The Phony Campaign

2008-08-24 Update

Wow! Everybody's up, way up, in the phony hit parade. Even Bob Barr. This might be a glitch, and we'll come crashing down again next week. Or the Web may be Wising Up.

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"Barack Obama" phony751,000+45,000
"John McCain" phony700,000+39,000
"Bob Barr" phony66,100+53,700

I've heard that Tropical Storm Phony will hit Denver this week, and is predicted to target Minneapolis soon after. There's no telling how that will impact the Phony Campaign, but this past week was impressive enough:

Rand Simberg pays attention to space policy, and examined the Obama campaign's latest iteration. He noted a report:
Lori Garver, an Obama policy adviser, said last week during a space debate in Colorado that Obama and his staff first thought that the push to go to the moon was "a Bush program and didn't make a lot of sense." But after hearing from people in both the space and education communities, "they recognized the importance of space." Now, she said, Obama truly supports space exploration as an issue and not just as a tool to win votes in Florida.
Rand asks:
I'm not sure that Lori helped the campaign here. What does that tell us about the quality and cynicism of policy making in the Obama camp? They opposed it before they were for it because it was George Bush's idea? And does that mean that space policy was just about votes in Florida before this new policy? I know that there are a lot of [Bush Derangement Syndrome] sufferers who oppose [Bush's Vision for Space Exploration] for this reason, and this reason alone, but it's a little disturbing that such (non)thinking was actually driving policy in a major presidential campaign.
When viewed through the lens of phoniness, everything looks a lot clearer.

Taranto took a hard look at one of Obama's answers to Rick Warren at Saddleback Church. Warren asked about "the most gut-wrenching decision you ever had to make", and Obama pointed to his "opposition to the war in Iraq".

Taranto quotes Obama's comments at the time: to put it mildly, they don't display any wrenching of the gut.

If Obama told Warren the truth about his own deliberations in 2002, then he misled the voters back then by concealing his sympathy for (notwithstanding his ultimate disagreement with) what he believed to be a politically expedient position. Perhaps a psychiatrist could offer some elaborate explanation of why he would do this, but Occam's razor suggests that what Obama is saying now is simply at variance with the truth.
Or, in our own language: massively phony.

AllahPundit digs deep into the legislative history of the Illinois anti-infanticide bill Obama fought against in 2003. It's an easy issue to obfuscate, and a considerable amount of Barackrobatics has been expended to do so. If you're interested you should read the whole thing, but AP's headline sums it up pretty well: "Obama camp: He only voted against that born-alive abortion bill because it might actually have an effect"

MichalW at QandO noted Obama's Saddleback Church assertion that America's "greatest moral failure" was its failure to abide by the Christian teaching "that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me."

Coincidentally, the Italian version of Vanity Fair discovered George Hussein Onyango Obama, Barack's half-brother, living in a Kenyan shack on (he claims) less than a dollar a month. Comments MichaelW:

Okay, let's see. Americans get lectured to about being stingy (which is false) by a man who hasn't done a damned thing for his own flesh and blood. Is this what hopey-changitude is all about? Mind-boggling hypocrisy and selfishness?
We've been watching this for quite awhile, and we'd have to answer: yeah, pretty much.

Obama's promise to announce his running mate via text message gave rise to (roughly) everyone receiving forgeries of the announcement. Among the amusing phony choices: Hillary Clinton, Michael Phelps, Walter Mondale, Eliot Spitzer, and Joe Biden.

Wait, … what?

As you may have heard, Politico caught McCain with a gotcha! question on how many houses he owned. Henry Payne points out the real phoniness on that issue.
As a senator who has embraced cap-and-trade, federal fuel mileage laws, and is fluent in green-speak (“Greenland is the most outstanding example of what’s been happening [due to global warming],” he told The Detroit News in a Dec. 2007 interview), McCain would demand huge sacrifices of the American economy even as he lives like a king.

Like any limousine liberal, McCain prefers the symbolic gesture to walking the walk. In our News interview, he was asked what kind of car he drove. As with Politico’s question about home ownership, he didn’t know and had to ask a nearby aide. “A Cadillac CTS,” she told him. But then the senator was quick to point out that he had bought his daughter a Prius — the prefect halo symbol for his green pretensions.

Obama made his choice for veep! Usually we fixate on the top of the ticket, but having Biden back in the news recalled Andrew Ferguson's mass review of candidates' books from last year, and its section on Biden's:
What does a discerning reader learn from Biden's book that we didn't already know? Perhaps not much, if you're a regular watcher of C-SPAN or a longtime resident of Delaware. But there is something unforgettable about watching the man emerge on the page. His legendary self-regard becomes more impressive when the reader sees it in typescript, undistracted by the smile and the hair plugs. Biden quotes at great length from letters of recommendation he received as a young man, when far-sighted professors wrote movingly of his "sharp and incisive intellect" and his "highly developed sense of responsibility." These qualities have proved to be more of a burden than you might think, Biden admits. "I've made life difficult for myself," he writes, "by putting intellectual consistency and personal principle above expediency."

Yes, many Biden fans might tag these as the greatest of his gifts. Biden himself isn't so sure. After a little hemming and hawing--is it his intelligence that he most admires, or his commitment to principle, or his insistence on calling 'em as he sees 'em, or what?--he decides that his greatest personal and political virtue is probably his integrity. Tough call. But his wife seems to agree. He recounts one difficult episode in which she said as much. "Of all the things to attack you on," she said, almost in tears. "Your integrity?"

There was apparently no effort to balance the Democratic ticket on the phoniness measure.

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

Experimental Results


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

  • 6:00AM on TNT: Deep Impact (Morgan Freeman)
  • 12:30PM on FX: Hollywood Homicide (Harrison Ford)

Slim pickings! I liked Hollywood Homicide for its "Hey! That's…" casting of Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson in small but pivotal roles.

Theory status: unrefuted for 27 consecutive weeks.

Last Modified 2016-07-15 8:29 AM EST