New York’s Political Minds Rate Baldwin’s Aspirations

By Shush Walshe

Aug 11, 2011 12:42pm


ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe (@shushwalshe) reports:

Alec Baldwin, the 53-year-old actor that stars in NBC’s “30 Rock,” seems serious about a future career in politics and it looks like he has the New York City mayor’s office in his sights, but don’t count him in for 2013.

Baldwin told the New York Times that he’s heading back to school to learn about politics after he’s finished his commitment to the NBC show, but that he would  “consider other positions.”

Baldwin told the Times he’s interested in enrolling in a master’s program in politics and government to help him “better understand what the fiscal imperatives of that job are.”

So what do New York City politicos think of the Long Island native’s ambitions? Hank Sheinkopf, a longtime New York Democratic political consultant, said, “Warning people you are coming into politics is not the way you get things done.

“Two days in politics is 50 years in anything else. He wants to run in 2017, but there may not be a place for him,” Sheinkopf said. “All politics is present tense, not past tense, not future tense.”

“Politicians don’t listen to actors, they only listen to politicians who become actors.”

What about New Yorkers? “They know Alec Baldwin on ‘30 Rock.’ They think he lives there,” Sheinkopf said. “He needs to make himself a candidate, become fluent on issues, get out to the outer boroughs. Manhattan is a different planet,” Sheinkopf said. “No one will remember he wants to run. In 2013, when the bells go up, and the horses are crossing the finishing line in June, no one is going to be shaking in their boots saying, Alec Baldwin may challenge me in 2017. They are saying, I’m going to win and stay here for eight years, but there may be other ways for him to serve.”

The other side of the aisle was somewhat more charitable to Baldwin. Marco De Sena, a New York Republican consultant and an Assembly candidate in Queens,  said he likes the “pro-growth, pro-capitalism” message Baldwin champions, referring to past statements the actor made about New York City’s tax rate.

“I tend to be the more the merrier, and so I say more power to him if he wants to do it,” De Sena said.

But, said De Sena, after the glowing endorsement, “he doesn’t know the issues, he doesn’t know the people. It’s going to be a steep uphill climb to do so. The only thing he’s got is he’s famous. He’s civic-minded, as are a lot of people. But the only reason people know him is because he’s rich and famous,” De Sena said.

“Of course, as a Republican anything that brings another Democrat into the mix and allows them to battle it out until the general election is great, especially someone with a lot of lot of baggage, which he does.”

Baldwin also told the New York Times that it helped him to live on the Upper West Side, which he described as  more of a “middle class” community.

“It is more real,” he told The Times. “There’s old people, it’s ethnic and it’s economically mixed. … I am more comfortable living where it seems more middle-class, and I have lived there deliberately.”

The New York Post reported Baldwin was selling his $9.5 million Upper West Side apartment to move downtown with his girlfriend.

Andrew Moesel, another New York Democratic consultant, said he would counsel Baldwin to “appeal to middle-class voters and also minority voters.”

“The Upper West Side does have a wide range of economic backgrounds. There are young people, middle-class, minorities,” Moesel said. “However, I think the way he phrased that he has a long way to go to before he has an ear for political commentary.”

In the end, though, Moesel urged Baldwin to go for it.

“I’m in favor of a diverse pool of candidates coming from different backgrounds, so I would urge him to continue to explore the run.”

Baldwin declined to be interviewed for this story.



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