11/22/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Culture Vultures

After they finish forming their political platforms, presidential candidates remember to talk about the arts. Until the recent formation of Obama's National Arts Policy Commission, there hasn't been much talk about funding this year from either campaign. But the arts have already had a lot to say about the candidates.

In fact, the first mention of the 2008 Republican ticket can be found in the Bible, Genesis Book 4: 1-16. It is that ancient parable of Adam's unfortunate children, McCain and Unable. According to Old Testament lore, McCain eventually wearied of his sister Unable's stumbling interviews with Katie Couric, her ritual "You betchas," her illicit passion for a stud named Joe Six-Pack, her $150,000 shopping sprees, and particularly her maddening failure to pronounce the final "G" in all her gerunds. So he shipped her back to Wasili to shoot moose from a helicopter. The Lord said to McCain, "Where is your sister." "Beats me," McCain replied, "Am I my sister's keeper?" Then the Lord said, "What have you done? Erased her from the celebrity magazines, exiled her from Saturday Night Live, banished her from Nieman Marcus? So now you will be cursed with blindness and never again be able to see Russia from Alaska."

McCain answered the Lord, "My punishment is too great. I will hide myself from your presence and become a restless wanderer on the platforms of conventions and debates, hounded by pundits and moderators, wiggling my thumbs under Country First banners and smiling my toothy Charlie Chaplin smile. If I must wear the mark of McCain, I will also stamp it on the brow of my opponent---the stigma of terrorist, socialist, and vegetarian." But it was of no avail. Driven from the presence of the Lord and the cable networks, McCain spent a hundred years nodding in the land of Nod, East of Eden, sequestering himself south south west of any state with the slightest tinge of blue.

Another cogent literary allusion to the campaign can be found in that great Shakespearean masterwork The Tragedy of McCain, where the Candidate first appears on Fox News before three weird anorexic blonde anchors, Greta Van Sustren, Rita Cosby, and Anne Coulter. They chant in unison, "All Hail McCain, Thane of Arizona, that shall be President hereafter." All he must do is kill his mentor, George W. Bush, whose policies he did follow 90% of the time. Meeting his equally blonde and anorexic wife, McCain laments, "W. hath honored me of late, and I have bought/Golden opinions from all sort of people." But Lady McCain answers: "When you durst do it, then you were a maverick. Remember the Hanoi Hilton and screw your courage to the sticking point. Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I'd have done it myself." McCain collapses quickly: "Okay," he says, "I'll ambush Bush. False face must hide what the false heart doth know." Lady McCain is last seen sleepwalking, downing pain pills with a can of Anheuser, formerly called Anheuser-Buesch.

After erasing all emails from the President and burning all photo ops that reveal them hugging, McCain meets Obama on the battlefield and uses air quotes to inform him, "I am not George W. Bush." "That's right," replies Obama, "nor am I Saddam Hussein or William T. Ayers." When they finally straighten out their identities, mouth-to-mouth-combat ensues. McCain cries, "Lay on, Obama, and damned be he that first doth cry, 'Yo Mamma.'" Obama later appears with McCain's head on a pike, before unfurling his latest campaign slogans, "Barack to the Future. More Money to the Arts. More money for arts education. And damned be he who cries Enough." Flourish. Exeunt Omnes.