Celebrities were ubiquitous at the 2012 Democratic National Convention and on the campaign trail during the last election cycle. They were important surrogates for the president and his team, and played a leading role convincing disenchanted Americans everywhere he deserved to be re-elected. They were successful. But now it seems the White House is calling on them again for a completely different reason: to help President Obama sell his â€œsignatureâ€ legislative achievement to an increasingly skeptical public.Â The Hill reports:
President Obama met Monday with celebrities who are helping him promote his signature healthcare lawÂ ahead of the October 1 launch of state insurance exchanges.
The president dropped by a White House meeting with singer Jennifer Hudson and actress Amy Poehler, as well as representatives for Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, and Bon Jovi,Â according to CNN.
Other attendees included officials from the Grammy awards and the Funny or Die website, which is a brainchild of actor Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay.
“The President stopped by the meeting to engage artists who expressed an interest in helping to educate the public about the benefits of the health law,”Â a White House official told CNN.Â “The reach of these national stars spreads beyond the beltway to fans of their television shows, movies, and music â€“Â and the power of these artists to speak through social media is especially critical.”
The Washington Post reported that the meeting was led by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Remember, the administration tried this kind of transparently partisan maneuver with the National Football League, and itÂ didnâ€™t pan out so well. Oops. But because Hollywood liberals and performers make no attempt whatsoever to hide their political allegiances, this isnâ€™t a bad strategy. Yes, Obamacare isÂ pretty unpopularÂ across the board andÂ many physiciansÂ are nervous about whatâ€™s going to happen when itâ€™s fully implemented, but if your only goal is to gin up support for a law that many (if not most) Americans dislike, this is the perfect way to do it.
Americans who donâ€™t follow politics closely, I suspect, are more inclined to â€œsupportâ€ Obamacare if their favorite celebrities do, even if certain provisions of the law are harmful to them. At the same time, the White House is facing a looming â€œtrain wreck,â€ and theyâ€™ll need all hands on deck to counteract all the bad press the lawÂ isÂ alreadyÂ receiving. Who better to sell this expensive, convoluted and perhaps unworkable health care law to a wary public? Given our celebrity-obsessed popular culture, the presidentâ€™s tactics seem like a no-brainer.
Plus, I’m sure the celebrities he’s eliciting support from are all too eager to lead the charge.