On the heels of marquee actor and activist Matt Damon making waves in energy policy with his eye-opening movie, The Promised Land, his partner in acting/activism/producing/business/crime, Ben Affleck, is teasing the nation with statements that filling the soon-to-be-vacant Massachusetts senate seat with himself is not outside the realm of possibilities (should current Senator John Kerry become Secretary of State).
When Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer asked Affleck about the potential of a senate run during a taping for this Sunday’s show, Ben replied:
“One never knows. I’m not one to get into conjecture.”
Celebrities are no strangers to Congress – they testify on a regular basis: Steven Colbert made an appearance in 2010 to testify on behalf of farm workers (and because he testified as his Colbert Report ultra-conservative character, Congress was not amused – see video here). Ronald Reagan, the most famous celebrity-turned-politician, himself appeared before Congress back when he was just President of the Screen Actors Guild; he was there to speak on communism in Hollywood. Other notable Hollywood appearances before Congress include: Bono, Bob Barker, Charlton Heston, Christopher Reeve, Elton John, Frank Zappa, Jewel, Kevin Costner, Michael J. Fox, Mary Tyler Moore, Richard Simmons, and members of Metallica. Even the cuddly Elmo made an appearance to urge support for music research and musical instruments for school programs. Mr. Affleck himself appeared earlier this month to testify on Congo security (he also appeared back in 2001 to testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education, to voice his support of the A-T Children’s Project, a non-profit organization that raises funds to support and coordinate biomedical research projects, among other things).
Additionally, the list of celebrities who went on to turn their status into political wins is a long one. In addition to the most notable two (President Reagan and former CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger), there’s also Warren Beatty, Rob Reiner, Sonny Bono, Al Franken, Jerry Springer, Jesse Ventura, and Clint Eastwood, to name just a few.
But being a celebrity doesn’t necessarily guarantee a congressional seat at the table, as evidenced by pro-wrestling matriarch Linda McMahon’s recent defeat in her bid for Connecticut’s Senate seat. Other prominent celebs whose name recognition just wasn’t enough to put them over the top include Shirley Temple and P.T. Barnum.
And now Ben, who received a tantalizing taste of political campaigning while helping Elizabeth Warren with her campaign, offers us the titillating indication that a run for the Senate could be in his very-near future.
“I do have a great fondness and admiration for the political process in this country,” Ben told The Nation. “But I’m not going to get into speculation about my political future.” (Source)
Okay, so his statement regarding his future is politics lacks a bit of potency. But at least he didn’t say “no.”
In this writer’s opinion, Ben has a duty to save the Senate from another Republican-filled seat. It’s fairly clear by now that the GOP attack on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice had little to do with Benghazi and everything to do with vilifying her to eliminate the possibility of a Secretary of State nomination. Their endorsement of Senator John Kerry to fill that post made their motives clear: his Senate seat, should he be confirmed at State, would then be left open to a Republican – should one get voted in by the good people of Massachusetts in a special election. And right now, that’s looking like a pretty strong possibility, since outgoing Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who was defeated by Elizabeth Warren, is polling strongly in Massachusetts for the potentially soon-to-be vacant seat.
Brown is already playing position – as one who used to support gun laws being handled exclusively at the state level, he was the first Republican to come in favor of a federal assault weapons ban after the tragic Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, CT, which claimed the lives of 20 children between the ages of 6-7.
Ben, however, would be certain to give Brown a run for his money and he would be an excellent addition to Congress. After all, who could argue with a guy who saved the world from a giant asteroid?