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COMMENTARY: You can keep Clooney

By   /   April 25, 2012  /   No Comments

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

I don’t care about George Clooney.

Yes, he was fabulous in the Oscar-worthy “The Descendants,” and he was perfectly politically creepy in “The Ides of March,” ironically, given Clooney’s liberal pedigree, playing the part of a scurvy Democratic presidential candidate embroiled in a behind-the-scenes sex scandal.

I personally prefer vintage Clooney, and I think his performance as mullet-headed George Burnett on 1980s TV sitcom “The Facts of Life” has gone mostly under-appreciated.

But now Mr. Big Time Celebrity Clooney has become an Obama campaign fundraising inducement.

I know because I am daily inundated with “opportunities” to party with George and the Prez on May 10 at Clooney’s mansion. All I have to do is “chip in $3 or whatever” I can to the Obama for America effort, and I’m entered to win. Airfare and hotel are covered. Apparently, contest entrants won’t be staying at the Clooney casa.

As a political reporter, I am on the White House press email.

I’m on a lot of politicians and political campaign mailer lists. Let’s just say my inbox is more stuffed than my Uncle Ron’s frayed and faded T-shirt on Thanksgiving. It’s a hazard of the profession.

The campaign notices are always the most entertaining, particularly President Barack Obama’s.

I affectionately call this week, “The Week of Clooney.”

I first received an email from Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Julianna Smoot, asking me if I’d like to meet Clooney and Obama — at Clooney’s house.

Oh, the titillation.

“He’s hosting supporters at his home next month to help build support for his campaign and elect President Obama in November,” Smoot wrote to me, as if I was the only boy in the whole wide world.

She told me that George is “saving seats for two grassroots supporters” like me and a guest. Point of order, I am not a grassroots supporter or supporter of any kind of any campaign. It seems like most of the politicians, at least the really popular kids, have enough money.

Not long after, I received an email from Ann Marie Habershaw, chief operating officer for Obama for America (when they bring in the COO, you know they mean business), offering some advice.

“I have some advice for the two people who will be selected to go to a party for the President at George Clooney’s house: Choose your guest wisely. Whoever you pick to join you is going to owe you big time.”

Did you hear that, Boehner. You’re going to owe me big time.

I was advised to think about it — and “chip in $3 or whatever” I can to be automatically entered.

Now, rest assured, I’ve had other offers. Last month, Michelle Obama wrote to me offering a seat at the dinner table with her husband. The first lady was insistent, too. After I left her original invitations unrequited, she sent an email titled “Me Again.”

“There’s one thing I forgot to mention,” she wrote. She forgot to mention that if I “chip in” $3 to support the campaign, I would automatically be entered to have dinner with the president.

“I had the chance to go to one of these ‘Dinners with Barack’ just a few weeks back — and trust me, you don’t want to miss out on it,” Michelle wrote. Funny, you would think the first lady would have dinner with the president more often.

Campaigns try all kinds of tricks to get people to give them money. Perhaps Jay Inslee, Washington state's Democratic gubernatorial candidate, has the most compelling enticement yet.

In a recent email, Inslee’s campaign manager Joby Shimomura invited supporters to make monthly campaign commitments. If they do, the campaign will leave them alone.

“In addition, because they’ve already committed themselves financially, (J-Team members) can choose to opt out of fundraising e-mails from the campaign,” Shimomura wrote.

Finally a politician who gets the American voter: We’d like as little contact with you as humanly possible.

But Obama’s camp is king of bringing out the heavy hitters.

I tried to contact presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s people to see how the campaign might keep up with the Obamas. They didn't call back. I’m not sure how many Hollywood celebs Mitt has on his invite list, but I’m thinking Tom Selleck or Scott Baio don’t have the Clooney cachet. My apologies to “Joanie Loves Chachi” fans.

I know the prospect of a night with George Clooney may be impossible to resist for some. As I said, I don’t care about George Clooney.

This is what I care about:

  • $15.6 trillion — the outstanding U.S. debt;
  • 8.2 percent — the national jobless rate, representing millions out of work;
  • Two — as in double-dip recession. That’s what has happened in the United Kingdom, a powerhouse European economy that recorded contraction in the first quarter of the year. Is the U.S. next?

If George Clooney has practical answers to these big problems, I’ll be glad to hear what he has to say. Until then, stick to the script, George.