Addison Gardner: Always Right
August 12, 2008
It finally happened last week; Americans overdosed on Obama.
Obama. Obama. Obama. Plus late-breaking news about Obama’s jump shot.
A Pew Research Center poll escaped suppression and revealed some discomfiting news about the candidate whom New York Times columnist Frank Rich has dubbed “America’s acting president.” Voters want to hear about the other senator, too: the senator who hasn’t received more coverage shooting a basketball than Yao Ming and the American “Redeem Team” combined.
It’s time to address the recent rumors about an over-flight of America’s stealth candidate, John McCain.
The Pew poll reveals an electorate that ” by a 2-to-1 margin ” reports it’s hearing too much about the senator from Illinois and not enough about the senator from Arizona. Half of independents, two-thirds of Republicans and an amazing one-third of Democrats say they’re being bombarded by Barack and can’t find McCain with a searchlight.
I can find McCain by tuning to CNN and getting my daily briefing on the senator’s latest trip to the dermatologist, along with fevered speculation about whether the Republican will survive his melanoma past election day.
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Nov. 4 is still three months out, and we’ve already seen enough gauzy interviews of Barack’s children, enough triumphal marches past the chocolate spires of Europe and enough upward-tilted images of Obama’s profile to fill every prom queen’s scrapbook from Salem to San Francisco.
The Pew poll understates America’s Obama fatigue: We’re talking gag reflex here. Tongue depressor touching throat. Bulimic in the bathroom.
I believe that in its zeal to install him in the White House the mainstream media has crippled Obama’s campaign. The lopsided coverage has imbued the senator with a false sense of infallibility and inevitability. You saw this first with Hillary, but Hillary was a restrained front-runner: She didn’t promise to heal the planet and drop ocean levels.
Obama has responded to his unearned celebrity with an excess of arrogance instead of an excess of caution.
There’s a parallel lesson of human hubris playing out off-stage, away from Michael Phelps’ growing mound of gold medals. The über-left populist who had topped Obama’s “short list” for vice president, John Edwards, crashed to Earth last week in an inglorious heap of wax and feathers.
Sen. Edwards’ belated admission that he’d been cheating on his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, was detonated by the media’s bomb squad while the public was distracted by a Chinese high-wire artist igniting enough natural gas to power Al Gore’s pool house and private jet.
All you’d have to do to create a scandal-driven news conflagration would be to change Edwards’ party affiliation from Democrat to Republican and the storyline from dashing, photogenic left-wing senator to doddering, gay Republican senator caught with his pants around his ankles in an public toilet. Now you’ve got a story you can run on the front page, the Olympics be damned.
Democrats explain the media’s hunger for exposing Sen. Larry Craig as being driven by the desire to expose moralizing Republican “hypocrisy,” but that doesn’t explain the media’s reticence to follow the National Enquirer/Edwards revelations. A big part of John Edwards’ carefully crafted appeal was his supposed devotion to wife and family.
Hypocrisy? Well, maybe just a tad.
Answering a Katie Couric question about whether voters should care about a candidate’s devotion to a spouse, Edwards answered, “It’s fundamental to how you judge people and human character ” whether you keep your word, whether you keep what is your ultimate word, which is that you love your spouse and you’ll stay with them. I think the most important qualities in a president in today’s world are trustworthiness, sincerity, honesty and strength of leadership.”
Edwards and Obama aren’t phonies spouting empty platitudes. They’re not empty suits with bright smiles, dim legislative accomplishments and zero foreign-policy experience. Trust your Hollywood producers and focus your attention on the 50-yard line: Obama’s about to deliver another humdinger. And it’s sponsored by Bud Lite.
In recent presidential election cycles, the Democratic Party’s celebrity churn has produced a succession of childish narcissists ” candidates raised by strong women in households without strong men. John Edwards summed up his crash to Earth thusly: “In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic.”
The value of military service as a predictor of success in the White House is that senators like John Fitzgerald Kennedy and John McCain were first weighed in the scale of hard-eyed men, in situations where fancy rhetoric wouldn’t buy a cup of coffee.
Sen. McCain was raised in a home where Annapolis admirals (father and grandfathers) questioned his merit every day of his life, and they instilled in him a sense that service to country isn’t about rhetorical flourishes in Mile High stadium: It’s about sweat-soaked ” often uncelebrated ” constancy and devotion to duty when there are no cameras nearby.
An adoring grandmother ” whom he recently dismissed as “a typical white woman” ” raised Obama. But that’s “old news,” and Barack’s stirring stadium speech is tomorrow’s hyperbolic headline.
Now return your attention to what really counts in America today: NBC ” when it’s not chasing Barack around Hawaii ” is showcasing Olympic butts, bikinis and beach volleyball.
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