The latest Hollywood “buddy” flick

Barack Obama, we are learning, has some important limitations and deficiencies. Making niche figures who can boost his popularity think their views matter to him isn’t one of them.

First there was Jeremiah Wright; then there was William Ayers. Now there is George Clooney.

This unintentionally hilarious piece in England’s Daily Mail portrays Clooney as having “entered the political arena at the highest level – by becoming an unofficial adviser to US Presidential front-runner Barack Obama.” Clooney, the Mail reports, “is said to be helping the Democratic candidate to polish his image at home and abroad” (two for the price of one). “Sources” say that Clooney “has been giving [Obama] advice on things such as presentation, public speaking and body language.”

The notion that Obama needs help from Clooney with his public speaking is laughable. Obama is a sensational speaker who has managed to wow crowds, including the audience for his 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention, without Clooney’s assistance. Obama isn’t a great debater, but neither, as far as I know, is Clooney.

Yet this is not to say that Obama isn’t accepting advice from Clooney on “presentation, public speaking, and body lanaguage.” By doing so, Obama can persuade the popular, well connected actor that he’s more than just a hanger-on.

Clooney, though, needs to believe he’s also more than just an image-adviser. (This, after all, is the man who boasted that he could never run for public office because he’d “slept with too many women. . .”) Thus, “sources” say that Clooney advises Obama on foreign policy too, especially Iraq and Israel policy. Apparently, Clooney has been advising Obama that, as president, he should pull out of Iraq immediately and “balance” his Middle East policy by being more pro-Palestinian.

Obama’s public pronouncement have trended in the opposite direction on both Iraq and Israel. But Clooney, we are told, thinks that’s fine, at least as long as Obama tolerates Clooney’s text messages on the subjects. Clooney probably assumes, along the lines of Reverend Wright, that Obama is just a politician doing what he needs to do to get elected and that, once elected, he’ll take Clooney’s sage counsel to heart.

Clooney is correct on the first count. As to the second, Obama has some important limitations and deficiencies. The prospect that as president he would take Clooney’s foreign policy musings seriously isn’t likely to be one of them.

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