When the Motion Picture Association of America hired Dan Glickman, an 18-year Democratic congressman from Kansas and a former member of the Clinton cabinet, as president and chief executive, it was viewed by many lawmakers here as the movie industry thumbing its nose at Republican leaders.In other entertainment-related news, a few Congressmen have decided to pull out of fundraisers at concerts of musicians who support the other party.
But in his first year, Mr. Glickman has staged an impressive role reversal: He has hired Republicans close to the congressional leadership. He has made campaign donations, from his own pocket and Hollywood coffers, to the conservatives who ousted him from Congress a decade ago. And he volunteered to help President Bush twist arms on a White House priority, the free-trade pact with Central America, that passed the House last month by just two votes.
The 60-year-old Mr. Glickman, who plays down his political affiliation and says that he was never much into partisan warfare, is an example of how to survive as a Democrat in a Republican-run town these days. "His Democratic credentials obviously caused some heartburn in the beginning, but I think he has been able to overcome that," says Rep. Mark Foley, a Florida Republican.
But Mr. Glickman's bigger challenge may be preserving a fragile association of media companies whose interests have diverged over the years, and who count making movies as just one piece of their empires. This gives movie studios less in common than before -- and Mr. Glickman has already had to keep one member, Universal Studios, from bolting.[...]
Earlier this year, Mr. Glickman personally wrote a $500 check to Mr. Santorum's re-election campaign. The MPAA sent another $2,000 to Mr. Santorum, who faces a strong re-election challenge next year. Since being named MPAA chief, Mr. Glickman has given 85% of his $10,000 in personal political donations to Republicans. In the previous 18 months, Mr. Glickman steered 95% of his $18,500 in contributions to Democrats, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The MPAA's political action committee, meanwhile, has steered 77% of its contributions to Republicans this year.
"I use good judgment in terms of supporting our friends on both sides of the aisle," Mr. Glickman says. "I haven't changed parties. That wouldn't make me very happy."
Mr. Glickman says that even as a politician, he was no partisan warrior. "Being from Kansas, I represented the reddest of red states," he says.
He also has been on a Republican recruiting spree. Among his hires is John Feehery, the former spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert who is now the MPAA's executive vice president for external affairs. Mr. Glickman also signed lobbying contracts with Barbara Comstock, a former Justice Department official who has helped defend Mr. DeLay against Democrats' allegations about ethics breaches, and Carl Thorsen, Mr. DeLay's former counsel. A few weeks ago, the MPAA hired the lobbying firm founded by former Sen. Don Nickles, the Oklahoma Republican.
Mr. Glickman faces tension from a powerful Republican lawmaker on an unrelated matter. Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens has declined to meet with the new MPAA chief because he is upset that as Agriculture Secretary in the Clinton administration, Mr. Glickman barred new road-building in Alaska's Tongass National Forest five years ago. Mr. Stevens is chairman of the Commerce Committee, which handles many movie-industry issues.
Rep. Michael McCaul's "family came first," Jack Hirschfield said a day after Knight Ridder asked about McCaul's participation in the Oct. 3 event. The Stones' upcoming album includes a number that makes many supporters of President Bush cringe. It's titled "Sweet Neo Con" and it begins: "You ride around your white castle, on your little white horse/ You lie to your people, and blame it on your war, of course."At their Fenway Park concert, "Sweet Neo Con" was not a part of the set list. When you have a band that is still around 40 years later, you tend to play the greatest hits.
Although Hirschfield said Thursday that the Stones' fund-raiser was taken off McCaul's schedule in June, Hirschfield hadn't been aware of it when a reporter had called earlier this week. The fund-raiser's organizer, Nancy Bocskor, said she first heard that McCaul was pulling out on Wednesday.
"Stuff came up and he needed to be with the kids," she said. "And his spokesman apologized."
The Stones concert was to have been a joint event for McCaul and Rep. Kevin Brady, another Republican from the president's home state. Late Thursday, Bocskor confirmed that the event would go ahead just for Brady. She bought 40 tickets, which she planned to sell for $2,000 each.
Brady's spokesman didn't return phone messages left over three days.
The Wall Street Journal, in an article earlier this month, included the McCaul-Brady event among several awkward encounters between liberal performers and conservative politicians seeking to raise money.
In another of them, Reps. John Shimkus, R-Ill., and Thomas Reynolds, R-N.Y., plan a fund-raiser at an Elton John concert Sept. 10 at the Nissan Pavilion south of Washington.
Both lawmakers voted for a national ban on gay marriage, which Congress rejected last year. The singer plans to marry his male partner this fall. Earlier this year, Sir Elton declared President Bush "the worst thing that has ever happened to America."
This didn't keep the singer from chatting amiably with the president at a Kennedy Center Honors ceremony at which Sir Elton received a special award for his contributions to American culture.
A spokesman for Shimkus, Steve Tomaszewski, said his boss's fund-raiser at the Elton John concert was neither an endorsement of the singer's politics nor a betrayal of Shimkus' stand on gay marriage. Shimkus won't attend himself, however, because of a scheduling conflict, Tomaszewski said.
Another House conservative, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., plans to carry on with a planned Stones fund-raiser Oct 3.
"I don't think that one song would dissuade potential donors from coming," said Brian Kennedy, Pombo's spokesman. "People enjoy Barbra Streisand's music whether they enjoy her politics or not."
I don't think we have heard the full Ernie Fletcher saga yet. For more, see the Bluegrass Report on this. Mark has done a tremendous job on this.
According to Greg's Opinion, the Kos vs. DLC saga got The New Republic take on it. I'd say it is some good comic relief from Jonathan Chait.
NO, MR. KILGORE, I EXPECT YOU TO DIE!: Daily Kos is promising that it will unveil a super-weapon to destroy the Democratic Leadership Council. The threats appear to be growing ever more comically megalomaniacal:I just want to state for the record that Democrats are the party of the big tent. We should not have intra-party feuding. The latest remarks from Kos, if this is true and I believe it is since I get flamed so much over there just for defending any member of the DLC (except Zell Miller since he no longer is a Democrat, at least he shouldn't be), is completely rediculous. Should not the Democrats be speaking up against Republican officials or campaigning for new elections.Two more weeks, folks, before we take them on, head on.Isn't this really James Bond Villain/Dr. Evil type stuff? From the insistence that he has a foolproof secret plan, to the macho predictions that the enemy will beg for mercy and be denied, right down to the metaphor ("make them radioactive"--Bwahahahahaha!)
No calls for a truce will be brooked. The DLC has used those pauses in the past to bide their time between offensives. Appeals to party unity will fall on deaf ears (it's summer of a non-election year, the perfect time to sort out internal disagreements).
We need to make the DLC radioactive. And we will. With everyone's help, we really can. Stay tuned.
I just think that after this build-up anything short of a giant laser gun aimed at the DLC offices is going to seem kind of disappointing.
Ralph Long, formerly the Last Sane Man, has been unusually silent lately. Did Mark still the spotlight from him?
Apparently, Pat Boone is still alive. Boone, best known for being a cover artist and not a rock legend, had the following words about Cindy Sheehan.
This lady (Sheehan) and the groups that have been demonstrating in front of the president's ranch in Crawford and following him around are the very same people that were the dropout, turn-on, anti-war peace activists back [in the Vietnam War era]," Boone said. "They still have this crazy notion that by just being peaceful and maybe toking up or something like that – it's like an ostrich with its head in the sand – maybe the danger and the bad guys will go away and leave you alone, which is not gonna happen."I thought Pat Boone was dead.