CELEBRITY POLITICIANS….Yesterday I pondered aloud about the fact that although Hollywood is famously liberal, entertainers who (successfully) go into national politics all seem to be Republicans. I mentioned Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Fred Thompson, and Sonny Bono.
I was properly chastised for including Thompson in that group, but on the other hand readers added both Fred Grandy, who was an Iowa congressman for a while, and song-and-dance man George Murphy, who was a California senator in the 60s. What’s more, in the related celebrity field of athletics, Republicans have fielded Jim Bunning, Jack Kemp, Jim Ryun, Steve Largent, Tom Osborne, and J.C. Watts.
Among national Democrats, conversely, the only ones we came up with were Ben Jones, who played Cooter Davenport on Dukes of Hazzard and served a couple of terms as a congressman from Georgia; and basketball legend Bill Bradley.
So, really, what’s the deal? Noam Scheiber suggests that it’s the value of playing against type, sort of an only-Nixon-can-go-to-China thing. I guess that might be the case, but if it is then shouldn’t that apply to other fields as well? Shouldn’t there be several Fortune 500 CEOs who have won national office as Democrats? Or retired generals? Off the top of my head, I can think of Jon Corzine (ex-CEO) and John Glenn (ex-military, sort of), but that’s it. Are we missing a bet here?