In the arena of politics, celebrity endorsements are everything. Take out mudslinging, avoiding policy questions, rhythmic chanting, photo ops and hollow rhetoric, and what’s 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, she’ll be lavished with McCain’s homemade cookie bouquets and Obama’s 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.
5Rev. John Hagee
5Rev. John Hagee
The Endorsement: 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. You’d be hard pressed to find a more expansive and powerful propaganda machine without releasing a cloud of nanobots. And by the way, “charismatic” doesn’t mean he’ll talk you into a new Pontiac; it means his church believes in tongues, faith healing, and assorted other God magics. So from McCain’s point of view, here’s a guy who can get on TV and tell 90 million Christians that God wants them to vote Republican in November, and he’s got magical powers to back it up. Sweet deal, right? The Strings: First, this NPR interview where Hagee calls Hitler a “hunter doing God’s 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 can’t very well do that from Hamburg, now can they? Enter Hitler, God’s 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 God’s punishment for the sins of New Orleans. Then he probably shook and spoke in tongues or something, at which point McCain’s 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 don’t 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! McCain’s 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 Hagee’s crumpled and lifeless form, and snarls “Where’s your Messiah now, Adolf?” Of course, that could alienate some of that far right Christian voting block. But that’s okay, because there’s always more pastors to court. Plus, who needs a base when you’ve got the reggae/salsa/rap/hip hop/electronica vote? Enter…
The Endorsement: If there’s a voting block McCain’s got trouble with aside from the religious right, it’s kids. Let’s face facts: any effort he makes to appear “cool” to today’s 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 there’s not a whole lot of danger to alienating them. But who knows? Today’s 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 there’s a chance to steal away Barack’s precious urban youth votes with a bold, spicy celebrity endorsement, why not take it? After all, Daddy Yankee’s been vocally in favor of McCain. He’s Puerto Rican, which could help out in the crucial state of Florida. And he’s got “Yankee” right in his name, which can’t hurt either. Yep, seems like an easy win. The Strings: It turns out Daddy Yankee is a reggaeton rapper. And before you ask, no, I’ve never heard of it either, John (but that doesn’t mean you’re not out of touch with today’s youth). And while there’s nothing wrong with that, per se, there is a certain risk in alienating your core voting group. Believe me, there aren’t 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 it’s the party that wants to legalize pot. Yeah, there’s no real way to take this guy’s 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 can’t get enough cum. Really, she just loves the stuff. It’s a poignant reminder of the tough financial times we’re 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: There’s nothing wrong with a gun-toting, gas mask-wearing, barbed wire tattoo-sporting Puerto Rican gangsta rapper endorsing you. In fact, it’s kind of cool, as long as you never mention it, act like you don’t know about it, and avoid eye contact with him whenever you’re 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 you’re already way past trying too hard and into the realm of dignity pulling your pants down and running away giggling. You’re 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.
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