Whereas Republicans listen to Bill O’Reilly, Democrats listen to John Stewart. Whereas Glenn Beck soothes the Donkeys, Steven Colbert tickles the Elephants. Whereas Republicans can cite the support of Clint Eastwood, Democrats respond with … Kal Penn.
I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.
It’s understandable what the Democratic Party wants to do; many liberals argue that the Democratic Party is appeals to young people, something which no doubt played a big part in the nomination for Kal Penn, whose one good film is considered one of the best stoner comedies ever. But, now that we saw Harry Callahan support Mitt Romney, is Kumar really in the same league?
Eastwood has a career spanning several hundred years (his debut role was the knight in first retelling of The Canterbury Tales). His most iconic role, Dirty Harry, revolutionized action cinema by being very straightforward in its message: All criminals will constantly kill if not ruthlessly shot, and constitutional procedures and rights only protect them, assuring that they get to kill again. Why thhat was a new message in an industry that prides itself in achieving the highest body count possible within a three-hour period (looking at you, Expendables) is a bit of a mystery. Either way, Eastwood is a bona fide legend despite the fact that he is just like a lot of old actors, in that he never really mixes up his roles or style of delivery (*cough* Jack Nicholson *cough* Robert De Niro).
However, Eastwood evolved past the early days and started becoming more and more sensitive to the struggles of life, the peak of which was his masterpiece Million Dollar Baby. He even abandoned his own vision of Dirty Harry when he used Gran Torino to show all wannabe mavericks that a gun can solve not every problem. Either way, it makes sense that he would support the Republican Party: If private ownerships of firearms were banned, ninety percent of Eastwood’s career would be impossible. And it’s a career with a laundry list of awards, achievements in every aspect of filmmaking, and lots of followers.
On the other hand, the Democratic Party fights back with Kal Penn. Does anyone remember his movies other than the Harold and Kumar series? He was on House M.D., where Hugh Laurie’s superior acting skills owned him and he was literally killed off (for good reasons, to be fair). Penn was also in The Namesake, co-starring alongside Tabu and Irrfan Khan. Tabu is an award-winning Indian actress and Irfan Khan is the cop from Slumdog Millionaire, and even they couldn’t save that movie so you can’t really blame him. The only one positive here could have been that, if Penn managed to do well, “Penning” is an actual word and sounds better than “Eastwooding,” which sounds rather crass.
Either way, responding to Clint Eastwood with Kal Penn is like responding to a gobbler of liquefied gold with a bag of homemade moonshine. It is like responding to Mozart with Lady Gaga. It is like responding to Chris Rock with Chris Tucker. Besides, Penn really does not seem to offer anything that Democrats couldn’t have gotten with abler comedians. If they wanted an awesome comedian for the youth audience, they could have gone with someone like Asif Mandvi (he was in Spider-Man 2, for crying out loud). If they wanted a movie star, the only one more awesome than Eastwood is Chuck Norris, who I’m pretty sure isn’t a Democrat (by the way, you are only reading this piece because Chuck Norris allows you to live). Matt Damon’s Bourne beats Dirty Harry too but he was dissed by the President in front of millions, so I don’t know if that could happen. And if they wanted the weed fans, well, that is not something they should care about. I mean, let’s face it, if the weed lobby were half as good as the NRA, people could get high through Walmart (imagine the marketing slogan: “Wine, Weed and World of Warcraft; For Every Type of Weekend Activity, Come to Walmart”). Besides, I don’t think you can call Harold and Kumar a pro-weed franchise: If something makes me go to jail and ride a cheetah, is it really good for me?
In short, Kal Penn does not seem like the immediate or even a good choice. And for those who think someone who stars in crass comedies might hurt Obama’s standing with the family audience, keep in mind that divorce rates are awesomely high, so the family audience is not one to cater to anyway.
I personally feel that it doesn’t really up Obama’s cool factor as much as it seems like he’s made a mistake. For a man that was once introduced by a great satirist like Chris Rock, this really is a step down.