WASHINGTON — The news flash out of Springfield that Homer Simpson has cast an early ballot for Mitt Romney guarantees that the Republican at least won’t be on the losing end of a shutout.
Yet even Mr. Simpson — a self-described "40-year-old white guy who gets all his news from monitors at gas stations" — entered the voting booth uncommitted, according to a clip of an upcoming episode that was released last week.
"Barack Obama?" the father of three pondered as he prepared to exercise his suffrage, his first exercise of any kind since 2008. "He promised me death panels, and Grandpa’s still alive. Mitt Romney? I hear he wears magic underpants. I expect the leader of the Free World to go commando.
"On the other hand," voter Simpson concluded, pressing the touch-screen, "he did invent Obamacare."
If many other icons of American popular entertainment are to be believed, Homer’s may be the only non-Mormon vote that Willard Romney gets this fall. I’ve been keeping track all year of celebrity predilections, so that you don’t have to.
"I don’t think he tells the truth. I think he makes stuff up," the actress Ellen Burstyn said of the Republican nominee, in a typically self-important Hollywoodian election-year outburst. "I daresay he lies. And I find it kind of smarmy, I do."
"Would you like Romney to win the election?" an interviewer asked Harry Belafonte a few weeks ago.
"Only if I would like to see the end of civilization," the calypsonian replied.
"When mitt gives stump speech Look Behind Him! White People! Where R people of color & ethnicity?" sweetly tweeted Cher last spring. "If ROMNEY gets elected I don’t know if i can breathe same air as Him & his Right Wing Racist Homophobic Women Hating Tea Bagger Masters."
Barack Obama just needs twice as much time as he’s already been given, agreed the irrepressible Snoop (Doggy) Dogg.
"He cleaned up half the s--- in four years realistically," Mr. Dogg opined. "It ain’t like you gave him a clean house. Y’all gave him a house with a TV that didn’t work, the toilet was stuffed up; everything was wrong with the house."
Ditto the comedian Chris Rock, employing (if not stealing) Mr. Dogg’s metaphor: "Ever come back to your hotel room before the maids are finished? My God! Republicans are complaining. Romney’s complaining. But Romney’s rich. He doesn’t know s--- about cleaning."
Even Kanye West, the hip hop star whom Barack Obama once labeled a "jackass," now was braying on a new track called "To The World:"
These niggas tryna hold me back, I’m just trying to protect my stacks
Mitt Romney don’t pay no tax, Mitt Romney don’t pay no tax
Let me see you put your middle fingers up
To the world, to the world, to the world
To the world, to the world, to the world
"President Obama cares about the issues we care about," said singer Alicia Keys. "That’s something I know deep in my core and I think we all relate to . . . That’s the spirit of a person that I’d like to see run the country — someone that’s human. Thank you! Give me someone human!"
"He’s so competent and so smart, I just don’t see why we wouldn’t want him for four more years as president," argued Jerry Springer, the talk-show referee and former mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio.
"He’s got my vote!" gushed Jessica Alba, meaning Obama, not Springer.
"Now that we have more than our own futures to worry about, the stakes in this election are even higher," sighed Jay-Z and Beyoncé, just after baby Blue Ivy was born.
"Don’t get me started on the Republicans," growled Martin Sheen, the former Make-Believe President of the United States. Compare Obama to Romney, he went on, "and you’ll see the difference between a man living an honest life and a hustling politician."
"This is Morgan Freeman’s personal thought," thought Morgan Freeman, publicly. "We’re going to be in a lot of trouble if we don’t re-elect him because people on the other side of the fence scare me."
Dozens of A-listers have lined up to fawn over the sitting President over cocktails and a repast since the campaign began. For $38,000, one could dine with Mr. Obama at the home of director Spike Lee. For $40,000, one could choose between parties hosted by George Clooney in California or by Sarah Jessica Parker in New York. For $5,000, one could eat with Robert DeNiro and Michelle Obama at DeNiro’s own beanery.
For a hundred bucks, you could chow in San Francisco with Nancy Pelosi and MC Hammer.
Yet there have been a handful of pro-Romney (or at least anti-Obama) voices whispering against the din.
These were wallflowers such as Hank Williams, Junior, who meekly told concert-goers, "We’ve got a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military, hates the U.S. and we hate him!"
"After a long heart & soul conversation with Mitt Romney today I concluded this good man will properly represent we the people," avowed rocker Ted Nugent, whose last gold album came out thirty-one years ago.
"Oh, I think he’d make a terrific president," said Kelsey Grammer of Mr. Romney "He’s a clear thinker. He’s a kind man, you know, and he makes a lot of sense."
"When you’re rich, you want a Republican in office," cooed (retired) porn star Jenna Jameson in what may be the most cogent mouthful of the year.
Yet Kim Kardashian and HER enhancements remained undecided — "I don’t know which way I’m going to go" — with only six weeks remaining until Election Day and early balloting already underway in toon-Springfield and many real-life provinces beyond.
Time was running short for the few Americans who bother to take any time at all – even at the gas station — to study the issues and the candidates, rather than to blindly follow the sage advice of a Cher or an S.D. Dogg.
"I don’t think we’re informed anymore as a country," said the actor Jeff Daniels, distilling a nation’s shame. "I think we have the attention span of a gnat."
Allen Abel is a Brooklyn-born Canadian journalist based in Washinton, D.C.