Barack Obama and the Muslim Connection?

In the last several weeks, you may have heard or read those emails claiming that Barack Obama is a Muslim.  Although for most people, the truth has been set straight that Barack Obama is not a Muslim, the larger point often is missed, and like most points that are missed, it is the more important one.  To me, the fundamental question is not whether Obama is Muslim, but whether it should even matter to the American public that he is Muslim?

I’m sure some of the reasonable people out there are already answering that question with an answer that goes something like this, “Well, it goes to his character.  If he said he wasn’t Muslim but a Christian, but he really is a Muslim, you have to ask why he would lie like that?  I can’t trust someone like that.”

That’s a perfectly reasonable answer.  But I’m sure for the majority of those people who gave that answer, what response would you give if Barack always said he was a Muslim to begin with?  The answer would probably boil down to, “I like Barack and his policies but frankly, I just don’t trust the guy.  I can’t put a finger on it.”

Political correctness has just given us new codewords.  Discrimination is still discrimination though, even by another name.

The media, along with Obama’s supporters, have for the most part taken great strides in “debunking the myth” that Obama is a Muslim.  But they haven’t taken the next step, or even the a priori step, of contending why that question is flawed to begin with.  In an election of name calling, both Obama and McCain’s attempt to put the “Muslim question” into a nice, little soundbite is not so much an example of weak political will, but the failure of the United States to be truly an inclusive place for all.

It’s that whole idea, somehow, that being called a “Muslim,” or being associated with a “Muslim,” is akin to being on the side of a terrorist.  Of course, McCain doesn’t say this directly nor does Obama.  They are politicians, after all.  Of course, there are people out there — and I’m sure if you have a yahoo or google account, you surely have received these emails — arguing that there is a fundamental connection between Islam and terrorism, and that anyone who is a Muslim must be a terrorist by default.  

The question I ask is whether McCain and Obama’s actions have essentially extended this same message?  For McCain’s part, he doesn’t do enough to quell the members of the right who are constantly trying to paint Obama as a terrorist, with suggestions that he is, in fact, a Muslim.  McCain and Palin, for their part, discuss in the most ominous of ways, Obama’s “past” catching up to him and why no one should trust him.  For Obama’s part, he doesn’t do enough to raise the question to his constituents of why it is irrelevant what his religion is in determining whether he is “patriotic” enough to be president.  In the end, for both candidates, their claims that the U.S. is an inclusive country just rings hollow. 

After all, have you seen any of these candidates visiting a Mosque?  I haven’t.  I’m sure none of these candidates would want to be caught dead within 500 miles of one. 

Change we can believe in?  For whom?

Obama/Biden Proposal: Bankruptcy Courts to Re-Adjust Interest Rates? (Or is the Cram-Down Full of Crap?)

Unless you’ve been living in cave, then surely you’ve heard or felt the effects of America’s — and now, apparently, the world’s — financial crisis.  One of the issues is what to do with all the bad mortgages and those who are on the brink of foreclosure.  Last week, during the Biden/Palin debate, Biden provided an interesting answer:

“Number two, with regard to bankruptcy now, Gwen, what we should be doing now — and Barack Obama and I support it — we should be allowing bankruptcy courts to be able to re-adjust not just the interest rate you’re paying on your mortgage to be able to stay in your home, but be able to adjust the principal that you owe, the principal that you owe.”

Although to some pundits out there, this may seem like a completely radical idea — many will claim that a court doing anything resembling this is akin to socialism or communism — it’s not so out of left field.  What Biden, and by extension Obama, are talking about is essentially known as a “mortgage cram down.”  Yeah, it’s a pretty horrible name, but it essentially is a way to make mortgage payments more affordable once you declare bankruptcy.  In fact, Bankruptcy Law alreadly allows “lendees” an opportunity to “cram down” a second mortgage . . . but under limited circumstances. 

For instance, under 11 USC 1322(b)(2), a person filing bankruptcy under Chapter 13 may “modify the rights of holders of secured claims, other than a claim secured only by a security interest in real property that is the debtor’s principal residence, or of holders of unsecured claims, or leave unaffected the rights of holders of any class of claims.” Okay, what the hell does that mean in plain english?  It means a judge can’t “cram down” or modify your mortgage if it is already secured by your principal home.

Bottom line:  under the law as it stands, if you have a bad first mortgage, then you can’t get it crammed down.  if you have a bad second mortgage, then there’s the possibility that you can get it crammed down.  This law was written at some point in the 1970s.  If you read some of the legislative history behind this section (go to google), then you see that it was designed to encourage lenders to lend money to new home buyers.

So with all that in the landscape comes the Obama/Biden proposal, which has been, in one form or another, sloshing around in the Senate for several months now . . . before the financial crisis/monster became apparent to even those George Bush scientists.  Of course, banks hate the proposal or anything that would presumably alter a contract — under the theory that all the crammed down mortgages have to be paid by someone, so that someone is going to be us “Joe-Six Packs,” in the form of double digit interest rates, the end of 10% or less down payments, or really high closing costs.  According to the bank, they’re actually thinking of our best interests.  In the current landscape, this claim certainly rings a bit hollow.  Thanks Darth Vader for your words of encourgement, but if you don’t mind, I’ll be standing way over here.

But I digress.  Although certain Republicans — particularly ones who believe that every government intervention except for national security, military spending, and corporate welfare tax breaks is one step closer to a socialist and communist America — believe that the Obama/Biden is somehow some sweeping proposal is giving their proposal more credit and more expansiveness than is due.

I know certain economic theorists get in trouble for using rational actor theory but I’m going to do so here anyway to turn the whole thing on its head.  Let’s look at that 5% percent of the population, and even the ones that are near that group, who need some serious help on their mortgage (when I mean “serious help,” I mean those borrowers who are on the verge of foreclosure or who are already in foreclosure proceedings).  Contrary to what the banks are saying, do you think the majority of rational borrowers are conspiring in a secret basement room, trying to figure out how they can get their mortgage crammed down to match the decrease in the value of their home?  Jeez, most people have no idea what that means anyway.  Frankly, the average borrower just wants to make their damn mortgage payment.  The majority of homeowners are not first and foremost considering the amount owed . . . they are considering first and foremost their monthly payments.  That’s what a rational actor would do. 

When does the issue of how much a homeowner owes become central?  Well, I would imagine when a homeowner wants to sell their house or refinance.

In the end, if the Obama/Biden plan were to pass, I’m sure there’d be a segment of the population that might decide to muck around with the bankruptcy law for a cram down.  But that certainly doesn’t represent the majority of people who truly want to reduce their mortgage payments.  And, the fact is, the Obama/Biden plan doesn’t specifically address the main issue of what the average Mr. Joe Six Pack is dealing with:  PAYMENT!!

Finally, contrary to what the banks and alarmists are saying, the Obama/Biden proposal — in the context of a bankruptcy proceeding . . . some pundits are claiming that the cram down proposal applies to everyone and anyone — does not give a borrower a windfall, in the sense of paying a lower principal amount and keeping the profits.

“Poor Sarah” (Or How Judith Warner Type Reasoning Can Lead To Shocking Results Come November)

First, let me get this out of the way:  I will not be voting for McCain/Palin.  With that said, though, I almost feel compelled to write about NY Times Domestic Disturbances writer Judith Warner’s latest article, “Poor Sarah.”  I will quote it and the end of the post but you can find it here.

If you ever want to see an example of the elitist, snooty, out of touch reasoning of liberal democrats that republicans are so fond of labeling all democrats as, then you don’t have to go any farther than Judith Warner’s article.  Although a jaded mind may think that all articles from the NY Times are dripping with elitist, snooty, out of touch reasoning, I think Judith Warner’s piece takes the cake and then buys the bakery after.

Judith Warner’s article can boil down to pretty much three things.  Number 1:  Sarah Palin is like Elle Woods, the heroine in Legally Blonde.  Number 2:  Anyone who supports Sarah Palin, and particularly any woman who supports Sarah Palin, mistakenly sympathizes with Sarah Palin, much like a prisoner would in a Stockholm Syndrome type of situation.  Number 3:  And, anyone who supports Sarah Palin is an idiot, because Sarah Palin is both “incompetent” and an “insult” to every man and woman alive in America, and perhaps the rest of the world.

Warner’s article speaks for itself but I thought I’d spend a few lines with my comments.  Judith Warner’s article is an example of the shroud of ignorance that many democrats are still living in — even after the second George Bush win.  I’m sorry to break it to Judith, and perhaps to some liberal democrats who are laughing to themselves over a cup of latte and a scone (pronounced skahn, not scone), but not every women has been duped into supporting Palin for the wrong reasons (such as sympathy), and not every woman who was born on this earth — by both God given mental faculties and reason — is born a liberal democrat with liberal values. 

Warner doesn’t admit this in her article, but let’s put it this way: if Sarah Palin was fat and ugly, would she be compared to Elle Woods or some other type of ditz?  I’m not a woman, nor have I ever in this lifetime been a woman, but when Judith Warner wrote this article, is she reliving her high school memories of the pretty and popular “girl” who beat her in school elections and won the prom queen?  On a more fundamental and primal level, Warner’s article just sounds bitter against her because, well, Palin is where she is and Judith, is, well, where she is.

Apart from that, Warner’s article represents the view that liberal democrats are right and that anyone who disagrees with that view is simply stupid, backward, and idiotic.  It’s different than saying someone is wrong for supporting McCain/Palin.  There is a fine line between saying someone is wrong versus saying someone is stupid, backward, and idiotic.  Not only does the latter resort to ad hominum attacks which do nothing to actually create constructive dialogue, it’s just simply so, so, well, as Elle Woods might say, “so, oh my god, like that’s so high school.”

Here’s the article from the NY Times:

I spent the past week in New York, helping my mother recover from surgery. It was a new role for me, taking care of my mom. It must, I think, have been somewhat destabilizing. Perhaps when previously untapped wells of care-for-others are accessed, there’s no stopping the flow. Or perhaps it was just that, after five days locked in stare-downs with my mother’s cat, my eyes were playing tricks on me.

This may explain why, on Tuesday afternoon when I went to The Times Web site and saw the photo of Sarah Palin with Henry Kissinger, a funny thing happened. A wave of self-recognition and sympathy washed over me. That’s right — self-recognition and sympathy.Rising up from a source deep in my subconscious. I saw a woman fully aware that she was out of her league, scared out of her wits, hanging on for dear life. I saw this in the sag of her back in her serious black suit, in the position of her hands, crossed modestly atop her knees, and in that “Mad Men”-era updo, ever unchanging, like a good luck charm.  Why, all of a sudden, was I experiencing this upsurge of concern and kinship? I knew, on the one hand, that this new vision of Palin had to be a mirage. Only a few hours earlier, I’d nodded along knowingly as a band of old-school liberals, gathered in my mother’s apartment to cheer her through her convalescence, tore the Alaska governor apart.

“He’s probably the first Jew she’s ever met,” one older gentleman, who himself had grown up as one of the only Jews in pre-World-War-II Lincoln, Neb., said of her meeting with Kissinger.  “No, there was Joe Lieberman,” his wife reminded him, putting me in a mind of the comedian Sara Benincasa’s utterly hilarious Palin parody, as a chorus of “despicable” and “disgusting” filled the room. My friend Mary has long said that I have a tendency to develop a Stockholm-Syndrome-like empathy for the people I write about. But I don’t think that’s what was going on here. I think — before I blinked — I had an actual flash of insight. I think I finally stumbled upon a major piece of the puzzle of how it is that so many Republican women can so passionately claim that Sarah Palin is someone they relate to. (It’s worth noting that polls have definitively shown that John McCain’s Palin gambit has not paid off in attracting disgruntled Democratic women voters.)

That the women who agree with Palin would also like her is not surprising. But the whole business of relating? That has remained mysterious for me. What, I’ve wondered, could the kinds of suburban moms I met, for example, at the McCain-Palin rally in Virginia, some of them former professionals with just two children apiece, one a former grad student making links between Palintology and the work of Homi Bhabha, have in common with a moose-killing Alaska frontierswoman with her five kids, five colleges and pastoral protection from witchcraft?  I think I’ve seen it now. In her own folded hands, her hopeful, yet sinking posture, her eager-to-please look. Sarah Palin is their — dare I say our? — inner Elle Woods.

I had thought of Elle Woods, the heroine of the 2001 and 2003 “Legally Blonde” and “Legally Blonde 2” films, a great deal during the week that Palin became McCain’s running mate and made her appearance at the Republican National Convention. The thoughts didn’t actually originate with Palin; my daughter Julia had recently discovered the soundtrack of “Legally Blonde: the Musical” and then the movies that inspired the Broadway show.  Re-watching the movies with Julia, I’d been surprised at how time, and motherhood, had tempered my affection for Elle Woods — a frilly, frothy blonde who charms her way into Harvard Law School and takes the stodgy intellectual elitists there by storm with her Anygirl decency and non-snooty (and not-so-credible) native intelligence.

I’d found the “Legally Blonde” movies fun the first time around. Viewing them in the company of an enraptured 11-year-old, who’d declared Elle her new “role model” after months of dreaming of growing up to be a neuroscientist in a long braid and Birkenstocks, was another story. “You can’t,” I’d admonished Julia, “accomplish anything worthwhile in life just by being pretty and cute and clever. You have to do the work.” “It’s just fun, Mom,” she protested. Right. You don’t have to be perennially pretty in pink — and ditsy and cutesy and kinda maybe stupid — to have an inner Elle Woods. Many women do. I think of Elle every time I dress up my insecurities in a nice suit. So many of us today — balancing work and family, treading water financially — feel as if we’re in over our heads, getting by on appearances while quaking inside in anticipation of utter failure. Chick lit — think of Bridget Jones, always fumbling, never quite who she should be — and in particular the newer subgenre of mom lit are filled with this kind of sentiment.

You don’t have to be female to suffer from Impostor Syndrome either — I learned the phrase only recently from a male friend, who puts a darned good face forward. But I think that women today — and perhaps in particular those who once thought they could not only do it all but do it perfectly, with virtuosity — are unique in the extent to which they bond over their sense of imposture. I saw this feeling in Palin — in a flash, on that blue couch, catty-corner to Kissinger, as her eyes pleaded for clemency from the camera. I’ll bet you anything that her admirers — the ones whose hearts really and truly swell with a sense of kinship to her — see or sense it in her, too. They know she can’t possibly do it all — the kids, the special-needs baby, the big job, the big conversations with foreign leaders. And neither could they.

The “Legally Blonde” fairy tales spin around the idea that, because Elle believes in herself, she can do anything. Never mind the steps that she skips. Never mind the fact that — in the rarefied realms of Harvard Law and Washington policymaking — she isn’t the intellectual equal of her peers. Self-confidence conquers all! (“Of course she doesn’t have that,” said Laura Bush of Palin this week when asked if the vice presidential pick had sufficient foreign policy experience. “You know, that’s not been her role. But I think she is a very quick study.”) Real life is different, of course, from Hollywood fantasy. Incompetence has consequences, political and personal. Glorifying or glamorizing the sense of just not being up to the tasks of life has consequences, too. It means that any woman who exudes competence will necessarily be excluded from the circle of sisterhood. We can’t afford any more of that.

Frankly, I’ve come to think, post-Kissinger, post-Katie-Couric, that Palin’s nomination isn’t just an insult to the women (and men) of America. It’s an act of cruelty toward her as well.

Is Barack Obama the Anti-Christ?

Is Barack Obama the Anti-Christ?

When I first heard that question, I had to ask myself whether this was some kind of joke spread by a fundamentalist nutjob living in a basement full of the first-edition copies of the “Left Behind” series. It did not take long for me to realize that the question of whether Barack Obama is the anti-christ is a fully-fledged and debated topic for those who are bent on spreading the theory: certain evangelicals and christian conservatives. In a previous post, you may have seen how republicans, either by implicit agreement or straight out proclamation, have claimed that somehow God is on the side of John McCain and that anyone who doesn’t vote for John McCain is anti-christian.

The whole thing is rather scary — the reasoning that is. When you look at the “barack-obama-is-the-anti-christ-theory,” it is based on facts that are just patently untrue, most notably the claim that Obama is a Muslim. People actually believe in their heart of hearts that Obama is the anti-christ.  For his part, McCain hasn’t gone out and proclaimed, “Obama is the anti-christ!”, but at the same time, he hasn’t done anything to ease the flames of the right’s scare tactics that Obama is the anti-christ. McCain is certainly aware of fear tactics . . . he uses them anytime and anywhere he can (see Republican Convention).  After all, you may have seen a commercial last month from McCain that echoed many of the images and messages of the “Left Behind” series.  In the end, McCain is profiting from the mistruths that certain portions of the conservative right are spreading.

As I have previously mentioned in prior posts, the democrats should not underestimate these claims from the right. Yes, the claim that Barack Obama is the anti-christ is patently absurd — but it is a patently absurd belief that millions of Americans believe. Whether it is their racism by another name or just plain stupidity is really of no consequence in the end — the fact is they believe that Obama is the anti-christ in their heart of hearts and will vote for McCain.  Another four years of Bush and just general stupidity (see McCain’s interview on radio caracol on September 17, 2008) is something I think most Americans could do without.

The anti-christ claim is both an indictment on the clear racism that some portions of our society have against Obama as well as a call to action for Obama to start getting down and dirty and calling McCain out. It is clear that McCain and company have taken their gloves off; it’s time Obama and company to start doing the same.

Here’s an example of an email I received about Barack Obama being the anti-christ:

This will make you re-think : A Trivia question in Sunday School: How long is the beast allowed to have authority in Revelations? Guess the Answer? Revelations Chapter 13 tells us it is 42 months, and you know what that is. Almost a four year term to a Presidency. All I can say is Lord,  Have Mercy on us!!!!!! According to The Book of Revelations the anti-Christ is: The anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal….the  prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, will destroy everything. Is it OBAMA?? I STRONGLY URGE each one of you to post this as many times as you can! Each opportunity that you have to send it to a friend or media outlet…do it!  I refuse to take a chance on this unknown candidate who came out of nowhere. GOD BLESS AMERICA

Barack, Sarah, and the Bible?

Both democrats and the republicans, much like rabid commercial marketing executives, have worked hard to promote their tag line to the American Public.  For example, Barack Obama and company want to portray themselves as the party for all people and having a government with a common-sense foreign policy.  Vote for us because we can turn the economy around and make our country safer. For John McCain and company, they want to portray themselves as the party that is the most tough on national security and the best able to get the economy to turn around.  Vote for us because we can really turn the economy around and we’ll fight our enemies wherever and whenever. 

Both the democrats and republicans fight hard to ensure they have the right ‘tagline’ in twenty words or less.  After all, voters do not have high attention spans.  Why encumber them with substance?

But for democrats, there’s one main issue that the republicans have done extremely well in monopolizing:  God.  I’m not saying the republicans are heartless opportunists, but let’s face it. . .  What better tag line can you have when you have God in it?  Here’s a simple tag line that the republicans have done extremely well to convey to the American people (and, unfortunately, I’m not talking about those people on the coasts):  God doesn’t want you to vote for Barack Obama.  In fact, the tag line also goes on to say:  If you vote for Barack Obama, then you are not Christian.

Jeez, how can you disagree with that?  Some democrats will think that people who believe this are simple minded or peons.  I think most democrats didn’t realize how truly ridiculous this notion was until the last election.  Fine, you may think the God question is only for God-fearing people but . . . but wait, there are millions of God-fearing people in the U.S.!  How can democrats publically attack this as being backward?  And, more importantly, how can democrats ignore the God tag line as something only the fringe would agree to? 

Attention to democrats, attention to democrats:  better look again who your “fringe” is.  Think red states.

Here’s an example of something I found from myinjesus.com, an online christian community newsletter. This is a newsletter I received from Jim:  

Barack Hussein Obama has taken the nation by storm. From obscurity, with zero executive experience, or much of any kind, he has vaulted into the position of Presidential frontrunner. It is stunning. On the surface, it appears attributable only to his eloquent oratory and his race. But an invisible factor may be a strong spiritual force behind him, causing some people to actually swoon in his presence.

I have been very concerned that he has publicly said that he does not believe Jesus is the only way to heaven. This makes both the Bible and Jesus a liar, and it means that Christ has died in vain. A person cannot be a true Christian who believes that there are other ways of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life with God. Only Jesus has paid the price for that.

Therefore, there is, indeed, another spirit involved. And this spirit has come into our national life like a flood. Last week at Obama’s acceptance speech, that spirit exalted itself in front of a Greek temple-like stage, and to a huge audience like in a Roman arena. Obama was portrayed as god-like. His voice thundered as a god’s voice.

At the end, Democratic sympathizer Pastor Joel Hunter gave the benediction and shockingly invited everyone to close the prayer to their own (false) gods. This was surely an abomination, but it was compatible with Obama’s expressed theology, and Hunter’s leftist leanings.

God was not pleased.

And God says, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him”(Isaiah 59:19).

Enter Governor Sarah Palin. With incredible timing, the very next day, Sarah Palin also appeared out of nowhere. Her shocking selection as John McCain’s running mate stunned the world and suddenly took all the wind out of Obama’s sails. We quickly learned that Sarah is a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian, attends church, and has been a ministry worker.

Sarah is that standard God has raised up to stop the flood. She has the anointing. You can tell by how the dogs are already viciously attacking her. But they will not be successful. She knows the One she serves and will not be intimidated. Back in the 1980s, I sensed that Israel’s little-known Benjamin Netanyahu was chosen by God for an important end-time role. I still believe that. I now have that same sense about Sarah Palin. Today I did some checking and discovered that both her first and last names are biblical words, one in Hebrew the other in Greek:

Sarah. Wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. In Hebrew, Sarah means “noble woman” (Strong’s 8283). Palin. In Greek, the word means “renewal.” (Strong’s 3825). A friend said he believes that Sarah Palin is a Deborah. Of Deborah, Smith’s Bible Dictionary says,”A prophetess who judged Israel…. She was not so much a judge as one gifted with prophetic command…. and by virtue of her inspiration ‘a mother in Israel.'”

Only God knows the future and how she may be used by Him, but may this noble woman serve to bring renewal in the land, and inspiration.

Jim

John McCain, the Republicans, and the Diseased Elephant in the Room

If I had to sum up the message from the Republican Convention, then I would sum it up like this:  the Republicans — unlike those Democrats — do not represent the elite, are first and foremost for the country, believe in smaller government and less taxes, support less spending, and were not the party of President George W. Bush.  

I wish I had known this before.  This makes my decision so much easier after learning these facts, particularly the one about President George W. Bush not being part of the Republican Party.  Whew. 

I also didn’t realize that democrats represented the elite and that the republicans represented the poor man.  I guess it makes sense, then, that the republicans want more tax cuts for corporations and the uber-rich.  Why should the middle-class get tax cuts?  Everyone knows that if you give tax cuts to corporations, especially those corporations who export U.S. jobs to foreign countries, and to people who make over $250,000 a year, then eventually the benefits of those tax cuts will trickle down to the middle-class.  After all, this trickle down type of economic policy has been working like a charm in the last eight years.  We should keep doing that!!  I mean, it’s not like we have a big deficit, our unemployment rate has not increased, and we have a very robust housing market with minimal foreclosures.  And, just take a look at our rising stock and bond markets.  Anyone who says we’re not better off than we were eight years ago has their heads in the sand!  If you don’t believe me, just look at your 401(K) statements! 

I also didn’t realize that republicans are the party whose primary interest is the U-nited States of America, as opposed to the democrats, who, as I now realize, are probably aligned with terrorists, such as Al-Queda.  I now know that those country-hating democrats are against the torture of terrorists, extraordinary rendition, and anything else that would give ‘due process’ to anyone, citizen or not, who is suspected of terrorism.  It’s not like our country was founded upon the principle of ‘due process’!  I think that term was invented by judges, all of whom are just trying to legislate from the bench.  I also didn’t realize that republicans are the party that want to reduce the size of government.  This is good news, because our president for the last eight years has increased it.  It just keeps getting better for the republicans!  

I guess it’s a good thing that President George W. Bush is not from the Republican party.  When I watched the convention on television, he wasn’t even there and those Republicans didn’t even mention his name.  I don’t even get what those Obama commercials are saying that McCain and President George W. Bush are the “same.”  That’s just ridiculous.  They are not even from the same party!  And, as everyone surely must know, the Republicans have absolutely nothing to do with keeping that President George W. Bush in office the last eight years. 

Wow.  What an epiphany.  You know where my vote is going come November!

USA!  USA!  USA!  USA!  USA!

The Top Five Running Mates for John McCain

Unless you’ve been living in a shoebox, the press has been in full force trying to predict who John McCain will choose as his running mate. It seems that the top “predictions” so far are (in no particular order): Tim Pawlenty, Charlie Crist, Mitt Romney, Mark Sanford, Tom Ridge, Mike Huckabee, Rob Portman and Condi Rice.  I’m not going to spend this post here analyzing these top press “predictions.”  Instead, I will make my own predictions on who the Top Five best running mates for John McCain should be.

The choice of running mate is viewed by many pundits as extremely important for McCain.  As the New York Times remarked yesterday, “The choice of a running mate is always important, but it may be particularly so in Mr. McCain’s case, given that, at 71, he is seeking to become the oldest candidate ever elected to a first term as president.”  I have taken this piece of advice from the New York Times to heart when I formulated my Top Five List.  After hours of exhaustive research and an analysis of several key data indices, I arrived with this:

Mr. Cheeseburger 9000’s Top Five Running Mates for John McCain

1) Zakk Wylde: As you all know, Zakk Wylde is a bad ass guitarist, known for his virtuoso skills, such as speed picking and blazing up and down a pentatonic scale like there’s no tomorrow on his custom Les Pauls.  He is a guitarist for the one and only Ozzy Osbourne and also the lead singer and guitarist for Black Label Society. 

Mr. Wylde, depending on who you ask, is either 38 years old or 41 years old.  Whatever the discrepancy, it makes no difference.  zakk.jpgMr. Wylde will bring youthful energy to his campaign and have the ability to draw large crowds.  He will vitalize the soccer moms and the NASCAR dads with his long hair, big beard, muscular arms and a “take no prisoners” attitude.  This is just what McCain needs to solidify his base and to steal votes from the Democrats.  And that whole thing about “alienating” conservatives.  Well, McCain doesn’t have to worry.  Who are the conservatives going to vote for, anyway?  Hillary Clinton? Obama?    

2) Cristiano Ronaldo:  Cristiano Ronaldo is easily one of the top five soccer players in the world right now.  He plays for the always entertaining Manchester United and the Portuguese National Team.

At only 23 years old, Mr. Ronaldo will bring massive youth and energy to McCain’s campaign.  ronaldo.jpgHe is a certified star in one of the world’s most popular sports and that fact should not be overlooked.  Further, it can’t be ignored that Mr. Ronaldo was not hit with the ugly stick, so he will likely galvanize the entire female population of the United States to vote for a McCain/Ronaldo ticket.  Some of you may be asking, “Well, Mr. Ronaldo wasn’t born in the U.S., so he can’t run.”  Well, I say, neither was John McCain, but that’s not stopping him, right?

3) Beyonce Knowles:  Okay, if you don’t know who Beyonce Knowles is, then what do you really know?  And that’s precisely the point and underlying message of why Beyonce should be McCain’s running mate.  She’s young and talented.  She has a good business sense.  She’s connected to many important people in the R & B and Hip-Hop industry. 

The press has spurned all this talk about having Condi Rice as the running mate, as Rice is “female,” “a minority,” and “has a high position in government.”  beyonce.jpgBut let’s take a closer look at Beyonce.  Beyonce, like Condi, is “female” and “a minority,” and most importantly, unlike Condi, Beyonce “has a high position in the music industry.”  She was also born in Texas, so Beyonce has a southern connection.  While it is true that Beyonce was not the Secretary of State, Beyonce does not have the baggage that goes along with having that kind of position or responsibility. In the end, there really is no difference between Beyonce and Condi except that Ms. Knowles can galvanize the entire male population to vote for McCain and she can sing and design clothes well, too.  These facts tip in the balance of Beyonce for Vice-President.

4) Tomoji Tanabe:  At 112 years old, Mr. Tanabe, a former civil engineer, is the world’s oldest living person.  He currently lives in Japan, because, well, he is Japanese.  Mr. Tanabe will certainly be an asset for Mr. McCain for two main reasons.  First, his very age will make McCain look like a teenager.  tanabe.jpgA large percentage of Americans, who are so full of sugar and the Fox News Channel, will not even realize that McCain is so old when he stands next to Mr. Tanabe.  Second, Mr. Tanabe will galvanize McCain’s mysterious and often times elusive “conservative base.”  Mr. Tanabe neither drinks nor smokes and thus these “social values” will relate well to conservatives, particularly the ones that want the government to build a huge electrically-charged wall/fence separating the U-nited states from Mexico.  After all, everyone knows that only Democrats drink and smoke.  And, finally, even though Mr. Tanabe was not born in the United States, neither was John McCain. 

5)  Simba:  For all of you who don’t know, Simba is the King of the Pride Lands.  Two full-length documentaries of his rise from cub to King Lion were captured in the critically acclaimed “The Lion King” and “The Lion King 2:  Simba’s Pride.”  simba.jpgCertainly, Simba’s legendary status can only help McCain’s bid for the President.  Simba has strength.  Simba has virility.  Simba is a leader.  All these are qualities that McCain must associate himself with.  He can do that easily with Simba by his side.  Moreover, everyone, from liberals to conservatives, would be comfortable with Simba running the U.S., since he did an extremely good job with the Pride Lands.  And, he’s a Lion, which everyone knows has a wide support base.