"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 20 March 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.





[yeah, you bet. ]

"Hollywood has often tried to mix show business and politics," sang legendary wit/quitter Tom Lehrer in 1964, alluding to California's hoofer-turned-Senator George Murphy. "We can't expect America to win against its foes with no one in the Senate who can really tap his toes!" And with the rise of the Creative Coalition, l'age d'Reagan, anti-environmentalist tree-hugger Sonny Bono, not to mention a day and age when actresses who aren't really victims of agriculture policies (but have played them on TV) are called before congressional committees to testify, the symptom of Vote celebrities! has become a disease, and a potentially debilitating one at that.

For instance, of the four following Hollywood-on-the-Potomac scenarios, can you guess which one is actually legit?

Nancy Kulp - the demure Miss Hathaway from The Beverly Hillbillies - ran for Congress in Pennsylvania, only to have her former co-star, Republican Buddy "Jed Clampett" Ebsen campaign against her.

Harvard valedictorian Fred Grandy, Gopher from The Love Boat, was a well-respected Iowa GOP representative whose moderate views sank his gubernatorial hopes.

Ben "Cooter" Jones, a former Georgia Democratic congressman, is the one whose ethics complaint against Newt Gingrich sacked the puffy Speaker for a US$300,000 fine, the largest ever afforded a sitting Speaker.

Now, out in Suffolk County, it is said that a deep-pocketed Long Islander - the gravel-voiced, hirsute Alec Baldwin - is actually pondering a congressional bid himself.

Surprise! They all really happened (more or less). Tragic, isn't it? We shudder to contemplate the inevitable follow-up question: Who's next?

Next ... Today's Second-Rate Stars Run for Office Tomorrow!

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