Friday, December 23, 2011

Matt Damon's leftier-than-thou rant against Obama


Yeah, well, I like Matt Damon. I think he's a smart guy. I usually like his movies. I generally like his politics. But I don't think much of his "leftier-than-thou" rant about Obama's performance in the White House.

In an interview with Elle magazine, Damon had this to say:

"I've talked to a lot of people who worked for Obama at the grassroots level. One of them said to me, 'Never again. I will never be fooled again by a politician.'" He then added, "You know, a one-term president with some balls who actually got stuff done would have been, in the long run of the country, much better."

Referencing the Occupy protests, Damon said the Democrats have received a mandate from people who are "just wandering out into the streets to yell right now because they are so pissed off." He wondered aloud, "Imagine if they had a leader."

Here's a little piece of important information for you, Mr. Damon. Social movements are not the same thing as electoral politics. They can work well together to achieve spectacular results, but they are not the same thing. Movements can often send a clear and important message about what needs to happen. Politics is the art of compromise that sometimes gets some of that done. 

I understand that a lot of people don't like politics because you are always in the process of finding the votes to make good on your promises. It requires compromise and it's easy to get shut down when your opponents are able to use or even abuse the rules of the game to make your life difficult.

So, you say that Democrats have received their marching orders from Occupy protesters and all they need to do now is do it, whatever the "it" is.

Mr. Damon, you have no idea what political leadership is, how hard it is. I'll bet making movies is a lot easier. You get to write down how things come out and that's exactly what happens. Not so much in real life. But thanks for coming out.

I liked what Obama had to say about an earlier instance in which Damon criticized the president:

"I've even let down my key core constituency: Movie stars," he said. "Just the other day, Matt Damon — I love Matt Damon, love the guy — Matt Damon said he was disappointed in my performance."

Obama then threw in a zinger of his own, saying "Well, Matt, I just saw 'The Adjustment Bureau,' so... right back atcha, buddy." 

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)



I like Damon a lot as well, including, for the most part, his politics. And I understand progressive frustration with President Obama as well. But come on. If you paid any attention at all during the 2008 campaign, you knew that he was something of a non-ideological centrist. Yes, there was all that talk about change, but the demands of a campaign call for exaggeration.

Now, has there been change? Well, first, he himself is change. Think about what he means, what it means to have him as president. There's a reason so many Republicans have been so virulent in their attacks on him. You think it all has to do with his policies? Not, it has more to do with him, with what he represents, namely, something other than a privileged white man occupying the highest office in the land.

And, second, what about health-care reform? Even if it wasn't as much as many of us wanted, it was a hell of a lot. Democrats had been trying for decades to reform a corrupt, unjust, and simply cruel system. Obama actually did it. Or how about the stimulus package? Is there more he could have done? Maybe. But it's hard to do a lot when you've got a Republican opposition that absolutely refuses to work with you, a conservative movement that has taken it upon itself to try to destroy you.

If you want to criticize him, go after his continuation of some of the worst elements of the Bush-Cheney national security state. Fine. I'm right with you. But to abandon him because he hasn't lived up to your inanely high and totally unreasonable expectations? That's just ridiculous.

Could he have been more ballsy? Sure. Am I disappointed with him so far? Yes, of course. But not to the point where I'll refuse to support him ever again, and not to the point where I'll never trust any politician ever again. If that's what you think, or if that's what your gut tells you, you really don't understand politics at all.

And Matt Damon, a really smart guy, should know better.

It makes me think he should stick to making generally entertaining movies (i.e., not The Adjustment Bureau) and doing his fantastic impersonation of Matthew McConaughey on Letterman.

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  • What's even worse than calling Obama a hypocrite, is Damon ends up being the pot calling the kettle black. Big time liberal, enviormentalist, voice-over actor for the anti-Wall St./big banking documentry Inside Job. And stating he agree's with the film and believe's in it's message. And lastly has spoken out in favor of The Occupy Movement, always right Matt Damon. Is now the new spokesman for big Wall St trading company TD Ameritrade. Yes, Mr. holier than Obama, and above it all, Damon took a unnamed sum of money to be a spokeman for a 1% Wall St company. My question to Matthew...How much doe's a Hollywood soul sell for these days??

    By Blogger Unknown, at 8:03 PM  

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