August 4, 2010 at 5:52 pm #107300
in the age of glitz and glam I can definitely see why celebrities are being encouraged to gravitate towards political careers but is that really a good thing.
Yes celebs can bring fresh attention to causes that aren’t getting enough but do we really want them running the show. I mean I know Regan was an actor but the trend seems to be moving more and more towards do a movie run for office.
Does this work for you if so why? Does this worry you? Basically I’d just like to gauge to pros and cons of celebrity politics.
Also check out Chris Bennett’s blog about Wyclef potentially running for President Haiti: https://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/cb2-can-this-guy-keep-us it’s definitely what got me thinking.
August 4, 2010 at 6:08 pm #107314
One con is the recent experience with celebrity governorship in California.
August 4, 2010 at 8:10 pm #107312
Given his predecessor’s track record and the disfunctional state legislature he had to work with, some might also view his performance as a pro for celebrity office holding.
August 4, 2010 at 8:19 pm #107310
We need to be careful not to let their celebrity status blind us to their other strengths or weaknesses. Many (most?) celebrities are essentially independent business people and the successful ones develop a fairly sophisticated understanding of topics ranging from finance to labor relations. Reagan was a union president. Clint Eastwood heads several production companies, as does Arnold Schwatzenager. Dolly Parton is a realestate developer. I read an interview with Mick Jagger and was blown away by his business savvy. He actully developed a very sophisticated mechnism for selling futures contracts on Rolling Stones concerts. Yes, some of them are flash in the pan air heads but quite a few are highly intelligent and could be significant assests in elective office.
August 5, 2010 at 2:59 pm #107308
I remember an earlier wave of celebrity political activism that ended up with Ed Asner holding forth on foreign policy and Barbra Streisand — well I can’t remember what her issue was. Ozzy Osborne is probably right to leave politics to Bono rather than wade in himself.
In addition to Ronald Reagan we have had a number of celebrities elected to office including Arnold Schwartznegger, Jesse Ventura, and Sonny Bono. You have to give them credit for going all the way and getting their hands dirty with real politics rather than just press conferences. And others such as Bono have taken on serious roles in public diplomacy.
Nothing will stop people in the limelight from using it to advance their agendas, especially since acting seems to be a skill shared with elected officials.
August 5, 2010 at 11:54 pm #107306
I think you can reverse this also….politicians become celebrities! No one in the US had heard of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (who inherited the role when now Dept. of Homeland Security Head Janet Napolitano left the governorship of Arizona). Suddenly with SB1070 in the news our governor has become a celebrity!! The media has made her the “IT GIRL”, and are interested in headlining their shows with her, rather than for her politics/what she says it seems!
August 6, 2010 at 2:32 am #107304
So long as I don’t have to answer to Gov Hilton – we will be a-ok!
August 7, 2010 at 12:16 pm #107302
Celebrities already have at least one thing politicians want – public familiarity and perhaps a good public image. They are familiar strangers to use a term sometimes applied for the feeling of closenesa we have without direct interaction. Some say that we have an ‘ideology of intimacy’ where a celebrity enjoys a role as an emotional public “subject”. Celebrities are often seen as very ‘authentic’ or ‘real’ perhaps because they fill role images.
Much of this seemed to apply to Ronald Reagan, who had other advantages since he also had a network of wealthy friends to back a campaign. More recently they have an attribute that has been seen as desirably in being what seems to be an “outsider” and given they have some “talent” (after all they are celebrities so people believe that must be based on something) they start with some success factors for an election.
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