As President and Michelle Obama prepare to dine with big name celebrities tonight in a high-priced New York fundraiser hosted by actress Sarah Jessica Parker and famed Vogue editor Anna Wintour, political commentator Michelle Cottle dissects the hypocrisy of the Republican Party’s attacks on President Obama’s celebrity endorsements in a column today on The Daily Beast.
Cottle notes that while Republicans are thrilled to link Obama to the glitz of Hollywood, the right wingers have no problem trotting out celebrities of their own. The only problem for them is, they have many fewer to choose from.
“The GOP, however, is just as eager to exploit its more limited stable of brand names,” Cottle writes. “The likes of Chuck Norris, Kelsey Grammer, and Kid Rock get wheeled out to help with the base-rallying and buck-raking, while 1980s sex kitten Bo Derek has been a fixture on the Republican circuit for more than two decades…Rocker Ted Nugent’s anti-Obama rants have given the GOP some P.R. migraines this cycle. (One tirade even earned Nugent a visit from the Secret Service.) And while Obama’s Parker/Wintour event has prompted snickering and eye-rolling, Team Romney’s similar raffle to dine with Donald Trump has provoked shrieks of disbelief. Forget what the chattering class thinks of The Donald: consistently, polls show that Romney’s ties to Trump make everyday voters less likely to vote for him.”
The right wing has had a ball with the president’s embrace by Hollywood, exemplified by last month’s fundraiser at George Clooney’s house that raised $15 million for Obama’s coffers and tonight’s $40,000-a-plate shindig at Sarah Jessica Parker’s house that will undoubtedly be equally lucrative for the president. As Cottle reports, blogger Michelle Malkin called it an effort by Dems to “rally the peasantry,” while Rush Limbaugh called the president “Barack Kardashian.” The Republican National Committee produced an ad, showing grim jobless stats juxtaposed with video of Wintour to “suggest Obama’s priorities are warped.”
“The political media soon chimed in, musing about the cluelessness of the Obama campaign,” Cottle writes. “Such is the mixed blessing of celebrity endorsements. Even as they help candidates generate buzz and rake in cash, they hand the opposition a big fat club with which to bash both endorser and endorsee.”
But what goes missing in much of the discussion is the enormous amounts of cash Romney is getting from the nation’s billionaires, who are unlimited in the amounts they can pour into campaigns, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. So while a couple of parties with Hollywood stars might raise some eyebrows, how much is the public ultimately harmed—compared to billionaires lavishing their dollars on the Republican candidate and leveraging their contributions after the election by expecting favorable treatments and decisions from the White House?