The Drudge Report was beaming out the news to computer stations nationwide: Hollywood's Democrats were meeting in Beverly Hills on Dec. 2 for what was dubbed a "Hate Bush" event, aimed to "prevent the advancement of the current extremist right-wing agenda."
The Drudge item sparked a small media boomlet about the Hollywood left, including a spot on CNN's "Crossfire," where I sat across from Paul Begala as he tried to claim, "This has right-wingers in a tizzy. They seem to believe that only tobacco, chemical and oil lobbyists ought to be politically active."
Begala's outburst was just plain silly, and no surprise there. The inference was that somehow the Republican right is attempting to stifle Hollywood's freedom of speech. I endeavored to explain to my liberal host that far from being in a tizzy, Republicans supporting the president's re-election should be positively giddy about the political activism materializing in Tinseltown. It may ensure a Bush victory next year.
It is the reasonable -- i.e., serious -- liberal who should be in a tizzy. The radical left -- no, let's be clear, the nutty left -- is taking over their movement.
Let's recall a few ridiculous snippets of the Hollywood left's geopolitical genius:
1. In an HBO interview with Bob Costas, filmmaker Michael Moore insisted that Osama bin Laden is currently being hidden by the U.S. government: "He's back living with his sponsors (in Saudi Arabia) ... I think our government knows where he is, and I don't think we're going to be capturing him or killing him anytime soon."
2. In an MSNBC interview before the war, actress Janeane Garofalo was asked who was more of a threat to world peace, President Bush or Saddam Hussein. She found no moral difference between them: "They are both very threatening to world peace, and to deny that is to be incredibly naive." In August, as she guest-hosted on CNN, filling in for Begala (and how appropriate was that!), she asserted that "Team Bush is more radically corrupt than Richard Nixon ever tried to be ... It is, in fact, a conspiracy of the 43rd Reich."
3. In the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, actor Sean Penn suggests Britney Spears should reconsider her words of support for President Bush, since the war was waged only for "3,000 white elderly males!" (Which ones? Who knows? Who cares?)
Not since the 1992 campaign has Hollywood been so eager to enter the political arena. The difference between then and now is that in '92, Hollywood's liberals were comprehensible; the crowd grabbing the headlines today astounds in its ignorance.
And here's the pickle for the Democrats: The Hollywood nutty left will continue to grab headlines with its outrageous anti-American poison. What's a run-of-the-mill liberal Democrat to do when he (or she) needs their activism -- and money?
Take Dick Gephardt or Joe Lieberman -- or even Hillary Clinton. They voted to authorize war in Iraq. Doesn't that make each of them a "threat to world peace" as well? They may attempt to straddle the issue from here through the primaries, but the fact remains that in the eyes of these Hollywood radicals, they aided and abetted the enemy. Hollywood leftists insist that our president is a new Hitler, with dreams of world domination. That's awfully hard to reconcile within the Democratic Party.
Ask Terry McAuliffe: Does the DNC believe Bush is harboring bin Laden, and should his administration be labeled the "43rd Reich," and if not, are you willing to denounce extremists like Moore and Garofalo?
The pressure also has to be on the reasonable liberals in Hollywood. Unless they publicly distance themselves from the nuts they'll lose all credibility. Promoting the movie "Minority Report" in Italy last fall, Steven Spielberg declared "Saddam Hussein has proven every day that he's currently a criminal." Spielberg added that we don't want to wind up later after a horrendous attack asking, "Why didn't the world act when it had the chance?" A few days later, CNN was reporting Spielberg was clarifying his remarks, suggesting he was not in favor of war with Iraq. Agree or not, it's a reasonable position.
At almost the very same time, from a plain in Spain, Jessica Lange was also publicly expressing her views on Iraq. "I despise him!" she snarled about President Bush. "I despise his administration and everything they stand for ... And I think this latest thing with Iraq is absolute madness ... it's unconstitutional, it's immoral and basically illegal. ... It is an embarrassing time to be an American. It really is. It's humiliating."
Hollywood is liberal, yes. But is Hollywood this radical? Time will tell. Which is why reasonable liberals -- and the Democratic Party -- should be in a tizzy.