Comment Box: All-Star Politicians
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
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.
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