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July 8th, 2009
05:58 PM ET

Politics a good second career for actors and comedians?

ALT TEXT

Left to Right: Alec Baldwin, Al Franken, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Fred Thompson. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The actor Alec Baldwin is reportedly eyeing a run for Congress just as former comedian Al Franken becomes the newest show biz type to join lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Baldwin vowed to leave the country if George Bush was elected, but he's still here and now reportedly wants to become part of the Washington establishment.

We've gotten used to celebrities on Capitol Hill drawing attention to this cause or that cause from time to time. But it's also nothing new for these celebrities to step into the role of lawmaker.

Former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura became Governor of Minnesota in 1998. He declined to run for a second term.

Actor Fred Thompson, notably of Law & Order fame, served as a Senator from Tennessee before mounting a failed bid for the White House.

And speaking of Presidents, Ronald Reagan, of course, was an actor before jumping to politics, as was California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. And we can't forget singer and actor Sonny Bono.

The list goes on including stars from shows like the Love Boat, and the Dukes of Hazard who all have spent time in Washington on behalf of constituents who elected them to office.

Baldwin's credentials are questionable… but Al Franken is no slouch. He's Harvard educated and one of his first duties will be as a committee member for the confirmation hearing of Sonia Sotomayor next week.

Why it occurs to actors who spend their time pretending to be someone else that they are the answer to our nation's problems is a mystery. On second thought, how much worse can they be than the ones that are groomed for life inside the Beltway?

Here’s my question to you: Is politics a good second career choice for actors and comedians?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Glen from Sarasota, Florida writes:
Maybe for some Jack, but at the rate we're seeing Republicans run afoul in a variety of ways, there may actually be more opportunities for politicians to find a second career in entertainment. I mean hey, couldn't you just see Mark Sanford star in a Lifetime made for TV movie? Or couldn't you imagine Sarah Palin stepping down as Alaska's Governor to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. You-betcha!

Diane from Barneveld, New York writes:
I think it is a good second career choice because they are at least professionals compared to the amateur actors and comedians in Congress now.

Missy writes:
My problem with most actors/comedians is that most of them are pretty isolated from everyday America. They live in a cocoon. Unless I was convinced that they were out there, talking to people, living the life of an ordinary American, I probably wouldn't vote for an actor, but I know many others would. Just look at California. Voting an actor into the Governor's office worked out well for them.

Larry from Palm Beach, Florida writes:
Why not Jack, actors would be the most quotable interesting politicians anywhere on the landscape. Anyone who writes a book entitled "Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot" can't be all bad. Besides, could Jennifer Anniston or Whoppi Goldberg make any less sense than Sarah Palin?

Marsha from Kansas writes:
I think it is a great career choice for the ones who are intelligent and informed. They are somewhat used to criticism and can usually communicate clearly. They are used to living within certain rules of behavior in order to keep their fans. But the intelligent and informed part is a deciding factor.

Donovan from Williamsburg, Virginia writes:
If Baldwin gets elected, I will leave the country and I am sure I won't be alone.

Barry from Lancaster, Ohio writes:
It's all about the team, Jack. Don't forget that it's the writers that make the comedians funny. Put a good team in place, anybody can govern. By the way, who writes your stuff?


Filed under: Al Franken • Congress • Government • Minnesota
soundoff (261 Responses)
  1. Conor in Chicago

    It's good for them and bad for us. They spend their entire lives learning to play fictional characters and then are able to get elected based on the best character they've ever played. A great example is that book about Regan entitled, "The Role of a Lifetime".

    July 8, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  2. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    We’ve all ready tried an actor and wound up with trickle down Voo Doo economics which lead to the S&L crisis. We just went through Voo Doo economics on steroids for the last 8 years and look what that got us. I’m ready to try a comedian this time – they seem to act muchly more reasonable than actors trying to be funny.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  3. Venia PA

    Obviously, Reagan the actor and Bush the clown did it.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  4. Martin in Shoreline, WA

    Whether or not a person is an actor or comedian is irrelevant. Intellect and knowledge of world history needs to be the number one consideration, not abortion and gay marriage. Our elections were a joke before Al Franken came along. A comedian certainly cannot hurt anything.

    We need to stop treating elections as popularity contests. This isn't high school folks. I would not support Franken, because he claims to be a comedian when he isn't funny. But given the alternative of Coleman, I would vote for Franken. In other words, I am forced to select virtually nothing but people who are not qualified for the job.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  5. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    All politicians are actors and comedians and Congress is a joke! It's a perfect fit!

    July 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  6. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    The ability to emote is a must and a sense of humor is a plus.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  7. Dennis in Grand Rapids, MI

    I dunno, it seems like the actors / comedians have their heart in the right place, unlike some career politicians. At least with the comedians, you know you'll at least get a laugh out of them.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  8. Cheryl

    Why not? Comedians usually have very sharp minds and are quick to pick up the nuances of things. That is more than I can say for some of the politicians I have heard.
    Cheryl
    Houston, TX

    July 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  9. Drake in Shongaloo,LA

    Yes it is. Tragedy and comedy go together.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  10. Jimmy in Temecula, CA

    NO! The only actor/politician that was worth a darn was Reagan. Most of them are Democrats and win based on popularity, not substance.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  11. Kevin from Montebello CA

    That depends on who the actor or comedian is and what they want to do. I have read all of the books that Al Franken has written and he seems to have a good understanding of the things that have gone wrong in this country. Politics as a second career for him is good.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  12. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    We've had our share of 'technocrats' in politics over the years. And I suppose we need a few ... the guys who are near 'savants' about facts and figures. But, we can also use a few folks with ideals and passion ... and a keen ability to listen well and communicate their convictions. That sounds like a great second career for actors, and perhaps, journalists.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    July 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  13. David of Alexandria VA

    Why not, politicians have made good actors and comedians for years. Look at the morbidly obese budget, porous borders, lack of comprehensive energy policy, and their propensity to get re-elected to responsibly run the country over and over again. It's got to be in their stage delivery!!

    July 8, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  14. KEN in Pinon Hills, California

    Jack,
    Those in the entertainment field will fit just fine in politics as a second choice. Based on what our elected representatives have been doing lately, it seems those we now have in Washington, would start seeking a second career as actors and comedians. They have years of experience and at times their performances have been laughable.
    .

    July 8, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  15. JD in NH

    It depends on the person. If, like Al Franken, you're a Harvard-educated individual with a firm grasp of the issues at hand, it's a great choice.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  16. Chuck in warren, Ohio

    Jack: Only if they were serious about their profession.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  17. Melissa

    No. Actors are some of the most twisted people on the planet, especially the exceptionally famous ones. They have had their every whim catered to so much that they can't conceive of what the real life of the average person is really like anymore. They have no business in politics.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  18. David from Virginia

    I think it's great that actors and comedians are entering politics. Somebody has to replace the clowns we have now as they retire.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  19. grigore caragacianu

    The politicians on the Capitol Hill are, without exception, clowns and
    buffoons, faithful servants of the Golden Calf, docile puppets in the hands of crafty Nibelungen.
    Senators and Representatives alike are, individually and collectively,
    average people, demagogues lacking expert knowledge and insight.
    What they do have in abundance is a Byzantine way of thinking and
    doing things.

    Thus spoke Greg,
    from Warren, Michigan

    July 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  20. Richard Sternagel Canfield,Ohio

    Why not? We've already had one actor be President(Reagan) and Congress is a Joke!

    July 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  21. Lynn Spinella

    Sure – it is the second best way to get laughs and be paid for it.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  22. Jason in Magnolia, Delaware

    If a Celeberity has the same political savy as " Arnold the Govenator" that person should probably stay out of public office. But i don't see why somebody like Al Franken shouldn't be elected to public office. He actually, unlike Arnold knows how not to run a state into the ground. Figgers crossed that is.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  23. Allan Hanson Placerville,Ca

    Well we have seen how Jessie nearly destroyed Minn. Now we are seeing how Arnold is destroyng Ca. Both had an oportunity to do great things but neither had the will to do everything they could have. It is really a shame they didn't live up to their potentual.
    I don't think anyone we have in office today is doing very well either, I guess ther is no good answer. We deserve what we elect.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  24. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    Depends on the person Jack. Generally, these ideological bubble-dwellers would make terrible political figures because they are just too out of touch with reality. Some are obviously ok, ex: Ronald Reagan, but I think he is one of the exceptions. However, look at Arnold, Jesse Ventura, and Sonny Bono as examples of who not to elect. Franken seems smart, but we'll have to see where his true colors lie.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  25. John from Alabama

    Jack: All politicans play a role which makes them good actors or bad ones. Most politicans can not deliver the punch line for joke, but they make good jokes by just showing up. Real people with real life experience make good politicans and sometimes a statesman will show up.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  26. Tina Tx

    Why not? The senators already up there are big jokes so why not try a real comedian who will probably take the job more serious than what is already holding office and much too long in many cases.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  27. Carl D.

    Jack,
    That's the perfect second career for an actor. Almost all of our politicians now act like comedians, and they almost all act like they represent the American people.
    Carl in Illinois

    July 8, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  28. Willow, Iowa

    Jack, I think that there are knowledgeable people throughout the different careers. I know a CNA that knows more world politics than anyone I ever met. If they are active in politics, know their stuff, why not? But just because they are famous, no. They need to know what they are talking about.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  29. Laurie in Lawrence, KS

    Why not? Unless something has changed, actors, etc are citizens like the rest of us. I'm not a celebrity, but that doesn't make me more or less qualified than anyone else. What I am is a citizen, which is the only qualification.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  30. Chuck

    Jack we already have enough politicians acting badly and it isn't even funny.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  31. Michael M Phoenix AZ

    Why not? Politics is usually a second career for most politician anyway isn't it? An actor or comedian certainly isn't any less informed than anyone else are they, in fact they may be more informed or knowledgable than some career politicans who can't see any further than their own constitutents in order to get re-elected.

    July 8, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  32. Sue in LA

    No. Actors do not live in the real world and can't possibly understand how we the "little" people really live. Most of them have extremely liberal views and don't understand the struggles of the middle class.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  33. Dominic Gardunio

    Jack, maybe its time to bring in new faces to the gov't, and maybe they will bring newer thoughts to the government. Really its up to the people if they want a actor or a comedians to be their senators or congressmen or women then let them be in gov't.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  34. Chuck in Baltimore

    Only if the person is intelligent and shows a depth of knowledge on the important issues concerning the electorate. Having a political science degree from Harvard and a ten year history covering politics would not be a bad start, for example.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  35. Keith - Twinsburg, Ohio

    Mostly Comedians... Jack. It's right up their alley..

    July 8, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  36. SLM

    Heck yeah, whats a washed up actor/comedian expected to do.......get a real job? Since they have no clue about anything to do with the real world they might as well make decisions for us that they can't possibly relate to!

    July 8, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  37. Don (Ottawa)

    It's an ideal fit Jack. Since our government is a joke it makes perfect sense that we employ comedians and actors to play the role of politician.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  38. Dennis from Albuquerque

    Let's see Jack, Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono, Clint Eastwood, Jessie Ventura, Al Franken, and Sara Palin is a pretty mixed bag. With the exception of Sara, they are all from either Minnesota or California. Maybe your question should be what is the connection between these two divergent states.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  39. Andy in Vancouver, BC

    I don't know if being in entertainment actually helps anyone govern, but it definitely helps them get elected. On top of name recognition, actors and comedians generally know how to address large groups of people. Watch CSPAN, the average election commercial or any Palin or Bush speech and you'll see that a lot of politicians still haven't mastered this ability.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  40. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Why not. Our Congress is filled with actors and comedians today at the national and state levels. Just think about it for a minute and it should be clear that actors and comedians are paid to entertain and they do a great job of that and don't even have to tell the truth.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  41. Jenna

    Is politics a good second career choice for actors and comedians?

    Well let's see..

    It worked for Ronald Reagan

    It didn't work for Ar-nuld Schwarzenegger in Cal-ee-forn-ee-yah (He's due for a TOTAL RECALL)

    As for Al Franken, I think it will work very for him.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    July 8, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  42. Doug - Dallas, TX

    If you look at our history, most of the actors & comedians that have been elected have done a pretty good job. Probably has something to do with their level of commitment.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  43. Greg in Cabot Arkansas

    Jack, your question is backwards,

    Politicians should consider second careers as actors or comedians since they are good at "telling stories" with a straight face and making us laugh with their antics.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  44. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, we already have enough amateur actors and comedians as politicians. Maybe if we get some professional actors and comedians they can do a better job of running the country than the crowd we've had for the last 15 years or so.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  45. Russ in PA

    Of course it is, since the majority of politicians have been very successful at portraying clowns. They've had years of experience. Some day Americans will regret not voting for Ron Paul...

    July 8, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  46. Hafeezah Utah

    A comedian make up stories so that people can laugh and be happy with them and in the end, all they care about is getting paid. A politician make up stories so that people can laugh and be happy with them and in the end all they care about is getting elected. Jack, I hope you see my point.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  47. Billy in Las Vegas

    considering what we currently have in the House and Senate, both Republican AND Democrate, politics would probably be a better career path for a used car or insurance salesman than an actor or comedian.

    actors and comedians are usually not SLEAZY enough for the job.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  48. Paul Austin, Texas

    Frankly speaking and with no pun intended anyone should be aloud to run for office no matter of what job they hold or do not hold. Politics should not be restricted to just the rich. Our system was not set up that way but has turned that way because of all the cash needed to run and attain an office. So let anyone run we need all types of individuals for our system to work.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  49. Fred R Deleon

    Jack, you just hit the bull's eye. You are completely correct. Thing is that once they are actors doesn't matter what they will keep acting for the rest of their natural life.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  50. Bernie from Tarpon Springs, FL

    Why not, for years many politicians have been posing as comedians and actors...what's fair is fair!

    July 8, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  51. Scott in San Diego

    No – Actors should be excluded from being allowed to run for any political office, they are so out of touch with reality. Too bad politicians aren't required to run a business before serving, that would give better understanding of money and how to budget.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  52. victor in Texas

    Why not mark.that's the problem.we've left it to a select few.like wallstreet advised.diversify with actors and comedians who are very smart people.the comedy is the 25years and counting incumbents on govt healthcare saying no to us who pay for it

    July 8, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  53. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    It can't get worst than that what we have today.We need to get rid of the ones we now have thats for sure

    July 8, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  54. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Sure, why not? We've had plenty of them over the years. They seem to do as well as anyone else.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  55. Stacy from Fairfax, VA

    Maybe, but politicians sure make great actors and comedians.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  56. Storm

    It doesn't matter what career a potential candidate comes from as long as they are intelligent and want to do the job. However, the trouble with actors is that they can act. They are highly suited to lie. I like the idea of having a comedian in the Senate though. Maybe Franken will lighten up that stuffy Capitol Building.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  57. Greg, Ontario

    That's relative Jack. To the person it means a good paycheck for doing nothing while staying in the limelight. To the country, it is a total waste of tax payers money and very dangerous to the country. You need only look at California to see what can happen. When is the human race going to start learning from history.

    July 8, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  58. chris

    it seems like it they all are good actors in getting us to vote for them cause they act during the campaign that they care for us and aboutt he average american then when they get elected they basically say ha ha all i was acting and hecl witht he average taxpayers and be loyol lobbyist they truly care for

    July 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  59. Michele

    Yes, and vice versa, now that term limits affect so many political careerists.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  60. Ray in Nashville

    Could they be any worse than lawyers?

    July 8, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  61. Rob in NC

    For most of them I would say no. There are a few who are relatively intelligent and I believe would do a good job. Honestly. I do not believe they could be ANY worse than the folks that are in office now. ( I do not think it is possible to do any worse actually) Rob in NC

    July 8, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  62. steve

    I think not. And we should also get rid of the actors and clowns already in Congress and the White House then start electing average folks who are critical thinkers and routinely exercise common sense and intellectual honesty.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  63. Joe in VA

    Politics is the perfect match. In fact, most in congress already meet the standards for actors and comedians. The "act" like they care for what is right for the country while pursuing personal interests and ideology at the expense of solutions. Many prove themselves to be nothing more than clowns. This applies to both parties.

    Chatham, VA

    July 8, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  64. Kyle Irvine, CA

    Jack,
    It depends who were talking about! Ronald Reagan was a true success even though he became the laughing stock of his day. But he was one of this country's best presidents and left office on good terms with the American people.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger not so much!

    July 8, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  65. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Well, they got the money and the name recognition. Nobody else can afford to run. I'd rather have them than corporate CEOs.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  66. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    Absolutely. No one making between $20,000 and $150,000 per year could just up and quit their job to run for office. That leaves self-made millionaires, lawyers, and overpaid CEO's (none are really appealing are they) or Actors/celebrities. I'll take Reagan or Franken anyday.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  67. STAN - ILLINOIS

    It depends on if you mean the two from California that held high office. If you are talking about Al Frankin, he is much more intelligent than the one that he beat out. There are a lot of smart comedians, and a lot of dumb politicans.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  68. Harold & Myrtle, ANCHORAGE, AK

    IWe think acting or comedy would be a GOOD second career choice for certain politicians, like Peter King and Sarah Palin,

    July 8, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  69. Jean B

    At least Franken admits he's a comedian......the others in Congress should do the same as well.
    I grew up in City Franken grew up in as well .... he's NOT ALL THERE !
    Jean B
    Mn

    July 8, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  70. Dolores Wolfe

    Yes – but only those with the brains and political knowledge of an Al Franken.....all one has to do is read his books to find out which path his primary interest would take him.

    Dolores
    New York

    July 8, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  71. Gigi

    To me because I'm old...is that too many of "we the people" don't know the difference between the reel world and the real world.

    Look at all the people from the "Reel" world who have come and gone in politics. We can be fooled some of the time but not all the time.

    Oregon

    July 8, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  72. Robert in Minneapolis

    Jack, I think you might have this one backwards, considering the bozo's and clowns we have in office. Perhaps comedy would be a good second career for these bafoons. robert in minneapolis

    July 8, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  73. David Foster

    The only qualification they have is experience in performing in front of and audience, and being able to control facial expression for when they need to lie or evade a question
    (So. California)

    July 8, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  74. Diana NJ

    Not sure because most of them are too smart for it.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  75. Ralph Nelson

    Some actors are dumb and poorly educated. What they are good at is reading lines, without them they're lost. What would Reagon have been without his note cards and First Lady? His economic policies are generally considered a joke today and the foundation of our current economic mess. Al Franken? This guy studied Math in college. He doesn't lack brains. Good luck to him. Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  76. Jerry, Silver Spring, MD

    Yes, comedians have the best experience to make speeches in Congeress.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  77. Joey

    They seem to think so!

    July 8, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  78. Frank from Peterborough

    Politics in the United States is an excellent career for anyone wanting to have a good health care plan and make lots of money.

    Any time a person can legally fill their pockets with money from the lobbyists for simply legislating and voting on their behalf. How can you go wrong with a gig like that.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  79. Pugas-AZ

    How about acting and comic relief as a second career for politicans. They certainly have the experience. But most of us are not laughing now-it's more like dark drama. If actors and comedians can bring some levity to the congressional stage let them have a go of it. We could certainly use some laughs about now.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  80. Al, Lawrence KS

    Most of our current crop of politicians are lawyers. Now there's an honest profession if there ever was one. Surely you're not suggesting that actors or comedians could be any worse.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  81. john ....... marlton, nj

    Sure why not, but we must make sure they realize it's a "reality" script they must follow. Clearly, most of the politicians today are in some fantasy land.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  82. Jim Bailey

    If they were a scholar before being a comedian like Al Franken most certainly.
    Franken is such 'policy wonk' other 'wonks' name their children after him.
    If they are 'pretty faces', like Reagan and the Guvenator, just puppets for a corrupt political party it's a different story...some one might name a landfill (like the one Reagan National Airport is built on) after those guys.
    Jim
    Cripple Creek, Colorado

    July 8, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  83. bobwhite in Kansas

    No, their art is too egocentric. Ego centered persons who believe in their own answers are not what the public needs in elected office. The public, and the common good, need humble servants who will listen and work in behalf of the common benefit, not their own benefit or the benefit of their contributors like big business and Wall Street. America needs populist who can't affort to serve more than a single term because they have given so much, in place of getting so much.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  84. JIM S

    If actors and comedians are qualified, they can go into politics. I don't believe Al Franken was qualified. He was elected due to name recognition. From what I know of Franken, he was or is a drug addict just like most of the entertainment industry.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  85. Janice from Collingswood NJ

    So far so good....but any of the Baldwin's would be questionable. Hey Jack, I have read your books and I would vote for YOU !!!!

    July 8, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  86. Sharon, Rockford, IL

    If they have the education and knowledge why not. Some actors and other entertainers have more education and common sense than our current legislators. Acting is a career choice. At least they have worked, which is more than we can say for some people in DC.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  87. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    I think it is a good second career choice because they are at least professionals compared to the amateur actors and comedians in Congress now.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  88. Craig

    surely beats the insane that are doing the job now!

    July 8, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  89. Dennis North Carolina

    politics and elected office should not be a career. this is one of the main reasons that our country and the world are falling apart. greed and power are the major down fall.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  90. Dan, Chantilly VA

    Let's face it, they can't do much worse than the first career politicians.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  91. John in Virginia

    Why not? Idiots like Al Franken, Sean Penn and Alec Baldwin are certainly no stupider than the band of self serving mental midgets in the Congress today.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  92. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    They have learned how to lie and steal as actors and comedians so being a politician just comes natural.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  93. Ann,Virginia

    We had an actor as President,so why not?Just because their career is in something we may see as non-traditional,doesn't mean that they are unqualified to run for public office.After all,we had a comedian from Alaska run for V.P. in 2008.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  94. dan mcnally

    Dear Jack,
    We can see from the careers of R Reagan, A Schwartzneger, G Murphy et all that you don't have to be a very good actor to make it in politics. Conversley we can see from the career of Fred Thompson that if you're a politician, you don't have to be very good at acting to make a living in show business. The common ground here seems to be mediocrity. In acting as well as in politics, if one is marginally talented, one can still be a success. Will we see Sarah on her own series soon?

    Dan NY

    July 8, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  95. Concerned Voter

    Chris Tucker for President!!

    July 8, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  96. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Well Jack, most politicians are actors. Some play the role of politician better than others. Actually I think I would prefer a professional actor/comedian to be a politician than a person who has played the political role for many years.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  97. Jim

    We have enough clowns in Congress now. Do we need more?

    July 8, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  98. Eleanora Feucht, Mt. Laurel, N.J.

    Well, what do you think we have now if not a bunch of people who are acting like they know what they are doing and give us a good laugh when they don't make us cry.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  99. Terry, Chandler AZ

    This is a sad commentary on our political system Jack. Can you imagine what Jefferson, Adams, Washington and the others would be if they were some how reserected and returned to this country. These men, despite the differences in ideas of the country they were creating,
    worked together for the common good of the country. These men would be shedding tears of grief if they could see what has happened to to country they built.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  100. Roy Reed

    Yes, along with professional wrestlers and used car salesmen, too. It's Hollywood for ugly people.

    Roy
    Texas

    July 8, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  101. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    I thought that the congress was already full of actors and comedians.When did that change?

    July 8, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  102. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    It seems to be not only good for them, but their wives as well, if Mary Bono is used as an example. Of course, considering that the cycle of extreme national debt started with actor Ronald Reagan, maybe I am speakign too soon.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  103. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    Golly Gee, Jack! You just burst my bubble. I thought all politicians were actors and comedians.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  104. Joe in MO

    The last time I read the constitution, it didn't say citizens who happened to be comedians and actors are excluded from running for office.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  105. Susan Frost

    Why not? All of them are actors and most of them – unintentionally, at least – are comedians, too.

    Susan
    Tuscaloosa, AL

    July 8, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  106. penny

    The only difference between a politician and an actor is the stage from which they perform ,

    July 8, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  107. HD in Phoenix

    Hhhmmmm...I guess that works. Since our nation's Congress is owned by wealthy special interest and no longer represents the people of the USA, it seems like a natural fit for an actor or comedian.

    HD in Phoenix

    July 8, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  108. Dee in sunny Florida

    As long as they are CITIZENS, I see no reason why they should be excluded from the governmental process simply because their "day job" was in acting or comedy.

    Especially the comedy. We could all use a good laugh from time to time.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  109. Bob in Indiana

    It seems to be just as good as hawking diet plans or exercise equipment on late night TV. I'm just saying politics probably has a better potential for a lucrative retirement plan, paid health care and the other "perks" most other conventional careers don't have any more.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  110. Jerry Pirkle, Mississippi

    Politics is a good second career choice for actors and comedians. It’s also a good second career choice for my neighbor Bubba, he plows our garden in the Spring. It’s a good career choice for Terry our trash man, and it’s probably good for anyone without a job. I personally prefer being a professional student, but will switch to being a politician after my professional student status expires.

    Jerry in Mississippi

    July 8, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  111. Jean

    Not particularly. You need a solid background in politics. The ambition, education, honesty, self control and the security of knowing "Who you are ", to be able to take all the scrutiny that will come in your direction. The public is more wary now of the political arena, and though actors and comedians are able to put on a verbal show , substance is everything.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  112. Miguel E. from San Leandro, CA

    What do we only want lawyers? Why not actors and comedians? We are a country that allows everyone to try. Actors and comedians are some of the few that have the money to run. The real problem is money not career.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  113. Ruie - Brownstown, MI

    Fer Sure Jack! 'Cause most of those who have served in the Congress in the last 30 years HAVE BEEN actors and comedians.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  114. Jack - Lancaster, OH

    Jack:

    It might be a better second vocation ! Lower pay maybe and a lot less work. They still have to remember lines and body language, when to smile, good dental work, hair restoration, fine suits, it pretty much describes what an elected official does already.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  115. Kerry Diehl

    God help us all Jack,

    I wonder if Joe Biden and Al Franken were wearing clown suits at yesterday's swearing in ceremony?

    Come to think of it, perhaps all members of the Senate and Congress should start dressing like the clowns they truely are!

    July 8, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  116. Bruce St Paul MN

    Sure. Ron Reagan is the ultimate example. Very limited understanding of issues, economics, policy, or even politics. But he could deliver a speech, stay on script. He could look very sincere and had great stage presence. He was a great front man. Its so unfortunate that the policies he shilled for turned out to be so destructive to the country he loved.

    July 8, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  117. Terry from Illinois

    Jack,
    The Congress has been a comedy act for years,why should it change now ???

    July 8, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  118. David (Sterling, VA)

    I thought politicians already were actors or comedians. Isn't that in their job description?

    July 8, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  119. JC in Georgia

    Certainly it's good for actors and comedians...look how many clowns it already employs.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  120. Ray

    No it's outrageous to think that these individuals are using their stardome to catapult them into political office. They have no prior experience in anything relevent that would qualify them for such a position.

    -Ray
    Baltimore, Maryland

    July 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  121. j/NJ

    Is politics a good second career choice for actors and comedians?

    Good from the standpoint of national exposure but not necessarily "good" from the standpoint of leadership ability or in matters of statesmanship...there are many American examples...seems the best thing entertainers can do is stay in the entertainment industry where they can use their celebrity to promote their favourite causes unencumbered by a vast and stifiling Washington bureaucracy...

    July 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  122. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    So how bad can actors and comedians be? Most in Congress are lawyers and look where they brought us to.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  123. JACS

    08JUL09 – Its a free society, people elect them... Its the best system yet!

    July 8, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  124. Annie, Arizona

    It's a good career if you have a cum laude degree from Harvard in Political Science. This is a smart man.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  125. James in Dublin, OH

    Jack, I reckon it's just about perfect, is it not? You have to convince the audience that you are someone you are not, and then your effectiveness and actions in office become a joke. I thought most all politicians were actors and/or comedians? Is this question a joke? Good one Jack.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  126. Michael, Pensacola, FL

    Any citizen can be a politician, the question is are they doing it for the right reasons. I feel the best politicians not only have the best interests of the public at heart, but can also do the work. Most lawyers who turn into politicians were businessmen and are use to interpreting laws, balancing budgets and making important decisions. Just because an actor made a lot of money, doesnt mean he's a good businessman, so it will take a rare breed. We probably dont have as many good politicians just because many are competent, but camera shy. Entertainers are use to the spotlight, but are they knowledgeable or Palin clones?

    July 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  127. Bruce

    I guess anyone can take a big step "down" the career ladder if the wish. It is(was) a free country.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  128. Matt, MA

    Only if they have something else to back them up, Jack. At least Al Franken went to Harvard and seems to have some sense of what he's getting into. I don't particularly like the man, and if I lived in Minnesota, I would never have voted for him, but I suppose he has his credentials and enough sense to act rationally. Better him than someone like Wanda Sykes. At least Franken has a enough sense that he won't get on the Senate floor and start making jokes about 9/11. Anyone has the right to run for office, but if someone's an insensative airhead who's not going to make rational decisions, then they do not deserve a place in our leadership.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  129. Scott Stodden

    Jack it couldnt be any worse then the yahoo's we have in Washington, I truthfully beleive Alec Baldwin would serve the country very well as a Congressman, Senator, Governor or even President.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,IL)

    July 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  130. Mike from Indiana

    Actors and comedians have mastered the first requirement for success in politics, the ability to get up in front of a crowd and give a favorable impression. They certainly have an advantage when it comes to winning votes.
    They are, however, among the most illprepared to function in the office that they were elected to.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  131. Conor

    Sure, why not? Let's just ban all child actors and comedians. They are scary when they grow up!

    July 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  132. stan calif

    Al Franken may be funny but he is knowledgeable and well educated and no doubt a cut above the clown he is replacing. Has Rush's head blown up yet?

    July 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  133. Steve

    We desperatly need politicians who believe they CAN change Government for the better. Americans should quit voting for politicians who say "the Government can't run anything". With that attitude, really, what do you expect to get? I wouldn't hire someone like that to run or fix my business and the citizens should not hire them to run or fix our Government. It dosn't matter if its a commedian or a street sweeper, if they have good ideas a positive attitude and a belief that Government CAN be efficient and responsive to what the American people need, then they get my vote.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  134. Michael McDowell from Ft. Hood Texas

    Jack considering most politicians are lousy actors when they lie to the country and claim that their vote can't be bought, then turn around and take money from special interests who benefit. I have lost all faith in most members of Congress, and unless the country does something to remove these "liars and thieves" from their position of corrupt power, our nations is doomed to being just a remembrance in a history book.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  135. Geoffrey in Lowell MA

    "Neurotics make castles in the sky and psychotics live in them." I don't know who said that but it explains why actors want to be politicians. It is a natural transition from playing pretend to having your entire audience wish that you were.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  136. Kevin L. / Omaha, NE

    They are known which works for politics. But you can't get that "punch-line" out of your head when you see them or hear them. Not good for the people. Those who vote for these guys are too lazy to research their position on the issues and go with what they say. "little in...little out".(their minds!)

    July 8, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  137. Eliza

    Absolutely not they do not have the experience necessary to make sure the work that needs to get done gets done. i feel that actors and comedians can use their influence by seting up charities. but using celebrity influence to gain political power is sneaky, intolerable and unfair. there influence can make people vote for them with out considering who they are voting for. they are actors and comedians these are people who generally don't have degrees in politcal science or law. these are the people who should be elected because politics is not a joke.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  138. Michael McDowell from Ft. Hood Texas

    Actually there isn't a lot of difference between a Hollywood actor and those that work in halls of Congress. Both deal with persons living in a fantasy world, trying to be someone they are not, and trying to make people believe something that isn't real!!

    July 8, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  139. lee in MN

    We Minnesotans chose to elect Senator Franken. Is it not our business and not yours? We are PROUD to have him represent our state replacing the previous Bush puppet. He may have been a comedian, but look at all the clowns that have been previously elected.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  140. Rasheed Thomas

    I think Politics is the best second career for entertainers of any sort. Work with me here. They spend their entire first career please and entertaining and giving people what they want. Who more than actors and comedians know how to give us what we need. This in fact may be the reason for the success of those who have choosen to enter politics as a second career. They feel they have a better grip on what the people want. As well the star power encourages them to believe that they are better suited than our groomed belt way power seekers

    July 8, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  141. Chris E. Virginia Beach

    Personally, I have no issue with celebrities running for office. I see it as less likely for a wealthy celebrity to be de suede from doing the right thing when being lobbied by special interests and corporate America.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  142. Jay in Texas

    Our founding fathers never intended for American politics to be a career for anyone. Serving in or running for elective office was supposed to be one's civic duty. Our political process became corrupted when those seeking public office sought it for personal gain rather than to benefit our society. That being said, I think that Americans from all career fields should be politically active and seek election. It's time to throw all the lawyers and career politicians out and put the well-being of our country as Top Priority.
    Brownwood, Texas

    July 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  143. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    Why not Jack, If those jobs are good for Lawyers, why can't it be good for Actors and Comedians? They're all jokes anyway.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  144. Jenn

    No, Jack...politics is a good career for any and all with the money to campaign.

    We used to say that comedians laughed their way to the bank. Now they're laughing their way into office!

    At least being a comedian guarantees strong wit...right?

    July 8, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  145. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    Sure, why not? A comedian would fit right in as President because our Gov't is always being laughed at anyway. We are laughed at every time we pay $4.00 a gallon supplied to us by foriegn countries.
    An actor would work also. After all isn't it the roll of the President to act anyway. Just listen to all the promises that are made at the begining of his term and see how many of them are kept when he is out of office.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  146. Missy M

    I think politics is a fine second career for anyone who can be open-minded about the problems faced by Americans. As long as they're motivated to try and solve those problems – great. My problem with most actors/comedians is that most of them are pretty isolated from everyday America. They live in a cocoon. Unless I was convinced that they were out there, talking to people, living the life of an ordinary American, I probably wouldn't vote for an actor, but I know many others would – just look at California. Voting an actor into the governor's office worked out well for them.

    Missy M.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  147. Jim

    Jack,

    Actors can be successful at politics because their training enhances their ability to connect with people. It does not, unfortunately, guarantee that they will be good at legislating or governing.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    July 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  148. Simon/Orlando

    Let's face it...they don't give you an IQ test before you can become an actor. Actors only need talent (like a lot of professional athletes) and aren't required to have brains. Just look what goes on in Hollywood
    with the divorces, drugs, and stupid behavior. The only thing worse would be to have a lot of ego-maniacal attorneys running the country...wait a minute!

    July 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  149. Ken in NC

    Actors and Comedians spent their entire first career working part time for many different people so most would feel comfortable moving into a second career where they would be doing much of the same.

    July 8, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  150. EugeneWiese Midlothian,Va.

    Al Franken will be an excellent Senator,he has a Masters degree in math from Harvard,so, he certainly is not a dullard. I'm glad he is a Democrat and I hope he can help Obama get all of his legislation passed. Gene

    July 8, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  151. Robert from Idaho

    I think its a great idea for actors to become politicians, its the same kind of work, pretending to be something you're not in order to make the most money.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  152. Marsha from Kansas

    I think it is a great career choice for the ones who are intelligent and informed. They are somewhat used to criticism and can usually communicate clearly. They are used to living within certain rules of behavior in order to keep their fans. But the intelligent and informed part is a deciding factor.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  153. Happy in Arizona

    NO. California is a perfect example of a clown for Governor. His state is broke but refuses to cut the 2 billioin dollars his State pays for illegals. All I can say, Mr. S, Baldwin, or whatever actor wants to run for office, get lost.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  154. Melissa

    If Dave Chappell or John Stewart run...then, maybe. All of the actors previously listed (Baldwin, Frankin, Reagan, Arnie). NO!

    July 8, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  155. Jasmine in Germany

    Politics is a great choice as a second career for actors and comedians! The very same skills are required: role playing, lying, reading scripts written by others, and making some people laugh and some people cry. It couldn't be better, Jack.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  156. Brian

    Its a good second career choice because they know people know who they are, and people vote for names they know...whether that is for worse or for better, well thats a whole different question...

    July 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  157. anomylous

    of course it is, our politicians are actors and comedians already, why not get some real professionals in there.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  158. Juan Gutierrez

    I don't see why not. If they have a passion and its one that could possibly benefit the country they should be allowed to do what they want.This is America, where the great come from all places.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  159. Laura NYC

    Why not? They couldn't be any worse than professional politicians. Perhaps Alec could start with a seat in Albany and get them back to work.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  160. Donovan B

    If Baldwin gets elected, I will leave the country and I am sure I won't be alone.

    Donovan
    Williamsburg, VA

    July 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  161. Glenn in Seattle

    Jack –

    Politicians, actors and comedians. Hmmm. You mean there's a difference?

    July 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  162. Samuel C

    Only as good as it is for anyone else. It's the intelligence, education, and history of an individual that decide whether they should take an office, not their current career.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  163. Elizabeth Anderson

    Seems to me that Comedian would be a better second career for a Politician–just think about the richness of material they would have to draw from!

    July 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  164. Alex

    all we need is Jim Carey to run for President.... What a funny President we would have.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  165. Joe Kaplin

    Yes, Jack. I'd readily and enthusiastically vote for Bill Maher for high office. The higher the better.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  166. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    Well Jack,atleast they'd be entertaining!

    July 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  167. Didier Ruiz

    No,just look at Arnold.People will just vote for the "famous" person,well because he's famous.People should just start running for office with paper bags over their face.Policies are what we are interested,not their face.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  168. Aaron

    Politics is all about promotion nowadays anyways. The only reason a celebrity seems to get elected is because they have the money and popularity to win an election. In our society today, that's all you seem to need while the real people who have the ideas to change our country are left out of the ring, and the privileged get to run the country. What an American dream.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  169. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Acting and politics are in their purest forms synonymous professions.

    What is a politician but a good thespian and illusionist who can memorize lines with impunity that can entertain us all.

    They are a source of our emotions; of our grief, our sorrow, our excitement, our laughter, our fear, and on the rare occasion our love.

    Acting is a great first career for politicians.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  170. Erin

    Jack, don't you know that all politicians are actors? It's a perfect fit for an actor's second career.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  171. Walt Peterson

    I think that politics could be a good second career choice for actors and comedians because throughout their careers they are in the spotlight, and if they have a serious drive to change the world, their celebrity status gives them the influence they need.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  172. Cara

    Some people are encouraging Brad Pitt to run for mayor of New Orleans, I hope he does it. He has done much for this city since Katrina. He certainaly couldn't be any worse than what we have now!

    July 8, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  173. Dwight Marshall

    It somehow seens right that we have a comediam in congress, after all for eighr years we had a joke in the white house.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  174. Mike

    No. But, with all the fiction, comedy, drama and tragedy Washington has produced in recent memory, perhaps acting would be a good second career for politicians.

    Dayton, Ohio

    July 8, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  175. James G

    Not only should it not be a second choice for celebrities but it shouldn't be a second choice for anybody. Running for public office is not something you do when your bored with life as it is.

    Valley Stream
    New York

    July 8, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  176. Janne from NC

    Is politics a good second career choice for actors and comedians, what do you mean second career? If you throw magician in there I think you have described all the politicians we have now. The three stooges have nothing on Pelosi, Reid and Biden, Houdini couldn’t make anything disappear as fast as Obama is making my tax money disappear and there has never been such a good actor as Chris Dodd.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  177. Kay in MD

    There's a difference?

    July 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  178. Sam from Pheonix Arizona

    There is no difference between a politician and an actor, a politician has to play a different character during the campaign than when in office.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  179. William

    Americans need to understand the difference between the popularity of someone and that person's effectiveness as a politician. It makes me incredibly sad to see people elected because of how many people know their names. A person's capability as an elected official should be gauged based upon their record of previous political involvement, not their record of movie and show appearances. It's not that all actors and actresses would be bad politicians – I simply just don't see the appeal of electing someone whose only claim to fame is his or her ability in front of a camera.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  180. Bill from Kansas City

    Yes it is a good profession for celebrities because they get to give back to all of their fans across the country by serving in government. We should be thankful they want to serve this country because they could easily spend their time doing something else.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  181. Dan Egan

    Second career choice? Heck, politics is a natural extension for actors and comedians. They're constantly looking for approval from strangers, they love to hear themselves talk, and they think what they have to say is actually more insightful than what regular people think and say.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  182. Alfred Thornton

    Mr. Cafferty,

    Didn't you hear, "The Whole World is a Stage".

    July 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  183. Rachel from FL

    They do have good communication talents but most of their life they have been told what to say. They are "scripted" and need to be considered very carefully. The danger is the skill of excellent communication and stage presence can cover up a lot of intellectual inadequacies.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  184. Glen

    Maybe for some Jack, but at the rate we’re seeing republicans run afoul in a variety of ways, there may actually be more opportunities for politicians to find a second career in entertainment. I mean hey- couldn’t you just see Mark Sanford star in a Lifetime made for TV movie? Or couldn’t you imagine Sarah Palin stepping down as Alaska’s governor to pursue a career in stand-up comedy… you-betcha!

    Glen- Sarasota Florida

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  185. Matt Jennings

    Jack, interest in and knowledge of politics and government isn't limited by the bounds of one's career choices. We've had good AND bad politicians whose original careers were lawyers, doctors, business people, soldiers, teachers, religious leaders, activists, and so on. I don't think show business should disqualify someone from elected office if they have the requisite knowledge of politics and policy. We should be skeptical of all candidates and willing to vote for the best one, no matter their demographics or their previous career.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  186. Annie, Atlanta

    Only the smart ones, please, like Harvard educated Senator Al Franken, as you noted. We’ve had enough stupid and egotistical to make a concerted effort never to go there again.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  187. dave severance

    This is why democracy does not work. People vote on good looks and familiarity not on ability and qualifications. Ask 100 people how many states there are... if people voted for the results 52 would win when of course the answer is wrong.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  188. Paul in NH

    One would think that real (stage) actors and comedians who got instant feedback from live audiences might listen to constituent feedback more than the professional politicians who never had to make an "honest" dollar and pay more attention to their next fundraiser lobbiests.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  189. Richard Finelli

    Most politicians are actors and comedians. And so are most people in the news media.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  190. sam

    politics requires more acting than an actual acting career. these people are not picking another career,. they are moving a notch up my taking their talents to serve our great nation even better. its real life theatre!

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  191. Nancy, Tennessee

    I don't see a lot of difference in the politicians, actors, and comedians. They all like being on stage, saying words, and taking their bows.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  192. Bert Tundidor, Atlanta

    Jack,
    Yov've got to be kidding! George W. Bush was bred, raised and groomed to be presidenet and look where it got us. I'll take a comedian or an actor anyday. At the very least, they'll be able to speak in public without making a spectacle of themselves. Dave Letterman had enough material for eight years of "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches" with W.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  193. JD

    Once someone holds and office in Washington, don't they continue to get paid taxpayer money for the rest of their life once they leave office? Sounds kind of like the next best thing to getting residuals for life from T.V. shows and movies to me.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  194. Kennie

    Jack, unless you tell me that these "actors and comedians" as you called them, are not Americans then the answer is a big NO but as long as they are then they can have any career they want including politics.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  195. Doug (New Jersey)

    Jack, Jack, Jack, ...... You are one of the best actors in the biz..... and bring as many smiles to the public as any great comedian. Go ahead, make my day, run for office ....... You've got my vote !

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  196. John Richardson

    absolutely not. unless of course they have the proper education and background to adequately fill a spot in congress or wherever they choose. These actors/comedians use their fame to "spew" their opinion based on nothing but what the people want to here.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  197. Wesley Heid

    Of course it's a good second choice for actors. The two jobs are practically the same thing, the key aspect being that in both jobs, you 'act' like you care. Personally, I've seen a lot of politicians that I feel should be taking up acting as a second job after they get out of politics.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  198. Laura

    Actors do not represent America as a whole and should keep their political aspirations limited to the Acting Guild. They live in fantasy worlds where they do not struggle to pay bills, live paycheck to paycheck, raise livestock, work in factories, meet payrolls or be responsible for the well being of families in their employ. They lead a gilded life and see America through rose-colored Raybans.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  199. Jeremiah

    As the current political mess leaves us baffled as to why we elected these people, at least actors and comedians can make politics more entertaining. Maybe they can then write a book about it. I get a laugh, they get a buck.

    Jeremiah
    Dayton OH

    July 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  200. george

    jack no i dont.

    a qustion like this just makes me think of the reagan administration.
    i believe much of our economic woe's stem from this period of time and the grand illusion that his admin. made a differance is just preposterous. the term reaganesque make me nauseous.
    george
    chester,ct.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  201. Steven

    Jack, being a celebrity should not disqualify someone from running for public office. What really matters are the issues they will champion later on once they are elected by the people and whether they have the credibility to follow through what they promised on the election trail. It's ultimately up to the people to decide.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  202. Filon

    I really don't understand why actors think they can do anything once their movies do well in the box office. I'm sure they studied drama in school not politics but I guess they might fit in pretty well because it seems that politics these days is nothing but drama And a popularity contest

    July 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  203. chuck barnard

    I don't know, but when you talk abbout comedians and Capital Hill, I think Will Rogers had it right a long time ago:

    "It's easy being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you".

    Stockton, CA

    July 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  204. alice canty

    Most elected politicians are actors and comedians.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  205. Larry

    Jack,

    I dont think it makes much difference what an individual did prior to entering politics as long as it was not illegal or immoral. What does count however is their understanding of the issues affecting the country first, the state, and the local to which they are indebted.

    Heck, just atake a look at the ones that were "groomed" to be politicians. All they seem to care about is keeping power and to Hell with the country. I say give everybody a chance. The Bush, Cheney, Clintons, is how we got to where we are now; broke and clueless. Entertainers cant be any worse. At least they can make us smile along the way

    July 8, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  206. Ruth Rosendale

    I thought all of those in Washington were comedians already-not able to do the job they were elected to do and I'm not laughing.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  207. Greg Raynes

    My hat's off to the showbusy-bodies willing to redirect their innate charisma and play-acting abilities Washington's way. –and for a considerable pay cut, at that.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  208. Tom DeGroot

    It doesn't matter whether or not they were actors or comedians. It matters whether they're actually qualified for the office that they seek. Like you said, Franken has a Harvard education in political science and has written many political books. In other words, he shows an understanding of the issues rather than just an opinion. The problem that many people have with a lot of celebrities who want to dabble in politics is that they're very opinionated but really have no idea how policy is made. That was essentially the problem with Sarah Palin. If they prove that they know what they're talking about and want to go into politics, then I say go for it!

    Tom DeGroot New York, NY

    July 8, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  209. David P. Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – Actors and comedians come to politics with one critical skill already honed – the ability to stand up to a microphone and deliver the lines. However, despite the success of Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono, and George Murphy, performers are no better than doctors, lawyers, or those in any other profession or trade at operating the lawmaking process or executing the duties of an administrative office. I support Franken not because he is funny (personally, I don't think he is that funny) , but because he is a "policy wonk" who knows and understands the issues and can tell a Mencken solution ("simple, easy, and wrong") from a practical solution for a problem which government is required to solve. That is where the present Republican crowd falls very short – all their answers have been demonstrated by events to be overly simplistic and largely ineffective – who needs policies that sound good, appeal to the masses, and do not work?

    July 8, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  210. James Smothers

    Jack,

    If Alec Baldwin wants to throw his hat in the political ring – so be it. He may be the perfect replacement to Peter King (NY), and he's never been known at being a transcontinental lover...

    James
    Rock Hill, SC

    July 8, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  211. Chris in Columbus, Ohio

    Believe it or not many actors have college degrees, families, life experiences, and pay taxes. Seems like better reasons to me rather than coming from a famous political family!

    July 8, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  212. alice canty

    Most elected politicians are actors and comedians.

    Worcester, MA

    July 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  213. TM

    The fact that actors have been learned and have experience pretending to be someone else, gives them a step up on some of the people in Washington, D.C. who are oftentimes inexperienced in pretending to care and represent the people electing them. D.C. politics is about self first, constituent second; or vice versa, but "self" is definitely in the recipe.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  214. Samar Jodha NYC

    Politicians have managed to get away with catchy slogans then why not the film/TV actors ?..Media/Entertainment is a large circus and it continues in politics too (read Palin).

    July 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  215. Jason, Koloa, HI

    No, it's growing tiresome. If we continue to elect our leaders based on popularity contests instead of who is actually the most qualified then we will continue to get a useless, pathetic government that accomplishes nothing. One of the attacks used by republicans last election was that Obama was winning because he was nothing more than a celebrity. Obama won because he was the most intelligent candidate with a name that didn't end with Clinton. We don't need any more actors, war heros, celebrities, wrestlers or body builders in office. We need nerds, economists, computer geeks and everybody else who would have lost in your local high school student council elections. I would rather see Bill Gates, Ralph Nader, Bill Nye the Science Guy or Stephen Hawking in office over any one of the Baldwin borthers.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  216. Darold

    Well Jack ,
    whats the differance in being an actor, comedian or politicain. Not all politician are comedians and actors but one or the other. So its just a less paying gig

    July 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  217. wrw

    I just had to check...

    One of Al F's first duties will to decide the fate of a judge on the Supreme Court? Was hoping I'd I heard wrong .....but now that I read it here I am at a loss...

    Next time anyone is thinking about voting for an "Access H" candidate running for office, really, really think about what's about to happen here...

    July 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  218. Dave Berry

    Jack,
    Of course not every actor is qualified to run for office, but being an actor shouldn't be a negative. I don't think Franken is right just b/c he went to Harvard. There is nothing wrong with NYU, and Alec has worked hard in his career as well as being outspoken in politics. I am not sure if I would vote for him, but he has more experience than many people who run for office and would probably be more effective than most Representatives.

    Dave
    Mt. Pleasant, SC

    July 8, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  219. Peter Parker

    Hi Jack,

    Is there any difference? With only rare exceptions (for example, Kucinich, Feingold) do politicians not act out a script put together by – less than altruistic – others.

    Perhaps more entertainers in politics will at least provide a bit of a placebo effect in terms of not thinking that the world is gurgling down the drain.

    All the best,

    Peter

    July 8, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  220. Frank Black

    Frank –

    It's too soon to ask this question. We're still recovering from the actor/comedian that left the stage back in January.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  221. Steve Calderaro

    At least when an actor lies to me, I am more apt to believe him.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  222. sam

    Politicians and actors have a lot in common. They are required – by the very nature of their profession – to fake emotions, fabricate facts, create spectacles to impress their audience and manipulate their beliefs to help their own career... birds of a feather!

    July 8, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  223. Mike Crawford

    Al Franken is nothing but a court jester. He reminds me of a unich in a harem. He has seen it done, he knows how its done, but he really can't do himself. He is the product of a corupt election process and he has absolutely noo business in the Senate. However, what do people expect from a state that elected a former pro wrestler as their govenor. It makes me ashamed to be part of this electoral process in America. Al Franken will simply add to the mediocrity already in Washington.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  224. jag

    jack as long as they are american citizens they can be actors, harvards grades or trash collectors any one and everyone should get involed its our country for the last eight years we trusted others to do what was right!!!! now let us get our country back!! to we the people

    July 8, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  225. Tony

    how much worse can actors be from politicians?
    Both play persons they're really not in front of the public. both sometimes ask to be paid more than their contribution is worth. both rarely say what they really think but instead read from what others wrote for them based on public polls. Both are the main headlines of scandal magazines and both very rarely take responsibility for their wrongdoings. Looks to me from actor to politician is not that big of a jump anyways. At least actors entertain one, politicians anger you at best.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  226. Richard, Houston.

    Sure, they are people too. They have the ability to learn, think, and make decisions just like everyone else in politics.
    I'm not saying more actors should become politicians but if they know what they're doing, why not?

    July 8, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  227. Jackie

    I don't know about the route from drama or comedy to DC, but I can name a few pols who should go the other direction.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  228. Colleen Mouw Elk Point, SD

    I am not in favor at all of actors/actresses finding a second career in politics and especially someone like Al Franken. What a shameful joke it is that he "won" in the state of Minnesota. It is more of a reality that he had more financial backing and could continue contesting the vote over and over and the oppenent is a true, actual citizen from the state who represents the values, ideals, and sentiments of the citizens of that state.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  229. Ryan in St. Louis

    How can it be any worse of a career choice than the people who have made it their first career choice? I think it is a good career because the actors actually care about the people they represent and the country in general and not just getting re-elected or about money/greed. They have made their money, usually, and really just want to do better for their community, the environment, and long term success of our country.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  230. Mitch Dworkin

    Al Franken in my opinion did not beat Norm Coleman, I think that Norm Coleman beat himself by being a Bush rubber-stamp where probably anybody with a "D" next to their name could have won that race.

    I think that Al Franken got very lucky by being in the right place at the right time. Further evidence of this is that third party candidate Dean Barkley got 15% of the vote in that race which is a huge amount for a third party candidate. These are people who wanted change but who probably did not view Al Franken as being an acceptable alternative to Norm Coleman.

    If the Democrats had run a serious candidate (like an Amy Klobuchar) against Norm Coleman, then Coleman probably would have lost big on election night instead of barely losing 8 months later. I also hope that Al Franken can behave himself in the Senate so he will not be an embarrassment to the Democratic Party who the Republicans can exploit in 2010 and beyond.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  231. TM Yale New Haven, CT

    The fact that actors have been learned and have experience pretending to be someone else, gives them a step up on some of the people in Washington, D.C. who are oftentimes inexperienced in pretending to care and represent the people electing them. D.C. politics is about self first, constituent second; or vice versa, but self is definitely in the recipe.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  232. ted vetter

    The country was behind Reagan. At least entertainers can go back to their trade, rather than being awarded job's lobbying for their bro's still working for the people. I wouldn't care if they came to work in a clown car, wore floppy shoes and a red ball on their nose if they were qualified!

    July 8, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  233. SHARON: Anchorage, Alaska

    They’ve already got the speaking abilities, showmanship and willingness to travel down pat; so why not? Whether they will be good in this 2nd career choice is another question altogether…

    July 8, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  234. Dwight Marshall

    It somehow seens right that we have a comediam in congress, after all for eighr years we had a joke in the white house.

    Sunset Beach Ca.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  235. Allison Sloan

    Jack,
    Could it not possibly be that having made a very good living doing something "superficial", and that is not to denigrate in any way being an actor or comedian, that from that position of privilage someone may want to give back to the society that has supported their career?
    Definitely makes a nice change from lawyers!
    Allison, Vancouver, B.C.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  236. valentine

    No. Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger California went broke.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  237. Mari S

    Dear Jack, I have a degree in Poli Sci and have government experience. It has baffled me how people with all kinds of professions, like a retired art teacher, a playwright, a prison guard, etc can be elected to office. Even well educated doctors without any gov't experience think they make good congresspeople. Yet they don't know the process for bills or even how many congresspeople we have. So they spend years just learning the ropes instead of hitting the road running. That's why gov. runs so slow. You wouldn't want a politician doing surgery so why does a surgeon qualify for political office. If a few actors give it try, they too may be mediocre but as you said, dear Jack, they can't be any worse.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  238. Richard

    Whats the difference between an actor and a politician? The only difference I see is one works in hollywood and the other in Washington.

    And for comedians, they can't be a bigger joke than what we already have.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  239. Alex, Escondido, Ca

    The primary reason these people get elected is because they have greater name recognition than other candidates. Though some should clue them in that their parts aren't scripted and a favorable outcome is not guaranteed. Just ask Arnie. The Terminator expected to come in and turn Ca around. No one told him that other elected officials and voters wouldn't fall lock step with his proposals. He has called 2 special elections to pass his proposals. He is 1 for 11. I bet he wished he stayed in Hollywood instead.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  240. Ibegbule Ambrose from Nigeria

    the ease with which these actors and comedians blend into politics can only be a proof of the fact that politics is actually a kind of show business you are only successful in it if you are ready to be who you are not

    July 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  241. Doug in Montana

    Let's see. We just had a president who could barely speak English, refers to himself constantly as commander in chief, and only new the names of three countries. Rush Limbaugh flunked out of Missouri State his freshman year and is the leader of the Republican party. Gosh! How bad could Alec Baldwin be?

    July 8, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  242. rob warnick

    Sure jack, their normal people like you and me arent they.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  243. Jim in Prague

    Jack,

    The politicians could take some lessons from these people as most of them are bad actors at best and only unintentionally funny.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  244. brenda

    Hey people. An A from Harvard is meaningless. The average grade point average there is a B+. yes, thats right. So you can have an A- average and be only slightly above the mean.

    So anyone who graduates with an A average in political science (a joke degree anyway) should not automatically be considered smart.

    If it was physics, I'd give him some credit but Poli Sci?? I have plumbers smarter than that.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  245. Nuno G. Newark, NJ

    NO. Actors and comedians have spent their entire careers pretending to be someone else. It is hard for me not to believe that it is possible for those fictional character traits and beliefs, to leave remnants in their psyche; becoming somewhat a part of their personality.

    Remember, John Wilkes Booth was a popular actor in his day. And we all know what happened when he tried to get involved with politics.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  246. Nick C.

    No, no one besides Arnold Schwarzennegger has ever made a mark in political history. Why waste the time of people if you know that their is no chance of them even getting close to solving your problems? This is obviously not the time for actors or COMEDIANS to try to take up some kind of mantle on Capitol Hill?! Although I still have to to stay given Al Franken has a harvard degree, and medium sized brain I think he could to fairly well.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  247. Ed Hailio

    Why not Jack? Both arenas are smoke and mirrors, lies and make believe. The credulous public is only too willing to kiss their buts and listen to their lies. What a life eh, never having to produce anything and always getting everything. Why would anyone want an honest person in politics when they know that they could never survive the onslaught from these carpetbaggers?

    July 8, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  248. Jesse J Vancouver BC Canada

    Hi Jack,

    I think anyone from any profession is just as qualified as some of the clowns and pretenders that have held public office.

    Heck Jack just look at the number of quote "quality" people that have been in office that have cheated, lied, or commited criminal offences and are still in office!

    I think actors and comedians will fit right in... and probably do a better job.

    Jesse
    Vancouver Canada

    July 8, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  249. mike

    ummm ronald reagan.?

    July 8, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  250. Ann from Charleston, S.C.

    Is show business a good second career for politicians? I thought most politicians were either comedians or actors, or both.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  251. dotty

    Why not? Most lawyers-turned-politicians have to be half actors as they pontificate in front of jurors and judges and we sure have plenty of those lawyer/politicians in Washington. I'm one of those poor retirees who can't afford cable TV so I'll never know whether or not you read this - don't care because I just like to get my two-cents worth in.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  252. S Callahan

    My take is every citizen, educated or not, is entitled to be a part of the political world in this country....it's takes alot of steel bone and good values to go through the maze (or it should). An actor/tress has the advantange in truly 'bs'ing' the population which seems to be what our represenatives have done the last decade. My thought is that the lack of trust in government now is pretty intense...it's probably is not a good thing...but then again..maybe some common sense will tag along with the actor'/ress.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  253. Jay

    For a comedian, yes. The really good ones are the only ones who ever tell the truth, and the only people who tell you what you need to hear but don't want to hear. A great comedian is a smart person by nature; they really 'get it'. I would vote for a Bill Maher, a George Carlin, a Chris Rock, or a Jon Stewart over some tired old professional politician type from the Beltway with "experience" any day of the week. The people of Minnesota are lucky to have Senator Franken, and they should be proud to have a leader who 'gets it'.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  254. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    I don't see why not. The vast majority of politicians currently in office are bumbling idiots who are there only because they had the money, or the back door connections. We certainly wouldn't want job discrimination at the congressional level, now would we?

    July 8, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  255. Tanya

    If you have packed on a few pounds and your Hollywood career has come to a hault, why not go to DC and become a politician? This is a great way grab LIFETIME health benefits for the ENTIRE FAMILY and rub elbows with other big shots in that circle.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  256. rob warnick Tallmadge ohio

    Jack ,look at the current congress and look at alec baldwins past he would fit right in.Since when does our government look at personal back grounds. If so half of congress would be out.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  257. Sandra from Georgia

    I think we should turn that question around, Jack. Would acting and comedy be wise second choice careers for politicians? I believe they are good at both.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  258. Ana Maria Vaal Da Silva

    Jack, I think it is natural for actors/comedians to become politicians. It is actually a lateral career move for them. Afterall, both actors and politicians spends lots of money and time pretending to be who they are not and have throngs of people idolizing them...Where is the career change in that?

    Ana
    Angola-Africa

    July 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  259. Pam

    Why not. Most them had to work hard pay their dues and earn their way to fame. They know what its like to struggle, be regected, and critized, but not give up. Most of the politicans that are currently in Washington have never know what it's like to struggle, they come from privleged backgrounds and try to act as if they understand the common struggles of the average American.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  260. Erik Weidenbach, Germany

    Jack, you forgot to give examples of the reverse situation; i.e.: polititians becoming actors or comedians. G. W. Bush was Governor of Texas, and then he became a comedian.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  261. Loretta

    Acting and politics are one and the same. Some of the greatest "Oscar winning" performances have been given by our "public servants". Actors have their script writers and politicians have their speech writers.

    July 8, 2009 at 6:42 pm |