It turns out that a few days ago, actor Antonio Sabato Jr., formerly of General Hospital and the original Melrose Place, has filed papers to run for Congress as a Republican in California's 26th District. You may remember Mr. Sabato from his speaking at the Republican National Convention about Donald Trump wanting to bring people together and building that wall because "that's what governments do," as well as interviews he gave at the time on behalf of Trump -- though more specifically his adorable opinions about President Barack Obama.
When talking to ABC News, for instance, during the convention he said that Mr. Obama was "absolutely" a Muslim, to which he added for emphasis in case you missed the creepiness, "We had a Muslim president for seven-and-a-half years."
What he left out, of course, was any shred of evidence, an explanation why Barack Obama's birth certificate didn't count, and why being a Muslim would be inappropriate in a country founded on religious freedom even if it had been true.
By the way, if you missed the interview, I'm sure it will be re-run over and over again during the campaign by his opponent to question his fitness for office.
That opponent, by the way, will be Democratic congresswoman Julia Brownley. The hurdle for Mr. Sabato is not just that she's an incumbent Democrat, but she won her last election by 21 points.
Okay, there's another hurdle. His fundraiser strategist Charles Moran told reporters that Mr. Sabato's message to the voters of the heavily-Democratic district in Southern California is that, as a Republican, he is “a member of the majority party who has good relations with the Trump administration.”
Mr. Sabato might want to consider either another message or strategist.
In an interview with Variety when announcing his candidacy, Mr. Sabato gave some insight into his personal story that perhaps pushed him into the race and his perspective on world affairs, He told the paper that “I’ve had fantastic directors who have said officially to my agents and managers they will never hire me again. They will never even see me for projects. That’s unfair. It’s just like communism.”
Actually, this is absolutely nothing like communism, something you'd hope an aspiring congressman would grasp. Communism is a form of centralized government based on social economics and communal aspects of living. It has pretty much nothing to do with who someone wants to hire or not for a job. ("Pretty much nothing" is the polite term for nothing.) Where there are restrictions to hiring in a communistic society, it's because of national governmental control, not because people in a position to freely hire others think you're a crank.
If anything, it's far closer to the Blacklist during McCarthyism which was a Republican-led reaction against communism. And against liberals. But even that was hugely different from what the confused Mr. Sabato is suggesting Because it too was tied to actual government hearings and coordinated efforts by right-wing organizations that put together literal books with detailed names in them that you specifically could not hire. Not just a case of a person in charge who has a choice but doesn't want to hire you because they think you're a jerk.
By the way, a moment of digression. If in fact those fantastic directors did actually, really, truly tell his agents and managers what he claims, and it's not just a case of his agents coming up with a convenient excuse to explain to their client why he didn't get a job rather than saying that "They didn't like your audition," excuses which agents and managers in fact are known to make regularly as easy as breathing, then that would absolutely be totally unfair. Just as it's unfair that people in Hollywood over 40 (which Mr. Sabato is) have a hard time getting hired (as perhaps may be the case with him not being hired), and unfair that women over 30 have a hard time getting hired, and unfair why women who aren't thin and aren't gorgeous enough have a hard time getting hired, and unfair that black actors and Hispanic actors and disabled actors have a hard time getting hired, and more. Hollywood is overloaded with unfairness. That doesn't justify any of it, Hollywood is profoundly unfair in immeasurable ways, but it just explains that unfairness is not limited. It permeates the place. If that's in fact what's happening here. After all, checking the Internet Movie Database, it turns out that Mr. Sabato has been in six productions in the last two years alone, so clearly someone is hiring him. They may not be great projects or substantive roles (or may be, I don't know), but if this was actually communism, then instead of getting six film or TV projects you might instead be sent to the Gulag, or during the Blacklist you might have lost everything and been left destitute, or jailed.
Then again, refusing to work with someone because of political beliefs. which is very unfair, is a totally different matter entirely from not wanting to be around a person who is intolerant, mean-spirited, and an outspoken bigot. Not that Antonio Sabato Jr. is any of those things. He may be a lovely man. It's just that sometimes when you talk, people can get the wrong impression.
Which brings us back to his campaign.
Who knows? Maybe he'll be able to convince Southern California voters that Barack Obama was absolutely a Muslim. And that Donald Trump, as he told the Republican Convention, is really just a swell guy who wants to unite all of us by building a wall.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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