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Monday, November 26, 2007
Can McCain out-tough Chuck Norris?
I don't think it is a coincidence that Huckabee's dramatic rise in the polls coincided with release of the Chuck Norris "endorsement" video. Best line: "Chuck Norris doesn't endorse, he tells Americans the way it's gonna be."
I have a theory that the American people are not really voting on a political figure when they cast a vote for the Presidency. Really, what they are doing is voting on what television show they would rather watch for the next four years. Think about it, the President is the number one most recognizable television personality (next to Oprah)and is the subject of more television coverage than Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston and OJ Simpson combined.
My television theory of presidential elections really explains pretty much everything you need to know about the last few election cycles.
2004: Did you want to watch that tool John Kerry drone on for four years?
2000: Al Gore. First of all, you need to separate him out from his post-presidential environmental persona. The Al Gore show was not all that interesting as a spin-off from the extremely interesting Bill Clinton Hillbilly Show.
George Bush was, for a time, good television. He talked funny and screwed things up all the time. He was like Tim Allen meets Bonanza. Not a terribly interesting show, but so much better than the alternatives.
Bill Clinton, of course, is the king of presidential television. He's as much a celebrity as a political figure. We never really knew what hijinks ol' Bill would get into next.
Using this theory as a guide, let's think about the upcoming election.
Obama: Great show. Fresh and new. Oprah likes it and if she can make Dr. Phil a star, why not Obama?
John Edwards: A decent show until you realize he isn't the guy who can talk to dead people.
Al Gore: Despite the fact that people are being force-fed his movie, book, coffee mugs, sing-a-long album etc... the guy is television kryptonite. Nobody wants to watch the Al Gore show, though they want people to think they watch this show. He's the political equivalent of PBS. Al did get more interesting when he went all Grizzley Adams though, so there is some hope.
Hillary: This is a tough one. The American people love the Bill Clinton Hillbilly hour (as noted above) but that show had a very long run (in fact, you can say that the Hillary candidacy has been a 6-year spin off of sorts). By the end of eight seasons, most shows have run their course. The question is, are we tired of the drama? Is the "is Hillary a Lesbian?" angle enough to save the show? Can Bill save the show as just a "special guest star" rather than the main performer? We'll know she is doomed if Ted McGinley joins the cast.
McCain/Thompson: Both men are trying to have themselves added on as an extension of the Law and Order franchise, with a bit of JAG and 24 thrown in for good measure.
Romney: A snoozer show. Could be picked up by CBS to fill the modern equivalent of "Murder She Wrote" or "Matlock."
Huckabee: Basically a show trying to cash in on the popularity of the Bill Clinton show with a "spin" -- in this case a different political party. All the networks try to do this, but it never works just right. The only exception to the network failures is Grey's Anatomy, which is basically ER with sex. Huckabee is Clinton without sex. Not a great show.
McCain: McCain is like that dude Crankshaft from the comics. He shoots from the hip and says whatever he wants. He called Vietnamese "gooks" until a few years ago for heaven's sake. What politician can get away with that? Answer: McCain can. Sure, you say, that sounds like the Bob Dole show and the voters didn't pick that up for even a single season. The difference is the star of the show. Dole hated the role. Wasn't comfortable with it. Was much more a supporting actor. McCain loves it. Combination Maverick (the western), JAG, POW movie, Take No Prisoners dude goes to Washington all in one.
Think about this: who would you have play McCain's role if this were a real series? The answer is clear: Chuck Norris.
Possible Serious Point
In all seriousness, I do want to raise the possibility that McCain has positioned himself well in this field. He's tough to hate, though none of us trust him. Still, he's got the electoral benefits of Giuliani (Appeal to Independents) without the liberal record on guns and abortion. I think there is a real chance that voters will stampede to McCain if it looks like Romney will win the nomination.
Besides, Republicans always nominate the guy whose turn it is next. In this case, it is McCain, who has been forced to go through a trial by fire in the primaries because he went off the reservation so many times.
Right now, I sense that Huckabee has sip's support, I'm a Giuliani guy but like Fred, and the blogger formerly known as TIBS is, I'm guessing, a Romney guy. No idea where anyone else is... but isn't McCain pretty much the only guy who is "acceptable" to everyone?
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