Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Obama Cashes In

The campaign war chest of the golden boy of American politics, Barack Obama, has been swelled thanks to a bunch of big spending Hollywood players. But the cash he made from the fundraising do is less important than the fact it took place at all. Although even minor-league candidates for the Democrats' nomination can usually count on the support of at least a few well-known stars, by getting the DreamWorks trio of Spielberg, Geffen and Katzenberg on board, Obama has decisively proved that he's the choice of the Hollywood establishment.

On its own, this won't win him many votes. It might even lose him some. Most of the people in America who've heard of Geffen may even agree with the bizarre outburst by the fallen super-agent Michael Ovitz, who accused him of being at the centre of Hollywood's "gay mafia." But this cosying up to important Hollywood people isn't about becoming more popular with most people - just the few with really deep pockets.

Being friends with rich, influential people will ensure enough money keeps flowing into the Obama campaign to let him stay in the race a long time. That's important if he, as he surely will, suffers early setbacks against the Clinton machine. It could also count any of the other Democrats (even John Edwards) out on the grounds they simply haven't got the cash to compete with the big two. And a two-horse race offers Obama a much better chance than a crowded field. He's still most likely to win the nomination not because of who he is, but because he's not Hillary Clinton.

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