Obama Best for the Business?

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I'm Matt Holzman with The Business Brief, a guide to what's happening in and around the business.

Tomorrow, people in the business go to the polls just like everyone else. And if past history and current fundraising are any judge, those latte-drinking, yoga-loving, Prius-driving liberal denizens of Hollywood will overwhelmingly be supporting Barak Obama.

There's another reason that many show biz types are rooting for Senator Obama. His election would mean that after eight long years of being shut out of the Lincoln Bedroom, those venerable pillows will once again be plumped for Hollywood's thick of wallet.

President Bush has steadfastly turned his back on Hollywood. That is partially because show business people have not exactly been his base of support. Plus, he's had to position himself as an enemy of the godless humanism that Hollywood represents to please some of those who are in his base.

But you have to give bush credit for sticking to his guns because politicians are normally very impressed with celebrity. For instance, lobbyists usually have to hound legislators to get face time, but one lobbyist friend of mine told me it's a different story when she shows up to Capitol Hill with A-list spokespeople. Walking around one time in Sacramento with her glitzy coterie, she said a state senator popped his head out of his office and whined, "Why didn't you stop by my office?"

But don't expect if Obama wins tomorrow that the next day will find Paris Hilton partying on the White House steps or Cristal flowing from the White House fountain.

Because unlike the last Democrat in the White House, Obama has had to distance himself from Hollywood during his campaign to tone down his liberal bona fides. It just wouldn't play in Poughkeepsie to be seen stumping with Leonardo or people of his ilk.

Luckily, Hollywood didn't take it personally... Star-studded fundraisers here in town raked in big, big bucks. Even so, it will take some time if a president Obama is ever to be as Hollywood friendly as the Clintons were. That's partially because the continuing war and the collapse of the economy will not allow for the kind of glamorous state occasions where one would expect to see Hollywood's elite.

You know, now that I think of it, it might actually be better for Hollywood if Senator McCain gets elected. He doesn't have to prove he's not a liberal and he's got some pretty respectable celebrity friends – like MGM President Harry Sloan, producer Jerry Bruckhemier and Sly Stallone. Since he claims we're winning the war, there's no reason not get out the White House Victrola and have a shindig. And as one observer of the Washington social scene said in Variety, "There's a lot of glamour to Cindy" and McCain's mother, who's in her 90's, "still loves to party."

Not only that, a business-friendly, regulation and tax-averse guy like McCain could be good for the actual business of the business. But that's neither here nor there.

I'd love to know what you think. Send me an e-mail at TheBusiness@kcrw.org. You can podcast this commentary, share it with a friend, or embed it on your blog with the click of a button from our new media player at KCRW.com/TheBusinessBrief. For KCRW, I'm Matt Holzman.



Matt Holzman