I love Matt Damon. He is awesome and intelligent and a great actor and beautiful, to boot, but he isn't a politician. He is an actor. He may have gone to Harvard (briefly) and he may make great political thrillers, but he isn't running for office. At least not yet. So why are we hearing so much about what Matt Damon thinks of President Obama?
On Piers Morgan Live, Damon complained about the State of the Union Address -- "He didn't even say the word 'poverty.' You've got millions of people languishing in it," said Damon. He complained about Afghanistan -- "I don't think the mission there has been very well articulated. And I think it would help to kind of re-frame the way we're thinking about being there and why we're there." And he complained about Wall Street, saying it's "dangerous" and "shameful" and that the financial crisis is "just going to happen again," because "they don't make anything. They don't build anything."
Everything he said is correct and true, so why does it feel so smug and annoying?
Damon openly backed the Obama campaign in 2008 and said that he appreciates that the president is a "deep thinker." He also said that Obama is brilliant, but that he "definitely wanted more." Well then, Mr. President! Let's get right on that!
Seriously, why are we all so worried about what celebrities think of politics? At this point, it seems most people think Matt Damon is so smug, his backing would probably hurt more than help. He is far from the first celebrity to stick his nose too far into politics (remember Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon and their open support of Ralph Nader and other political causes?) and certainly it goes the other way, too.
Just today, it was big news that Mike Huckabee -- potential Presidential candidate for 2012 -- took on Natalie Portman for her out-of-wedlock pregnancy. He claims she is sending a bad message about single motherhood out to her fans. Whatever, dude.
I propose a solution to all this: How about entertainment be entertainment and politics be politics. Just because you make $20 million a movie and (almost) have a degree from Harvard, it doesn't make you qualified to speak on political issues. And just because you play the saxophone and party like it's the mid-1990s (Bill Clinton), it doesn't make you qualified to schmooze half of Hollywood.
We've seen terrible examples of Hollywood and politics mingling too much. Think Ronald Reagan, who some (like me) might argue caused the recent economic collapse when his administration oversaw all the deregulation. Or Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose leadership of California left many wishing he had stuck to body building and acting. Just because you can play the president and act all presidential and what not doesn't make you qualified to BE the president.
We're giving Hollywood too much power when President Obama is weighing in at the Academy Awards on what his favorite movie song is ("As Time Goes By," which, by the way, is a total pander pick). Doesn't he have a job to do? Doesn't Matt Damon have a movie to promote?
Radical as it may seem, let's keep politics in Washington and the movie business in Los Angeles. And Matt Damon, please, I love you and your movies and you are all kinds of smart. I even agree with you and I mean this in the nicest way possible, but please (PLEASE!) shut up. Leave the politics to those who are qualified to discuss them.
Do you get sick of Hollywood types weighing in on political issues?
Image via Made In Hollywood/Flickr