What's Wrong with Celebrity?

The term is being used as an insult. But there are worse things for a leader to be

Callie Shell for TIME

"He's the biggest celebrity in the world." As a political insult, it would seem to be on the order of charging, "Damn, my opponent is good-looking!" Yet since John McCain's infamous Barack Obama/Paris Hilton/Britney Spears ad, his campaign has hammered on the celebrity tag, to the chagrin of Democrats and editorialists who have condemned it for taking the low road.

Except: "He's the biggest celebrity in the world" is more or less the message of the Obama campaign too. Obama, after all, is the one giving his convention speech in Denver on Aug. 28 in a 76,000-seat stadium, a venue that...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!