George Clooney Can Ask for Your Money, But He Can't Buy Your Vote

george clooneyCelebrity endorsements in political campaigns are a sticky subject. Is it fair or ethical for a politician to capitalize on a particular star’s fan base to win elections? Do celebrities risk alienating their fans by declaring allegiance to a particular candidate? And what’re you supposed to do when Crazy Famous People endorse you?

It’s not exactly a cut-and-dried issue. Even Oprah, who is rumored to have gained Barack Obama over a million votes in the 2008 Democratic primaries, has decided to stay out of it this time around.

George Clooney has no such qualms endorsing the sitting president for reelection, as he’s even offered his company, along with President Obama’s, as a prize for one lucky person who donates to Obama’s reelection campaign. It’s a genius way to raise money, if you ask me.

Raising money for a campaign is probably the best way a celebrity can help a candidate. Campaigns are expensive, after all, with the ads, staff salaries, office space rentals, travel expenses, etc. A candidate has to be independently uber-rich, or figure out how to raise scads of money in order to afford to run for office.

Enter the celebrities. Appearances at events will raise attendance, which will raise awareness of a campaign, and possibly bring in some extra donations. Then there are contests like the one being run by the Obama campaign with George Clooney. Someone might feel ho-hum about donating to a campaign, but much more willing to do so if they view it as a lottery ticket to have dinner with the president and a movie star.

This isn’t a moral issue at all. It would be if they were selling the opportunity of a lifetime in exchange for votes, but they’re not. They’re just soliciting donations. I hope that Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, does the same thing to raise funds.

What the candidates choose to do with that money, how they interact with the public, and the issues they choose to take a stand on is up to them. Then in November, it’s up to the voters. 

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our 5 Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other writers have to say, read Should Presidential Candidates Use Star Power to Fuel Donations?


Image via csiova/Flickr

2012 election, barack obama, in the news, media, politics, election

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hotrd... hotrdumommy

Wow Jenny I must say this is the first time reading your blog and not wanting to hurl my iPhone across the room. You made some valid points. I know your next blog won't be as insightful so I'll savor the moment now.

nonmember avatar Guest

If this sort of thing influences the outcome our elections, we are doomed. Oh, wait...

Procr... Procrastamom

Mitt Romney was hoping to gain an inroad with women voters by raffling off a date with a famous Republican male.



...but Ann Coulter was busy that night.

nonmember avatar Guest

Procrastamom, I bet you think that was clever. Tell me, can you produce an intelligent rebuttal to any statement she has made?

JAFE JAFE

I really don't like it on either side. I find it often makes me not like those people in roles or music they may later make. I don't feel a celebrity, other than being rich, are any different than you or I. We all put our pants on one leg at a time and I think trying to influence voters is just somehow icky. We all have the right to vote for who we want. Why would I care who George Clooney votes for? He's got nothing to do with me or my vote.


Now, trying to buy votes. Shame on you! That is wrong. If you donate for "so and so" you get dinner with me! How arrogant. Me wonders why Queen Oprah is staying out of it this time? She's busy with her network?? LOL!!! Right!!! Maybe she's seen enough hope and change like the rest of us.

bills... billsfan1104

I believe that Oprah is not helping is because she is thinking of her bottom line. Although she might of helped with getting people to vote for Obama, I think that some people are finally waking up and see what he is really about.

And I also think that she doesnt want to alienate any more people and tring to get people to watch her network.

nonmember avatar Tanstaafl2

I admire the Chinese take on actors endorsing products, causes, or politicians - "Why the heck would I take the word of someone who is (essentially) a professional liar?"

For myself - I'm willing to listen to George Clooney's opinion's on acting or what Bruce Springsteen has to say about the music industry, since both of them know a thing or two about those topics. However, outside those areas of expertise, they're know more experts on a given subject than am I or my neighbor down the street.

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