Sunday, April 18, 2004

George Clooney may be cute, but he and dad are out of touch

By Marcus Carey
Guest columnist

I am amused that George Clooney knows my name. Here I am, just some guy living quietly on a farm in Owen County, when all of a sudden on Easter Sunday I see a guest column in the Enquirer by George Clooney giving me a left-handed compliment for being clever.

Surely a big-time Hollywood star like Clooney, who comes from a whole family of show folks, understands the value of publicity a lot better than an ordinary guy like me. So on one hand, I guess I should feel some sense of accomplishment that my name got printed at all. What's even better, he spelled it right and called me "Mister" to boot.

Clooney is a guy who ordinarily makes his living pretending to be somebody he's not. For the most part he just reads lines written by somebody else. But Sunday he wrote the words himself, or so it would appear. I thought it might be a good time to take a look at the real George Clooney in order to put his criticism of me into proper context.

At a recent event where I was emcee, on the same night that George was in town to raise money for his father's quest to move into Congress, I suggested that in his efforts to net a lot of cash for his dad, just like a role in one of his movies, George may fill the nets but in the end would go down with his ship. I defend that as fair comment in the political arena. So what are the words George Clooney chooses when he steps into the political arena? Let's look.

First we must remember that he's an actor and his dad, Nick Clooney, is a TV guy. They make their living moving from role to role, reading lines and creating an illusion.

Show folks live a life where their every move is carefully scripted. But in those moments when they step out of their roles, we sometimes get brief but telling glimpses of their true beliefs. Every now and then they just can't help themselves; something gets under their skin, they stray from the cue card and their real feelings come through. George Clooney and his dad are no exceptions.

The powerful Hollywood star George Clooney who wrote a special column calling me insensitive is the same George Clooney who equated the Bush administration with the Mafia, said Ronald Reagan was "as bad a symbol of America as I can think of," and made fun of Charleton Heston's Alzheimer's disease.

George Clooney's comments regarding Heston were far from the "lighthearted political metaphor" he whined about me using. Hey, George, it was only a movie. Alzheimer's disease, on the other hand, is all too real for all too many.

One of the workplace hazards of being show folks is that these people become so image-conscious that they lose touch with reality. The reality is George's father will lose in November.

And how might it be that I am so sure of that fact? Because Nick Clooney is on record over many years expressing a variety of opinions that clearly demonstrate that he is completely out of touch with the feelings and beliefs of the voters of this district. For example, George's dad is on record saying that he believes that any American who would own a gun is a barbarian. We've not elected that kind of liberalism before, and I don't think we will this year, either.

Before he soft-shoed into the spotlight to audition for the role as our representative in Congress, Nick Clooney had already created a large body of work in his writings and broadcasts over the years and will now have to face the reality of his own words, his own true feelings, his own liberal beliefs, nice guy or not.

I know it's hard for a Hollywood actor to believe it, but here in the heartland of Kentucky, showmanship and statesmanship are not interchangeable terms. So let me rise to the challenge George Clooney issued to me in his column. As your father's liberal body of work is revealed over the next several months, I believe that in the context of electing a man to be our conscience in Congress, the voters may come to see his body of work by the title of one movie you forgot to mention, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.


Marcus Carey, a lawyer and Erlanger native, is chairman of the Republican Party in Kentucky's 4th congressional district.

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