I’ve already covered in detail the close relationship President Obama has fostered with folks in Hollywood. The entertainment industry has always skewed liberal, but in this funny political era when nearly every industry has turned against national Democrats, the support provided by folks like George Clooney and Jeffrey Katzenberg was vital to Obama’s re-election.
But their contributions go beyond fundraising. Obama understand the power of celebrities to shape the zeitgeist, and now he is turning to them for help in advance of the rollout of state health insurance exchanges that are a key tenet of the Affordable Care Act, his signature first-term legislative achievement. From The Hill:
The White House is working to recruit Hollywood celebrities to help promote ObamaCare, a top celebrity political adviser told The Hill.
Trevor Neilson, a veteran of the Clinton White House, said he’s in talks with the Obama administration and that his clients are “looking at ways to be involved.”
Neilson represents Eva Longoria, John Legend and many other stars as president of Global Philanthropy Group. His past clients have reportedly included Shakira and Madonna, and he has close ties to Bono and Bill Gates.
No surprise that folks like Longoria and John Legend are getting involved. The former was the co-chair of his campaign in charge of outreach to the Latino community, and Legend performed numerous sets at Obama fundraisers. But I think Obama should broaden his gaze in this particular request, which has a very specific purpose:
Celebrity spokespeople for the law would help to connect key demographics — such as young people — to their new benefits. The participation of young, healthy men in the exchanges is especially vital for keeping the markets stable and premium prices low.
“It’s both about numbers and getting a healthy risk pool,” Sebelius said of the need to enroll young people.
Then again, the exchanges begin this fall, and time is running out. Touting celebrity support might be the best idea at this late date, as long as the administration picks stars who are sure to appeal to young, healthy, virile men. I’ve embedded a few of my selections below, all of whom are public supporters of the president.
BTW, Mr. President: if you need any help vetting these candidates, I’m more than willing to offer my services.