Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - Stage and screen actor Ron Silver, in Washington for President Bush's State of the Union address Wednesday night, credited left-wing celebrities -- particularly filmmaker Michael Moore -- with helping to re-elect George W. Bush.
"The celebrity backlash helped," Silver said. "Michael Moore, I think, was a big factor --a really big factor," Silver told Cybercast News Service in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall, following Bush's speech.
Silver's acting credits include the television series "The West Wing," and "Chicago Hope" as well as the movie "Reversal of Fortune." He also is a co-founder of the Creative Coalition, a social and political advocacy organization of the (generally liberal) entertainment industry, and he has stood out in Hollywood for supporting the war in Iraq.
"The attention paid to [Moore] -- the lionization of his piece of propaganda (the anti-Bush movie "Fahrenheit 911") -- I think it all kind of backfired," Silver said.
Silver, a former Democrat, was responding to a question about a billboard campaign in Hollywood sponsored by the conservative group Citizens United that is thanking celebrities for helping to re-elect Bush.
One billboard displays an image of President Bush juxtaposed against the images of several celebrities, including Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Sean Penn, Ben Affleck and Barbra Streisand with the text: "4 More Years. Thank You Hollywood!"
Citizens United plans to place similar billboards in front of the Kodak Theater in Hollywood to greet celebrities as they arrive for the Academy Awards on February 27.
Silver said President Bush's campaign message also helped defeat Democratic nominee John Kerry.
"I think it wasn't what people did, it was what Bush was talking to the people about, which a lot of the press did not want to acknowledge," Silver said.
Silver also said the Democratic Party runs a risk in choosing former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean to be its next chairman:
"The Democratic Party has to make a decision of which way they are going to go. If they want to go the way of Howard Dean, if they want to go the way of [Al] Sharpton, if they want to got the way of [Dennis] Kucinich, that is a choice that the party makes and I think they will forever condemn themselves to minority status," Silver said.
A vote by Democratic National Committee members to replace outgoing chairman Terry McAuliffe is scheduled for February 12 in Washington, and according to the latest press reports, Dean is the leading candidate.
'A strong vibrant Democratic Party'
Democrats who gathered at the Capitol Wednesday night quick to defend the growing likelihood that Dean will be elected as the next DNC chairman.
"I don't think people should turn the light out and close the shades on the Democratic Party," Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) told Cybercast News Service.
"Howard Dean is a doctor and understands what it takes to care for America's physical and health needs. If we have him as chairperson of the Democratic Party, I think that we will have a strong vibrant Democratic Party," Jackson Lee said.
"I reject the idea that our progressive mindset is foreign to the American people. We are talking about increasing the minimum wage, we are talking about good health care, good education," she added.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) also welcomed the possibility of Dean as party chairman.
"Howard Dean has a lot of skills and should he become the chair of the party, I think that those skills will be put to good use. I think that he is going to deserve a chance," Kucinich said.
Kucinich predicted doom for the GOP if President Bush continues to emphasize reforming the Social Security system.
"If President Bush pushes his plan for Social Security privatization, the Democrats will retake the House, retake the Senate and a few years later they will retake the White House," Kucinich said.
See Related Article:
Pro-War Celebrities Bash Hollywood Anti-War Activists (April 28, 2003)
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