Angelina Jolie has indicated that she’d like to run for President – presumably of the United States. This is perhaps not a good idea for Ms Jolie nor for the United States. She’d not win an election despite quite obviously having the name recognition thing and she’d be entirely terrible if she did. The problem being there’s no there there – it’s the purported Ronald Reagan problem writ large. Those whose living is made reading out the words of others tend not to have the internal thought and decision making processes to do proper politics. Ronnie did actually have some proper thoughts on how the world should be even if his memory of them became a bit hazy – we’ve no evidence whatsoever that Angelina has even thought about the hard stuff let alone got any interesting conclusions.
Donald Trump might make us all think that anyone well known can do it but that’s to make a major error. He ran an excellent campaign, stirring just the right mixture of settled resentment among just enough people. This is rather more difficult that campaigning on a general thought of “Let’s be nice to kiddies” which lacks a certain amount of the necessary detail.
Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie has hinted she might enter politics and even run for US President. The film star who is a worldwide humanitarian campaigner said she “would go where I am needed” when asked if she would contemplate a political career, potentially by entering the race for Democrat party presidential nomination. She indicated she had the attributes – no skeletons in her closet, a tough chin and open thinking – but said she was also happy with her current role as a UN Special Envoy which gave her the chance to work with people in need as well as governments and the military. “So for now, I will stick quiet,” she concluded when asked about her political ambitions while guest editing BBC Radio Four’s Today programme. The “for now” was picked up by the interviewer.
Don’t forget that while Reagan was indeed an actor – not a great one either – he did have a considerable political hinterland. He toured making speeches for years, was President of the Screen Actors Guild, Governor of California. All entirely serious jobs in a way that being a United Nations rep for something or other isn’t.
A useful way to look at this. The job of President combines two different roles. That of Head of State, a ceremonial role. Who puts the Medal of Honour on people? Pardons the turkey, speaks to and for the nation in times of crisis? Essentially, who does Brenda’s* job with the Victoria Cross and the Christmas Speech? Then that of head of the executive arm of government, ruler of a fractious cabinet, enforcer over the vast Federal bureaucracy, negotiator with Congress to get things – anything – done. Essentially, Theresa May’s job, that one she’s currently doing so, so, well.
Angelina Jolie would be a shoo in for that ceremonial role. Extremely well known, highly successful, woman and why not? That executive bit, the actual politics? Well, to put it ever so mildly we’ve no evidence that she’s a scooby about any of that, do we? How should we deal with Social Security Ms. Jolie? What’s the appropriate tax rate on corporations? Why? Balanced budget and if so, upon whose backs?
Another charge at the same point. Fame is most useful when running for US President. JFK, Ronnie, Trump even, they all show that. But it’s never enough – and it’s certainly not enough to be able to do the job let alone get there.
*For those who don’t read Private Eye, Queen Elizabeth II