The Phony Campaign

2008-03-09 Update

We don't have Mike Huckabee to kick around anymore. How are the other phonies doing?

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"Hillary Clinton" phony239,000+3,000
"John McCain" phony206,000+13,000
"Barack Obama" phony205,000-2,000

Hitting the past week's high points:

  • Since Obama is leading in delegate count, and McCain has sewn up the GOP nominiation, it's very encouraging to see this opening in a recent New Republic article by Michael Crowley:
    Though they differ in many ways, John McCain and Barack Obama have one thing in common: Each sees the other as a posturing phony.
    To which we say: no need to quarrel about that, boys. You can both be right.

  • Ed Whelan pens a scary summary of Obama's judicial philosphy. He finds it to be a "prescription for lawless judicial activism". He details Obama's "gross misrepresentations" and reckless allegations about Circuit Judge nominee Leslie Southwick in 2007. He reads Obama's campaign book and finds it "unctuous," cloaking "extreme positions in sweet-sounding rhetoric." And more. Whelan's conclusion:
    In the end, an examination of Obama's record and rhetoric discloses the stuff he is made of--his own constitution. Beneath the congeniality and charisma lies a leftist partisan who will readily resort to sly deceptions to advance his agenda of liberal judicial activism.
    Other than that, though, he's fine.

  • We won't even discuss Obama's ongoing advisor problems.

  • Virginia Postrel is back, after some health-related downtime, but absence has not made her heart grow fonder for McCain. She quotes extensively (and, for any conservative Republican, painfully) from last month's Chait article. Her supplementary comments:
    McCain is an instinctive regulator who considers business a base pursuit. It doesn't help that the senator's personal connections with commerce are largely limited to a highly protected local industry (distributing beer) and outright corruption (the Charles Keating scandal). And he's every bit as moralistic as Hillary Clinton, our would-be national nanny. His first response to something he doesn't like--particularly something commercial he doesn't like--is to ban it.

  • Virginia also quotes from a TNR blog entry from Richard Stern, who finds major phoniness in Hillary's, uh, adaptive speech patterns:
    Why isn’t it noticed, or, if noticed, not commented upon? At least in her Ohio and Texas talks, Hillary Clinton drops the final "G" from the "ing" words (participles, gerunds)--an annoyance, especially to those who’ve heard her talking to other people and groups where not one "G" is dropped and she sounds like the young woman who gave a famous Wellesley College commencement address, was one of America’s 100 most successful lawyers, was first lady of Arkansas and the United States, and has been a successful U.S. senator from New York State for eight years.
    Now, Virginia finds this less than persuasive:
    I am not a Hillary fan, but attacking her for dropping her final g's is culturally moronic. Picking up local accents, especially ones you've spent most of your adult life around, is not a sign of "dumbing down" your speech to pander. It's only natural to speak like those around you, and there's nothing particularly ignorant-sounding about an American dropping g's. Would you attack the junior senator from New York if she used an occasional (and equally non-standard) Yiddishism? The poor woman is stuck with that horrible Midwestern screech. Cut her some slack for softening it with a little bit of drawl.
    Virginia uses herself as an example, since in her native speech she claims to sound "like a country music singer."

    I sympathize too. When I go back to visit my Midwest relatives, I start sounding like a character from Fargo, myself. Still, this is a rare instance where I'm in disagreement with Virginia.

    Why? Because Hillary's a phony.

Last Modified 2014-07-06 11:06 PM EDT

Experimental Results


This week's test of the Sunday Basic Cable Movie Actor Theory:

  • 1am on A&E: Die Hard With a Vengeance (Bruce Willis)
  • 1pm on TNT: Air Force One (Harrison Ford)
Theory status: so far unrefuted.