Governator 3: Rise of the Candidates

John Mellancamp has been suggested as a candidate for Governor of Indiana during the next election.
He hasn’t made any announcements, but it has been discussed within the state government that he may be just the kind of Governor that Indiana needs.

Once upon a time, politicians were politicians. Sure, politicians could be celebrities depending on their position and, possibly, their extra-curricular activities, in which case, they usually weren’t a politician for much longer. But, celebrities were never thought of as politicians.

Within recent years, celebrity activism has become an industry all on its own. Every celebrity with a decent pile of scratch seems to chiefly support some charity if they don’t have their own foundation for something research or in support of some country. I don’t have any sort of problem with this because people who get paid way too much to do the jobs they do are throwing some of their “hard-earned” money at good causes. It’s a legitimately good thing, even if it’s just a PR move to keep their name well-received and in the lime-light.
There are the celebrities who do more than just dump a truck-load of cash into the problem. Some of them have injected themselves into situations. They’ve wormed their way into being a mouthpiece or a figurehead for a particular cause which can sometimes lead to them gaining influence within the political system.
I suppose it’s this phenomenon which could lead people into thinking that celebrities should also be politicians. I would like to shake those people until their flapping heads fall off of their bodies.

Just because they’re a mouthpiece for one good cause doesn’t mean that whatever else they have to say about other hot-button issues of the day should be heeded and taken as gospel. Just because they’re famous doesn’t mean that they should be considered a candidate for a government office.

That isn’t to talk smack on John Mellancamp. It’s to talk smack on the people who figured that, because he’s a prominent and famous Indiana resident and has expressed political views in the media before, that it would be a good idea to have him running the state.
What works for California, people, doesn’t work for anyone else. Really, manner in which Arnold got his seat was not the most impressive of political sweeps. He was running a race in an atmosphere which was so fed up with politicians that they recalled their own governor. It was anyone’s race but, with the amount of celebrities throwing their hats in the ring, it was really a matter of which was more popular. Arnold, as the biggest name, won.
The margin was narrow, but no less true.
When the comedic smoke cleared, Arnold wasn’t doing too bad of a job. When it came time to re-elect him in 2006, slightly more than half of California voters thought he still wasn’t doing too bad. He’s become more politician than celebrity, though he is still a celebrity first.

The same experiment didn’t work as well in Minnesota because, well, people realized that Jesse Ventura, while a famous and notable Minnesotan, is crazy. He couldn’t take the constant media pressure or the comedic slaps in the face by pundits and late-night talk shows and nearly cracked.

People have even tried this in Pennsylvania recently. Lynn Swann of Steelers fame tried to run for Governor, hoping that his fame relative to the Pittsburgh vote would carry him through to the checkered flag. He failed. He didn’t realize that weak and vague views took precedence over his fame, at least here in Western PA. I’m sure that there were some people who would have voted for him based solely on his sports connection, but I don’t think there would have been enough.
The same goes for “Dok” Harris, son of Franco Harris. The kid tried to run for mayor based on his father’s fame and came in second, but still fell flat because, his father’s Immaculate Reception aside, people realized he didn’t have anything worthwhile to contribute.

Fame alone should not decide who is going to take office in this country.
It is a sad truth that, if given an opportunity on a national level, this would probably succeed. If a celebrity of some renown ran for the Presidency, they would at least make a damn good race of it. I’m talking someone with instant recognizably; a movie star or a director or a TV personality with a good grass-roots base.

It may have worked for Ronald Regan, but I don’t think that the same would hold true now. The dude served as SAG President through the Red Scare and was Governor of California for almost a decade before he decided to make a run at the White House. Even then, he lost to Gerald Ford in 76 before he took the seat four years later. At that point, he was more politician than Hollywood celebrity.

I remain staunch that politicians should stick to politics and celebrities should stick to being famous. Yes, celebrities can evolve to become politicians, but this should be a gradual process and should be something which is carefully scrutinized more than any other type of politician out there. The initial victory of any celebrity candidate would be mainly because of fame and popularity. As is the case with any election, you’ll have to wait until the dust settles before you realize whether the right choice was made. Don’t just slide someone into a spot because they’re famous. Let the celebrities come forward and take that nomination on their own if they really want it. But, they should be warned, barring any cameos or clever appearances, from here on they have to remain a politician and a politician only if they want to remain in that position.

This is one instance where getting chocolate in my peanut butter isn’t going to result in something incredible. More than likely, it would be a train wreck.

Keep fighting the good fight.

—end transmission—

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