George Clooney: I Am a Liberal

George Clooney has a piece at HuffPo entitled, “I Am a Liberal. There, I Said It!” As if anyone doubted that he was a liberal. Or as if it take some great act of courage for a Hollywood actor to come out as one. Please.

Clooney is a likable fellow and a decent actor. I liked him on E.R. and have liked him in the movies of his that I’ve seen, especially the “Ocean’s 11” movies and “Three Kings.” Indeed, I even liked his “Batman,” a group that numbers in the dozens. Frankly, I don’t care about his politics.

Unfortunately, he continues his proclamation by implying those who are not “liberals” are racist misogynists.

Too many people run away from the label. They whisper it like you’d whisper “I’m a Nazi.” Like it’s dirty word. But turn away from saying “I’m a liberal” and it’s like you’re turning away from saying that blacks should be allowed to sit in the front of the bus, that women should be able to vote and get paid the same as a man, that McCarthy was wrong, that Vietnam was a mistake.

So, who is it in American politics who believes blacks should sit in the back of the bus? Or that women sholdn’t be allowed to vote? Or get paid the same as a man if they’re actually doing the same job? No one that I know of. Indeed, these issues were resolved well before Clooney was of voting age.

There is still some debate as to whether McCarthy was “wrong,” I suppose, although not much. There are those who believe that there were indeed Communists in high places in the federal bureaucracy but virtually none who think McCarthy’s tactics were honorable. Almost everyone now agrees that Vietnam (a war that liberal presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson got us into and nominal conservative Richard Nixon got us out of, by the way) was a mistake, although some still believe the cause itself was just.

And, for me, one of the things we absolutely need to agree on is the idea that we’re all allowed to question authority. We have to agree that it’s not unpatriotic to hold our leaders accountable and to speak out.

This, too, is something that almost all agree on. There is debate on how one goes about it, especially when we have troops in harm’s way. But there were liberals who used that argument when conservatives were challenging the wisdom of various military adventures undertaken by the Clinton administration. Let’s not confuse overheated rhetoric for ideology.

Crossposted to OTB: Gone Hollywood.

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Herb says:

    George forgot to add to the rest of his statement.

    “I am a Liberal, with a big mouth”

  2. Stormy70 says:

    When I need to know how to snort a line of coke off a chick’s butt, then I will care what George has to say. Until then, I will ignore him and his movies.

  3. Bithead says:

    Now f he’d admit another point everyone knows… that he’s a bonehead, we might actually have a story.

  4. Brian says:

    This, too, is something that almost all agree on.

    This is actually his point. It makes more sense in the context of his Academy Award speech. What he is saying is that liberals led the charge on the issues that we now agree on. He is proud of liberal history, and that is why he is proud to be a liberal.

    And, for me, one of the things we absolutely need to agree on is the idea that we�re all allowed to question authority. We have to agree that it�s not unpatriotic to hold our leaders accountable and to speak out.

    Cleary, James, not all of your commenters agree with you and I.

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    If only he were liberal! But like many who claim that label but what he is is a partisan Democrat (gasp!) who’s (IIRC) a college dropout and most of whose poltiical views consist of pat slogans.

  6. reliapundit says:

    the issue is not whether clooney is a liberal, but whether liberals should have opposed the iraq war.

    clooney claims liberals should have voted against the war. but, the war against saddam – and to liberate the arab-muslim world from tyranny – is CLASSICALLY LIBERAL. fdr and truman and jfk were all liberal hawks.

    clooney is a liberal DOVE – a 1960’s-type of McGovern liberal – an appeaser and a dove who thinks that war is not the answer. he thinks the liberal dems in congress should have voted as DOVES. and that they didn’t because they were cowards.

    in this clooney is right:

    the dems are largely 12960’s lib doves who only voted to permit bush to use force against saddam because they were afraid of being labeled as doves. clooney is right: they are phonies and cowards.

    i think clooney is more courageous for proclaiming he is a dove.

    i wish all Dems would be as brave.

    and that would make it easier for hawks to defeat them in elections.

    i posted more on this at my blog. here:

  7. James Joyner says:

    Brian: I agree that if you cherry pick their best moments over the last half century, liberals have some things to be proud of. They’ve been wrong on a whole lot more issues, though, not the least of which was Communism.

    The problem is that “liberal” and “conservative” are moving targets. Respectable liberals like Harry Truman and John Kennedy would be hard right conservatives if moved into today’s environment.

  8. G A Phillips says:

    George Clooney is a re-writer of history and a donkey minion, nothing but another mindless fool with the power of good looks by celebrity.

  9. just me says:

    I think Anne Coulter has suggested rather tongue in cheek that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, but last time I checked there wasn’t some major conservative movement to repeal the 19th amendment.

    I think this is where liberals often prove themselves wacked.

  10. RA says:

    Boycott all of Cluney’s products from now on.

  11. floyd says:

    george; liberal? your a clown, shut-up about politics and entertain me. that’s what we pay you for!

  12. McGehee says:

    Floyd, George and his colleagues are never more entertaining than when they’re trying to be taken seriously.

    Here, have some popcorn. 😉

  13. Yhoi says:

    According to David Schuler, Clooney is a

    a college dropout and most of whose poltiical views consist of pat slogans.

    He appears to have the identical background and characteristics of Karl Rove!

  14. Ray says:

    as usual, the lack of any reasonable argument is grossly compensated with the abundance of epithets and expletives… which by itself reveals the intellectual level of the authors 🙂