Few of Barack Obama's celebrity supporters at the 2008 US presidential election were as committed to his cause as the Oscar-winning actor Matt Damon. Rather than merely support Mr Obama in an online video, Damon, one of Hollywood's highest-profile liberal activists, campaigned for the Democratic nominee in Florida. Not content with that, he provided one of the most cutting insults of the campaign when he described the Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin as "really terrifying... like something out of a bad Disney movie".Well, if you're reading this blog, you know that I agree with Damon.
Damon, 40, star of the Bourne spy trilogy and two new films, The Adjustment Bureau and True Grit, is scrupulously polite and mild-mannered when we meet in a Manhattan hotel. But laying bare his disenchantment with the Obama administration, he doesn't hide how let down he feels. President Obama's record on the economy particularly rankles. "I think he's rolled over to Wall Street completely. The economy has huge problems. We still have all these banks that are too big to fail. They're bigger and making more money than ever. Unemployment at 10 per cent? It's terrible."
He is upset that Mr Obama, who promised to "spread the wealth around", has extended the Bush tax cuts and that the inequality gap has widened.
"They had a chance that they don't have any more to stand up for things," he says. "They've probably squandered that at this point. They'll probably just make whatever deals they can to try to get elected again."
Damon appears so disillusioned that, playing devil's advocate, I ask whether he is considering voting Republican. "Good God, no! I just got a 3 per cent tax cut. Do you think I'm going to start a small business with that money? You're out of your mind if you think so. I'm going to put it in the bank. So is every other guy that makes the kind of money I make. I don't think that's what's best for the country. I think a stronger middle class makes for a stronger country."
As well as the economy, Mr Obama's record on education repels him. "They have to get people who actually know about educating kids in positions of power. Now they're trying to get business people to come and manage schools like they're factories. It's not going to work."
Thursday, March 10, 2011
A Disillusioned Matt Damon
Matt Damon has come clean about what a lot of 2008 Obama supporters are thinking (but perhaps are unwilling to say):