Celebrity 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?
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