Clooney, Mellencamp, Eastwood Do the Right Thing

Tuesday, 26 Oct 2010 07:38 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. George Clooney Stands Up for What’s Right
2. John Mellencamp Sings Sarah Palin’s Praises
3. NPR Says Juan Williams Not Fired Over Muslim Comment
4. Clint Eastwood Takes Aim at Obama
5. Rahm Emanuel Hits Up Hollywood for War Chest
 

1. George Clooney Stands Up for What’s Right

A guest celebrity recently stunned Bill Maher on HBO’s “Real Time” with his defense of certain right-minded individuals.

The kudos for conservatives came from an unlikely source: actor George Clooney, a self-described longtime liberal.

Interviewing Clooney about the Darfur crisis, Maher remarked, “I think this is a big difference between liberals and conservatives. You know, I don’t think conservatives are bad people. I think they have a hard time being empathetic to people who are not like them at all.”

Clooney’s response pretty much floored the “Real Time” host. “OK, now wait,” he said. “I’ll tell you why that’s not necessarily true. Because this movement, the Sudanese movement, Darfur, the north-south agreement were really truly embraced by the right even more so than the left.”

Clooney even cited specific examples of help that he had received from the right. “[Kansas Sen.] Sam Brownback and I did press conferences together, and you know, when I talked to the senator, I said, ‘Listen — we don’t agree on a whole lot of stuff, but we both agree on this one.’ And I found that over the years on this particular issue specifically, and a lot of the African countries, that you can get a lot of conservative help,” Clooney said.

The Oscar winner also described a recent meeting with Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who takes the disastrous events in the Sudan very seriously.

“Believe me,” Clooney emphasized. “It’s a very big issue on the right as well.”


2. John Mellencamp Sings Sarah Palin’s Praises

John Mellencamp is a committed Democrat, but there’s hope: Mellencamp has been singing the praises of a conservative public figure disdained by other liberals — former vice-presidential candidate and current tea party icon Sarah Palin.

During the last Democratic presidential primary the rocker endorsed John Edwards. After Edwards dropped out of the race, Mellencamp supported Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Mellencamp even once wrote to then-GOP presidential hopeful John McCain, demanding that McCain quit using his songs at campaign rallies, including the hit “Our Country.”

Mellencamp said that even though he doesn’t support Palin’s positions, he is impressed by the mark she has made on the country since the 2008 election. And unlike his left-of-center friends, he thinks Sarah is smart.

Folks get the wrong idea about her intellect “just because she says things and winks,” Mellencamp told The Associated Press.

He also said that Palin “knows exactly what’s she doing” and “she wouldn’t be where she is today if she didn’t.” Mellencamp views the criticisms of Palin’s intellect as inconsistent with her success in the public arena. “She’s pushing the right buttons,” he said. “You can’t be stupid and do that.”


3. NPR Says Juan Williams Not Fired Over Muslim Comment

National Public Radio’s abrupt dismissal of longtime news analyst Juan Williams for remarks he made on Fox News turned into a bonfire that scorched NPR as it sucked the oxygen from other recent news items.

Vivian Schiller, president and CEO of NPR, has been the public face of the Soviet-style policy behind Williams’ termination.

Ostensibly Williams got the ax because he had said on “The O’Reilly Factor” that he gets “nervous” when he sees people in “Muslim garb” boarding a plane. However, Schiller maintains that Williams was not fired for that particular incident but rather for giving his opinions on several occasions. She said this constituted a breach of journalistic ethics.

Schiller inadvertently let her inner antipathy leak through when she said that Williams should have kept his Muslim comments between himself and “his psychiatrist or his publicist — take your pick.” She promptly retracted her statement, saying, “I spoke hastily and I apologize to Juan and others for my thoughtless remark.”

No apology was forthcoming for the firing, though (except to NPR staff for the manner of it); this despite the fact that other NPR personalities such as Nina Totenberg and Terry Gross routinely spout their opinions.

It could be that Schiller’s youthful devotion to the former Soviet Union provides a context for her repressive tactics. She holds degrees in Russian and Soviet studies, worked as an au pair in Moscow, and escorted American tour groups through the provinces.

When Ted Turner became the Soviet communists’ best Western buddy, Schiller helped produce his seven-hour propaganda series, “Portrait of the Soviet Union” (1988).

Schiller’s sacking of free speech would have put a smile on Stalin’s face.


4. Clint Eastwood Takes Aim at Obama

While promoting his intriguing “Hereafter” movie, Clint Eastwood did a sit-down with Katie Couric and confounded the news anchor with an Obama slam.

The multi-Academy Award winner and former Carmel mayor acknowledged that the president is “a nice fella.”

But what came next must have flabbergasted Couric. Eastwood said that he’s “not a fan of what [Obama] is doing at the moment.”

Eastwood added, “I just don’t think he is governing. I don’t think he has surrounded himself with the people he could have surrounded himself with.”

According to Eastwood, rather than govern, Obama will typically “lay out a certain line and is hoping that people will believe it so he can stay in the position.”

Clint has a particular view of leadership and doesn’t see current politicians as having the right stuff. He summed it up this way: “I don’t think there’s anybody I see out there, or many people that have that kind of discipline, that are willing to take a chance on losing.”


5. Rahm Emanuel Hits Up Hollywood for War Chest

Someone who’s taking no chances on losing is Rahm Emanuel, who is shoring up his Chicago mayoral bid with heavyweight Hollywood support.

He called his left coast bro, Ari, and got him to figure out a way to snare some Hollywood cash.

Along with Ari, some well-heeled Hollywood Dems, including David Geffen, Bob Iger, Peter Chernin, and Haim Saban, will host a fundraising soiree at Saban’s Beverly Hills mansion.

Rahm’s competition will have to raise money the old-fashioned way, by holding events in Chicago and talking about issues of concern to residents of the Windy City. A humorous aside: A video posted on Emanuel’s new website showed him saying that he’s happy to be home in Chicago. However, it leaked out that the video was shot in the Washington, D.C., offices of David Axelrod’s AKPD media.

The idea of an Emanuel administration is not sitting as well as expected in Chi-town, where the former White House chief of staff could face considerable opposition from major African-American pols including Illinois Rep. Danny Davis, who is said to be considering a run, and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, who has formed an exploratory committee. In addition, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial is looming over Rahm’s candidacy.

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