In the arena of politics, celebrity endorsements are everything. Take out mudslinging, avoiding policy questions, rhythmic chanting, photo ops and hollow rhetoric, and whats left? Just pandering, fear mongering, and celebrity endorsements. Clearly, getting whiny, shallow actors to say they like you is a key part of the process.
For example, Obama and McCain both want the all-important Angelina Jolie endorsement, probably to help them nail down the "votes the same as people they want to have sex with, just in case it ever comes down to that" demographic (roughly 40% of the American populace). So until she makes up her mind, shell be lavished with McCains homemade cookie bouquets and Obamas signature deep-tissue foot massages.
For every attractive starlet whose endorsement the candidates want, there's about a dozen utter nutjobs who are more than happy to pledge their undying support. Of course, no candidate in their right mind would be caught dead with them, which is why we're now going to examine each in minute detail.
Behold, five John McCain fans whose rally invitations just seem to keep getting lost in the mail.
SPECIAL NOTE: Tune in to this space in two weeks for EQUAL TIME: 5 Obama Supporters He'd Rather Not Have! And don't bitch in the comments.
#5. Rev. John Hagee
Hagee is senior pastor of a huge San Antonio church and CEO of GETV, a non-denominational charismatic church group overseeing Evangelical programming for 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations, and eight dedicated Christian TV networks. Youd be hard pressed to find a more expansive and powerful propaganda machine without releasing a cloud of nanobots.
And by the way, charismatic doesnt mean hell talk you into a new Pontiac; it means his church believes in tongues, faith healing, and assorted other God magics. So from McCains point of view, heres a guy who can get on TV and tell 90 million Christians that God wants them to vote Republican in November, and hes got magical powers to back it up. Sweet deal, right?
First, this NPR interview where Hagee calls Hitler a hunter doing Gods work. So, is he a Nazi? I mean, yeah, but with a slightly more complicated explanation.
The gist is that God wants the Jews to be in Israel, so he sent Hitler to lightly reprimand those who refused the call and stayed in Europe. This is all because one of the requirements for the Second Coming is that the Jews rebuild Jerusalem, and they cant very well do that from Hamburg, now can they? Enter Hitler, Gods way of saying uh-uh, you lazy Jews. Get to ze buildink!
Hagee went on to draw comparisons between the Islamic Nation and World War II Germany and Japan. Aside from offending just about everyone, this statement puts Hagee in the same league as Internet commenters for forced Nazi references, a group no politician wants to be associated with.
Oh, and he also called the Catholic Church a whore and said that Hurricane Katrina was Gods punishment for the sins of New Orleans. Then he probably shook and spoke in tongues or something, at which point McCains staffers took back their bumper stickers and began slowly backing out of the room.
How He Handled It:
Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible.
How He Should Have Handled It:
When a Nazi masquerading as a Christian is patting you on the back, you dont politely distance yourself from him; you make like the War Hero you claim to be and G.I. Joe him right in the neck.
Imagine McCain at a Hagee church fundraiser, inviting him up on stage to thank him for his inestimable contributions. They go to shake hands, and POW! McCains right arm shoots up with skull-cracking force, defying his shoulder injuries and evoking nothing so much as the snapping action of the kid from Rookie of the Year.
McCain looks down Hagees crumpled and lifeless form, and snarls Wheres your Messiah now, Adolf?
Of course, that could alienate some of that far right Christian voting block. But thats okay, because theres always more pastors to court. Plus, who needs a base when youve got the reggae/salsa/rap/hip hop/electronica vote? Enter
#4. Daddy Yankee
The Endorsement:If theres a voting block McCains got trouble with aside from the religious right, its kids. Lets face facts: any effort he makes to appear cool to todays youth is just going to come off looking like the rappin' grandma from The Wedding Singer. Luckily, kids vote about as often as they pilot experimental aircraft, so theres not a whole lot of danger to alienating them.
But who knows? Todays kids are slightly more politically active than their forebears, thanks to things like The Daily Show and Colbert Report, and even this new Rock the Vote thing might have some effect. So if theres a chance to steal away Baracks precious urban youth votes with a bold, spicy celebrity endorsement, why not take it?
After all, Daddy Yankees been vocally in favor of McCain. Hes Puerto Rican, which could help out in the crucial state of Florida. And hes got Yankee right in his name, which cant hurt either. Yep, seems like an easy win.
It turns out Daddy Yankee is a reggaeton rapper. And before you ask, no, Ive never heard of it either, John (but that doesnt mean youre not out of touch with todays youth).
And while theres nothing wrong with that, per se, there is a certain risk in alienating your core voting group. Believe me, there arent a lot of stolid, fiscally responsible war veterans who groove out to La Zona de Gangstas (feat. Snoop Dogg). And the few that there are are already voting Green Party, on the mistaken assumption that its the party that wants to legalize pot.
Yeah, theres no real way to take this guys endorsement without looking like a pandering, painfully awkward old white guy. Especially once Snoop kicks in with his dope rhymes (around 2:00, for you fellow Snoop fans--right after the video equates a crucifix to an assault rifle).
Best to just let him be on his way, and keep your dignity intact.
How He Handled It:
By introducing him at a High School and then stomping and clapping arrhythmically to La Gasolina, a song about how this one girl cant get enough cum. Really, she just loves the stuff.
Its a poignant reminder of the tough financial times were in that several of the students whose Spanish was a little shaky immediately ran to their cars and began masturbating into their gas tanks.
How He Should Have Handled It:
Theres nothing wrong with a gun-toting, gas mask-wearing, barbed wire tattoo-sporting Puerto Rican gangsta rapper endorsing you. In fact, its kind of cool, as long as you never mention it, act like you dont know about it, and avoid eye contact with him whenever youre in the same room.
Because otherwise, you might as well just put on a day-glo hat, flava flav clock and old person sunglasses, because youre already way past trying too hard and into the realm of dignity pulling your pants down and running away giggling. Youre going to need a political heavy-hitter to recover from that kind of ego-bruise, and luckily, I know just where to find one or two.
#3. George Bush (both of them)
It kind of goes without saying that a McCain campaign can count on a Bush endorsement. And really, its good for all of us; if his own party abandoned him, he might just go into a Nam flashback and rip the throats out of everyone at the nearest caucus. And if theres anything we must protect, its our caucuses. Cauci? Cockeye? Whatever.
On the surface, the endorsement of the man who has the job youre interviewing for isnt really a bad deal. I had a friend who ran the drive thru at a Taco Bell, and when he quit to become a script reader, I snapped that shit up like a Cruchwrap Supreme.
And whats the presidency if not a glorified drive thru window? You take the orders of America, misinterpret them due to a broken and convoluted communications system, then give them what you thought they wanted and charge them for it anyway.
The point being, if the biggest celeb in the worldthe President of the gosh-darned United Statesand his Dad (who was also the President) both want to come out and say you could do their job, thats just Fire Sauce.
Unless that Fire Sauce has a 19 percent approval rating. Despite their differences, a fairly solid campaign strategy from both sides lately has been to point out repeatedly and emphatically Guys, I am NOT like George Bush. Seriously, I barely even know the guy. We like, shook hands, ONCE, and we didnt even make eye contact.
While Obama can point to his donkey pin, voting record, and blackness to distance himself from the presidential pariah, all McCains really got is the word maverick. Which is not to imply that his camp isnt utilizing the word maverick to the absolute fullest extent grammatically possible.
And if you think Im being biased, may I point out that during his endorsement speech, President Bush actually offered to oppose McCain if that would be more helpful. Bitter passive-aggression, or surprising insight?
If McCains going to pull this one out, its time to play some ditch the turd. Just don't say anything to imply that you have admiration, affection, or respect for Bush.
How He Handled It:
"Im very honored and humbled to have the opportunity to receive the endorsement of the President of the United States, a man who I have great admiration, respect and affection [for]."
Way to put all the pressure on Palin, John. You know she can't take it!
How He Should Have Handled It:
Just before the President grasped his hand at the White House Rose Garden, he should have yanked it up and away, smoothing a stray lock of hair and shrugging his leather jacket as if to say oops. If any of the reporters present ask if that was meant as a sign of disrespect, hed just respond I dont know. Maybe, and leave for a thing later.
Im telling you nothings going to speak to the majority of Americans quite like entitled, sarcastic apathy.
#2. Pastor Rod ParsleyThe Endorsement:
Our second pastor, Rod Parsley is no John Hagee, at least in terms of drawing power. In fact, if you were a hack comedy writer, you might even describe him as the garnish to Hagees televangelist meal. And if you were John McCain during the Republican primaries, you might describe him as one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide.
But despite his lack of TV stations, Parsleys no slouch when it comes to uniting a voting block. As founder of more Colleges than DeVry (all Ministerial) and head of the World Harvest Megachurch, hes definitely got some pull with God. In fact, as the church itself is 122,000 square feet on 57 acres of land, theres a fairly good chance his church is the only one God could comfortably fit into anyway. And as the saying goes, if youve got Gods vote, youre halfway there. Of course, you still need Jolie.
Parseleys also been a guest on Larry King Live, which means hes got the ear of the nations most ancient and bitter voters. No harm in him throwing around the McCain name at church events, right?
Before he was such good buddies with McCain, Parsley released a series of DVDs about Islam, and an attendant book called Silent No More. The pressing issue on which hed been silent so long? He hates Islamists.
Okay, maybe hate is a strong word. He actually said that to fulfill our divine purpose we must understand that America was founded in part with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed. Of course, youd want to see Islam destroyed too if you knew it was a conspiracy of spiritual evil. Right, guys?! Whos with me? Can I get a ho-sannah? ... guys?
Parseley is also a dominioninst, which is a fancy word meaning someone who thinks the church should take over the government. Although Im guessing hes not referring to the church of Islam. So, he hates a specific group and wants to seize governmental power ... Ill stop before this slides back into a Hitler metaphor.
Oh, and he probably cheated on his taxes, which seems kind of minor in retrospect.
How He Handled It:
I've never been in Pastor Hagee's church or Pastor Parsley's church. I didn't attend their church for 20 years, and I'm not a member of their church. I received their endorsement, which did not mean that I endorsed their views.
How He Should Have Handled It:
Dispatched a team to gas Parsely in his home, rendering him unconscious, and take him by unmarked van to a Hollywood back lot prepared so as to mimic a cloudy, ethereal Heaven. When he awakes, seventy-two hijab-draped virgins emerge from the mist, informing the pastor that Allah would like to have some words with him. The ensuing freak-out is streamed live to the Internet via the McCain campaign website.
#1. Tran Trong Duyet
Never heard of Tran Trong Duyet? I guarantee you John McCain remembers every detail of his pocked, scowling face. Thats because Mr. Duyet was the head guy at the Hanoi Hotel, the Vietnam prison camp where John McCain and many other American soldiers were held captive and (according to Duyet) NOT tortured at all.
What did they do with all their time not being tortured? Why, played volleyball, ate full meals, and discussed philosophy with their friendly, enlightened captors! Duyet says he considers McCain an old war buddy and would definitely vote for him in the election.
He also called McCain a man who is very loyal to his beliefs and country and who" never admitted that the Vietnam war was a mistake during any of their debates. Id wager an inordinate number of those debates were moderated by hot tongs and the phrase di di mao!
Still, theres nothing quite like redemption to win over an American heart, and what could be more cathartic than a big on-stage hug between John McCain and his repentant torturer?
Oh wait, John McCain CANT hug. Because you fucking crippled him, you batshit crazy bastard. In a world this insufferably bizarre, I guess its not beyond shocking to imagine John McCains former torture-master backing him for President. No, wait, it is. It totally is. Id be surprised if McCain could look at Duyet without vomiting fire, let alone graciously accept his endorsement.
Its not that you cant support McCain, Mr. Duyet. Its just that he doesnt want to hear about it, and no one wants to hear you claiming that soldiers in prison camps were having a dandy time eating Nik-L-Nips and Lik-M-Aid (I like hyphenated candies). Furthermore, your assertion that McCain made up the torture stories to get votes takes you from delusional guy trying to live with guilt to fucker in like, zero moves.
And even though were not as close as we used to be, Im fairly sure John McCain doesnt share your dream of meeting with him again as two old friends to talk about the future, andnot talk about the past. Because that dream is FUCKING CRAZY.
How He Handled It:How He Should Have Handled It:
Yeah, thats about right.
And now, in the interest of going out on a joke, I give you the worst possible campaign endorsement short of Stalins corpse rising from his tomb to go canvassing for you.
When not writing for Cracked, Michael is liveblogging debates!!!