Barack Obama's campaign has been seriously frightened by John McCain's celebrity-mocking ads. Those celebrities were virtually nowhere to be found for most of the Denver convention. While the Obama machine may control the inside of the convention, outside these celebrities are clearly out of control -- again.
That overbaked tart Madonna kicked off her latest concert tour with a fairly typical attempt to put her Kung Fu grip on media attention by signaling her preferences in the presidential race. In her first concert in London -- the same city where the Dixie Chicks professed their shame for being geographically associated with Bush -- Madonna performed a song titled "Give It 2 Me" with a video screen flashing images behind her.
First came John McCain's picture -- alongside images of Adolf Hitler, Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe, environmental ruin and starving children. (She also included Mike Huckabee in that odd hall of shame.) Then came the Obama segment, and the Democrat was surrounded by images of Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, John Lennon and Al Gore.
Gossip columnist Liz Smith proclaimed: "I hate to be a cynic, but it smacks of 'How do I get my tour opening night in the news during the Democratic Convention?'" She suggested that friends scoffed in disagreement, arguing that given Madonna's demonstrated lack of political acumen, it's quite possible she had no idea the Democratic convention was happening in Denver.
So what was the political message in the song accompanying those visuals? It featured hackneyed Madonna lyrics: "If it's against the law, arrest me. If you can handle it, undress me." By now, as she turns 50, the lyrics are beginning to sound desperate.
Five years ago, Madonna laid an egg at the start of the Iraq war with her video "American Life," in which she pulled the pin on a grenade and threw it at a George W. Bush look-alike. The look-alike picked up the grenade -- and lit his cigar with it. Madonna desperately tried to distance herself from the overt symbolism of presidential assassination, suggesting instead that she had meant to suggest that President Bush had the potential to take something violent and destructive and turn it into something more constructive. Blah, blah. The controversy didn't help. The song tanked.