While the candidates themselves seem to want to put it behind them, this weekend offers plenty of post-mortem on the Clinton-Obama-Geffen fracas.
Huffington Post’s Melinda Henneberger writes, “Just this once, Hollywood is in perfect sync with Middle America, with David Geffen faithfully channeling Main Street USA.” She says that Geffen’s criticisms to Maureen Dowd were nothing she hasn’t heard before, in interviews she has done with 234 randomly chosen women around the country over the past 18 months. For example, Sacramento billing clerk Emily Timmons says: “She’s trying to move to the center, but not in a sensible way, like, ‘We can take care of the environment and help business. Instead, she’s going against flag burning.”
In his blog, Kurt Andersen says that the “Hollywood political bubble is more peculiar than I imagined,” given the falling out between Geffen and the Clintons. He offers the nugget that Bill Clinton and Geffen were once so tight that at one White House dinner, in which the President sat at the same table as Geffen and George Kennan, Clinton ignored the legendary diplomat but was enthralled bu Geffen’s Hollywood stories.
Kate Zernike of the New York Times looks at why Democrats take money from Hollywood, even though there are ample reasons to know that they should take those contributions at their own peril. It’s not just the Geffen flap, but the whole idea of celebrities offering their endorsements. Recent experience is that it can hurt more than it can help. Although the GOP pulled out the “Hollywood values” label against their opponents in a few cases in the midterms, the label didn’t have much resonance this time around. And one thing not pointed out in the piece is that, unlike other industries, Hollywood money comes with little or no quid pro quo. Donors rarely are asking for say, some industry-friendly legislation, but for some stance on the war or the environment. Of course, a night in the Lincoln bedroom helps.