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Hollywood's Conservatives Stay In The Closet
From the NYT:
In a famously left-leaning Hollywood, where Democratic fund-raisers fill the social calendar, Friends of Abe stands out as a conservative group that bucks the prevailing political winds. [Leaning Right in Hollywood, Under a Lens, By MICHAEL CIEPLY and NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, January 22, 2014]
The name "Friends of Abe [Lincoln]" was chosen as a reference to the "Friends of Bill" in Hollywood who have done so much for the Clintons.
A collection of perhaps 1,500 right-leaning players in the entertainment industry, Friends of Abe keeps a low profile and fiercely protects its membership list, to avoid what it presumes would result in a sort of 21st-century blacklist, albeit on the other side of the partisan spectrum.
Now the Internal Revenue Service is reviewing the group’s activities in connection with its application for tax-exempt status. Last week, federal tax authorities presented the group with a 10-point request for detailed information about its meetings with politicians like Paul D. Ryan, Thaddeus McCotter and Herman Cain, among other matters, according to people briefed on the inquiry.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the organization’s confidentiality strictures, and to avoid complicating discussions with the I.R.S.
Those people said that the application had been under review for roughly two years, and had at one point included a demand — which was not met — for enhanced access to the group’s security-protected website, which would have revealed member names. Tax experts said that an organization’s membership list is information that would not typically be required. The I.R.S. already had access to the site’s basic levels, a request it considers routine for applications for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
Friends of Abe — the name refers to Abraham Lincoln — has strongly discouraged the naming of its members. That policy even prohibits the use of cameras at group events, to avoid the unwilling identification of all but a few associates — the actors Gary Sinise, Jon Voight and Kelsey Grammer, or the writer-producer Lionel Chetwynd, for instance — who have spoken openly about their conservative political views.
To notice who in Hollywood is conservative, you have to be extremely good at reading between the lines. Andrew O'Hehir of Salon, for example, is always raising the alarm that various fashionable auteurs and stars are actually crypto-rightwingers, but few of his readers take him seriously. This is not because Salon readers are tolerant of diversity in the ideological sphere, but because they assume that anybody who is creative and cool has to agree with them politically. It's a law of nature or something.
By the way, I compared the politics of Sinise to those of another NDHS dad, Mark Harmon, a gun control activist, here to illustrate my complicated theory about the political effects of weightlifting versus jogging.