Democratic National Convention
Sunday, August 13, 2000

Gore heir to adulation of stars

Hollywood will go his way only because he's not the Republican

        Hooray for Hollywood.

        Bill Clinton's been humming that tune for eight years now, as those public-spirited souls in what Southern Californians like to call the Industry have pumped more dollars than McDonald's has burgers into the Clinton presidential campaigns, the Democratic National Committee, and all of its affiliated soft-money depositories.

        So enamored with the 42nd president of the United States has been an entertainment industry that thrives on sex and improbable fantasy — two of Bill's strong suits — that we wouldn't be surprised next year some time to see the ex-president marching off to work each morning at the DreamWorks studios.

        Adolescent males, after all, drive the movie business these days; and Bill Clinton probably has a pretty good handle on how they want to spend their entertainment dollars.

        Al Gore, who goes to the world of make-believe this week to accept the Democratic nomination for president, has been more or less just along for the ride these eight years as Mr. Clinton lined up the Holly
wood elite.

        This very moment, Mr. Clinton is in Los Angeles, attending a series of high-powered Hollywood fund-raisers while Mr. Gore slogs around Cleveland today, looking for votes.

        Mr. Clinton will be hobnobbing with the likes of David Geffen and Barbra Streisand this weekend, while raising millions for his presidential library, the DNC, and Hillary Rodham Clinton's U.S. Senate campaign.

        Al Gore, apparently, gets whatever scraps fall off the table.

        Bill Clinton could give lip serv ice to “family values” and bemoan violence in American society while cozying up to the industry that deals daily in sex and violence, but Mr. Gore doesn't seem to be able to pull it off.

        After all, it was his wife, Tipper, who made a name for herself going toe-to-toe with Frank Zappa over nasty song lyrics and lobbying for record labeling.

        And it was Al Gore who picked a U.S. senator from Connecticut named Joseph Lieberman as his running mate — the same Joseph Lieberman who teamed up with Bill Bennett, the Republican morality czar, to campaign against sex and violence in the media.

        This is also the Democratic nominee whose campaign insisted that a California congresswoman, Loretta Sanchez, be dropped from the Democratic National Convention speakers' list because she scheduled a fund-raiser for Hispanic voter registration at the Playboy Mansion and wouldn't back off.

        (She eventually rescheduled the event for the Universal Studios facility, but not until the Industry had heard an earful from the Party.)

        This sort of thing makes the Hollywood moguls grumpy as they make deals via cell phone, sitting by their kidney-shaped pools.

        But, in the end, they'll get over their funk and make Al Gore their new best friend, because they know their interests probably won't be served by a Republican president who counts Jerry Falwell and Bill Bennett among his acolytes. In the end, they'll see Al Gore as someone with whom they can do business.

        And, of course, there's no business like show business.

Howard Wilkinson covers politics. He can be reached at 768-8388 or