The Phony Campaign

2008-08-03 Update

No real surprises, as the phony hits continue to increase for both major party candidates, with Obama padding his lead, and Bob Barr keepin' it (relatively) real:

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"Barack Obama" phony714,000+38,000
"John McCain" phony645,000+13,000
"Bob Barr" phony12,400-500

And it's been a huge week, phonywise:

  • Barackrobatics I:

    1. Wednesday: Obama saith:

      And so the only way they figure they’re going to win this election is if they make you scared of me. So what they’re saying is, ‘Well, we know we’re not very good but you can’t risk electing Obama. You know, he’s new, he’s... doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency, you know, he’s got a, he’s got a funny name.

    2. Thursday: are we saying that McCain is going to appeal to racism? Oh, of course not!

      Not so, Obama's campaign said, explaining that Obama was referring only to being new to Washington politics.

      "Barack Obama in no way believes that the McCain campaign is using race as an issue, but he does believe they're using the same old low-road politics to distract voters from the real issues in this campaign, and those are the issues he'll continue to talk about," Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said.

    3. Friday: Playing the race card? No way!

      "I was in union, Missouri which is 98 percent white - a rural, conservative. and what I said was what I think everybody knows, which is that I don't look like I came out of central casting when it comes to presidential candidates. … There was nobody there who thought at all that I was trying to inject race in this."

    4. The same day: oh, yeah, I guess he was referring to his race:

      Sen. Barack Obama's chief strategist conceded that the Democratic presidential candidate was referring to his race when he said Republicans were trying to scare voters by suggesting Obama "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

    5. Saturday: Oh, yeah, I guess I was referring to my race:

      But Obama also admitted that, despite what Obama senior adviser Robert Gibbs told reporters, there was a racial dimension to his Missouri remarks in which he said McCain and the Republicans would make an issue of the fact that he doesn't look like presidents who have been on the dollar bills.

      "I don’t think it’s accurate to say that my comments have nothing to do with race," Obama said. "

    Impressive phoniness! (Most of those links, by the way, were from Betsy's Page. She is awesome.)

  • Barackrobatics II:

    1. A couple weeks back: Obama: Drilling would "merely prolong ..failed energy policies"

      "If offshore drilling would provide short-term relief at the pump or a long-term strategy for energy independence, it would be worthy of our consideration, regardless of the risks. But most experts, even within the Bush administration, concede it would do neither. It would merely prolong the failed energy policies we have seen from Washington for 30 years. …"

    2. Friday: Obama would consider off-shore drilling as part of comprehensive energy plan.

      U.S. Sen. Barack Obama said today he would be willing to open Florida's coast for more oil drilling if it meant winning approval for broad energy changes.

      "My interest is in making sure we've got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices," Obama said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

    3. Saturday: Marc Ambinder hurries to calm the disquiet among the environmentalist mob:

      This strikes me as less of a shift and more as a gesture of sorts …

    I believe Ambinder has it right: specifically, it's a head-fake, a move Obama has down cold. Obama needs to appear "reasonable" on the issue (distinguishing and distancing himself—for now—from Congressional Democrats) for the election; once he's in, the "gesture" can be conveniently shuffled into oblivion.

  • Barackrobatics III: The MinuteMan analyzes Obama on the hot topic of affirmative action.

    Rachel Swarns of the Times delivers a comedy classic in trying to whitewash cover Obama's evolving views on affirmative action.  Over the past twenty years Obama has been all over the map, which is fair enough - people ought to be allowed to change their thinking as they accumulate new experiences and encounter new ideas.  However, as the Times reporting makes clear, most of Obama's new thinking seems to be about how best to position himself politically on this topic.

    The Times story notes that Obama declined to comment for the article; MM observes: "Obama is so eager for a national conversation on affirmative action that he won't talk to the Times about it, but we can look to the day when he shines his light into the darkness of America's soul."

  • In our semi-continuing feature: "Obamafuscation" continues to out-googlehit our word "Barackrobatics" by 1110 to 4. Come on, readers, we can do better! Put it on your web pages, put it into your e-mail, work it into your everyday banter!

Last Modified 2014-12-01 10:50 AM EDT

Obama's "Emergency" Economic Plan

I, like Mike Allen of Politico can't resist putting the snark-quotes around "Emergency" when typing about the latest proposal from Barack Obama. (My guess is the "emergency" here is McCain closing the gap in polls at a time when Obama expected to be pulling away.) The key provision would:

… give families a stimulus check of $1,000 each, funded in part by what his presidential campaign calls “windfall profits from Big Oil.”
Shorter: vote for me, I'll give you money.

Reactions are varied. Pejman headlines his discussion: "Worst. Economic. Plan. Ever?" On the other hand, IBD says it sounds "more like the rantings of an extremist fringe candidate than a serious contender for the presidency."

But my favorite quote on the scheme comes from Don Boudreaux:

In other words, a critical part of Sen. Obama's strategy for reigning in high gasoline prices is to subsidize gasoline consumption and more heavily tax its production. This plan - which increases the demand for gasoline and reduces its supply - makes as much sense as trying to put out a fire by dowsing it with jet fuel.
John McCain and Hillary Clinton came in for a decent amount of derision for proposing a Federal gas tax moratorium, which approximately 100% of economists considered to a dumb idea. It strikes me that Obama's plan is an even more economically illiterate boob-bait gimmick, so I wonder if Obama will be held to the same standard of scrutiny? Isn't it pretty to think so?

Last Modified 2008-09-12 10:44 AM EDT

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)
stars] [IMDb Link]

I confess: I laughed quite a bit at this sequel to Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. It suffers a bit from sequelitis, where the themes and gimmicks from the first movie are recycled and cranked up to 11.

It starts out the morning after the events of the previous movie; the boys decide to take off to Amsterdam in pursuit of Harold's true love. Unfortunately, they are quickly mistaken for terrorists, and immediately shipped off to the site mentioned in the title. What follows is the escape mentioned in the title, and a desperate attempt to clear their names, complicated (as in the previous movie) by the people they enlist to aid them. Including (as in the previous movie) Neil Patrick Harris, playing a demented, very heterosexual, version of himself.

The MPAA R-rated the theatrical release for "strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language and drug use." The unrated DVD version, I assume, ramps all that up a couple notches, especially the crude.

IMDB moment: That was Beverly D'Angelo? Mrs. Clark Griswold? Geez, I'm old.

Last Modified 2024-02-01 5:22 AM EDT

Experimental Results


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

  • 12:00AM on USA: Mercury Rising (Bruce Willis)
  • 1:00AM on SPIKE: Pulp Fiction (Bruce Willis)
  • 9:30AM on FX: High Crimes (Morgan Freeman)

Even though you have to get up early for 'em: Unrefuted for the past 24 weeks.