Playing 'Hail to the Chief' for actor John Cusack

No one demographic group votes less than college-age people -- only one-third of all 18- to 25-year-olds voted in the 2000 presidential election.

Maybe students want a better candidate, one concerned with their concerns. One with guts. One who would stand out in the rain.


"If Ronald Reagan can be president," said Dan Carol, founder of John Cusack for President, "why not a good actor?" In fact, "Why Not?" is the official slogan for the grass-roots effort to draft actor John Cusack to run for president. The fledgling campaign is supported through the Internet and by makeshift campaign offices on 127 college campuses.

"We've got more grassroots support for John Cusack than [Connecticut Sen.] Joe Lieberman has for president," jokes the founder.


The organization is part fan club, part activist group focused on community service. The Cusack group is part of a nonprofit organization known as Junction City that seeks to engage people in politics through humor. They chose Cusack in an effort to find someone who identified with their self-described "liberal progressive politics."

"He made the tough decisions in Grosse Pointe Blank. He couldn't be bought in Eight Men Out. He's cooler than John Malkovich. And we like his politics so far," touts the Web site

Cusack, a boyish and charming 36, has not responded to the movement publicly. This does not bother the campaign managers, because they see the program as a volunteer campaign designed to promote community service. A small disclaimer affirms that cusackforpresident. com is not endorsed by the actor.

The group's entire revenue has come from the online sale of $25 college-friendly "Action Packs," which include a T-shirt, bumper sticker and a Frisbee. "Action Packs" are sold out, but T-shirts are still available (also for $25), according to the Web site.

Since the launch in February, the site has had more than 120,000 visitors.

If Cusack were a candidate, his positions could be gleaned from the following news reports:

Hate crimes: He and Stevie Wonder agreed they "could never vote for a man who was opposed to signing a hate crimes bill like George W. Bush [was] in Texas after the dragging death of James Byrd Jr." (Chicago Defender, an alternative weekly)

Gun control: "I think the [National Rifle Association] has got a stranglehold on this country, and it's horrible. Assault rifles on the street and all this about the right to bear arms. You can go hunting -- you don't have to go hunting with an AK-47." (E! Online )


Violence in movies: "I think it's interesting that the people who attack Hollywood for being violent never seem to attack Arnold [Schwarzenegger] or Bruce [Willis], the right-wing guys. They always tend to attack Oliver Stone, as if he's the only one who has made violent films. Mostly he's made films about politics." (Denver's Rocky Mountain News)

Brendan Sullivan reported this story for The Hartford Courant, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.