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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

An Unnecessary Endorsement

Michael Lipkin chimes in on Governor Richardson's "celebrity" supporters.


OK, so it’s pretty much a given that the contributors and editors of the Richardson Campus are supportive of Bill Richardson, and I count myself up there with the most devoted of them. But I have a bone to pick with the good governor.

If you haven’t heard, the latest in the long line of celebrity endorsements came out and the good news is that someone besides Martin Sheen has stepped forward to support Richardson. The bad news? It’s Judge Reinhold.

Judge Reinhold, you ask, who’s that? Well, without his picture I wouldn’t be able to tell you either. He’s a bit actor from the ‘80s who’s pretty much faded from the public eye. He’s relocated to New Mexico, which is where I’m guessing he came into contact with Richardson.

Now I’m not trying to say that Rienhold should go back home and leave us all alone, but what does he think he is accomplishing? Someone like Sheen is well known to America—and in his case, many young people—and his support of Richardson puts a favorable news story into the cycle, which gives credence to what Richardson is fighting for.

But Reinhold? All his support does is associate Richardson with a fuddy-duddy has-been. Sure it draws attention to Richardson, like any celebrity endorsement would, but in a negative light. When celebrities like Chuck Norris, Oprah, Kevin Bacon and Curt Schilling lend their name to a candidate, they give credence to a candidate because people associate these celebrities with desirable traits or judgments. People think Chuck Norris is bad-ass, so Mike Huckabee becomes a little more cool too. People who idolize Curt Schilling may just give John McCain another look. And Oprah's support can go a long way toward securing the female vote for Barack Obama. But what do people associate Judge Rienhold with? Fast Times at Ridgemont High? In lending his name to the campaign, I fear it does Richardson little to no good.

Richardson is of course compelled to accept Reinhold’s support. (The alternative would be to publicly reject it, which would be terrible PR.) But there are tons of these second-rate endorsements in the ’08 campaign: Chuck Yeager for Duncan Hunter, Bay Buchanan for Tom Tancredo and dare I say it, Robert Bork for Mitt Romney. I’m sure these celebrities think they’re doing well, but it just might be hindrance as election day nears.

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