The Election Entertainment Connection
So as you all know by now, Obama (my personal pick) is our president-elect. Prior to election night, a rally was conducted in my home town of Cleveland, Ohio also the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Anyway, Bruce Springsteen headlined and introduced Barack Obama. This fits in with a lot of entertainment/political connections.
Of course the first that comes to mind is the now deceased Ronald Reagan. An actor turned politician, "the Great Communicator" showed that much of what a politician does is showmanship. He had an enigmatic smile and "aw shucks" manor that allowed him to get away with many an afternoon nap through the presidency.
Then the governors of Wisconsin and California, Jessie Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger, both had athletic as well as acting credits to their names before throwing their hats in the political ring. In fact, Arnold was Mr. Universe before he was "the terminator" and stumped for McCain in this past election.
Mayors Clint Eastwood and the deceased Sonny Bono may have had lesser political aspirations, but when a mayor of a town of 6,000 gets to be governor like Palin and then thrust into the national arena as vice-presidential contender, maybe mayor isn't so far down in political heights.
The follow-up of Wisconsin governorship from Ventura to Al Franken's candidacy does seem to be a bit absurd, but Franken's writing and political jibes throughout his career showed he was always interested in politics. Although Franken was beaten by a few hundred votes by Coleman and a recount is taking place as I write this, I expect this isn't the last we will hear of Franken's political aspirations. Since I'm writing this the day after the election, some things are still changing. But the connection between actors, entertainers and politicians is long standing since before the days of Pat Paulsen's repeated run at the president. He got enough signatures to be on the
ballot as a gaff if not a viable candidate.
Then there are all the politicians who make appearances on Saturday Night Live as both McCain and Palin did this time around. Appearances on SNL have been a hit as the supposedly staid politician makes fun of him or herself on the show and we get to see them as more of a human being.
Though John McCain often referred to the time he spent as a prisoner of war, which was without a doubt a horrific experience, somehow Obama, though lacking in as much experience or history as we might like, was able to secure the confidence of the American public. As of this morning, an unofficial count of over 360 electoral votes gave the presidency to Obama. McCain came in at half that, although he was only a 5 percent popular vote difference.
I heard the popular vote was somewhat of a landslide for Obama, but that may be in my eyes only.
Although the Republican turnout was said to be one of the worst, Obama was able to inspire his followers, Democrats and new voters to actually get out and show their support. That's part of the entertainment and motivation that comes from belief and hope that the candidate will actually do what we hope.
Two of my favorite moments in Obama's acceptance speech were his reference to his recently deceased and beloved grandmother and the fact his kids would get that puppy they were promised. Now this is a politician we can relate to.
As Diane Sawyer so aptly put it at the tail end of ABC coverage, we now have two little girls in the White House-so this is a real family thing.