The 1940 film “The Ghost Breakers” features a classic Bob Hope zinger comparing Democratic voters to mindless zombies. These days, Hollywood elites prefer their politics humorless and one-sided. Self-righteous, semi-informed political ramblings have become a cliche from A-listers such as Matt Damon and George Clooney. Of course, Hollywood leans almost exclusively to the left—perhaps the better to hasten California’s inevitable slide into the ocean. If you are a conservative in the entertainment business today, you deserve a medal of valor. What you’re likely to get instead is public condemnation from your industry peers, as when legendary actor Clint Eastwood was roundly mocked for his 2012 speech at the Republican National Convention.
So it’s no surprise that a group of showbusiness conservatives—the real Hollywood counterculture—wish to remain private. When your livelihood is threatened by a political mob, it’s often prudent to work from underground. The group, Friends of Abe, has about 1,500 members. The few that are out of the closet are names you know: Gary Sinise, Jon Voight, and Kelsey Grammer.
Turns out, according to The New York Times, that the group has been under investigation by the IRS for the past two years because of their bid to get 501(c)3 non-profit status. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal—they don’t just hand out tax exemptions for organizations—except the IRS asked Friends of Abe to name names. They made a request, which the group denied, for access to the private part of their website which contains their highly secretive list of members. Perhaps this concern is paranoid. I mean, it’s not as if the IRS has been selectively targeting conservative groups in an attempt to chill political activities or anything sinister like that. Oh wait…
It would be easy to draw a comparison to the mid-20th century in which Hollywood actors, directors, and writers were “blacklisted” for suspected association with the Communist Party. The difference, of course, is that whereas the Communist Party represented a genuine threat to the American way of life, Hollywood could benefit from some conservative thought. Popular culture is a key front in the war for the soul of America. The administration knows it, or they wouldn’t be subjecting the few Hollywood conservatives to extra scrutiny.