During an interview on Bill Maher’s Real Time, George Clooney spoke about an issue on which he has been notoriously vocal, the genocide in Darfur. Maher tried to turn the discussion to politics, complaining that conservatives lack the empathy to care about issues like this. In the video clip, Clooney interrupts him and runs through a laundry list of people from the center-right who have helped the cause.
With Election Day a week away (ten days or so when this first aired), it’s refreshing to hear someone from one side say something nice about the other. It’s especially refreshing when one considers that to do so, Clooney had to contradict the host of the show and and audience ready to accept that conservatives are small-minded and selfish (as indicated in the applause after Maher’s comment in the clip linked above).
More than that, though, it’s good PR strategy for Clooney, who must have understood two major points:
- His message is not about the upcoming elections, and it’s not about conservatives vs. liberals or Democrats vs. Republicans. That may be the discussion Maher wanted to have, but it’s not the discussion Clooney wanted or needed to have to advance the messages he was trying to convey. If he had been trapped in that discussion, it would have taken away from what he wanted to say about Darfur.
- Even worse, getting into that discussion would be a move to reduce the Sudan genocide into a right vs. left issue – no different from government health care, tax policy, or social security reform, with clear battle lines in Washington, DC. So if the Republicans take over this November – or in November 2012, or November 2014, or in any November before the Sudan is a stable, functioning nation – Clooney wants his issue to be above the political fray so that it can count on Congressional champions regardless of who controls what.
The ease with which Clooney rattled off center-right politicians who had been active on the issue indicates that Clooney was prepared for this type of inquiry, appreciative for the help he had received in his efforts, and (most important) clear in his vision of the issue and his mission.
Just like he was when he and Brad Pitt robbed that casino: