By Kris Kitto - 02/28/12 12:44 AM EST
Before “The Bachelor,” Chuck Woolery helped people look for love on television as host of the popular 1980s and ’90s game show “Love Connection.” But there’s little love to be found in his latest project, a super-PAC he launched last week called Restart Congress that aims to hold lawmakers to term limits.
Woolery told The Hill that he would often listen to Rush Limbaugh in the television studio but that he otherwise kept his conservative beliefs quiet while working in Hollywood.
We looked at this situation of Congress … and decided that probably most of the problems in America … really fall at the seat of a Congress that is totally ineffective.
And we started researching what the Founding Fathers said about Congress and what it should be. We have people in positions of royalty who are running are country. We are for term limits.
I told someone the other day that I’m going to change my name to Chuck Quixote Woolery, because I know that it’s like fighting windmills.
Q: Who is “we”?
Terri Land, the former secretary of state of Michigan, is certainly in our corner and a part of our super-PAC. Mark Young is head of an ad agency in Detroit.
I’m doing this because I think this is the right thing to do. I’m not running for anything. It’s not a career move — because I’m going to have Republicans and Democrats and everybody who breathes against me. A game show host, go figure.
Q: When did you start taking an interest in politics and political activism?
About 15 years ago, I was taken to the hospital for a four-way bypass. When I woke up in ICU, everybody was laughing at themselves. I mumbled as best I could, “What’s so funny?” And the doctor said, “Chuck, you were sedated, and I was ready to cut, and you sat straight up … and said, ‘I’m the only conservative in Southern California; if I die, somebody’s going to have vote for Bob Dole.’ ” True story.
And I am a conservative, but I couldn’t talk about it, because I wouldn’t work in Hollywood.
Q: Whom or what do you credit for helping shape your political beliefs?
Like most people, I think that you finally come to a point in time in your life when you’re really more interested in the truth than the bumper sticker, and you want to go deeper and see what’s reasonable.
I listen to Rush Limbaugh. I remember when I was doing “Love Connection,” my producer would come in and say, “Who’s that guy?” I thought he made a lot of sense, and I said to myself, he speaks my language.
I listen to Sean Hannity. I think Glenn Beck, as crazy as he is, is a real thinker.
And I also listen to the other side; I’ll watch MSNBC and sample what they’re saying. I’ll watch CNN and sample what they’re saying.
I found myself leaning far more to the conservative side — not necessarily the Republican side — because, quite frankly, I’m not in favor of crony capitalism, this establishment politics.
I am not a member of the Tea Party, but I identify with their positions.
Q: You’ve been making parody videos, ranging in topic from the CDC’s zombie preparedness plan to invading Canada for oil. Where do you get your ideas? What are you trying to convey through them?
It’s just picking the obvious thing, the hypocrisy of Washington, and making fun of them. And it looks like we’re picking on Democrats a lot, but they’re so easy. I’ve picked on a few others. And they’re the ones who are in power now, anyway. When the Republicans get in, I’ll start picking on them.
Mark Young has been instrumental.
… A lot of these ideas are his.
Q: People originally knew you as a game show host who helped contestants find love. Have viewers’ perceptions of you changed once they learn about your interest in politics?
I think some are surprised; I think some are just delighted to see me, which is a nice thing. Some are wondering what in the world I’m doing there. When you think about a game show host showing up at [the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)], it’s kind of an oddity.
So I think a lot of surprise and perhaps confusion.
Q: How was CPAC? Was it your first time there?
Yes. If anybody told me six months ago that I’d be involved in politics, I’d have laughed at them.
It’s interesting, because I’d never been with a whole bunch of conservatives before. But they’re so serious — I was on a panel, and I wanted to say, “Lighten up.”
Q: Is there anything you do as a game show host that has helped guide you in your political activism?
I think that, if I had to guess … what people liked about me on television is that I was natural and myself … I’ve learned to be at ease, whether I’m doing an interview, on radio or television, and it’s easier for me to come across as myself, and people believe me because it’s from the heart.
Q: What members of Congress have you met? Who would you like to meet?
I’d love to meet all of them, both Democrat and Republican. Not to debate them or anything like that. They truly are the representatives of our country.
I’ve known a few over the years — not well. I find that they bloviate most of the time. They don’t take chances. I find them not to be courageous, and to me that’s a shame.
I did meet [Rep.] Michele Bachmann [R-Minn.] when I was at CPAC, which was a surprise. Earlier I said hello, and then later on she chased me down and said hello, kind of like it was an event with people watching. She said we had discussed something together. We hadn’t discussed anything together. We discussed hello.
She’s delightful, I think Michele Bachmann is marginalized by those who are against her. I think she’s a very smart woman and a very kind mother. With all these kids in her life, look at what she’s accomplished. I think she believes she can make a difference.
The only thing I would question is … don’t make a difference by being in Congress for 35 years.
Q: Who are the top few members you’d like to see go?
All of them. I literally mean all of them. I was watching [Sen.] Marco Rubio [R-Fla.] not too long ago. I love Marco Rubio. He reflected in his speech everything I believe. And I said to myself, “Am I willing to give up Marco Rubio?” And I honestly said yes. He should not stay a lifetime in the Senate thinking he can change it when he’ll become part of the problem.
Q: Whom are you supporting in the presidential campaign?
NewPaulMitRum. Nobody really cares who I support … Quite frankly, I always believed that Congress is where the power is. I’m very focused — I’m hyper-focused on Congress.