- The Washington Times - Monday, August 11, 2008


“Shut up and sing, Natalie Maines!”

“Who cares what Ben Affleck thinks?”

“I’ll pay for Alec Baldwin’s ticket out of the country.”

“Charge Danny Glover with sedition already!”

Welcome to the Hollywood Election Wayback Machine, 2004 Edition.

In the last presidential election cycle, right-wing talk-radio hordes rallied to victory around similar refrains, delivering a stinging defeat to America’s pop culture ambassadors and their relentless message of vitriol.

The star-studded liberal camp didn’t have a candidate they could get behind, so they waged war against the president. They were the Swift Yacht Vets. And President Bush blew them out of the water.

This election is different.

Gone is Cindy Sheehan and her tone-deaf Hollywood enablers. Gone is Michael Moore and his pre-ordained Oscar acceptance speech. Gone is Janeane Garofalo. (Is she OK? Can someone check her apartment?)

Gone, perhaps, is the losing Democratic Party strategy from hell.

Sen. Barack Obama is a casting agent’s dream and his narrative is inspiring. He’s the perfect age for a new Camelot. He’s tall and fit - his jogging entrance at the debate at the celeb-laden Kodak Theater last January even wowed tense supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. He talks better than most of his peers in the Senate. And his nuclear family takes the perfect picture.

Then there’s his race. Hollywood proved it works: Will Smith, an Obama supporter, is America’s most predictable box office draw. The group picture of Mr. Obama’s African-American supporters, such as Kanye West, Halle Berry, Wyclef Jean, John Legend, Taye Diggs, Alfre Woodard, Russell Simmons, to name a few, reinforces a vision of American achievement.

For those who were paying attention, David Geffen greenlighted the Obama candidacy in February 2007, when he signed his divorce papers from the Clintons: “Everybody in politics lies,” the mogul told Hollywood’s paper of record, the New York Times, “but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”

Hollywood’s powerful and politically active gay community immediately followed Mr. Geffen’s lead.

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