Madonna's McCain Tantrum

So, just how much of a flop was it? Well, for those who didn't know or, for that matter, don't care that she was launching her "Sticky and Sweet" tour in the U.K. last night -- which, let's face it, is the majority of us -- Madge confirmed her musical irrelevance by drawing the spotlight not to her music but, rather, to the video montage playing behind her.

During the four-act show in Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, a video interlude showed images of destruction, global warming, Adolf Hitler, Zimbabwe's authoritarian President Robert Mugabe and -- you guessed it -- McCain.

In another sequence that was shown later, the images were meant to be positive. Madonna showed pics of slain Beatle John Lennon, former Vice President Al Gore, Mahatma Gandhi and presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

That's right: even though tens of thousands of Germans gathered to chant Obama's name in Tiergarten Park -- a site bisected by the Strasse des 17 Juni Boulevard that Hitler once dubbed the "East-West axis" and lined with Nazi flags -- it's McCain whom Madonna is likening to Hitler.

Not surprisingly, the Anti-Defamation League is not amused by the antics of the 50-year-old pop singer (or 36, if you believe her Kabbalah priests). In one of the more sane responses to the stunt, the ADL not only expressed outrage at Madge's disrespect for the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust but went further to point out:

Comparisons to Hitler have no place in a music concert, or in the presidential campaign.

Whatever Madonna's political or personal views, it is outrageous to invoke Nazi imagery in the context of John McCain's candidacy or to make a comment on American political leadership.

The McCain campaign, which has described the Material Girl's antics as "outrageous, unacceptable and crudely divisive all at the same time", also notes the desperation they signal.

"It clearly shows that when it comes to supporting Barack Obama, his fellow worldwide celebrities refuse to consider any smear or attack off limits," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said.

Perhaps the desperation is indeed deserved, as even rank-and-file Dems are suddenly re-thinking whether they'll support Obama on Election Day. As I've said at my own blog, in this longest-ever presidential campaign, the more voters learn about Obama the more skeletons they find in his closet. So maybe Madonna's little game will actually play into Republican hands by reinforcing McCain's message that Obama's "just another witless celebrity".

One thing that is evident about the timing of this whole debacle: just how far Madonna's career has "jumped the shark."

Apparently the aging singer has forgotten the lessons which the Dixie Chicks learned the hard way: they got sidelined by television networks, radio stations and even consumers who refused to support their use of a sound stage as a political pulpit, all of which was chronicled in the banned documentary Shut Up And Sing.

That's a piece of advice the aging singer might want to take to heart.