The Washington pundits who brought us George W. Bush's presidency and the Iraq fiasco have reached a consensus that John McCain came across as "more presidential" at mega church pastor Rick Warren's faith forum. This conclusion is true if we are still defining "presidential" as a cocksure windbag who bonds with the common people by pandering to the lowest common denominator.
On cue, the media judged the candidates by how fun they'd be at a barbecue. McCain was lauded as a "commanding figure" while Obama was derided for coming across as "professorial." In today's politics, if you demonstrate your I.Q. your career may be through and a candidate can now admit having smoked marijuana, but not that he has experimented with arugula.
In 2000, the media gave Bush an easy ride because he was affable, but have learned nothing after his presidency turned out to be laughable. We watched Bush strut in his flight suit on an aircraft carrier with a gigantic banner claiming "Mission Accomplished." When it was clear that the mission had hardly begun, Bush thumped his chest and challenged the insurgents to "bring it on." Well, they obliged and now thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead.
After nearly eight years of alienating the world with cowboy diplomacy, the media portrays Obama's tendency to be humble as a political stumble. Meanwhile, McCain talks tough to the Russians as they continue to rush into Georgia. At the forum, without hesitation he said he is going to defeat evil. But how does he plan to make good on his shallow sound bite with our military tied up in Iraq and our economy on the rocks?
Vladimir Putin has shrugged off the McCain crowd, essentially saying, "You and what army is going to stop us?" McCain must be acting like a galloping stallion because he knows of secret battalions that can be called on to defends the budding democracies in the Caucasus region.
At the forum, McCain also got a big hand by vowing to continue Bush's policy of ensuring that tycoons can live nearly tax free. Such economic policies combined with Republican deregulation have sold out our country and helped fuel the rise of China -- which not only has more gold medals, but owns much of America's gold. Perhaps, McCain remains so bubbly and blissfully unaware of the housing bubble because he has several million-dollar homes. Yet, the media still builds him up as the common man ready to storm the gates, even though he has more in common with Bill Gates.
Of course, the enablers of America's decline are Evangelical Christians who eschew their economic interests in favor of their bizarre moral fetishes. This penchant for the puritanical was exemplified by Warren's voyeuristic question asking each candidate, "What would be the greatest moral failure in your life."
Predictably, this carnival of confession and moral spectacle accomplished nothing and failed to reveal any juicy new "sins" that were not already on public record. Fresh from discussing the implosion of his marriage -- a huge biblical abomination -- McCain spoke out against gay people marrying. In the backdrop of this event was a low level controversy where Jonathan Crutchley, the co-founder of the gay cruising site Man Hunt, gave a $2,300 donation to McCain. This was odd, considering McCain reconfirmed at the forum that he favored Supreme Court judges who had cast votes to outlaw sodomy -- the very Man Hunt product that had made Crutchley rich.
Horrified, the other Man Hunt co-founder, Larry Basile, pressured Crutchley to resign as chairman of the company. While Crutchly has been reined in, a new Harris Poll shows that Obama has only 68-percent of the GLBT vote.
Sadly, 2008 is looking much like the last two elections, where a compliant media joins forces with chest thumping evangelicals and closeted homosexuals to further degrade America's greatness. If McCain is inaugurated, we will all be invited to the barbecue on his million-dollar Arizona ranch, blissfully unaware that our future is the roasting pig with a rotten apple sticking out of its bloated mouth.
Of course, the further we sink into irrelevancy, the more faith forums we will see -- even as the rest of the world loses faith in our ability to lead the world. While Rick Warren is an improvement over Focus on the Family's James Dobson, he must teach evangelicals there is a better way than the selfishness of modern conservatism, or it will go down as his biggest moral failure.