Monday, July 20, 2015

Conservative Chachi Loves Republican Scott Walker

Brooklyn native, the son of Italian immigrants, former teen heart throb and modern day reality TV star, Scott Baio was featured in the July 2015 edition of Life After 50.

Scott Baio during his "Chachi" days (From Twitter)
Before launching into Q and A, the article discussed his early screen credits, beginning with a kids' version of a mob story turned musical called "Bugsy Malone". From the Big Screen, he made it big on the Small screen as a recurring character in "Happy Days". First playing the cute cousin to Henry Winkler's Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli, Baio would later star in a short-lived spin-off "Joanie Loves Chachi." Even though his first starring role didn't take off, Baio did, and his star rose in teen-targeted movies, then a 1980's sitcom "Charles in Charge". Both shows still lives on in syndication.

Like another 80's TV hunk, Erik Estrada, Baio would veer toward standing on his star power as a sitcom icon, including a number of turns in reality TV shows, like "Scott Baio Is 45. . . and Single". He has retained much of his boyish charm, and to his credit, Baio does not look a day over thirty (even though he's now fifty-five), staying very much in charge of his fortunes, seeing happy days before him in spite of difficulties facing his family.

And there have been many.

First, after his marriage to long-time girlfriend Renee, they struggled through her very difficult pregnancy. She would give birth to twins, but one of them would die. Their surviving child, Bailey, seemed to suffer from a metabolic disorder. After a few tests, she received a clean bill of health, but Baio and family established the Bailey Baio Angel Foundation.

Since marriage and fatherhood, Baio's own father passed away. His mother still lives on, but suffers from Alzheimers. Like many older Americans, the sitcom star enjoys a greater quality of life and maintains vitality, but also cares for aging parents. The latest shock, Baio found out that his wife Renee has a brain tumor. In spite of this latest challenger, Baio sat down for an interview with LA50. First, he praised the strength and resilience of his wife, then talked about the initially intimidating, yet ultimately amazing experience of long-lasting fame in "Happy Days" and "Charles in Charge".

Scott with his wife Renee (on the left)
Interestingly enough One of the latter, more telling parts of his LA50 interview focused on Baio's politics.


LA50: You have been very open about your political leanings, which are not exactly in line with most people who work in show business. Are there any challenges for a conservative when it comes to navigating their way through the entertainment industry?



Scott Baio Picture
Scott Baio (imdb.com)

 
SB: I'm conservative, although I have worked for Republican candidates.

Baio shies away from the blatant GOP label, since Hollywood is still an uber-liberal playground where executives and fellow actors discriminate against Republicans with abandon. Despite the media narrative, thought, there are a lot of Republicans, conservatives, and pro-freedom, pro-capitalism actors in Hollywood, and not just Ronald Reagan.

I worked for Mitt Romney and have already out in spurt of Scott Walker for president in 2016.

This statement is particularly outstanding since Baio engaged in the Massachusetts Governor’s campaign, even when a significant section of the GOP base was turned off and tuned out of the 2012 election, enough to cost Romney the election. Republicans in key states also suffered, including Baio’s native California.

More pertinent to the current political climate, Baio has already declared himself

He is also a Scott Walker supporter, with the July Issue of LA50 coinciding with the Governor’s campaign kick-off

I've attended events for Marco Rubio and just had the chance to talk to Governor Kasich of Ohio. I don't know who the Republican nominee will be, but whoever it is, I 'll support them.

Team-player politics are essential for the Republican Party, especially with widening cultural divides  forcing voters and activists to revisit the founding principles of the United States Constitution and American Exceptionalism. Baio briefly mentions two Establishment-leaning candidates, a US Senator as well as former Congressman and current Governor, then turns to the media-hyped front-runner. His appraisal of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was respectful yet simple in its criticism:

I know [Jeb] Bush has a lot of money, but I think he has too much to overcome with the name. So I like Governor Walker.

Hollywood stars know well enough: money does not buy fame, or charm crowds. In politics, despite the freer flow of money, candidates local and national have to revisit and revamp their connections with ordinary people and clearly articulated policies.

Now, why does Chachi like the Wisconsin Governor?

I like what he had done in Wisconsin I like people who fix things. My father was a fix-it type of guy, and when I look around, I see a lot of things that are broken and need fixing.

Getting something done, accomplishing something: this matters to Baio, and judging from the grim polling which ranks bacteria and cockroaches higher than Congress, American voters want real reforms and lasting outcomes from their leaders. Walker has delivered on many of his promises, achieved a number of reforms. So much in the United States is broken, from health care to immigration, domestic issues to foreign policy.

The fatherhood element also stands out in Baio's interview, mostly because of his own. This theme which ties into Governor Walker's growing appeal, not just as an political outsider representative of Middle America, but as a parent whose fatherly persona stands out and attracts prospective voters. The actor spends the remainder of his interview talking about his own family, first about his father: what he was like, how he approached life as "an Old War Italian guy. Tough as nails. Tough physically. No B.S. -- ever!" Such a traditional, hard-working parent no doubt influenced the actor's conservative views and political philosophy.

PHOTO: Scott Baio poses for a promotional photo for "Joanie Loves Chachi," Sept. 30, 1982 and Gov. Scott Walker speaks at CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland on Feb. 26, 2015.
Chachi Loves Scott

At the end of the interview, Baio talks about his wife and daughter, and how he stays fit and youthful in spite of his age. "So my whole thing is to keep moving. You can't be young minded if your body isn't working." A similar work ethic describes Governor Walker: traditional, family oriented, taking responsibility for one's views and actions rather than blaming others, and recognizing the need to provide solutions rather than complain about the prevalent problems which face today's America. The Wisconsin Governor's work ethic and conservative upbringing coincide with Hollywood actor Scott Baio's. One could certainly remark: "No wonder Chachi loves Walker!"

Still, Election 2016 is up in the air, for Democrats as well as Republicans, and conservatives concerned for their country, seeking leaders and representatives who will fix so much of what is broken, could take a lesson from Baio and support whoever wins the nomination.

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