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Leftist Celebrities in Election Commercials Give “Air” Time a Whole New Meaning

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Posted on November 7 2010 9:00 am
Scott Spiegel blogs at http://www.scottspiegel.com. He can be reached at spiegelscott@yahoo.com.
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Every election season the public is treated to the spectacle of airheaded leftist celebrities making cutesy commercials lecturing us to go out and vote.

In one pseudo-instructional online video supposedly teaching voters how to use the new ballots developed for New York this year, Matt Damon managed to squeeze in an endorsement: “So if you’re voting, say, for the Working Families Party—which you should be—then you would bubble in the oval next to their name, in Row E.” In a longer video that didn’t even pretend to be educational, Damon begged viewers to vote for the Working Families party, holding up a sign with the WF logo and telling them their support would be a wonderful 40th birthday present for him.

As part of the Vote Again 2010 campaign, rapper Jay-Z implored a live audience to “vote again” as they did in 2008, though of course he would swear he doesn’t necessarily intend them to vote for one particular party or another.

The perennial “Rock the Vote” operation this year featured such artists as Jason Mraz, Solange, and Sheryl Crow, the latter of whom offered this rather vague and inarticulate encomium on the group’s website: “I am so thrilled to be working with Rock the Vote at this very crucial time in our country’s history. This is our moment to wake up and seize our power regarding the future of this nation and what it stands for.” (The alleged neutrality of Rock the Vote is belied, not only by the well-known political affiliations of the overwhelming majority of its featured celebrities, but by the following headline, posted prominently on the site: “Republicans Win All Age Demographics but Under 30; Young Voters Resist Wave, Candidates Miss Opportunity.”)

The vast majority of Hollywood celebrities involved in voter turnout campaigns appear to have jumped on the Democratic bandwagon. Even the few documented conservatives in Hollywood don’t seem to get very involved in trying to persuade us to cast our ballots for some particular candidate or issue. A rare exception: on Election Day (not every day for three weeks beforehand) Republican Sylvester Stallone tweeted:

“I voted did you? Gotta get the Manchurian Candidate out of the drivers seat before were ALL soaring off a cliff into Oblivion… Be smart.”

So why are conservative celebrities so reticent about using their star power to drive turnout at the polls?

Perhaps conservatism is less of a trendy, “feel-good” political philosophy that leads people to be swayed by the positive associations they have with movie stars and rock musicians. In other words, perhaps conservative celebrities and voters are more mature than those who would let their idol worship determine their voting behavior.

A related explanation is that leftist voters tend to be younger, not as set in their beliefs, and less sure why they hold them, compared to conservatives—and therefore, for them, voting for a particular candidate because an adored celebrity says so is as good a reason as any.

Another possibility is that leftist stars are more pragmatic—in the ruthless, unethical sense of the word—and have no problem cashing in on their celebrity power by trying to trick politically naïve fans into supporting their causes and candidates.

Whatever the specific explanation—immaturity, thoughtlessness, ruthlessness—it seems that no good can come from heavy-handed celebrity endorsements that capitalize on emotional appeals and lack of knowledge of the whole range of issues.

Those of us on the Right should consider it a mark of honor that so few of our political brethren in celebrityland feel the need to peddle their star power in exchange for our promise to slavishly support their ideology.

Scott Spiegel blogs at http://www.scottspiegel.com. He can be reached at spiegelscott@yahoo.com.

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