Actor and newly celebrated director Ben Affleck traveled to Washington and met with Senator John Kerry and other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, sending the Internet into a fit of speculation that Affleck might be in the running to fill Secretary of State-bound Kerry's vacant senate seat. The measured minds at Politico and The Daily Caller, among many others, weighed in on the rumors, though Affleck insisted to Politico, "[t]hat's not what I'm here to talk about. I'm here to talk about what role we can place in making the Eastern Congo a better place." Oh right, the ol' Eastern Congo dodge. A likely story.
Whether or not Affleck is actually considering a senate run — which, given his currently skyrocketing movie career, his lack of political experience, and the fact that he said he wasn't in Washington to talk about a senate run — commenter claws are already out, with many bemoaning yet another Hollywood type cluelessly sticking his head into the political ring. It's true he doesn't have experience, though as a senator from Massachusetts, Affleck would technically represent fewer people than beloved Ronald Reagan did as Governor of California — a seat he won without much political experience beyond giving speeches, which Affleck did today.
Ultimately it seems doubtful that Affleck would give up all his Hollywood success to go be a measly old Washington fatcat. He's simly trying to raise awareness for a dire humanitarian crisis, and probably has more effect speaking about the cause as a celebrity than he would as a senator. That's why actors and other celebrities go in front of Congress and committees all the time! Lots of famous people find causes to rally behind, and the truly devoted ones take it to Washington. It isn't mysteriously convenient that a senate seat in Affleck's home state might soon be open, it's just coincidence. And, yes, Affleck helped out with Elizabeth Warren's winning campaign and has long been a vocal Democrat, but does that mean Laurie David is going to run for senate if Dianne Fienstein retires? Well, actually, that seems more likely. But still, Occam's razor seems to suggest here that Ben Affleck was simply making another celebrity trip to D.C. Nothing more.
That said, if he did run for senate, he'd have to start scrambling to reclaim his Masshole identity pretty quickly. Boy's been out in Lalaland for quite a while now. Taking Jennifer Garner to Fenway every time he's home just isn't going to cut it.
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