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Some stars have GOP stripes (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kid Rock, Britney Spears, Ted Nugent, Steve Tyler)
Phila Inquirer ^ | Aug. 12, 2004 | Beth Gillin

Posted on 08/12/2004 2:29:19 AM PDT by Liz

The Dems may have the Boss and Babs, but Bush has his celebrity backers, too. Expect to see some in the spotlights at the Republican convention.

Just because Republicans deride Hollywood as an out-of-touch bastion of liberalism and perverted values doesn't mean they don't like rubbing elbows with celebrities.

So, yes, there will be stars when the GOP convenes in New York starting Aug. 30. They may not have the wattage of Ben Affleck, Natalie Portman or Michael Moore, to name a few who roamed the convention floor with the Democrats in Boston last month. But, as the GOP showed when it invited wrestler-turned-actor The Rock to address its 2000 convention, Republican entertainment no longer means safe and boring.

Caustic comedian Dennis Miller and actress Angie Harmon are expected to wing in from Los Angeles to mingle with delegates at Madison Square Garden. Headliners, according to CNN, will include country stars Sara Evans and Lee Ann Womack, with blues-rocker Jonny Lang and Texas alt-rock band Dexter Freebish joining more established acts the Gatlin Brothers and Blind Boys of Alabama.

The Republicans will even showcase an action star in prime time, as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger takes the podium on Night Two.

Why does this matter? "Celebrities are interesting, and voters care about them," said Alan Schroeder, author of Celebrity-in-Chief: How Show Business Took Over the White House.

Last year a CBS News poll found that a majority of Americans believe celebrities "can offer a new perspective on political issues."

Politicians like them because "they've already been certified as popular by audiences, and candidates can tap into that," said Schroeder, a journalism professor at Northeastern University and former TV producer. "For someone like John Kerry, who doesn't have a lot of star presence himself, hanging around with them is a way to pick up some stardust."

Likewise, it wouldn't hurt President Bush if actor Tony Sirico, who plays mobster Paulie Walnuts on The Sopranos, stops by the Garden during the GOP convention. "I am a far-to-the-right Republican," Sirico declared last month at a fund-raising party on Long Island.

Other actors who've been in Bush's corner include Freddie Prinze Jr., Jason Priestley, Bo Derek, Shannen Doherty, Kelsey Grammer and bohemian right-winger Vincent Gallo, who once called left-wing author and radio talker Al Franken a "commie crawfish."

True, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt and the Dixie Chicks are raising money for Kerry with a series of highly publicized concerts. No such venture has been planned for Bush.

But Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kid Rock, Britney Spears, Ted Nugent, and Steve Tyler of Aerosmith are fans of the President. So is punk-rock guitarist Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, who urges musician pals to donate to Bush's campaign. "I try to make a dent in people when I can," he said in a March interview with the Washington Times. "I figure people drift toward liberalism at a young age, and I always hope that they change when they see how the world really is."

The merger of politics and entertainment is nothing new, said Schroeder. John F. Kennedy kept company with the Rat Pack, and Franklin D. Roosevelt cozied up to the top actors of his day. "They not only campaigned for him but raised money for his charity, the March of Dimes," Schroeder said. (Roosevelt's White House guests included Rosalind Russell, Veronica Lake, Gene Kelly and Dorothy Lamour.)

"It's nice for a candidate to get publicity and face time, but it's really about the money the entertainment community can raise," Schroeder said. "In a year like this, when the election is so close, that could make the difference."

Hollywood gives $7 to Democrats for every $3 to Republicans, reports the Hill, a Washington newspaper for political insiders. The Federal Election Commission's July 5 report shows the TV, movie and music industries donated $17.5 million to federal candidates and political parties in the current election cycle. Sixty-six percent of contributions went to Democrats and 34 percent to Republicans, according to a nonprofit research group, the Center for Responsive Politics (www.

"The entertainment industry is led and driven by liberal Democrats, but the majority of us are mainstream people with traditional values," said comedian Dale Davidson, who heads the Las Vegas chapter of Entertainers for Bush.

In Hollywood, conservatives suggest, Republicanism is the sin that dares not speak its name.

"There's a lot of pressure in the film and recording industries for people to fall in line," Davidson said. "If you're not a liberal, you keep your mouth shut if you want to work."

A few celebrities, including Wayne Newton and Bruce Willis, are outspoken conservatives, said Davidson, but most with similar views are in the closet.

"Coming out in this industry has been very difficult to do," said actor Mark Basil Vafiades, president of the Hollywood Congress of Republicans. "Nobody says anything for fear of being ridiculed."

John Rhys-Davies, who played Gimli the dwarf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, said recently, "You introduce a Republican to another in Hollywood, it's like a meeting between two Christians in Caligula's Rome."

President Bush found out just how uncool it was to be a Republican while planning for his 2001 swearing-in festivities, as reams of A-list performers declined invitations to perform.

"Booking entertainment for a Republican inaugural is like trying to push a wet mattress up a spiral staircase," a Hollywood publicist noted at the time.

Ricky Martin swiveled in at the last minute to save the day. Soon after, a White House task force was formed to ferret out GOP celebrities and dragoon them into performing at state dinners.

Among the finds was ditzy conservative Jessica Simpson, who's become a frequent White House visitor. Upon being introduced in March to Gale Norton, secretary of the interior, Simpson gushed, "I love what you've done to the place."

Since the Inaugural celebrity-shortage scare, Bush has been publicly endorsed by actors Dennis Hopper, Lara Flynn Boyle and Ron Silver, and has apparently caused a Baldwin brother to defect.

Candidate Kerry has two Baldwins, Alec and William, in his camp. Both were at the Democratic convention, where Alec railed that the GOP had been "hijacked by fundamentalistic wackos."

Meanwhile, Stephen, the youngest Baldwin, who became a born-again Christian after 9/11, is touring the country promoting his movie about God and skateboarding, while urging young evangelicals to register and hinting they should vote for Bush.

MTV has its Rock the Vote campaign; the Christian right has Redeem the Vote, promoted by the thriving Christian music industry at festivals with names like Lamb Jam, Jamming for Jesus, and Godstock.

In Hollywood, 9/11 and the antiwar protests that followed influenced conservatives to speak out, said actor Vafiades, and Schwarzenegger's election further emboldened them.

For years conservatives had sought others of their kind at the Wednesday Morning Club, a policy discussion group that has met since 1992 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Actor Robert Duvall is on the steering committee, and speakers have included Newt Gingrich and then-Texas-Gov. Bush.

Now other groups are springing up as well.

Actor Robert Davi belongs to one that has grown from eight to a hundred members in a year. Another group promises anonymity and invites people to gather via last-minute e-mail invitations, Vafiades said.

Entertainers for Bush, a grass-roots group that started last month in Maryland, has members from 18 states.

And high-powered executives from Disney, News Corp., Time Warner, Univision and Universal formed a group they call Entertaining Republicans, Variety reports, whose purpose is to boost GOP influence in Tinseltown.

"There are a lot of conservative entertainers out there," said Vafiades. "We just haven't been organized before."


Contact staff writer Beth Gillin at 215-854-2917 or

TOPICS: Extended News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: gwb2004; hollywoodright; rncconvention
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To: Baseballguy

Down boy.........down. LOL.

201 posted on 08/12/2004 11:24:45 AM PDT by Liz
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To: KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle
I used to watch MST3K and am surprised to learn this. The show's humor was skewed heavily to the Left, and this guy was the head writer (though I always preferred him to Joel, who struck me as a real lefty, though I could be wrong).

It's too bad that so much humor is skewed to the Left. There's really no need for them to have a monopoly.

202 posted on 08/12/2004 11:30:29 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (What part of "lo yihyeh lekhah 'elohim 'acherim `al panay" DON'T you understand???)
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To: eleni121

I always suspected Mr. Jones to be a repub...he's a big second amendment supporter and friends with Duvall.

203 posted on 08/12/2004 11:32:46 AM PDT by Katya (Homo Nosce Te Ipsum)
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To: Katya; All
Interesting article/opinion piece THE TONE DEAF LEFT
Tone Deaf Left
Royalty checks must be running mighty slim around the old musician's home these days, well, if there actually was an "Old Musicians' Home". Let me describe it another way, in a quest to regain relevance, give their careers a jump start and boost record sales, an assortment of cult favorites, has beens and fringe musicians have decided to return to the stage. Rather than acting "unilaterally", they have decided to ally themselves with the finances of currency speculator george "don't call me a currency speculator" soros (background) and his money launderers at the at moveon. org PAC, and Americans Coming Together.
This "Coalition of the Seedy" ( CotS ) will be coming to a performing venue near you. Just pray, well scratch prayer, you might offend someone, unless of course you are muslim, in which case, pray, blow yourself up, behead somebody, the sky's the limit to please your god to bring luck and the act that suits your musical taste. Well, that's not likely either, your brothers in the the Taliban put the kibosh on rock n' roll too. That settles that, no prayer to get the performer of your choice coming to a theater near your.
The CotS is being portrayed by the concert promoters organizers as artists in the role of ordinary American, concerned with the direction America is being led. Considering that motivation, one should also be curious as to where they were the night Senator Hillary Clinton was booed at the Concert For New York City. The night Mike Moran, a member of the NYFD, called out to Osama Bin Laden to "Kiss his white, Irish ass!". I purchased a CD of that concert, it remains unopened to this day. It still evokes pain, sadness and rage.
204 posted on 08/12/2004 11:43:41 AM PDT by olde north church (Bill Clinton 2nd President impeached. John F. Kerry 1st War Criminal To Be Nominated, Proudly.)
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To: Dooderbutt

Adam Baldwin is not related to the brothers Baldwin: Alec, Daniel, Billy, and Stephen.

205 posted on 08/12/2004 11:50:58 AM PDT by pro libertate
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To: olde north church; All

the tone deaf left as appears above is an excerpt, use link at top of post.

206 posted on 08/12/2004 11:53:42 AM PDT by olde north church (Bill Clinton 2nd President impeached. John F. Kerry 1st War Criminal To Be Nominated, Proudly.)
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To: olde north church; All

the tone deaf left as appears above is an excerpt, use link at top of post.

207 posted on 08/12/2004 11:53:54 AM PDT by olde north church (Bill Clinton 2nd President impeached. John F. Kerry 1st War Criminal To Be Nominated, Proudly.)
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To: RinaseaofDs

Thanks! ;o)

208 posted on 08/12/2004 12:16:41 PM PDT by Watery Tart (I can't imagine that al-Qaida is going to be impressed by sensitivity." ~~LYNNE Cheney)
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To: KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle

Mike Nelson a good conservative?? Who would have known! I am pleased. Now I'm even more sorry the hysterically funny MST 3000 was canceled.

209 posted on 08/12/2004 12:26:46 PM PDT by TNCMAXQ
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To: pro libertate

Adam Baldwin is not related to the brothers Baldwin: Alec, Daniel, Billy, and Stephen.

That explains everything! Thank you.

210 posted on 08/12/2004 12:27:54 PM PDT by Dooderbutt
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To: RedWhiteBlue

Thanks for the name Sinise. More of the stars ought to be publicizing what our brave men and women are doing and HOW THE IRAQI PEOPLE AND THE CHILDREN ARE RESPONDING.

211 posted on 08/12/2004 12:30:08 PM PDT by loveliberty2
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To: rintense
Steven Tyler! Cool. Although TaRAYza looks a bit like him.

Lady Looks Like a Dude.
212 posted on 08/12/2004 1:22:38 PM PDT by counterpunch (The CouNTeRPuNcH Collection -
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To: Conservomax

I love Rick Rubin because he seriously is a mad genius.

I hate Rick Rubin because he's keeping the new UNIDA album out of the hands of the masses.

But Vincent Gallo and Johnny Ramone are still kickass.

RICK IF YOU ARE READING THIS!!! Give UNIDA their damned record back already!!!

213 posted on 08/12/2004 1:29:01 PM PDT by t_skoz
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To: Liz

Dogs eat baRF slowly on Wednesdays Mable

214 posted on 08/12/2004 1:36:12 PM PDT by steveo (Member: Fathers Against Rude Television)
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To: Lockbar

215 posted on 08/12/2004 2:08:31 PM PDT by t_skoz
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To: Captain Kirk

It must be the movies he's made. I always thought he might lean Republican.

216 posted on 08/12/2004 4:32:21 PM PDT by WestVirginiaRebel (I'll put George W. Bush's four years in office over Kerry's four months in Vietnam any time!)
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Only out of concern for his health. I hope he'll be around for many years to come, but, still. Alzhiemer's is no way for anyone to go.

217 posted on 08/12/2004 4:37:47 PM PDT by WestVirginiaRebel (I'll put George W. Bush's four years in office over Kerry's four months in Vietnam any time!)
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To: Cincinatus

If you wonder what the Brits think of this, check out MadIvans post...< a href ="">Which global conspiracy is brainwashing the US?

218 posted on 08/12/2004 4:44:17 PM PDT by Dutchgirl (Gen. Tommy Franks,"We owe it to Osama to kill him.")
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To: coconutt2000
There's Jerry Doyle...

Jerry ran for Congress as a Republican in my district a few years ago. (2000?) His B5 chums Bruce Boxleitner and Melissa Gilbert campaigned for him. (For Gilbert this was quite a personal sacrifice; she's a dyed-in-the-wool liberal!)

219 posted on 08/12/2004 4:48:42 PM PDT by Redcloak (This is my most clever tag line ever!)
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To: WestVirginiaRebel

Great man Heston.

I know personally know how horrific Alzheimer's is. We wouldn't let a dog die that way. Not only is it rough on the victim, it is horrible for the family.

Hope they find a cure for it some day.

220 posted on 08/12/2004 7:40:17 PM PDT by ZULU
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