Actors and politicians may at first seem strange bedfellows but after what was an odd appearance from Clint Eastwood at the republican convention one has to ask, why do we see so many on the political stage?
The US has had long history with actors getting involved in politics. You can look all the way back to beginnings of the country and John Wilkes Booth a thespian who had a drastic effect on the course of history.
As time proceeded more and more took their careers from the bright lights of Broadway and Hollywood to the dark recesses of Washington. The US leads the world table with the most actors stepping into the political arena.
• Alan Autry (Republican) (Mayor of Fresno, California)
• Raj Bhakta (Republican) (unsuccessful candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, Pennsylvania)
• Sonny Bono (Republican) (U.S. Representative, 44th District of California)
• Clint Eastwood (Republican, but describes himself as Libertarian) (Mayor of Carmel, California)
• Al Franken (Democrat) (U.S. Senator, Minnesota; incumbent)
• Helen Gahagan (Democrat) (U.S. Representative, 14th District of California)
• John Gavin (Republican) (U.S. diplomat; Ambassador to Mexico)
• Fred Grandy (Republican) (U.S. Representative, Iowa)
• Ben Jones (Democrat) (U.S. Congressman, 4th District of Georgia)
• Jack Kelly, mayor of Huntington Beach, Calif.
• Sheila Kuehl (Democrat) (California State Senator)
• Nancy Kulp (Democrat) (unsuccessful nominee for U.S. House of Representatives, Pennsylvania)
• Robert Montgomery (Republican)
• George Murphy (Republican) (U.S. Senator, California)
• Stephen Peace (Democrat) (California State Senator)
• Ronald Reagan (Republican) (Governor of California, President of the United States)
• Arnold Schwarzenegger (Republican) (Governor of California)
• Jerry Springer (Democrat) (Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio)
• Fred Thompson (Republican) (U.S. Senator, Tennessee and unsuccessful presidential candidate)
• Jesse Ventura (formerly Reform; currently Independence Party of Minnesota) (Governor of Minnesota)
• Ralph Waite (Democrat) (unsuccessful nominee for U.S. House of Representatives)
• John Davis Lodge (Republican) (Governor of Connecticut)
So we see a full gambit of political positions having been filled, from mayor all the way up to president. So what makes this such a popular and successful move for actors?
I for one think that the similarity in the two jobs is the key. They both lie for a living.
An actor makes a living pretending to be someone or something they are not, a politician also builds a career on the basis of how well he/she can lie.
We see these two professions being a perfect crossover.
Since the arrival of the television (first seen with Nixon Kennedy debate) Politicians have understood that like actors they must create a persona and image that the public can see and identify with, this image is who the public believe that person to be. foolishly.
In this crossover we see those that have risen through the political ranks to a position that requires a public face receiving coaching, this coaching is basically an acting class. It teaches them the subtle gestures facial expressions and projection of presence that actors use on stage or film.
This has obviously not been lost on actors. They can get in on the game that is politics after all they are old pros at this creation of a false image to sell to the public.
So we see them stepping to the stage speaking out on a wide range issues some of great importance. The public lap it up.
These people have no real qualification they are the same as you and I, their talent is to deceive and pretend. This all being part of a great show, an illusion that is rolled out across the media, a system that has been set up to fool you into believing you have a choice.
Sadly today in a culture that is obsessed with celebrity it does not matter what they have to say. The masses just become overwhelmed by the fact that the person is on stage and talking, they don’t listen to the message and they don’t see it as just another puppet performance.
Maybe the Romans had it right when they compared prostitutes with actors. Prostitutes were considered shameful most were slaves or former slaves, people utterly lacking in social standing and deprived of most protections accorded to citizens under Roman law, a status they shared with actors.