The Phony Campaign

2008-02-22 Update

Big changes as Obama springs into the lead in phony hits, as well as everywhere else:

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"Barack Obama" phony530,000+366,000
"Mike Huckabee" phony248,000+139,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony228,000+21,000
"John McCain" phony179,000+20,000

In phony-related campaign news:

  • We all know that candidate websites are kind of phony, but William Jackson of Government Computer News discovers that misspelling a URL can send web surfers into an entirely new realm of phoniness, as he reports on a recent talk given by Oliver Friedrichs, director of emerging technology at Symantec Security Response:
    Hundreds of Internet domains have been registered based on variations of legitimate campaign Web site domain names, creating the possibility of confusion, misinformation, illicit profit or hacking. They also could be used to intercept misdirected e-mail, Friedrichs said. "This is really scary."
    Scary, Oliver? I'll give you scary: President Hillary Clinton! Boo!

  • Why is Senator Obama riding so high all of a sudden? It could be just a glitch. Or more people might be feeling the same way as young Ben Shapiro:
    At no less than six of Obama's recent rallies, fans have reportedly fainted. Those incidents were caught on video or audio. In each, Obama -- who never even thinks to put down the microphone or ask a campaign aide to take care of the matter -- narrates to the crowd as medical volunteers show up to minister to the stricken. In two of the videos, he picks up a bottle of water and offers it to the poor, overcome admirers.

    I don't mean to suggest that all this is staged. I'm saying it straight out: It's staged. Obama is supposedly Mr. Authentic -- the man who naturally radiates charisma and magnetic charm. His pheromones are so powerful they strike unwitting audience members into a stupor. He's the Beatles. He's Elvis. More than anything, he's the new JFK, a young, vibrant leader who will lead America into a bright new future.


    A strong charge from Mr. Shapiro! Maybe the New York Times will put its crack investigatory team on it! Based on the Times' current practice, this should happen in 2016 or so.

  • Of course, there's the latest attempt from Hillary in last evening's debate to try to find some kind of Obama-bashing strategy that won't seem stupid or mean:
    She looked to score with a canned putdown of Obama when a question arose over whether Obama had too liberally borrowed others' words for his arena-packing speeches.

    "Lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in - it's change you can Xerox," zinged Clinton.

    Unfortunately for Senator Clinton, the Texas crowed booed this.

  • Also unfortunately for Senator Clinton, Daniel Drezner was listening to the debate, and he has a really good memory:
    Hillary Clinton, later on in the same debate: "You know, the hits I've taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country."

    Jack Stanton speech, in Primary Colors (New York: Random House, 1996), p. 162: "Y'know, I've taken some hits in this campaign. It hasn't been easy for me, or my family. It hasn't been fair, but it hasn't been anything compared to the hits a lot of you take every day."

    This turns out to have probably been further, um, borrowed, from Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign. Does that make it more phony, or less?

Last Modified 2014-12-01 10:16 AM EST

License to Wed

[Amazon Link] [1.5
stars] [IMDb Link]

I'm being very generous in awarding License to Wed the same number of stars as the number of times I laughed while watching. Half star because I was laughing at something else.

The idea is that Ben (played by John Krasinski from the sitcom The Office) and Sadie (Mandy Moore) are engaged, and she's got her heart set on getting married in her family's local church. But to accomplish this, they must first pass a marriage prep course from Hell, given by the church's unorthodox pastor, Reverend Frank, played by Robin Williams.

What's wrong with the movie? Just about everything, although I imagine it could have been worse if the cast were picked up off random Hollywood street corners. The characters aren't interesting, likeable, or believable. Nothing they do onscreen is character-driven, probably because they have no character. Given the premise, everything is predictable and unimaginative.

It got an 8% on the Tomatometer. I should have listened. The end credits include outtakes involving various cast members dissolving in fits of uncontrollable laughter, which probably means that everything not in the movie was funnier than what was left it. Ironic.

Here's a game for movie fans: what was the last non-animated Robin Williams movie you liked? IMDB makes it easy for you to check. For me, it was Jumanji.

Last Modified 2012-10-14 10:12 AM EST