The news that the singer and philanthropist, Wyclef Jean, is contemplating a run for the Haitian presidency prompts thoughts about those from the world of entertainment who attempt to cross over into the realm of politics. The record is a mixed one. Ronald Reagan did well. And Arnold Schwarzenegger made it to the governor's mansion in California. Clint Eastwood had a brief spell as a Californian town mayor in the 1980s, but soon (thankfully) returned to films. Jerry Springer went the other way, becoming a talk show host after being a politician in Cincinnati. Here in Britain, we have Glenda Jackson in the House of Commons. The former AC Milan striker and world footballer of the year, George Weah, has been active in Liberian politics, but missed out in the 2005 presidential elections.
If there is a pattern it seems to be that the more successful the star is in their first career, the less successful they are when they start grubbing for votes or climbing the greasy pole. So the prospect of Wyclef, with his millions of record sales, going into politics would not seem to bode particularly well for Haiti. Perhaps, they should ask him to stick with the ambassadorial and fundraising duties. After all, there is more than one way for someone to serve their country. And few politicians can rap well.