The GOP presidential candidates just got another pair of crazy eyes on their side: Gary Busey appears to be endorsing Newt Gingrich. The Celebrity Apprentice star told TheWashingtonScene.com, “I’ve never met Newt but I know what he stands for.”
Still, Busey — who noted that he’s a Texan who won’t be giving his support to Rick Perry (“He’s a good guy, he just doesn’t belong in the race”) — noted he’d rather see his old Celebrity Apprentice boss Donald Trump throw his
hair hat back in the ring. (“Donald would be great. He’s a good friend.”)
Though it seems unlikely that anyone would take Gary Busey (or anyone else who had a multi-episode arc on Entourage, for that matter) seriously enough to sway their decision based on his endorsement, it raises an interesting question: Have you ever taken celebrity’s support of a politician seriously? And if so, whose? During the last presidential election, celebrity endorsement of Barack Obama (led predominantly by Oprah Winfrey) was a hotly debated topic. As NBC News reported back in 2008, an overwhelming majority of Americans said they were not swayed by celebrity endorsements, but experts found that stars do have an effect on a campaign. Voters were just unwilling to admit it. (They are, however, more than ready to scold a celebrity for his or her endorsement, or even worse, opposition, of a politician. Just ask Natalie Maines.)
While it’s easier to admit whether we’d read a book, watch a movie, or use a product based solely on the celebrity backing it, who, aside from the obvious answer of Oprah, would you take seriously when it comes to backing a politician? (Or a political movement, for that matter.) Would it have to be someone well versed in the world of politics, perhaps along the lines of a Jon Stewart or a Matt Damon (particularly bald Matt Damon)? Or would you feel inclined to listen to someone with their own political aspirations like Kelsey Grammer or Alec Baldwin? Or would you feel more inclined to listen to someone who is overtly political like, say, Sean Penn or Susan Sarandon, and invest in someone who is, while politically active, more aware of the negative connotations celebrity support can often have? (See: Tom Hanks.)
Tell us PopWatchers, if you were to listen to, or even be swayed by, a celebrity’s endorsement of a politician, whose would it be? Share in the comments section below.