Matt Damon for president?
Filmmaker Michael Moore seems to think it could happen.
In a discussion hosted by the blog FireDogLake on Sunday, he explained why the liberal actor has a shot at the White House.
"I think that he has been very courageous in not caring about who he offends by coming out and saying the things that need to be said here," Moore said of Damon. "And if you want to win, the Republicans have certainly shown the way that when you run someone who is popular, you win. Sometimes even when you run an actor, you win. And I guess I only say that, throw his name out there because I'd like us to start thinking that way."
After explaining why both the Republican and Democratic parties are “very weak right now,” Moore said, “Listen I' m just throwing these ideas out there because I recognize the country I live in. Living in Michigan now, the main topic of conversation this week was the last episode of 'The Bachelorette', and why did Ashley pick J.P. over Ben. That’s the country I live in, and they all vote. And I’d like to communicate with them. I know that they’re upset."
Alec Baldwin is not running for mayor of New York — yet.
First, Mr. Baldwin, a 53-year-old actor and Long Island native, wants to finish his work on his television show, “30 Rock,” then go back to school and learn what the job is all about.
In an interview on Monday, Mr. Baldwin spoke extensively about his long-term political ambitions, his views on political figures, his anger about Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s overturning of the city’s term-limits law and how he stays in touch with regular people despite his wealth and fame.
He said it had helped him to live on the Upper West Side, rather than in a wealthier neighborhood. “It is more real,” he said. “There’s old people, it’s ethnic and it’s economically mixed. It’s not a little kind of jewel-box, privileged pocket of the city like some neighborhoods are.”
He added, “I am more comfortable living where it seems more middle class, and I have lived there deliberately.”
Speculation about Mr. Baldwin’s political future picked up after a sex scandal upended former Representative Anthony D. Weiner’s career in June, forcing him to resign from Congress and dashing his mayoral ambitions.
Mr. Baldwin said that he would probably sit out in 2013 but run in a later election, and that he wanted to educate himself about the mayor’s office first. He is talking with two top universities about enrolling in a master’s program in politics and government “to help me better understand what the fiscal imperatives of that job are,” he said. “What’s the reality of the city unions, of contracts, agreements, teachers, infrastructure, decentralizing, everything? And utilities, Con Ed, the M.T.A. — how does it all work?”
Running in 2013 would be nearly impossible, he said, because he is obligated to complete the current season of “30 Rock,” which wraps up in April, and to appear occasionally in future episodes. And he plans to enroll in school in the fall of 2012.
His legal residence is in Amagansett, on Long Island, but he plans to establish a permanent residence in the city before running for office. He has owned his home on the Upper West Side for more than two decades but is reluctantly leaving the neighborhood for a downtown location to be closer to his girlfriend, Hilaria Thomas, 27, who works at a yoga studio.
The actor is still unhappy about Mr. Bloomberg’s rewriting the term-limits law in 2008, which allowed the mayor to serve another four years.
“All the Bloomberg supporters look at me and say, ‘What do you got against Bloomberg?’ ” he said. “Well, I don’t have anything against Bloomberg, but there are term limits. The whole point is, whether you liked him or didn’t like him, he’s got to go.”
Mr. Baldwin suggested that the term-limit issue would hurt the electoral prospects of the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, who went along with the mayor’s move.
“I think it absolutely, positively disqualifies her,” he said. “She totally betrayed a huge constituency here in the city.”
Ms. Quinn’s office did not respond to requests for a comment on Tuesday.
In the case of Mr. Weiner, Mr. Baldwin said he had supported the congressman for a time, even amid revelations of Mr. Weiner’s sexually explicit online communications, because “sexual scandal, to me, is meaningless.” But he concluded that Mr. Weiner, a fellow Democrat, could not survive politically after it was revealed that his wife, Huma Abedin, was pregnant.
Mr. Baldwin seemed focused on the mayor’s office but allowed the possibility that he would consider other positions. He is clearly aiming high, however, dismissing the idea of serving as a local judge or in the House of Representatives.
Mr. Baldwin said that high-profile fund-raisers had asked him numerous times to run for office in other states, like for Senate in Connecticut or for governor in California, but that he did not want move from New York.
As a native of Massapequa and one of six children, he said he felt he had the ability to connect with New Yorkers of all backgrounds, despite his success.
“There are people who make a lot of money who become rich people, and then there are people who make a lot of money, but they don’t think like rich people do,” he said. “No matter how much money they have, they are the same from their own upbringing. I would definitely put myself in the latter class.”
He added, “What I think the government should be doing, who I think government should be serving, and in what way and what it should be prioritizing is a lot different than people would think.”
As for Mr. Baldwin’s own scandals — including his acrimonious divorce from the actress Kim Basinger and leaked answering-machine tapes in which he was heard calling his daughter, Ireland, then 11, a “pig” — he said he believed the public would see past his missteps.
“What I do for a living has provided people with an almost bottomless container of video clips of me doing the most asinine things,” he said. But he remained confident that he would be able to weather criticism of his past behavior, “including the tape of me with my daughter.”
Despite the urging of friends and fans that he run for mayor in 2013, he said he wanted to wait for the right opportunity. And, he said, he realized he would be taking a risk by entering politics.
“I am someone who is fully prepared for the fact that I could go into this and do it and completely have my ass kicked,” he said. “I could throw a party and no one could come. And it would be this staggering lesson for me.”