Babs a Democrat? Say it ain't so!
April 2, 2001 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Babs a Democrat? Say it ain't so! OK, so it's not really a surprise...but if this "memo" from Babs to fellow Dems is, in fact, real (and not a belated April Fool's joke), then I wonder: who the heck does she think she is? Does she hold a leadership position of ANY party, let alone the Dems? Sure, contributors have the right to "influence" their party of choice, but to flat-out admit very publicly that the Dem leadership has no cajones? She's only making it worse for the Dems (ha!). And besides, isn't she doing what she rails against in Republican contributors - using her $$$ contributions to sway her party in directions that she approves of?
posted by davidmsc (28 comments total)
I read about this and immediately tossed out all her records, including the sound track to Yentle (Yenta?).
posted by Postroad at 5:28 PM on April 2, 2001

Why? Because she was critical of the Democrats or attacked the Republicans?
posted by bkdelong at 6:03 PM on April 2, 2001

Oh my, I read the headline and I thought you meant "Babs" Bush. Now that would be some news!
posted by megnut at 6:20 PM on April 2, 2001

This is just the latest example of a celebrity embarrassing herself by using her reknown to insert herself into policy debates. Barbra is obviously entitled to her opinion, but someone needs to tap her on the shoulder and inform her that she's only illustrating the fact that money buys access. I mean, do you think a similar ball-busting letter from, say, some moderately talented big nosed girl from Brooklyn without a lot of money and fame would make this kind of news?

Last week it was Julia Roberts claiming that Bush was "not her president" and that "Republican" can be found between "repugnant" and "reptile" in the dictionary (guess what, it can't). Thanks girls, let's just drive the masses into the arms of the Republicans with whips and cattle prods!
posted by Dr. Boom at 7:44 PM on April 2, 2001

...but to flat-out admit very publicly that the Dem leadership has no cajones?

The Dem leadership has no drawers? I thought Bill was a boxers man.

Oh! You meant cojones!

(Just don't get me started on muchos gracias, no problemo, and mano y mano.)

But back to the topic: La Streisand isn't saying anything that a dozen MeFiers haven't already said. At least her memo was more coherent than Warren Beatty's wacky NY Times editorial a summer and a half ago. But, really: "dyke"? Who proofread her copy?
posted by idiolect at 7:45 PM on April 2, 2001

the holding the dyke against the republicans bit really is a little sloppy.
posted by th3ph17 at 8:06 PM on April 2, 2001

This isn't the first time La Streis has railed and ranted against the GOP. She had a well-publicised speech some years back at one of the Ivy League colleges where she rambled on and on and on and on ad nauseum about this, that and the other, half of it made up and the other half of it fiction. It is because of that speech that certain right wing radio personalities refer to falsehoods as "B.S. - Barbra Streisand."

It's second verse, same as the first. When one of these brainless entertainment types has an original thought on politics, chip the devil out of his block of ice and give him the bulletin.
posted by Dreama at 8:51 PM on April 2, 2001

What about when one of these brainless entertainment types becomes a republican, runs for Governer, and ends up as president?
posted by chaz at 9:21 PM on April 2, 2001

While I find her politics loathsome, that's only a side issue here. Her real problem is her unfettered arrogance. Just imagine you're a high Democratic Party elected official, and you got one of these missives from Queen Bah-bra ordering you around. What would your reaction be? I wish just one of them would have the guts to tell her to shut up because she's doing them far more damage than good with her mouth.

What about when one of these brainless entertainment types becomes a republican, runs for Governer, and ends up as president?

They win and change the world. Any attempted comparison to the BSes and Julia Robertses of the world is laughable. And Reagan's so-called brainlessness has been debunked.
posted by aaron at 9:43 PM on April 2, 2001

From what I can tell, FOX News and conservative chat sites like FR are giving this far more weight than the people to whom it is supposedly addressed -- probably because it gives them a nice straw man to demolish.

Pretty simple -- if you're a celebrity and you say something in favor of the Democrats, expect ad hominem disparagement (as aaron demonstrates above); if you say something in favor of the Republicans, expect adulation. A politician, after all, is ... according to the principles that the Republican party populists like to underline ... just another citizen, with no special qualities or training other than good old 'Merkin common sense. Barbra, or Warren, or Arnold, or Sonny Bono, or Ronald Reagan, are all entitled to their opinion and as much attention to it as they can get by virtue of their celebrity. Whether anybody's listening is another matter. I don't see Schwarzenegger, or Heston, or other Republican celebrities eschewing the attention they get; why should Streisand? But of course, instead of responding to her opinions, she gets pilloried for even having and expressing one. How shameful.
posted by dhartung at 10:08 PM on April 2, 2001

I know, aaron, it was a joke. The point was you can't paint an entire industry (and trust me, despite the crap they produce, there are tons of smart people in the entertainment industry, some of them are even talent) with the "brainless entertainment types" brush.
posted by chaz at 10:33 PM on April 2, 2001

Fair enough Chaz. Can we then at least agree that most entertainment people are out of their depth when they try to talk about political issues, because they don't have the time to be well-read and studied on the issues they try to speak on? 90% of the time, it's another actor/singer/whatever tossing off trite cliches, lame jokes and illogical "conclusions" that get a lot of press (because of who they are) but ultimately do very little to benefit the political noise:signal ratio.
posted by Dreama at 11:11 PM on April 2, 2001

Dreama: agreed. And that bothers me to no end, to hear some jackass braying in public about issues they have been spoonfed by friends in the business.

However, imagine if we were all famous and our MeFi posts were broadcast to the world-- most of us probably wouldn't come off all that well.

However if that were the case I think 99% of us would have the sense not to post in that case unless we really knew what we were talking about. Which means that there would be probably 10 posts per day ;)
posted by chaz at 12:14 AM on April 3, 2001

you know Dreama, what you said about "most entertainment people [being] out of their depth when they try to talk about political issues, because they don't have the time to be well-read and studied on the issues they try to speak on" is equally true about many politicians, including the current U.S. President, whose serial lack of knowledge of events, policies and political figures is well-documented.

How does he figure in to your political noise: signal ratio? Or is he exempt simply because of his position?
posted by lia at 2:27 AM on April 3, 2001

Her movies suck, her songs suck, her voice makes me want to gouge my eyes out, her political opinions make me sick.

Her arrogance and disdain for the regular voter is obvious. Her vote is obviously the only one that should count. No one else has a clue but her and her big nose. The rest of the voters in the country are nothing more than peasants in a feudal society.
posted by a3matrix at 4:56 AM on April 3, 2001

as dhartung said earlier, "if you're a celebrity and you say something in favor of the Democrats, expect ad hominem disparagement."

thanks for the fantastic demonstration there, a3matrix. for the record, ad hominem attacks make me sick.
posted by lia at 5:55 AM on April 3, 2001

I thought it was rather funny how she intimated that people were too stupid to understand what was going on whereas she, the almighty Barbara, knew better.

I thing the democratic party is undergoing a difficult rearrangement right now, but it will emerge from this mess stronger than it entered into it. The reason they seem so confused is because their power base is shifting to affluent suburban whites.

God forbid they actually get McCain/Feingold passed into law - Liberals will really start to hate the democratic party.
posted by revbrian at 6:15 AM on April 3, 2001

Just because she's got a big bullseye painted on her, that's still no reason to shoot the messenger. She backed up her passion with knowledge, trotting out facts and raising specific issues in support of her overall theme. I wish more pundits (on both sides) were this good.
posted by whuppy at 7:01 AM on April 3, 2001

Which "regular voter"? One of the over 50% that actually voted democatic in the last election? (How soon we forget.)
posted by trox at 7:02 AM on April 3, 2001

I read "Babs" in the headline, and said "Barbara Mikulski, a democrat? Intrepid reporting there."

I guess not everybody calls her "Babs," though.

posted by dfowler at 7:06 AM on April 3, 2001

The Democrats' voting so overwhelmingly to pass the bankruptcy bill that went too far was outright strange. And I don't imagine that Babs was the only big Dem. fundraiser upset about it, or the only Dem. contributor/supporter, large/important or small/nobody, upset about it. If the memo came at the time of that bill's passing, and when it looked as if the tax cut would pass easily, it might've been more understandable. Then there were all the who-was-to-blame-for-the-election crap.

Still, liberals such as Babs forget that the Dems. have never been totally cohesive as far as all issues are concerned. More than a few are conservative or moderate conservative at the least, as many always have been. Whether this is a good thing depends on your perspective, but the idea that the parties should be ideologically cohesive is a fairly new concept, largely a result of political thinking of the '60s and early '70s, that's more comparable to European party concepts. Of course, any party still must be some identifiable persona, no matter how vague, but that's not necessarily tied to a strictly ideological position.

That said, the party officials didn't get where they are, I presume, by being totally out of it. And it's certainly classier, and wiser, to keep one's chin up regarding the election and wait 'til 2002 and 2004 in any case.
posted by raysmj at 7:19 AM on April 3, 2001

I didn't see anything in Ms. Streisand's memo that would lead me to think that she was throwing her weight around. She didn't say she'd stop giving money or stop lending her questionable influence to Democratic causes.

She has as much right as anyone to say what she thinks. It's called free speech. It's unfortunate that it gives conservatives a weapon. If you don't like her voice or career, fine. I might agree with you. But you really shouldn't judge her politics based on her movies.

Similarly, you shouldn't judge her artistic efforts based on her politics. Anyone remember Wagner? You can certainly not like Gotterdamerung for artistic reasons, but you can't say the opera is bad simply because Wagner was a jerk.

If William Shatner wrote a similar letter to the RNC, would conservatives be bashing him? Would liberals? I sure wouldn't care. And I don't boycott The Ten Commandments just because I think that Chuck is politically a Neanderthal.
posted by anapestic at 7:53 AM on April 3, 2001

has alec baldwin left yet?
posted by alethe at 1:09 PM on April 3, 2001

God forbid they actually get McCain/Feingold passed into law - Liberals will really start to hate the democratic party.

Hunh? I don't get it. Because liberals somehow don't want campaign finance reform? Because McCain/Feingold is flawed and doesn't reform the system? Because Democrats have the most to lose? What am I missing?
posted by owen at 2:51 PM on April 3, 2001

1. Thanks MeFi-ers! My first post/link (this string) resulted in quite an interesting exchange! 2. Sorry about not spelling cojones correctly. 3. I do NOT like Barbra's politics, and her acting is average at best, but I do enjoy (some) of her music; she is truly a gifted singer.
posted by davidmsc at 4:09 PM on April 3, 2001

As much as I personally dislike Barbara Streisand, the fact of the matter is that she's right.

The Democrats are running around like headless chickens, unable to take a unified stand on just about anything. All the Republicans have to do to get their way is to scare a few votes out of some of Democratic politicians who come from conservative districts... and everyone is too scared to filibuster. The Democrats are like Neville Chamberlain... they'd strike a deal with anyone, so long as they had a piece of paper to wave to all of us to show that they've done their job.

The end effect, of course, is compromise... except of course that the Clinton era was already a (fortuitously unproductive) time of compromise. If the economy succeeded under Clinton, it was more because of what he didn't accomplish as opposed to what he did. Unfortunately, the issues being compromised on are likely to either eat away at our rights or fundamentally hurt the country.

Case in point: the effort to repeal estate tax. Admittedly, repealing estate tax sounds like the right thing to do for people earning under x amount of money per year... the problem with estate taxes is that they aren't adequately tiered, and are already unfair to those who aren't rich.

Do we really want a country where lucky little Jennifer Gates can inherit Bill Gate's entire estate one day, tax free? It's worth noting that those who earned their millions during their lifetime are the most vocal opponents to repealing estate taxes. I thought the point of America was to throw out the royalty... now we're going out of our way to create a permanent noble class. It's pretty sad when you have a large group of wealthy, industrious multimillionaires on what seems to be the losing side of a battle with the ultra rich... makes you wonder whether you count at all. If there has been one positive trend in this country, it is that more people are talking about class warfare. Unfortunately, most of those talking about it are idiots and hypocrites.

The people of the United States seem to view tiered taxes against the ultra rich as unfair, but they seem to have no compassion for making relatively poor families sell the small house that dad worked himself to death for. Whenever I see situations like these, I always think about how the majority of people in the Confederacy supported the idea of slavery, even though the majority of them couldn't afford slaves. They all wanted something (no matter how repugnant) to aspire to, after all...

And back to Barbara, I think it's likely that any female with any amount of star power who spoke out on this issue (with the possible exception of Maya Angelou) would be ridiculed and denounced as ultra liberal, no matter how thoughtful their comments were. That can't be a good state of affairs for the country.
posted by markkraft at 4:34 PM on April 3, 2001

[Because Democrats have the most to lose? ]

Yes. Without soft money they will have to raise their funds from hard money. That means their message will have to be attuned to a more affluent audience.
posted by revbrian at 6:34 PM on April 3, 2001

who the heck does she think she is?, a citizen, exercising her First Amendment rights to bitch and moan?

Not that I tihnk she's got a lick of sense, mind you...
posted by mikewas at 6:52 PM on April 3, 2001

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