About a month before the 2008 presidential election, John McCain said of Barack Obama, “Just a little while ago, he flew off to Hollywood with a fundraiser for Barbra Streisand and his celebrity friends. Let me tell you, my friends: There’s no place I would rather be than here with the working men and women of Ohio.”
We don’t hear this sort of talk nearly as often as we used to, but when Republicans would complain about Democratic supporters, the GOP would routinely express disdain for labor unions, academia, and the “Hollywood elite.” I’ve never fully understood why – Americans seem to enjoy the entertainment industry – but this was a staple of Republican rhetoric for a long while.
And apparently, it hasn’t quite gone away.
A super PAC supporting Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is launching a new web ad hitting Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes for her Hollywood support, tying the candidate to controversial statements made by some of her celebrity donors.The Kentuckians for Strong Leadership ad, shared exclusively with The Hill, is styled after the Hollywood Squares game show, and features clips of celebrities like Chris Rock and Barbara Streisand praising Obama.Lundergan Grimes is center square in the ad, and her celebrity donors surround her.
The attack ad specifically asks, “Why does Alison Lundergan Grimes take money from Obama-backing Hollywood celebrities who don’t share our Kentucky values? Who do Hollywood liberals want?”
Kentuckians for Strong Leadership probably tested the ad and it scored well enough to proceed, but this whole line of attack seems pretty stale. Are there really a significant number of Kentucky voters who would consider backing Grimes, were it not for her support from celebrities?
Besides, the potency of the criticism is undermined by Republicans themselves. John McCain, who’s made cameos in a variety of movies, missed a Senate vote this week because he wanted to be on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” One of Chris Christie’s final ads in New Jersey featured an endorsement from Shaquille O’Neal. Mitt Romney gave Clint Eastwood a very prominent role at last year’s Republican National Convention.
And earlier this year, the Republican National Committee’s autopsy report included a call for a “Celebrity Task Force.”
Maybe it’s time to retire the tiresome “Hollywood liberals” nonsense?