Shawshank Redemption."

I wonder how many other actors/actresses have lost audiences because of their political views?

(For me, Gwyneth Paltrow went down a few notches for her social snobbery, but that wasn't political).

Posted by: Ken | April 16, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"My wife refuses to watch Tim Robbins or Susan Sarandon because of their political outspokenness"

...And what's wrong with political outspokenness? Not to be immature, but we do live in a free country.

Posted by: anon | April 16, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, I've been waiting for a chance to unleash this snark:

Fred Thompson. Too ugly to be President.

Seriously, who wants to look at that homely mug for four years, let alone the duration of a campaign?

Or is he considered more qualified because the bags under his eyes are big enough to hold the entire Gross Domestic Product?

And doesn't he have a perky young blonde wife?

Posted by: Cubeland, MD | April 16, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"I think you mean (hanging) Chad not Che."
Posted by: BF | April 16, 2007 11:47 AM

No, I mean Che. Long-time readers of the celebritology blog remember him well.

And please don't steal my name.

Posted by: BF | April 16, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"...And what's wrong with political outspokenness? Not to be immature, but we do live in a free country."

Refusing to see a Saradon/Robbins film because you disagree with the politcal views they are outspoken with is no different than not going to see a Tom Cruise movie because you don't agree with his Scientology views. We do live in a free country - we can all choose or not choose to do anything because of reasons like this

Posted by: A2 | April 16, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

RE: Fred Thompson. Too ugly to be President.

Your right...because Curious George..I mean George W is the most appealing person to look at as he struggles to control his facial expressions!!

Posted by: bored... | April 16, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I nominate Harrison "Get off my plane!" Ford for President.

Other possible contenders/VP nominees:
Joan Allen
Matt Santos (aka Jimmy Smits)
Glen Close
George Clooney
Olympia Dukakis

Posted by: still | April 16, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Forgot about Che and didn't mean to steal your name, was a mistake.

Posted by: M | April 16, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

i've noticed on both of liz's blogs today that there's a pronounced snippy factor among posters. i wonder if the weird 'spring' weather has everyone's panties (or boxers) in a wad?
personally, i find arthur branch AKA fred d. thompson's voice oddly reassuring. only problem is, i remember when he played the head of a neo-nazi group on 'wiseguy'. he didn't really believe the nazi stuff, he was just in it for the money, which might be even worse. anyway, the guy is legit, politically in terms of experience. more legit than say, the governator.
i think the 2008 prez race is the democrats to lose and most of my friends who profess democratic tendencies say it's well within their power to do so.

Posted by: methinks | April 16, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"Actors are narcissists who have no business exercising the same basic right of every American citizen to run for office."

since when are politicians NOT narcissists?

Posted by: c | April 16, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I still vote that we reanimate the corpse of Jerry Orbach and run him for President.

Lenny Briscoe '08!

Posted by: Pompous Magnus | April 16, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Where I live, it's always spring, and we always have our knickers in a twist.
I think what makes people a tad bit snippy about politics these days is the idiots we have in the White House. How's that for an idea.
G. Clooney, yeah he'd be great. I think he enjoys life in that Italian villa too much, though, and who can blame him.
G. Clooney and I are from the same home town, where they are now renaming everything "Ronald Reagan" and "George W. Bush" as in, "Ronald Reagan House of Pancakes". It's really gross.

Posted by: Barb | April 16, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

BarbAra's comment ("Hmmm.... W as president vs. an actor (any actor) as president....hmmmmm. I mean, an actor might actually learn his/her lines, speak them like he/she had an intellect and hopefully be less of an embarassment on the world scene.") reminds me of that line attributed to Clinton:

The key to politics is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made.

Oh for the days of Che... Another prominent South American...

Posted by: Bogota | April 16, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

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