The topic of celebrities donating to politicians or commenting on issues of national importance is a familiar one, if only because there seem to be three immediate reactions to the idea of mixing stars with politics.
In one tip of the triangle are the folks who believe celebrities have no place speaking about or attempting to influence politics. In another, there's the notion that anyone famous is automatically not knowledgeable enough to add anything meaningful to the debate. And finally, there's the group who could not care less about whether actors, actresses and musicians have anything to say about politics.
There's undoubtedly evidence to support and contradict all three of those ways of thinking about Hollywood's relationship with American politics, but there's far more proof that the nation's elections are increasingly about money. And if there's one thing Hollywood has that politicians desperately want, it's money.
Money over publicity, it's worth noting. The fine line between mingling with celebrities and looking out of touch (dare we say, "elite") is a difficult one to navigate. This was made clear when President Obama said that though he considers George Clooney a close friend, he appreciates that Clooney is wary of appearing too close to the president. That's somewhat surprising, given that Clooney has raised over $15 million toward Obama's reelection (a friend indeed). More on that to follow shortly.
On the other end, Republicans have had to navigate relationships with blowhards such as Donald Trump, Ted Nugent and Hank Williams Jr. While these figures certainly have their fan bases, the thrust of their anti-Obama commentary proves too embarrassing for any sort of surrogacy. Of course, more level-headed conservative politicians such as Kelsey Grammer are also in their corner, but the wildest voices often win out.
We've collected 16 people who are fixtures in the entertainment world and have taken a strong interest in the election. From Clint Eastwood and Kelsey Grammer to Lady Gaga and Anne Hathaway, the list is a cross-section of the showbusiness' allegiances. There are, of course, many others. But the 16 actors, actresses, musicians, TV hosts, studio heads and directors we've chosen have put their money where their ideology is and plunked down serious cash, hosted million-dollar fundraisers or both.