The Phony Campaign

2008-06-15 Update

The big mover this week has been Mr. Barr, but he's still got a long way to go to be competitive.

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"Barack Obama" phony219,000-1,000
"John McCain" phony196,000+1,000
"Bob Barr" phony60,000+20,600

So let me rant about something else: I try not to get all hot and bothered by the antics of the MSM, but ABC News has managed to look phonier than the candidates this week. There's a story up today by John Hendren headlined "Michelle Obama in for 'Very Ugly Stuff'". It begins:

Like Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton before her, Michelle Obama is becoming the would-be first lady conservatives love to hate.
The point ABC wants you to get here: conservatives are haters. Always have been.
The conservative National Review recently showed a stern-faced Michelle Obama on its cover, under the headline, "Mrs. Grievance."

NR Cover

Over, under, details, details.

The National Review story is from Mark Steyn. Steyn is a merciless satirist, and Mrs. Obama gave him enough material for a pretty good article (full article for NR subscribers only). He's not a hater.

The Tennessee Republican Party questioned her patriotism.
We'll get to the Tennessee GOP below.
Michelle Obama has become a favorite target for critics, drawing many to compare her arrival on the national stage to Hillary Clinton's after she infuriated conservatives when she said, "I could have stayed home and baked cookies."
Yes, there are those nasty conservative haters again, this time they're "infuriated."
It's likely to get worse.
"Those nasty infuriated conservative haters are likely to make things worse."
"It's going to be very ugly stuff," Democratic strategist Tad Devine said. "They're going to try to depict her as someone who is angry, outside the mainstream and not proud to be an American."
Yes, ABC News used the verbatim words of a "Democratic strategist" in its headline.
How did a 44-year-old Harvard Law School graduate become so demonized? One reason is the increasingly viral quality of the Internet.
If you're keeping score, ABC's picture so far is: infuriated conservative haters, generating demonizing ugly stuff.
"In an environment now that is increasingly polarizing and nasty, charges can be made, often unsubstantiated charges through the Web," said Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report. "We're in an environment now where being a first lady is a lot tougher job than it used to be."
That's probably true, although the unwary reader might miss that Rothenberg's even-handed quote doesn't substantiate the article's one-sided thesis. You will not learn from ABC about the current lefty effort to reanimate relatively ancient (but true) charges about Cindy McCain. That would cloud the story of hateful conservatives vs. innocent Michelle Obama.
Google "Michelle Obama" and the term "whitey" and you'll find conservative bloggers claiming a video shows her using the racially tinged term at Trinity Church. No tape has ever surfaced. But the claim helped prompt the Obama campaign to launch its own Web site,
Well, go ahead: Google it yourself or click right here. What you'll find is some conservative bloggers repeating the rumor, with varying degrees of skepticism; but you'll also find that just about the only person actually claiming the video exists is Larry Johnson, fervent Hillary supporter. A lot of the links to "conservatives" (for example, Michelle Malkin, Charles Johnson, or Geraghty's Campaign Spot at that hateful National Review), instead of giving credence to the story, deem Larry Johnson to be an extremely dubious source.

But that would complicate ABC's neat little smear against conservatives.

Much of the criticism stems from Michelle Obama's artless statement early in the campaign that, "For the first time in my adult lifetime I'm really proud of my country."

The campaign immediately clarified that to say that she meant she was prouder than ever. And she was defended on "Good Morning America" by first lady Laura Bush, who said, "I think she probably meant 'I'm more proud,' you know, is what she really meant."

Mrs. Bush is a very, very, charitable woman. But Mrs. Obama used the "artless" phrase a couple times, not something one does if one "really" means something else entirely:

But the statement was lampooned in a Tennessee GOP advertisement that juxtaposed her statement with those of supposedly ordinary citizens, one of whom played pool in a room lined with rifles who said, "I've always been proud to be an American."
Love that "supposedly". Hey, this is the web, judge for yourself:

Even John McCain, who was himself the target of a malicious smear campaign in the 2000 primary that claimed he had fathered an illegitimate child, when asked about attacks on her, said, "I've never met her, Mrs. Obama, she's a talented and a very effective person."
Gosh. Even John McCain.
On "Good Morning America" recently, candidate Obama offered this warning: "These folks should lay off my wife, all right?"

The candidate was expected to offer a very different view of his wife, and his family, in a Father's Day speech in Chicago today, with wife Michelle at his side.

Bottom line: unsurprisingly, Obama would like to use his wife as a prop/surrogate in his campaign while giving her a free pass against any sort of critical examination. Instead of treating this as an issue on which reasonable people can differ, ABC "News" puts itself firmly into "Obama lapdog" mode: it's Barack and Michelle against the "very ugly" stuff peddled by the infuriated, demonizing, malicious conservative haters.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 11:00 AM EDT

Experimental Results


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

  • 12:00AM on A&E: Die Hard (Bruce Willis)
  • 2:30PM on AMC: Firefox (Clint Eastwood)
  • 5:30PM on AMC: Hang 'em High (Clint Eastwood)
  • 6:11PM on USA: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Harrison Ford)
  • 8:00PM on AMC: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Clint Eastwood)

Theory status: unrefuted for seventeen consecutive weeks.