The Jack Nicholson Factor


Friends of mine just asked what I thought John Edwards would do now. Would he endorse Obama or Clinton? Then I got an email asking what I thought Bill Richardson would do.
I have no idea on either of them — but endorsements at this point are of less and less consequence. . .unless Al Gore comes out for someone. Gore’s franchise matters, and I know that the Obama team is working overtime trying to get to Gore any way they can. He’s ducking their calls.
As long as there is a serious chance of Hillary Clinton winning, Gore will not challenge her — even though he would love to scratch his anti-Clinton itch. If she ended up winning the presidency, his life efforts on climate change would suffer significant political setbacks.
But on endorsements — it turns out Ted Kennedy didn’t matter much. Massachusetts didn’t go to Obama. John Kerry’s celebration of Obama’s gut and unique identity didn’t help. Maria Shriver’s support didn’t matter. I think Oprah Winfrey did matter — not so much with African-Americans but with white men. She is a crossover celebrity. Just my hunch. Could be wrong.
But what about Jack Nicholson — who played Daryl Van Horne in Witches of Eastwick and who endorsed Hillary Clinton on Friday.
Nicholson is one of my favorites — and maybe someone who matters to many others. As best as I can tell, the fairly divided results tonight and the strength of Hillary’s position in California are due to Jack Nicholson.
May be just as good an explanation as any other.
— Steve Clemons


16 comments on “The Jack Nicholson Factor

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “What I mean is that it is obvious that other campaigns copy his words. Clinton’s supporters came out with a ‘Yes she can’ to compete with the ‘Yes we can’. What did Obama do? In his last speech he personalized the ‘Yes she can’. For Obama the ‘she’ was a voter, not the candidate. For Clinton, the ‘she’ was a candidate achieving something without the voter. Obama offered a few ‘Yes he cans’ and then slipped in the ‘Yes she can’, finally he ended with the ‘Yes we can’.”
    So, its a contest over who can be the best at saying the most about nothing?


  2. tomj says:

    I haven’t voted yet, so it is hard to say if any endorsement would persuade me. What seems to really catch me out is the ‘victory’ speeches that Obama gives. Somehow he is always one or more steps ahead in the message he delivers.
    What I mean is that it is obvious that other campaigns copy his words. Clinton’s supporters came out with a ‘Yes she can’ to compete with the ‘Yes we can’. What did Obama do? In his last speech he personalized the ‘Yes she can’. For Obama the ‘she’ was a voter, not the candidate. For Clinton, the ‘she’ was a candidate achieving something without the voter. Obama offered a few ‘Yes he cans’ and then slipped in the ‘Yes she can’, finally he ended with the ‘Yes we can’.
    I think he gets the language thing, which is going to be critical when facing those interested in using simple mantras to skip over the reality of the situation.


  3. Green Economist says:

    Anyone else notice how frequently Bill is talking about green economics and climate change these days? That’s a coincidence. Yeah, that’s right.


  4. Gene says:

    Steve, I also think that you are not taking this into consideration:
    Mrs. Clinton out-spent Mr. Obama on television, $3,435,000 to $3,067,000 in the period from Jan. 28, when Edward M. Kennedy endorsed Mr. Obama, through Feb. 3. The number of spots that that paid for was 2,547 for Mrs. Clinton and 1,198 for Mr. Obama.
    Overall, going back to January of 2007, Mrs. Clinton spent $5.2 million on 4,536 ads and Mr. Obama spent $4.5 million on 1,751 ads. Remember, for a long time, Mr. Obama didn’t think he had much of a chance there. You can see they both poured in the cash at the end.“>”>”>”>”>”>”>”>
    As Carl Bernstein told CNN last night, this was supposed to be a cakewalk, her coronation.
    As well,
    “Why Clinton won California: Absentee voters made up 1/3 of the electorate, and momentum can’t turn back time, as Cher would lament. Also, Even though Obama won both whites and blacks, Clinton won both Latinos and Asians, who make up 40% of the electorate, huge.” – Chris Bowers, Open Left


  5. Robert M. says:

    The HRC campaign left no stone unturned–in MASSACHUSETTS! I did not get an Obama call at all, but I did get robocalls from (1)HRC, (2) Bill, (4) Jack [to which I thought, does she remind you of your own sister/mother, I wonder???], and finally (4) a preat of the first HRC call. Oh, yes, they definitely wanted Teddy to know!!!! Of course, if Ted had endorsed Obama a full month before, then all that extra calling effort would have been needed. Timing is all.


  6. dj spellchecka says:

    i think Jack Nicholson is too old to matter to a lot of people. besides, he really hasn’t done much good work in the last ten year’s worth of movies unless acting horny counts.


  7. SPB says:

    Steve –
    I would be very interested in why do you think Al Gore’s “Life efforts on climate change” would suffer significant political setbacks?” I was thinking that doing something quickly that is significant on climate change will require exactly the skills, focus and capacity for complexity and tenacity that Clinton has in spades. Any one-on-one conversation with her makes it abundantly clear that she is deeply committed to moving the U.S. into its requisite position of global leadership on this matter. Or are you doubting that?


  8. Lurker says:

    Hillary’s “solid Democrat positions?” Yeah, she’s a solid Democrat all right — a war-monger like her husband and every Democratic president (well, any president PERIOD) we’ve had.
    I went to a So. California polling station last night to vote for Ron Paul. I had to re-register from Indy to Republican to do so because the California GOP primary is closed, (the Democrats is open). I’m positive this depressed votes for Paul, as it’s a real hassle to re-register and took the better part of a month in wait time.
    Anyway, one out of the three punch card GOP voting machines wasn’t working — the markings weren’t going through. It was the one I had. I don’t know if anyone noticed until I did. I would venture to guess, given the make-up of the precinct (anti-war, anti- govt. surveillance), that some of those votes would have gone to Paul.
    Paul has run a terrible campaign in the last few months, but I’m sure he picked up a lot of potential votes none-the-less. It was probably a real shock for people to go down to the polls in closed primary states and realize they couldn’t vote for him.
    In the meantime the fairy tale that there’s a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties pro-war stance continues to propagate itself, with teary-eyed youngsters thinking that Obama can save them from the draft.
    You can be assured that the minute Obama wins the presidency, if he does, AIPAC (the American Israel Pubic Affairs Committee) and its fellow- Israel- Uber-Alles travelers will be ratcheting up the pressure to bomb Iran.
    This country is screwed, more screwed than it’s ever been, and still we cling to the fantasy that the Democrats will change it for the better.
    NOTHING will change this country for the better until we curb our military spending, stop attacking other countries, and RESTORE OUR BILL OF RIGHTS.
    Hillary WILL NEVER give up the powers taken by Bush and Cheney. Bill would have killed for those powers. McCain is literally frothing at the mouth to get them.
    Oh, I’m just hearing that Clinton won California because of the Latino vote. What a joke. But it kind of just shows the racial divide here because the Latinos and African-Americans are feuding over job losses to Latinos (that’s the saner ones, the gangs are just feuding over drug turf)
    It’s over. America, R.I.P.


  9. Surge07 says:

    It is appropriate that Jack Nicholson, a Hollywood rogue, has endorsed Hillary Clinton, wife of a rogue who occupied the White House. Jack’s women have stayed with him just as Hillary has stayed with Bill. The psychology of this is troubling. Hillary is a co-dependent enabler. Apparently there are a lot of co-dependent voters eager to be abused by the Clintons in there quest for the presidency.


  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I don’t think there is any symptom of this country’s sickness that is more telling than the blind pom-pom waving that I see on this blog this morning.
    Meanwhile, the dollar goes down the tubes, our highest leaders commit treason without fear of prosecution, our ballots are insecure with nothing being done to protect them, and thespian endorsements seem to mean more than actual resumes.
    This country is truly in deep denial, and deep shit.
    If you have to listen to celebrity, maybe you all should harken to what Willie Nelson is saying.


  11. John B. says:

    That’s hilarous. Jack Nicholson as bellweather…


  12. Matt says:

    I have a feeling the Kennedy endorsements might have helped Obama in Connecticut…just a hunch.


  13. carsick says:

    Despite his devoted following and critical praise, Robert DeNiro has always wanted to go head to head against Jack. Looks like Jack took the first round.


  14. kim says:

    I don’t think Fat Jack made any difference at all. The power of Hollywood celebs is way overrated.


  15. Doc Rock says:

    I’m a huge Nicholson fan as well, but isn’t it just possible that Hillary won some of her support herself with her sensible, solid Democrat positions? Just an odd thought from a huge Hillary fan.


  16. Jeff H says:

    Just anecdotal here in AZ: I got a robo from Gov Napolitano(Obama), Jack Nicholson(Hillary), and Bill (Hillary). The last one was somewhat odd: “This is BIll Clinton calling on behalf of Hillary Clinton…” As if he’d be calling for anyone else…


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