My colleague Ted Johnson has a fine account of President Obama’s remarks to a Beverly Hills fundraiser, and as politics go, it’s fairly innocuous stuff.
Which is to say that Obama’s critics on the right — cue “Fox & Friends” — will invariably paint him as an out-of-touch elitist hobnobbing with left-wing, America-hating, serial-marriage-ing, pampered celebrities.
Even Democrats — who love liberal Hollywood’s money and sizzle — are often well-advised to steer clear of the town around election season, since conservatives have found fertile terrain in the image of millionaire stars like Sean Penn and Alec Baldwin telling ordinary folks how to live. (Of course, many of those conservatives — think Sean Hannity — are millionaires themselves, but class warfare works best when you’re the one choosing the targets.)
Telling, Johnson’s post notes that Obama didn’t reference any Hollywood-specific issues, which is at least an improvement over Bill Clinton, who hung out with Hollywood’s elite, then threw the town under the bus every time he needed a “family values” issue to look like a centrist. It’s a strategy that his wife, Hillary, also adopted by going after video games, just as Tipper Gore went after the music industry.
Based on reports, Obama handled the event as expected: Rally the base, stroke a few egos, pose for some pictures, and get out of there before dinner.
As modest as that sounds, though, just being there will give the right wing plenty upon which to feast.