Blogger face-off: Has Hollywood's love for Obama ridden off into the sunset?

The Hill invites two established bloggers from either side of the political spectrum to sound off on a designated topic in original commentary each Saturday. This week, two bloggers based in Southern California take on the intersection of Hollywood and politics:


Hollywood still carefully protecting Obama

by John Nolte

When Hollywood turns against someone, you won’t have to ask if they have. You’ll know.

When Leftist Hollywood turns against someone, like they did President George W. Bush, neither our country nor the safety of our men and women in uniform means anything -- for this industry will eagerly waste hundreds of millions of dollars on a dozen-plus lousy films specifically designed to undermine our will to win a righteous war. When Hollywood turns on someone, they not only relentlessly mock, demean and denigrate that individual; they mock, demean, and denigrate their family.

Yes, the children.

Incompetence, broken promises, partisan divisiveness, the Gulf dying before our eyes, deficit forecasts with so many zeroes Einstein couldn’t grasp them, and dirty backroom deals haven’t cooled Hollywood on President Obama one bit. The same industry that stands by a Roman Polanski certainly isn’t going to jump off the USS ObamaWorship over a little thing like double-digit unemployment. If nothing else, Tinseltowners are loyal and their rules are simple: child rape’s fine, just don’t let us catch you with a Rush Limbaugh bumper sticker.

Yes, recently we’ve heard some in the entertainment industry appear to criticize the President. Most notably “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, who ridiculed His Own Personal One over that oh-so presidential ”ass to kick” comment, and director Spike Lee, who suggested Obama drop the cool, calm professorial act and “go off” over the oil spill. But don’t be fooled. This is simply the president’s own personal Palace Guards doing their duty and guarding the palace.

You have to keep in mind that with a very few notable exceptions, the whole of the entertainment industry is a left-wing propaganda machine manned by those who understand that politics is downstream from the culture, and who fully grasp that their primary mandate is to protect President Obama at all costs. All Threats Must Be Eliminated. The only reason Obama’s been taking a little pop culture heat lately is due to that fact that right now the biggest threat to Obama is Obama and his own incompetence and disconnect.

If anything, Hollywood is worried about and for Obama. Worried about the upcoming mid-terms, his re-election chances, his sliding poll numbers, and his gilded ship sailing off course and landing in Carter-ita-ville instead of Mt. Rushmore. Spike Lee, Jon Stewart and their ilk are certainly a little panicked over how they see things going for their guy. But these recent criticisms from the president’s entertainment community pals should be interpreted as nothing any more serious than dear and close friends staging a helpful tough-love intervention. Hollywood can’t even muster a little criticism for Obama’s mishandling of the Gulf oil spill.

The only exception I would grant to my otherwise cynical observations (but that doesn’t make them wrong) is George Clooney’s recent editorial criticism of the Obama’s administration’s lack of engagement in the Sudan. As misguided as Clooney is in all things (including his decision to make “Leatherheads”), his concern for the Sudan is sincere. But one sentence in an 800-word piece is far from a mutiny.

Rest assure that the president can sleep well in the comfortable knowledge that as soon as any kind of existential threat looms on the horizon -- like, say, a feisty, self-made female governor from some far off state -- the entertainment industry will immediately snap back into line and set their powerful, elite broadcast capabilities on DESTROY.

John Nolte is editor-in-chief of Big Hollywood. Follow him on Twitter @jjmnolte.


Hollywood liberals won't blindly follow Obama

by Deborah White

Hollywood liberals have been conspicuously silent in 2010 about their slavish devotion to all things Obama, especially since the Gulf of Mexico became polluted, and wildlife picturesquely killed, with oil from offshore drilling approved and supposedly monitored by the Obama administration.

But that doesn't mean that Obama has lost the support of Hollywood liberals. Yet.

A handful of Hollywood celebrities have begun to speak out, albeit cautiously and often with caveats.

Even before BP's oil spill debacle, actor Matt Damon, an '08 Obama campaigner, told the New York Daily News, "I'm disappointed in the health care plan and in the troop buildup in Afghanistan. Everyone feels a little let down because, on some level, people expected all their problems to go away." Damon added that "Obama deserves time."

Robert Redford, director, actor and noted environmentalist, recently appeared in a Natural Resources Defense Council ad urging, "Tell President Obama to lead America toward a clean energy future."

Redford followed up by chatting at length with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, observing "Voters sent President Obama to Washington to be a bold and visionary leader... We don't need a disaster manager, we need a leader."

Even director Spike Lee, who predicted in July 2008 that Obama's election would cause a "seismic change in the universe," expressed muted disappointment in Obama's Gulf oil spill response, telling CNN, "One time, go off! If there's any one time to go off, this is it, because this is a disaster."

Hollywood liberal activists are not ready anytime soon to desert this young, progressive Democratic president after only 17 months in the White House. And a powerhouse community of African-American celebrities, led by billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey, can be counted on to stand loyally by Barack Obama through almost any imaginable politics or situation.

Make no mistake about it, though. "Everyone feels a little let down... " as Matt Damon stated. Let down on a number of issues, including Obama's :

  • Acceleration of war in Afghanistan
  • Reluctance to end "Don't ask, don't tell," or to support same-gender marriage rights
  • Impetus for expanded offshore oil-drilling, even in the face of massive environmental degradation
  • Obama's continuation of Bush war on terror tactics, including extraordinary rendition, indefinite detention of terrorism suspects without trials, warrantless wiretapping, and the Guantanamo detention camp.
  • Constant pandering to Republicans in his doomed pursuit of "bipartisanship."

Barring sheer political stupidity by Obama and strategists, such as irrevocably alienating Israel and Israeli supporters, Hollywood liberal activists will support President Obama should he decide to seek a second-term in 2012.

But supporting Obama with votes and a modicum of campaigning is one thing. Supporting Obama with fat contributions and overflowing campaign coffers, as he richly relied upon in his 2008 bid, is quite another kettle of fish. And far from a sure thing in 2012.

As of now, President Obama has not lost the support of most Hollywood liberals. But Democrats in Hollywood are also no longer lavishing praise on Obama as they did in hopeful droves before his triumphant election.

Hollywood liberals no longer view Barack Obama as someone they blindly "want to follow... somewhere, anywhere" as pal George Clooney famously told Charlie Rose in early 2008.

Deborah White, a delegate to the California Democratic Party, writes about U.S. liberal politics at About.com and also blogs at The Liberal OC.