Entertainers in politics

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Ronald Reagan, Fred Thompson, Sonny Bono, Al Franken, Bill Bradley (just to name a few) were all considered very good politicians.

mc

eta: and that’s just the USA!

I love what Tom Lehrer had to say on the subject.

Yeah, why not? Almost anyone should be able to run for office. I would just ask that you don’t start at the top. Get some experience in lower level offices first if you have grand dreams.

I like the idea of elected office not being a set-aside for a specific class and profession. Clint Eastwood brought a much-needed businessman’s perspective to the mayor’s office in Carmel (His restaurant was overregulated). Sonny Bono, no legislative genius, was able to bring star power and public attention to GOP issues.

How was Ilona Staller regarded in Italy?

Why shouldn’t they run for office, just like anyone else?

Whether anyone should vote for them is another matter.

And Arnold Schwarzenegger at least wasn’t a disaster.

I think what all these people had in common was that they had an interest in politics, took their jobs seriously, and wanted to do some good. Such people certainly shouldn’t be disqualified just because they come from an entertainment background. But I agree with bobot that they shouldn’t start at the top.

Should they, or should they be allowed to? I don’t see an issue with either one. They should or shouldn’t any more than you or I should or shouldn’t be allowed to. Should we vote them into office, however, would be a better question. To that question I’d say that no, we shouldn’t elect them into office if their only qualification is their celebrity status.

There was a thread a while back where someone suggested that Sully (the pilot) should be the next president. The poster suggested that he would do a good job at being president because he’s a good speaker and clearly does well under pressure. The poster, as I recall, knew nothing about his stance on any political issues at all, just wanted to vote him in because he was on the talk show circuit.

Personally, I think that in order to run for president, one of the qualifications should be that you’ve been elected into other offices. Perhaps you’d have to have been elected into a certain amount, or have served in elected positions for X years or that you have to have made it to at least a certain level (governor, senator etc). Lets make sure people aren’t running for president because they want to be president. Let’s make sure they actually have an interest in federal, international and local politics. Also, this would help to make sure people that have no business being president get out voted at the local level, long before their name would ever even be heard at the national level.

Do you think Trump would be president if instead of waking up one day and deciding to run (and then being in office a few years later) if even being nominated would require him to work in local government for 8 or 12 years first?

I like it. I don’t know about 8 or 12 years, but I like it.

Well, on the one hand, let the voters decide! If they want to vote for someone with no elected office experience for the highest office in the land, then OK (setting aside the whole popular vote vs. electoral college issues).

On the other hand, entertainers have a set of potential built in advantages when running for office - name recognition, they are theoretically better at presenting themselves in front of an audience. It is incumbent on the voters to see through those advantages to determine if they actually have good ideas or policies.

It is incumbent on opposing candidates to pick apart their entertainment background as a weakness. We really haven’t seen that approach, oddly.

While I understand that and it makes some sense, it should be used to pick people for movies or motivational speaking or to bring awareness to issues. Someone that’s running for office should have some experience in politics. Unfortunately, when celebrities are running, it can turn into a popularity contest.

Arnold was a special case to me because he had proven himself competent in a wide range of fields already. Bodybuilding, acting, real estate, business, etc. He managed to do very well in a wide range of fields before going into politics.

By comparison Mary Bonos only qualification is she married someone famous.

To be fair, Fred Thompson had been involved in politics (though not as an elected official) long before he became an actor. As a lawyer, he had been a counsel on the Senate Watergate Committee, and was a lobbyist in the 1970s through the 1990s. His acting career started in 1985, when he played himself in a film about a court case in which he was involved (Marie).

That said, by 1994, when he was first elected to the Senate, he had already become a well-known actor.

And it wasn’t until he left politics that he got the role for which he is arguably best know. The DA on Law and Order.

Well, that supposes that success in business translates to effectiveness in elected office. Can we agree that is not a universally supported hypothesis?

In addition, Arnold took advantage of the Gray Davis recall election and concurrent clown-car gubernatorial election. He just had to do one vote better than 134 other candidates on the ballot. (Yes, he got 48.6%, even with another strong R in the race.) He had already signaled his interest in higher office previously, but it would have been interesting to see how he might have done in a traditional election season.

Given that he nearly got 50% even in a race with 135 candidates, I think it’s safe to say he probably would have done just fine in a traditional election. It’s hard to imagine all of those other candidates’ voters all, every last one, coalescing around any single other candidate. Heck, toss in the usual few percent for the Libertarians and the Greens, and 48.6% is already enough to win a solid plurality.

Oh, I mostly agree. Had the recall not happened, Davis would not have been on the next ballot due to term limits. IMHO the D establishment sat out the recall, and pushed Bustamante in because they needed *someone *on the ballot as a long shot / sacrificial lamb. In a normal cycle, perhaps a stronger D candidate would have emerged through the primary campaigns. Of course, in that scenario McClintock would have also not been in to pull away R votes. So, yes, in a traditional election Arnold probably would have moved up into the middle to high 50%s.