Actor Steve Buscemi has finally broken his silence to tell the world his expert opinion on the government shutdown.
Buscemi opined about the shutdown and much else in a wide-ranging interview with The Guardian.
“I think the shutdown is ridiculous. I think the Republicans in Congress are holding the country hostage. I think it’s criminal. I don’t see why they’re allowed to do it,” he said.
Buscemi, 55, said he hopes voters punish the politicians behind the temporary halt of about 17 percent of the federal government at the next possible opportunity.
“The tea party faction of the Republican party are holding the Republican party hostage,” he explained. “They’ve hijacked it. I don’t understand their philosophy. I think that in their own hearts and minds there’s a reason why they feel they’re doing good. But I certainly don’t agree with it. And I hope the shutdown effects change. I hope people remember this in the next cycle of elections.”
The Guardian lovingly describes the Brooklynite (who also has a second home in upstate New York) as a blue-collar liberal.
“I’m not against capitalism, but it’s another thing to blame the victim,” Buscemi told the British daily. “A lot of poor people have made something of themselves but nobody does it on their own. Everybody needs help. There’s nothing wrong with having government help, and I think if your goal is only to make money, that’s not a worthy goal in and of itself.”
The website Celebrity Net Worth values Buscemi at an estimated $35 million. The site says he receives a salary of $75,000 per episode for his work as the lead character on “Boardwalk Empire,” a pale and generally pointless imitation of The Sopranos.
“The idea that the money would trickle down to the poor is condescending, and doesn’t work,” Buscemi added.
Delving into other areas of politics, the high school graduate and former ice cream van driver took a page out of Thomas Frank’s prosaically liberal book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”
“So many working-class people across the country vote against their own interests,” Buscemi explained to his British interviewer. “It all comes down to culture wars: the right has always been able to use abortion and gay marriage, and in the past women’s rights, but all those things are starting to erode. There really isn’t much they can throw up as a smokescreen anymore.”
Buscemi also noted that he is somewhat dissatisfied with President Barack Obama and that he didn’t have his first girlfriend until he was 22.