George Clooney, film and television actor, recently said, “I believe Bush thinks this war is a war that can be won, but there is no such thing anymore. We can’t beat anyone anymore.”
We haven’t heard yet what Clooney thinks now that coalition troops have rolled into Baghdad and Saddam’s regime is nearly collapsed.
Clooney’s comment is just one of the litany of wrong-headed, overblown and out-of-touch remarks made by the Hollywood elite. Yet, despite the Hollywood “reign of error” about Iraq, many of our fellow citizens, even journalists for that matter, look to actors, singers – anyone in Hollywood – for answers about politics and war.
Unlike some of the Hollywood elite – Martin Sheen, Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon, to name just a few – I do not claim to know more than anyone else concerning Iraq or complicated policy issues. However, I strongly believe that President Bush will make decisions based on the facts available to him – facts that might not be available to the American public.
I recently received a well-circulated email by a Cindy Osborne which discusses the biographies of our so-called “ignorant,” “stupid” and “incompetent” leaders. Then let’s look at the celebrities who are demeaning them.
First, consider President Bush’s credentials. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a MBA from the Harvard Business School. He served as an F-102 pilot for the Texas Air National Guard, and was elected governor of Texas over a popular incumbent. Four years later, he was the first Texas governor to be reelected to consecutive four-year terms, winning almost 70 percent of the vote.
Looks like Dixie Chick Natalie Maines got it wrong. Most of her fellow Texans aren’t ashamed to have a President from the Lone Star State!
Next, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: attended Princeton University on scholarship, served in the U.S. Navy as a naval aviator, member of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, and White House Chief of Staff.
Or perhaps Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. He was raised in a working class family, living in public housing. He earned a scholarship to Harvard, graduating with honors. After his first year at Dickinson School of Law, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he earned the Bronze Star for Valor in Vietnam. He returned to earn his law degree and was elected six times to Congress before serving two terms as Governor of Pennsylvania.
Now let’s take a look at who these celebrities who regularly condemn the “simplistic” Bush administration. Let’s start with President Bartlett, from the NBC White House drama “The West Wing,” one of the real President’s most vociferous critics: “President Martin Sheen,” a member of an organization called Artists United to Win Without War, was asked point blank whether he supports regime change in Iraq to oust a brutal and violent dictator. “I don’t even know what that means,” Sheen said.
Given this profound commentary on public policy, Sheen must have an advanced degree. Nope, guess again. Sheen flunked his exam to enter the University of Dayton. Accomplishment: famous actor, with a high school education.
Sheen is not alone in the long list of celebrities who question the intelligence of our leaders. While I defend their right to express their opinions, I find it amazing, and even hypocritical, for them to question the credentials of those who lead our nation.
Julia Roberts, despite being one of my favorite actresses, said about President Bush, “He’s not my President. He’ll never be my President.” College degree? None. Again, Roberts is a high school graduate.
The list goes on. Sean Penn, who made a trip to Iraq a few months back and said he “would like to trade Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly for Osama Bin Laden,” has no college degree. Same goes for Barbara Streisand, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Aniston, and Mike Farrell. But at least they graduated from high school.
Maybe those celebrities know what is going to happen at the end of an episode of their TV show or movie, but they have no specialized knowledge about what is going to happen on the drama called “War on Terrorism” that’s playing out in the real world.
By nature, the vast majority of Hollywood despises conservative views, often speaking with the moral certainty occasioned by a high school education. If Clinton were still in office, do you think we would have the same opposition from Hollywood liberals?
I agree with Osborne that it would be wonderful if we could sit down with dictators and terrorists in a circle, talking about peace, and singing “Kumbaya.”
Be realistic Hollywood!
We couldn’t stop Hitler from killing six million Jews by simply talking. We sent the best, brightest, most determined men and women of our country to defeat the Nazis. And we certainly didn’t win the Cold War with conventions and conferences.
Now I have to confess I could never give up my Dixie Chicks CD because of what Natalie Maines said, but I wish musicians and actors would lessen their rhetoric and concentrate on what they really do best: entertainment.