George Clooney Bemoans Big-Money Politics After Hosting Big-Ticket Fundraisers for Clinton (Video)
The Clooney doth protest too much, we think.
Hollywood star and Democratic Party booster George Clooney pulled off a clever script-flipping trick on Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press.” When confronted with Bernie Sanders’ recent critique of the cost required to attend the two fundraisers he and his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, hosted over the weekend for Hillary Clinton in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, Clooney completely agreed with it.
“Yes, I think it’s an obscene amount of money,” the actor calmly replied when NBC’s Chuck Todd brought up the exorbitant ticket prices—ranging as high as $353,400 per couple—that Sanders had blasted in so many words. “I think, you know, that we had some protesters last night when we pulled up in San Francisco, and they’re right to protest, they’re absolutely right, it is an obscene amount of money,” he said.
Hard to keep arguing with someone who quickly throws up his hands and cops to the charges. Clooney’s defusing technique seemed to work on Sanders, who later responded by saying he had “a lot of respect for George Clooney’s honesty and integrity on this issue.”
But how much does making a show of support for protesters and admitting there’s a problem—but going ahead anyway and flashing the Hollywood glitz to charm star-struck elites into writing massive checks for Clinton—ultimately help the country’s campaign funding issues?
Like the candidate he’s backing, Clooney apparently believes that change is best attempted from inside the existing political structure. And like Clinton, he claims there’s a difference between how he plays in the fat cats’ sandbox and how the opposition does. Take, for example, a certain fraternal duo from the right side of the aisle (via Variety):
“I think there is a difference between the Koch brothers and us,” he said. He pointed to the contrasting tax policies between the parties. The ones he and other Democratic donors support “would probably cost us a lot of money” while “the Koch brothers would probably profit if they get their way.”
… Clooney and his wife Amal hosted a fundraiser for Clinton at their Studio City home on Saturday. The money raised went to the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint committee for the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties.
Supporters of Bernie Sanders protested down the street from the event, and even threw cash at her motorcade as it went by.
But Clooney said that one thing the Clinton campaign has not been good at explaining is that the money raised benefits Democratic candidates down ballot. Proceeds from the Victory Fund are split between the Clinton’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties.
So, a combination of factors forms the basis for Clooney’s justification: 1) The GOP is doing it, so Dems have to buy into big-money politics or be crushed; 2) Donations aren’t only being funneled into Clinton’s coffers; and 3) He believes that Clinton, despite conflicting evidence, would actually take steps once elected to help reverse Citizens United and to “get this obscene, ridiculous amount of money out [of politics] so I never have to do a fundraiser again,” as he put it.
And for the record, the actor said, he would throw in for Sanders if the Vermont senator becomes the nominee. Sounds fair—except that by endorsing Clinton now, he’s doing his part to ensure that Sanders never enjoys his full-throated support, but that’s the kind of circular logic that runs throughout Clooney’s statements.
If the Clooneys of the world are banking on some future opportunity to change a flawed system from within the same system, that day may never come. Sanders and others might praise Clooney’s talk about how he knows he’s part of the problem, or about how Clinton will see to it that things are different once she has pocketed millions from the very class most likely to hold her captive once she lines up her pens on her Oval Office desk. A quick study of how that’s worked for President Obama, however, presents a different picture that doesn’t quite sell so well in the tense present.
But it all makes for an on-message sound bite in the meantime.
Read the transcript of Clooney’s “Meet the Press” interview here.’TIS THE REASON…
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