Talent agent Ben Press says he feels like "a spy behind enemy lines . . . like I parachuted in."
"American Pie" producer and talent manager Warren Zide says he feels like he's serving as "an apologist during the week" and "an ambassador of sorts in a foreign land."
For producer and former studio chief Frank Price, it feels like "I'm not part of that particular club. It's not hard to join the club, but I have other opinions."
They're the loneliest people in Hollywood this week: Republicans. It's hard enough to find a Republican in working Hollywood willing to admit it. But try doing it during this week's convention, when the overwhelmingly Democratic entertainment industry is being cozy with President Clinton, nominee Al Gore and other officials from its party of choice.
Granted, there are a handful of high-profile Republicans: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlton Heston and Tom Selleck to name a few. And mogul Rupert Murdoch clearly leans conservative.
But the bulk remain well under Hollywood's political radar, by choice.
"In Hollywood, it's taken for granted that you're politically liberal," said one programming executive with a major cable TV channel. The executive asked to remain anonymous, in part because he didn't want to make waves at work.
He was one of 100 people Tuesday afternoon dining on chicken and salmon at the monthly luncheon of the Wednesday Morning Club at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. The guest of honor: author and noted Clinton basher Christopher Hitchins.
Founded by conservatives in the entertainment business the morning after Clinton's election in 1992, its most active members are largely unknown to the public--writers, producers and executives who work behind the scenes. Some are more prominent, including Price; entertainment lawyer Bruce Ramer, who represents such clients as Steven Spielberg; and George Vradenburg III, a former top CBS and Fox lawyer who now is one of the most senior executives at America Online.
Being a Republican in Hollywood is becoming less of a stigma, which some attribute to George W. Bush's efforts to come off as more moderate, in contrast to the Newt Gingrich image many Republicans had. Heavy hitters such as former Warner Bros. co-Chairman Terry Semel have helped smooth Bush's way into the community.
Still, there is a huge gulf. Talent agent Press--whose clients include actors William Baldwin, Billy Zane of "Titanic" and Tim Meadows of "Saturday Night Live," came to Hollywood in 1991 as an assistant at International Creative Management.
A former staffer in the George Bush White House and Republican National Committee employee, Press displayed a framed Ronald Reagan picture on his desk, something that didn't endear him to people. "I felt this wave of disdain," he said.
Ironically, he plans to vote for the Gore ticket this year. A native of New Haven, Conn., Press' family is personal friends with vice presidential candidate Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman.
For Zide, the discovery that he is a Republican regularly shocks people he deals with. He frequently gets anti-Republican e-mails from groups and people who assume he's a liberal Democrat.
"When they find out, they ask: 'How could you be a Republican?' " Zide said.
But in Hollywood, political differences can be easily papered over when the topic shifts to the one thing both Republicans and Democrats care more about than politics: box office.
"At the end of the day, more people in Hollywood care about weekend grosses than care about polls," Press says. "It's not how is Bush doing this week, it's how is 'Hollow Man' doing?"