By James Hirsen, Special for USDR
The recent allegations surrounding Bill and Hillary Clinton are giving Hollywood a serious case of nerves and may be placing in jeopardy Hillary’s fledgling presidential candidacy.
The entertainment community was initially shaken by the questions that had arisen regarding the former Secretary of State’s use of a private email account during her officia l tenure.
More recently, though, stories about the Clinton Foundation and Hillary’s husband’s intriguing tally of speaking fees while she simultaneously served in the Obama Cabinet have some Hollywood insiders searching for 2016 presidential alternatives.
Hollywood is home to some of the biggest bundlers of Democratic campaign cash, and the Clinton campaign has of late been feverishly working to lock up the chief Tinseltown supporters.
However, cracks are beginning to emerge in what should have been a solid Left Coast wall of support. Unease in the Clinton camp itself is on the increase, and Hillary’s strategists have reacted predictably by arranging for three Hollywood fundraisers to be held within the next thirty days.
Dreamworks’s billionaires Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, and David Geffen, all of whom vigorously supported Pres. Obama back in 2008, have lined up to provide support for Hillary in her 2016 run.
One member in particular of the Dreamworks trio on which a watchful eye might be kept is the aforementioned Geffen. The Hollywood mogul is a barometer of sorts in gauging Hillary’s political future with respect to the degree of Hollywood support she is able to muster.
Prior to the 2008 campaign, Geffen did not merely lend his support to Pres. Obama, but he also publicly expressed negativity toward the Clintons; this occurred during an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
Geffen referred to Mrs. Clinton as an “incredibly polarizing figure” and additionally characterized the Clinton family’s political operation as the “Clinton royal family.” He brought up the former president’s prior scandals as well, indicating that he did not think anyone would believe “that in the last six years, all of a sudden Bill Clinton has become a different person…”
“Everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling,” Geffen surmised.
Reportedly, Geffen’s unfavorable feelings at the time about Hillary’s candidacy had to do, in part, with a convict by the name of Leonard Peltier. Peltier, an American Indian activist, was found guilty of murder in 1977 for allegedly gunning down a pair of FBI agents in a shootout at South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He attracted a great deal of attention among a group of activists, one of whom was Geffen. Peltier’s supporters sought clemency for him from then-Pres. Bill Clinton. Ultimately, Peltier’s name was absent from a list of 140 people who were granted presidential pardons by Clinton at the end of his second term.
Geffen, in a remark during his Dowd interview, made reference to the most controversial of the Clinton pardons, when he stated the following: “Marc Rich getting pardoned? An oil-profiteer expatriate who left the country rather than pay taxes or face justice?”
He also offered a comment on the Peltier case, opining that it was “yet another time when the Clintons were unwilling to stand for the things that they genuinely believe in.”
Two alternatives to a Hillary presidential nomination have been bandied about at political events that have been taking place in Hollywood: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Legendary producer Norman Lear has voiced his alternate candidate preference should Hillary decide to bow out of the 2016 presidential race: the much talked about Warren.
“I think Elizabeth would make a great president,” Lear told The Hollywood Reporter.
Despite Warren’s statements that she will not seek the Democratic nomination, MoveOn.org has been initiating “Run Warren Run” gatherings in Los Angeles. Some familiar names that have echoed support for Warren include Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon, Darren Aronofsky, and Mark Ruffalo,
Ruffalo, who will portray the Hulk in the upcoming “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” has been using his Twitter account to communicate a willingness to provide backing for a potential Warren candidacy.
In early April, Ruffalo tweeted, “mitations? Why not just go for the real thing? Elizabeth Warren…”
The actor also recently brought up the Uranium One allegations.
“This’s the problem! #RunWarrenRun,” Ruffalo posted, referencing a New York Times article that provided details about the allegation that millions of dollars were given to the Clinton Foundation by a Canadian mining company following the company’s receipt of lucrative uranium mining concessions from the U.S. government.
O’Malley is also garnering some interesting Hollywood attention. Maryland’s former governor is picking up steam among activists in the entertainment business. He has become a frequent Hollywood visitor (attending events in June and September of 2014 and two April 2015 events), has strong ties with executives at Sony, and has recently received some vocal support from Timothy Simons of the HBO series “Veep.”