MEMO TO: President Bill Clinton
FROM: Peter Bart
CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING a second term! Having said that, consider this a gentle reminder about the debt you owe Hollywood. Judging from the number of visits you pay this town, it’s clear you enjoy the company of its denizens just as your party relishes their largesse. Given this fact, I feel it’s time for a little payback. After all, Hollywood is about more than glamour and money. There are a considerable number of talented people in Hollywood who could enrich your next administration. With this in mind, I would like to advance a few suggestions about how these individuals could be appropriately utilized.
Frank Biondi: During the ongoing legal tussle between MCA and Viacom, Biondi has not only demonstrated that he understands both sides of the argument, he actually has taken both sides of the argument. What better criteria would be required to justify a Supreme Court appointment?
Chris Pula: Since you’re again faced with a Republican Congress, Bill, you need someone in your administration who can “sell” your policies. George Stephanopoulos wants to get into showbiz, and he was never especially persuasive anyway, so why not trade him to New Line for its hotshot marketing man?
Joel Silver: With Bosnia mired in the status quo, it would be to your advantage to dispatch someone whose very presence symbolizes action. Dissidents would instantly realize that it’s either compliance or they get added to the body count of Joel’s next epic. An ambassador’s post should be in the offing.
Sherry Lansing: Since your Justice Dept. has had a terrible time dealing with militia groups and similar dropouts, why not substitute a superb diplomat for Janet Reno? Sherry could not only have persuaded the Branch Davidian members to come out smiling, she probably would have gotten them to finance a slate of pictures.
Mark Canton: Having scrupulously maintained the separation of TriStar and Columbia these last four years, Canton could bring these skills to bear in keeping the Hutus away from the Tutsis. An ambassadorship to Zaire would seem appropriate. Arnold Rifkin: This able and aggressive William Morris agent gleaned considerable insight into Japanese manners and mores during his brief candidacy for the top production job at Sony. Rifkin should be a frontrunner as a future ambassador to Japan; surely he would welcome the chance to return some favors. Mickey Schulhof: Here’s a man, Bill, who clearly should run your foreign aid program. During his stewardship at Sony, he demonstrated that overseas money could be squandered in the U.S. just as massively as U.S. money has been squandered abroad. Schulhof has lessons to teach the U.S. government.
Barbra Streisand: Your diplomatic corps, Bill, has become so bland as to be invisible. Since Streisand has repeatedly shown a talent for getting things done, why not appoint her ambassador to Poland, where she could energize debt-weary Eastern Europe? The downside: She might find time to make “Yentl II.”
Joe Eszterhas: As a screenwriter, Eszterhas has taught Hollywood’s writing community how to earn more for less witness his million-dollar pricetags on four-page treatments. Surely as secretary of commerce he could carry that message to the nation’s businessmen more effectively than the suits who have lately occupied that post.
Steven Seagal: Here’s an actor-director who has demonstrated his skills both at handling and manhandling people. His appointment to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms would clearly send a message to the NRA and other potential transgressors that the feds mean business.
Ted Turner: As the proprietor of motion picture and cable TV companies, Turner has repeatedly been willing to go public with his true feelings about projects he disdained, executives he distrusted, etc. These would seem excellent qualifications for the new head of the CIA, an agency which seems to be choking on its own secrecy and bureaucratic intrigues. Scott Rudin: Given the constant and extraordinary turnover on his executive staff, Rudin could superbly apply his unique downsizing techniques to the bulging Dept. of Education, which Bob Dole wanted to abolish. Why simply fire bureaucrats when you can torment them first? Robert Downey Jr.: The passage around the country of referendums legalizing medical use of marijuana has underscored the need to bring into government someone with a proven understanding of the issues. What better choice than young Downey to serve as drug czar? In proposing these individuals, I realize I may be slighting other Hollywood figures who have exemplary qualifications for certain posts. But my overall point is this: There is talent to burn in Hollywood. It’s time some of it burned Washington as well. Take it from here, Bill.