Since so much of the current "conservative" moment involves performance (and not much else), it's apt that a handful of showbiz types have been along for the ride. But how do you qualify to be such a luminary?
Above, one Victoria Jackson, who was on Saturday Night Live in the late 80s and is a headliner at the Tea Party Express kickoff event. She is using her considerable entertainment skills to sing songs about how there's a Communist living in the White House. Like many of her show business right-winger contemporaries, she's white, washed-up, and willing to say anything outrageous. In fact, the only thing that sets her apart from them is that she's female and can't grow a goatee.
1) Be willing to say absolutely anything. How much more juice does a condescending, racist, or misleading statement have if it's uttered by someone who at one point was enshrined by the entertainment industry? Call the president "Homey" (Stephen Baldwin), or call him out for his resemblance to the Antichrist and hatred for "whitey." You will get pickup.
2) Have faith that not only do your opinions lend weight, you should also be enacting them legislatively. As Maher puts it,
You don't find the equivalent of Sonny Bono on the left — or Fred Thompson, or George Murphy, or Congressman Gofer from"The Love Boat." And let's not forget, the modern conservative messiah is a guy who co-starred with a chimp. That's right, Dick Cheney. But also Bonzo's buddy, Ronald Reagan. Now, I like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he is an Austrian ham who bragged about drugs and gang-bangs and could speak no English, but when he said he'd run, the family values, anti-immigrant party terminated in their pants.
4) Be white. See above, from Salon. Unless you're the guy from The Cosby Show who dated Denise. Were you wondering what happened to him? Me neither. Which brings us to...
5) Be washed-up. Positioning yourself as a firebrand unafraid to stand up to Hollywood liberal orthodoxy wins points in the movement, and is also a convenient way to justify your career being at a low ebb. Per Jackson:
I know my stance might keep me from LA jobs, since (almost) the whole town is liberal but, some time in a man's life, or a bleach blonde 49 year old woman's life, one must stand for what they believe in, and put truth before popularity.
And Salon helpfully reminds us of Miller's turn in Bordello Of Blood, but who could forget? Says Maher,
Republicans say they hate celebrities who get involved with politics, but you would too if the best celebrities on your side were Chuck Norris and Bo Derek. I'm not saying no one cares about their stars, but if Stephen Baldwin killed himself and Craig T. Nelson with a car bomb, the headline the next day would be "Two Die in Car Bombing."
A fringe benefit to being a Hollywood conservative: At least someone is paying attention, somewhere.