Barack Obama’s Hollywood troubles

Guy Adams

Obama Hollywood thumb 400x435 275x300 Barack Obama’s Hollywood troubles

For a rock-star politician, who rose to fame on a chat-show (left) and achieved stratospheric celebrity status long before he ever got his hands on the levers of power, Barack Obama maintains a curiously schizophrenic relationship with the Hollywood elite.

The 44th President hit Los Angeles today, touching down for an evening generating cash to support his party in the coming mid-term elections. But were it not for the large numbers of men with guns and dark glasses who are creating traffic jams across the city’s west-side, you’d have been hard pressed to notice.

International press are not invited to Obama’s fundraiser, at the Hancock Park home of West Wing producer Jon Wells, where guests will apparently be able to rub shoulders with Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, and le tout Hollywood’s liberal faithful. It seems likely that TV news crews will meanwhile be kept a country mile from the gathering. And despite its huge and glitzy nature, the event appears to have been put together firmly below the radar. It wasn’t even flagged by today’s Los Angeles Times.

One reason for keeping it quiet may involve PR: nothing would say “screw you” to recession-addled voters more vividly than the sight of  the Commander in Chief  lording it with well-heeled Californians who have paid between $2,500 (for a ticket to the 90-minute drinks reception) and $30,000 (for a pair of seats inside the house for a 100-person dinner).

But another important factor is undoubtedly Barack Obama’s personality. As today’s Hollywood Reporter noted in a fascinating cover story (here) the President has made no attempt to cozy up to the entertainment industry, and has actually neglected many of the issues they take most seriously (not least the environment, and gay rights). This marks only his fourth visit to Hollywood since taking office.

Meanwhile, Obama’s general demeanour – earnest, academic, lawyerly – sits uncomfortably alongside that of the larger-than-life types who tend to make it in entertainment. Even the JJ Abrams, who sits on the committee of tonight’s fundraiser, seems trendy by comparison. And Mr Abrams, in the nicest possible way, is  a geek’s geek.

Things couldn’t have been more different in the era of Bill Clinton. Back then, the President would press celebrity flesh furiously during his regular trips to LA, when he would often stay at the Beverly Hills hotel, where he’d drink in the Polo Lounge till the wee hours, and swing by the showroom of the famous Mr Amir (who I interviewed a while back here) to update his wardrobe.

That, however, was during a different era: when fame had not been tainted by the rise of institutions like TMZ, and when film stars were treated as valuable assets and paid accordingly. Nowadays, we have a very different and more complex relationship with celebrity. And though the Hollywood elite remains blisfully in love with Obama, I’m not sure the feeling is being properly reciprocated.

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  • Neil McGowan

    And the Gitmo Gulag is closing exactly when?

  • Guest

    Just as Gordon Brown was the problem in the UK, so is Barack Obama the problem in America. Gaffe prone, of dubious heritage, non achieving, tax & spend policies and thats just for starters. You can run Obama but you cannot hide !

  • delpol

    Well here’s for starters, even though you really don’t qualify for a reply. “…of dubious heritage…’???. Chew on his two big successes: for the best part of a hundred years US presidents have tried and failed to reform health care, whereas Obama, ‘yes he could,’ did in his first year; he pumped money into financial institutions, not to keep the fat cats fat, but to avoid a long depression. Of course I don’t imagine for a nano second that you would be persuaded. Its a pitifully sad thing that democracy does not work as it should, on an electorate well informed of the truth.

  • Guest

    I guess you believe all the hype you read about health reform over the pond. Do you have any friends or family living over there like I do or have you looked at the detail of his health reforms ? I can assure you that two close friends of mine living over there see no sign of getting a job any time soon and without a job they no longer can pay for medical treatment. So what happened to all that socialist bilge about medical care for all from Obama as words don’t pay the medical bills !

    As far as the financial institutions are concerned not a lot has changed other than them being bailed out. All financial pundits accept that whoever was in charge be it in the US or UK, the banks had to be bailed out, there wasn’t any other option to prevent complete meltdown. This wasn’t the Messiah turning water into wine or toxic loans into assetts, this was a man driven by events so don’t try and pull that lame stroke.

    I stand by my original statement, Obama has not achieved anything of value since getting into power and he still remains the problem.

  • kilgoretroutsfeet

    My mate in America can’t get healthcare? ‘Of dubious Heritage’???? Surely you should be on the Telegraph website. Or the Mail. In fact, I’d try the Sun if I were you.

  • Guest

    You’re just showing your ignorance here as my wife is American and lived there for 50 years before coming to the UK and moving to Spain and our American friends aren’t of dubious heritage like Mexican wetbacks they were born and bred there and have paid all their taxes until losing their jobs.

    As I said before, nothing has really changed for the better in America since Obama conned his way into power promising change and health care for all and just like UK socialist policies, the only thing you can guarantee is taxes will rise and these champagne socialists will keep on spending other peoples money.

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