George Clooney: Anybody who thinks we don't need government "is an idiot"

The superstar actor/director on politics and why Ted Cruz makes him "panic"

By Elias Isquith

Published October 4, 2013 1:20PM (EDT)

George Clooney in "Up in the Air"
George Clooney in "Up in the Air"

In an interview with New York magazine, George Clooney shared his thoughts on the government shutdown, the debt ceiling, Ted Cruz and more.

While most of Clooney's comments to New York were coolly analytical, the award-winning actor/director reserved some harsh words for those who celebrate the ongoing government shutdown: "Shutting down the government is not how you make government work," Clooney said. "And anybody who thinks we don't need it is an idiot."

Referring to the right-wing Texas senator's nearly day-long filibuster, Clooney said, "I always panic when people like Ted Cruz take the floor and read Green Eggs and Ham. You know? Like somehow they're Jimmy Stewart."

More from New York mag:

  • On Obamacare: "People keep talking about how this has to be a great negotiation, but there isn't any negotiating a law. We negotiate on all these other topics, but this was put into law, and [Obama] was reelected on it. It was reaffirmed, it was passed through the Supreme Court — it's a law. You don't like it? Win an election. That's how it works. That's how the country works. But you don't get to shut down the government because of it. That's not how it works."
  • On the Tea Party and the debt ceiling: "It's basically: 30 people in one half of one branch of the three branches of government are shutting down the government. Okay, that's how they want to play? Okay. That's fine if everybody comes to their senses before we actually destroy the economy and lose credit, full faith in credit, as they like to say. That's a big deal."
  • On John Boehner: "My sense is that if I were in John Boehner's shoes and I was looking at two — one and then another one in a couple of weeks — I would figure, well, I can absorb a government shutdown and then say, 'We stood strong, but now the debt ceiling is something completely different. We can't deal with it.' You settle the government shutdown, and you still got the debt ceiling. It's the same fight, so maybe they're just trying to consolidate. Maybe it's the best version of their way of getting out."

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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Debt Ceiling George Clooney Government Shutdown New York Magazine Ted Cruz