If Barack Obama gave new meaning to the term “political celebrity,” then John McCain helped define it.I can't stop laughing.
He emerged as the most popular Republican in Hollywood following his 2000 presidential primary defeat, winning more screen time than the rest of Congress combined. McCain made cameos in “Wedding Crashers” and “24,” saw his memoir turned into a popular biopic on A&E, and appeared more than 30 times on late night comedy shows.
So this week, when McCain cast Obama’s celebrity as a disqualifier, it seemed like a curious turn.
Just one day before McCain released an advertisement interspersing pictures of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears with footage of Obama addressing 200,000 people in Berlin, actor Jon Voight told Variety that McCain had “many great, intelligent, talented Academy-winning actors standing by, awaiting a major press conference to show their support.”
“[The ad] is a bit ironic given that McCain has been the most pop-culture savvy Republican candidate in quite some time,” said Ted Johnson, managing editor of Variety and editor of the blog Wilshire and Washington, which monitors the intersection of celebrity and politics.
Seriously, now. It may be true that McCain's mug has been on camera quite a bit, and that for a senator he's been rather comfortable on late-night TV. But how on earth could anybody miss the point so completely?
McCain's "celebrity" status, if you can call it that, came about because he spent years building up a reputation in Washington. Whether you think that reputation is deserved or not, and whether you think McCain's so-called level of fame is directly proportional to his career-long willingness to cross the aisle (or betray his colleagues, however you look at it) the fact of the matter is that he's been famous for doing things, not just for showing up and smiling for the cameras.
What is Obama famous for?
Anybody? Don't all raise your hands at once.
It's hard to imagine a bigger do-nothing candidate than Barack Obama. He has been a lawyer and community organizer, a professor, Illinois state senator, and is currently a less-than-one-term junior United States Senator representing Illinois. He has written a couple of autobiographies. He supported infanticide for babies who survived their mothers' attempts to abort them in Illinois, and takes a rather far left line in most of his political opinions.
If a major candidate chose a running mate with Obama's slight qualifications and unimpressive experience, there would be a media outcry: how could such a person be qualified to be a heartbeat away from the highest office in the land? But instead of even raising that question about a candidate for that highest office, the media fawns all over Obama, to the extent that Carrie Budoff Brown, a media professional, could write what is quite possibly the blondest excuse for an "I know you are, but what am I?" piece of journalistic juvenalia ever to grace the virtual pages of the Internet--and she's not even a blond.
Next thing you know, the media will be chiding McCain for pointing out the blatant messianism and unadulterated hubris of much of Obama's campaign by digging up old articles wherein McCain talks about his experiences as a POW, and attempting to compare Obama's “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions,” to some decades-old quote from McCain about his faith in God, family, and country getting him through the POW years. Any attempt to point out that there's a bit of a difference will be brushed aside by our star-struck media, whose members continue to prove with every stroke of the virtual pen just how embarrassing their industry-wide crush on Barack the Superstar really is.