Ed Asner on the Tea Party: 'I Don't See What They Have to Complain About'

Ed Asner has expressed his dissatisfaction with Obama's "corporatist" turn in more than one place. Paul Bond of The Hollywood Reporter found that Asneer diidn't feel well-informed about the Tea Party movement, but he could not understand why they'd complain about Obama:

BOND:  What do you think of the Tea Parties?

ASNER: Not much. I haven't the foggiest idea what they stand for, and the more you watch President Obama, I don't see what they have to complain about.

BOND: At the event Morgan Brittany spoke at, many were complaining of high taxes, government overspending and over-regulation, that sort of thing.

ASNER: We're less taxed than almost any other western country. Is Morgan Brittany aware of that?

BOND: You seem in favor of the Egypt uprising but not sympathetic to an uprising here of Tea Partiers.

ASNER: Oh, is that what you call it, an uprising? That's very clever.

BOND: Thanks. I try.

ASNER: And I'll try to humor you. I repeat. The Tea Party uprisings are based on ghost images such as taxation, and I would recommend that Morgan Brittany or whatever Tea Partier you want to talk to check out our taxation under Dwight Eisenhower.

Bond reported that Morgan Brittany recalled being brushed off by Asner during the 2000 election recount. "I can't even look at you. I can't even talk to you," the Dallas actress recalled Asner telling her after she revealed she was a Republican. "From that moment on, he never spoke to me again, except on stage." Asner did not recall that, but didn't think it sounded like him: 

"My memory is not good, but I sure as hell don't remember doing a play with Morgan Brittany. I don't even know what she looks like."

(For the record, playwright Jerry Mayer confirmed that Asner and Brittany starred about a decade ago in an "Audioplay" of his work Almost Perfect, which is not technically a stage play but a CD version of a play that Brittany and Asner recorded together at the Santa Monica Playhouse.)

Asner acknowledged, though, that his reaction to Hollywood conservatives isn't always warm and fuzzy, but that just manifests in his avoiding the subject once he learns that a colleague is his political opposite. He used his relationship with Jon Voight as an example.

"If I can talk to him, I can talk to anybody. He's about as right wing as you can get," Asner said. But if he ever did talk about politics with Voight? "I'd have a hard time with my anger," Asner said.

If an episode similar to the one Brittany described were to happen today, "I'd probably make a joke of it -- as we do -- and say, 'Well, I certainly can't hang around with you.' But I'd never be as open as she suggests. I'm more duplicitous than that," he joked.

Asner is self-assured enough to identify himself as a socialist:

BOND: What do you think of actors who run for office?

ASNER: I have no objection. They certainly are a weird breed, though. People are still trying to figure out Ronald Reagan.

BOND: What was your opinion of him?

ASNER: I certainly was charmed by him. Taking the final figures and results, I can only feel his two terms were not a success. Now, I'm trying to figure out where you stand.

BOND: To the right of you. How do you describe yourself?

ASNER: Call me a socialist.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis