George Clooney has begun a publicity tour for his new political thriller The Ides of March (which debuts in theaters October 7). John Horn of the Los Angeles Times says the Clooney character has a platform “so uncompromisingly left-leaning it might make Fox News commentators burst into flames.”
Not only that, Clooney’s character proposes the U.S. government ban the internal combustion engine. Clooney says "make it happen." He actually believes that “these are the kind of leadership things I would love to see.” Horn explained:
Clooney's Gov. Mike Morris is poised to take the Democratic nomination with a platform so uncompromisingly left-leaning it might make Fox News commentators burst into flames. He opposes the death penalty, foreign military intervention and even internal combustion engines and supports gay marriage, mandatory national volunteer service and higher taxes for the richest Americans.
....If real-life Democrats end up taking inspiration from the Mike Morris character and his stump speeches, Clooney will hardly be upset. On climate change and oil, for instance, the governor proposes that the United States do away with the internal combustion engine.
"If we're cut off from oil, we will find a way to power our cars. So say it and make it happen," Clooney said. "It's not ridiculous. It is possible. And these are the kind of leadership things I would love to see and could be argued about. People will say, 'It's just actors.' But I truly believe it."
It sounds a lot like Aaron Sorkin's The American President -- a president so radical ("idealistic") they would have an approval rating lower than Obama's. Clooney grew "more animated" about the issue of taxation:
"This is the one I think should be used by the Democrats," he said, leaning forward in his chair. "Every time you say the richest people in America don't pay their fair share, that is just simply the truth. And yet when you ask them to, everyone said it's 'socialism' or 'the redistribution of wealth.' And you'll hear it over and over again. 'Are you for the redistribution of wealth?' And every Democrat goes, 'No, no, no, no, no' — because they know it's code for socialism.
"To me, that's why the Democrats are so bad at this game. They're always back on their heels. They're always playing defense. I would start with an offense, and I would run on this as a candidate. 'My campaign, my administration, is vehemently against the distribution of wealth by the government to the richest Americans. I'm not going to play your game of, "Are you for the redistribution of wealth?"' I want to go to these guys and say, 'Are you for distributing wealth by the government to the richest Americans?' Straight aggression — not this wimpy stuff. Democrats have always been really bad at that kind of version of politics. I say, 'Get up, stand up.'
"Those are the kind of arguments we have in this film," Clooney said. "And we balance it by saying, 'It doesn't mean this guy isn't going to screw up.'"
Horn said the film is a "a vehicle for Clooney (who directed and co-wrote the movie) and longtime writing and producing partner Grant Heslov to fulfill their wishful thinking about how a stand-up Democrat could walk and talk. But it also takes a hard look at the personal price of politics and its inevitable betrayals and compromises. The film's ultimately pessimistic take may surprise some, given that it comes from a hopeful liberal such as Clooney."
Horn insisted "For better and often for worse, actors have dabbled in politics and causes, but few have shown the kind of sustained and informed interest and commitment -- on- and off-screen -- that Clooney has." But when asked about Obama, Horn made Clooney sound patronizing like Obama was Clooney's...boy?
"I think he's getting beat around," Clooney said, the way a Little League dad might cheer on a son struggling on the pitching mound. "He should go after the S&P for the credit downgrade."
That should tell you how the Horn interview's a few weeks old.