McCain Isn’t Dead And Americans Aren’t Stupid

By:  Rachel Marsden

The mainstream media is trying to finish off what the Viet Cong started decades ago:  leaving John McCain for dead.  Just this week, he had a mole removed from his face, and a Newsday blog said it was “not what he needs, a reminder of age and health issues.” 

It’s unlikely that someone who made it through more than 5 years in Vietnamese prison camps - and stuck around voluntarily for an extra few years because he refused to abandon his fellow soldiers – would be brought down by a noncancerous mole.  To be fair, Barack Obama also refuses to surrender and leave his posse behind:  He wouldn’t bow to Pentagon rules requiring him to leave his media entourage just to visit wounded US troops at Landstuhl during the European leg of his campaign.

McCain and Obama are at a virtual tie in the polls.  McCain leads among likely voters, according to the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, with Obama dropping 6 points among registered voters.  But you’d never know it from watching either Obama or his media cheerleading squad.  As in the 2004 Bush/Kerry race, one could drive a truck through the canyon between the perspective of the mainstream media and that of “normal America”.

In April 2004, John Kerry was ahead of Bush, 52% to 44%.  Then what happened?  Well, the debates - which forced a side-by-side comparison between the two men – showed Bush to be more genuine, experienced, and knowledgeable, and infinitely less pompous.  Like Obama, Kerry had help from the mainstream media in the form of CBS’s fake National Guard documents, questioning Bush’s service.  The public was repulsed by that, too.

Everything about Barack Obama so far is marketing.  Frankly, the only people I know who plan on voting for this guy are the same ones who buy shoes because they saw Michael Jordan wearing them in a TV ad, or who go the Hamptons most weekends because all their friends are doing it.  Obama had better hope that voting day doesn’t coincide with the release of a new iPhone, or new episodes of American Idol – or he can kiss his “base” goodbye.

McCain is gaining against Obama in the polls because he’s the only serious candidate in the race running for President, while Obama is running as a celebrity.

It’s possible for a politician to be both a celebrity and a statesman, but Obama was starkly contrasted with one of those last week and failed.

During a joint press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, CNN Chief Foreign Correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, asked Sarkozy if he feels badly about the fact that he called black people “scum” during the 2005 riots in the Parisian suburbs, now that he was standing next to a black guy he claims to admire. 

Sarkozy explained that the riots happened under the last, insanely liberal, government of Jacques Chirac, and that he has since fixed things such that no riots have occurred under his watch.  He also brilliantly added, in passing, a mention of “affirmative action” as “positive discrimination”, and then made a few detailed references demonstrating his deep knowledge of US politics and culture.

What did Barack Obama do while this was going on?  He just stood there.  He could have interjected something along the lines of:  “What the *$%# kind of racist question is that?  If you knew anything about those riots, you’d know that they weren’t about race, but rather about scumbags, who just happen to come in all kinds of colors.”

That’s a uniting statement that would have shown Obama’s true foreign policy knowledge.   But the problem is that Barack Obama isn’t even half of a Nicolas Sarkozy:  Sarkozy may double as a flashy celebrity, but it’s backed by substance – and he’s known as a tireless workaholic.  John Kerry was seen as “too French”; but with Obama, we can only wish now that he was more like Sarkozy.

If we really want a celebrity as leader of the free world, why don’t we just go all the way and put Martin Sheen in charge?  Sheen has a bit less experience in politics, but he has played president as much as Obama – and is even more convincing.

Nearly every day we hear about Obama meeting with various people, from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to foreign policy experts.  One can take that to mean, as the media suggests, that he’s fine tuning his “expertise”.  (Can you read that without laughing?  I can’t.)  Or maybe he’s just on a steep learning curve and getting some help with cramming sessions?  British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s gifting him with some Winston Churchill books about real leadership last week strikes me as a not-so-subtle suggestion of the latter.

While it’s true that Ronald Reagan was a former actor, he also had years of political experience.  His policies inspired other politicians, like the UK’s Margaret Thatcher.   It wasn’t just because of his silver tongue that he was able to end the Cold War and increase national wealth by $8 trillion (as pointed out by the CATO Institute’s Stephen Moore).  Obama isn’t the second coming of Reagan – but with all this touchy-feely talk, pitted against McCain’s straight talk about reality, he does look a lot like Jimmy Carter, circa the 1976 election against Gerald Ford – which Carter won before proceeding to become the worst president in US history.

McCain is the same age as Reagan when he was inaugurated.  He’s a cross between Reagan and Gen. George Patton, and with the experience to match.  Do we really need the political equivalent of Clay Aiken for president?  We can turn on the TV and get that anytime.


Rachel Marsden is a New York based political and media strategist, and the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of  Her first book about politics is due out next year.  She can be reached at