The Phony Campaign

2008-04-20 Update

The gap between Barack and Hillary shrinks whisker-thin, while McCain falls further behind:

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"Hillary Clinton" phony170,000-2,000
"Barack Obama" phony167,000+3,000
"John McCain" phony148,000-6,000

  • It's going badly for McCain when the phoniest thing attached to his campaign is the revelation that the "Cindy's Recipes" section of his website contained plagiarized recipes from the Food Network and Rachael Ray.

  • The Baltimore Sun's Paul West reports this as if it were new:
    Hillary Clinton says Barack Obama is "a good man, and I respect him greatly." But in her final push for Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary, Clinton is portraying her rival in a very different light: as a phony.

    She is blanketing the state with an ad attacking Obama's boast, delivered in one of his TV commercials, that he does not accept campaign contributions from oil companies.

    "No candidate does," Clinton's ad accurately points out, since corporate donations are against the law, and she goes on to list thousands of dollars in individual contributions to Obama from oil company executives.

    I'd say she's trying to paint him not so much as a "phony" but as a "liar". But that's just me.

  • But we're in pot-and-kettle mode, as described by Michael McAuliff of the New York Daily News:
    In the final weekend before the crucial Pennsylvania primary, Sen. Barack Obama double-punched Sen. Hillary Clinton Saturday, slamming her as untrustworthy while his campaign revived her phony tale of ducking sniper fire in Bosnia.

  • That's major-leage phoniness, and McCain is clearly playing Triple-A at best. Is there anything he can do to recover? Josh Brodesky of the Arizona Daily Star reports on a dim hope, the efforts of David Brock of Media Matters for America:
    There is a media love affair that has been going on for years," [Brock] said during a question-and-answer session Saturday with guests.

    "They accept his phony brand as a straight talker, a maverick, a moderate. That needs to be broken through."

    As reported by Newsmax, Brock is currently "spearheading an effort to launch a $40 million campaign to attack Republican John McCain in the months leading up to the November presidential election. But:
    The new group was formed after two earlier organizations, Fund for America and the Campaign to Defend America, failed to raise enough money to launch a full-scale attack on McCain.
    Apparently this organization will succeed due to the magic of David Brock. But PR-wise, Brock's got a way to go:
    But getting Brock to speak in an interview about the planned media campaign against McCain proved as challenging as bridging the gap between conservatives and liberals.

    "I am not going to talk about that today," he said. "That wasn't my subject today."

    He then walked away.

    Another, earlier attempt to speak with Brock was cut off when a woman approached him about her foundation possibly donating money to Media Matters.

    "I love foundations," Brock said, rocking back on his heels, before also walking away.

    For background on Brock's ability to judge others' phoniness, see the article "David Brock, Liar" by Timothy Noah at Slate, and "The Real David Brock by Christopher Hitchens at the Nation. (From the latter: "I would say without any hesitation that [Brock] is incapable of recognizing the truth, let alone of telling it.")

    Sigh. Bad luck for McCain, phony-wise.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 11:04 AM EDT

URLs du Jour


  • One of Pun Salad's solemn duties is to notify our readers of new web-available P. J. O'Rourke content. So check out his account of his trip to the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Sample:
    Carrier launches are astonishing events. The plane is moved to within what seems like a bowling alley's length of the bow. A blast shield larger than any government building driveway Khomeini-flipper rises behind the fighter jet, and the jet's twin engines are cranked to maximum thrust. A slot-car slot runs down the middle of the bowling alley. The powered-up jet is held at the end of its slot by a steel shear pin smaller than a V-8 can. When the shear pin shears the jet is unleashed and so is a steam catapult that hurls the plane down the slot, from 0 to 130 miles per hour in two seconds. And--if all goes well--the airplane is airborne. This is not a pilot taking off. This is a pilot as cat's eye marble pinched between boundless thumb and infinite forefinger of Heaven's own Wham-O slingshot.

  • Did you find yourself wondering why Easter and Passover were so out of step with each other this year? I did. If you're interested, the best summary I found was here. It's a lurid tale of lunar vs. solar calendars, antisemitism, the First Council of Nicea in 325, and the "blood-letting pagan Hilaria and Taurobolium festivals."

    A calculator for Easter and Passover dates is here, and goes into much detail about various Easter-dating schemes, almost certainly into the "more than you want to know" level.

  • I occasionally need to look at the writing of UNH students, and way too many of them could stand to read "10 flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid".

    Link is via Tom Smith, who has a few more of his own. I'll echo his closing paragraph:

    Please note well that all the mistakes in the post are deliberate, and have been committed so as not to create the impression of a pedantic attachment to the rules of usage.
    Please consider that disclaimer to apply to the entire Pun Salad corpus as well, especially if you type "hopefully" into the Google search box over there.

Last Modified 2021-05-10 1:43 PM EDT

Experimental Results


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

  • 9:00AM on FX: Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (Bruce Willis)
  • 7:30PM on AMC: Die Hard (Bruce Willis)
A little thin this week, but neverthess theory status: unrefuted for nine consecutive weeks.