Much has been made of Ben Affleck's "possible Senate run" over the past 48 hours, mostly from cable news anchors, and mostly sourced to an interview on CBS' Face the Nation in which Affleck said "one never knows" when asked about possible political ambitions.
The Senate seat in question would be that of Sen. John Kerry's who has just been nominated to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Affleck, a Cambridge, Mass. native, would be running as a Democrat.
But in a GQ interview Affleck gave to accompany his being named Filmmaker of the Year just a few months back, he was pretty final on the subject of a future political run.
"There was one time where somebody who I respected said 'come do this right now, I think you can win,'" Affleck told the magazine. "And I just realized when I got asked that question that it was the last thing I wanted to do ... So, no, the answer is: I don't want to run for office."
If he wasn't clear enough, maybe this diatribe will clear up how he feels about the American political system:
If you are a candidate, or if you are in Congress or if you're in the Senate or wherever you are, you're running across the street to constantly dial for dollars. We need like real fundamental change in the way that campaign finance works. It is just fucking toxic and poisonous and inappropriate. If you are a rich man, your voice matters more than the poor man. Why the fuck that is I don't understand. It is completely counter to our ideals and to what we tell one another our government is like. You know, we say, "Oh well, this is democracy..." and it is complete bullshit.
Certainly, Affleck could have changed his mind. Mitt Romney does it all the time, as does the man he'd be replacing should he run, Sen. Kerry. But something about this "one never knows" feels calculated. Like he knows it would be talked about. Almost like he has a movie in the middle of an awards season campaign right now—a movie currently being described as the CIA movie that isn't Zero Dark Thirty.
Ben Affleck is certainly politically active. He just testified before Congress Thursday about the atrocities in the Congo. Earlier this year he was campaigning for Elizabeth Warren, who narrowly defeated Scott Brown for Massachusetts' other Senate seat. It sounds, though, like he intends that to be the extent of his political involvement—influencing policy from the outside in.
But, then again, cable news networks have 24 hours to fill everyday. And entertainer-turned-politicians can be pretty popular.