It’s been over two years since I wrote, Conservative Rock?! It was about an article in National Review that listed the supposed 50 greatest conservative rock songs ever. Perhaps the most charming thing that conservatives ever do is try to claim that that are cool. Because they aren’t. I remember Bill Maher noting that it wasn’t always wrong to vote for a Republican because sometimes you need an angry old man to watch your money. Now that’s actually not true. Republican politicians have shown themselves to be the true spendthrifts throughout the last half century. But that image of Republicans is right: angry old white men who care only about money.
So it was with some relish that I came upon an article in Republican Reader, 15 Actors You Might Not Have Known Were Republicans. Such headlines are great click bait, because for me at least, I always think, “No. I’ll bet not one of the actors will surprise me.” Although in this case, some of the actors did surprise me—because I didn’t know who they were or because they weren’t Republicans.
It reminded me a lot of that photo collage, “It’s Okay to be a Republican!” It is filled mostly with pictures of African Americans from long ago when the Republican Party was actually the liberal party. But it also has Martin Luther King Jr in the collage and he was never a Republican. As I discuss in the article, Martin Luther King Sr was a Republican. Or at least he was until 1964 at which point he was a prominent Democrat. But you can’t blame the Republicans for trying. Or maybe you can.
The Reader first offers up Vince Vaughn. I don’t know how he made the list given just how prominent he’s been in his support for Ron Paul. And I’m sure he’ll be a big supporter of Rand Paul. It’s kind of low brow political thought from a low brow actor.
Next up: Dwayne Johnson. I’d always assumed he was a Republican. But I haven’t actually been able to find confirmation. I figure he is. He’s a testosterone fueled ex-wrestler.
The list continues with a genuine surprise to me: James Earl Jones. And in his case I absolutely don’t know. A lot of Republicans claim him as one of their own, but I can’t find any documentation of it. What’s more, in an article in Mediaite, Jones talks about the racism of the Tea Party and how he watches MSNBC all the time. So if he is a Republican, he’s pretty quiet (and moderate) about it.
The next one made me laugh out loud: Sylvester Stallone. Who in this nation does not know that Stallone is a Republican? They would have to have missed the Rambo films and Rocky IV and pretty much everything else he’s done in the last twenty years. After reading this one I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Arnold Schwarzenegger, the writers probably figuring that the readers are so ignorant as to have missed a Republican governorship. Thankfully, Arnold did not show up on the list. But had there been 16 instead of only 15, who knows?
And then there is Bruce Willis. Again: I thought everyone knew this. But maybe they shouldn’t have, because when I looked into it, it seems that the presidency of Bush the Younger kind of cooled him on the party. But he is still conservative and doubtless still registered as a Republican. But it says a lot about a party that its biggest supporters are not very big supporters.
Heather Locklear is reportedly registered as a Republican. I barely know who she is. And other than allegedly being registered, she doesn’t seem to have much to do with the party. No big booster she.
At last: Robert Duvall! An actual Republican who has been substantially involved with the party. But just like Clint Eastwood, he’s more of a libertarian and holds his nose in his embrace of the party. Last month, Duvall told The Daily Beast that he and his wife are probably voting Democratic or at least independent because the modern Republican Party is “a mess.”
Shannen Doherty is a Republican. I don’t actually know who she is. But again, she doesn’t seem to be that into it.
Now we come to what is undoubtedly the most hilarious pick on the list: Stephen Baldwin. He is a Republican! And he is nominally an actor. And I think everyone knew he was a Republican because he’s a whacked out conservative Christian. But I think it is funny as hell that the Republicans are in effect saying, “Sure, you have Alec Baldwin, who is a bonafide star. But we have Stephen!” But I guess we are all just glad that Stephen got off drugs.
According to the Reader, LL Cool J is a Republican. LL Cool J is not a Republican. But the Reader claims he is because he said that people shouldn’t assume that he’s a Democrat. The article does not quote what he said right after that, “I’m an Independent, you know?” This is so very very sad. Perhaps the article should have been titled, “15 Actors Who Didn’t Even Known They Were Republicans.”
I don’t know who Kristin Chenoweth is, but she is supposedly a Republican. All I could find is a quote from her in which she claimed that her parents were “right-wing Republican Christians.” The Reader, of course, misquotes her to say that she is also a right-wing Republican Christian. Which she probably is. After all, in 2012 she sustained a serious head injury.
Because I’m really old, I remember who Jaclyn Smith is. And she may be a Republican. According to the Reader, some people say she is. And she once gave money to Bush the Younger’s campaign. But she wouldn’t be interviewed for Rated R: Republicans in Hollywood. So whatever.
Tony Danza is apparently registered Republican but doesn’t talk much about it.
James Caan is a Republican just like everyone already knew. But even if this weren’t well known, you can tell that he’s kind of dim-witted.
The last Republican is Adam Sandler. That one surprised me a bit, only because he’s Jewish. But the fact that he donated to Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 campaign doesn’t actually say that much about him as a Republican, given that’s all we know.
I don’t begrudge the Republican Party their actors. But you would think they could do a better job of finding actual proud Republicans. I understand: artists of all stripes tend to be liberal. That’s especially true of actors who need empathy for their trade and empathy pushes against supporting the Republican Party. But artists are also often iconoclasts. So it shouldn’t be that hard to find actual Republican actors that aren’t well known as such but would like to be. And the fact that even the Republican supporters seem to have cooled to the party in the last decade speaks very poorly of the current status of the party.