As much as it pains us to stick a fork in this persistent and oh-so irresistible rumor, here goes: Sorry America, but George Clooney will not be president of the United States.
Perhaps the actor will someday play the commander-in-chief in a movie. We’d go see that! But let’s just accept the fact that he won’t answer to “Mr. President” in real life.
There have long been White House whispers around Clooney, stoked by his embrace of political causes and his political pedigree (his father, Nick Clooney, ran for Congress). Every now and then, they flare up into a bit of buzz. We’re in such a cycle right now, kicked off, it seems by the longtime bachelor’s recent wedding to prominent international human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin.
Aha! the tabloids speculated, he’s snagged himself the perfect first lady! Why else would one end decades of blissful single-dom if not to make oneself eligible for the highest office in the land?
The rumor recently was further fueled by no less an astute political observer as Nick Jonas.
Am I the only one that thinks George Clooney has got a master plan to run for President one day… #Clooney2016
— Nick Jonas (@nickjonas) October 17, 2014
True, Clooney has attributes that would make him a respectable candidate: Good looks, money, a history of activism on behalf of African causes, and a friendship with the current occupant of the White House.
But here comes the cold water from Washington political experts. They all agree that the star is simply not going to submit to the un-glamorous, time-consuming, and constraining nuts and bolts of running for office. Being president (and looking great doing it) is one thing. Campaigning is another.
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile hates to admit that she’ll never get to vote for President Clooney. (She says he’s the only actor she’s ever truly swooned over, when he directed her in an episode of the short-lived HBO show “K Street,” and she has nothing but praise for his activism.) But a presidential run entails years of grueling work he’s not likely to take on. “Can you imagine him visiting all 99 counties in Iowa, sitting on sofas, sitting in bowling alleys and explaining his views on the genetic makeup of corn?” she asked. “That’s what it takes.”
Were Clooney to set his sights on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., he’d have to first run for lower office — Congress or governor of California, perhaps — which would mean immersing himself in provincial issues in which he’s shown little interest, some note.
“You don’t just wake up one day if your latest movie flops and decide you’re running for Congress,” says GOP operative John Feehery. “You need experience in elective office.”
And MSNBC political analyst Karen Finney thinks Clooney might have the greatest impact on the causes he’s shown himself most committed to, including Sudan, in his current role as deep-pocketed celebrity advocate.
“The president has to deal with a dysfunctional, Republican-led Congress,” Finney said. “If you have particular issues that you really care about, and you happen to have your own private island, too, you can afford to do big things, and you don’t need to be president to do them.”
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