The Phony Campaign

2008-09-07 Update

Both major-party candidates got huge bumps from the conventions. But—heh—due to Phonyland's perverse dynamics, Obama's biggest rise came this week, after the GOP's convention, while McCain got a bigger increase after the Democrat's convention.

But there's plenty of phoniness to go around. Obama widened his slim lead slightly this week:

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"Barack Obama" phony920,000+107,000
"John McCain" phony872,000+83,000
"Bob Barr" phony13,400+200

  • Mickey Kaus points to a prime bit of phony rhetoric in McCain's acceptance speech:
    McCain would like everyone to think his campaign imploded last summer because of his courageous support for the surge in Iraq:

    I fought for the right strategy and more troops in Iraq, when it wasn't a popular thing to do. And when the pundits said my campaign was finished, I said I'd rather lose an election than see my country lose a war.

    --McCain's acceptance speech, 9/4/08
    This bit of history was repeated by the McCain campaign in at least one WaPo group interview I attended--suggesting it's an accepted talking point. It's also bogus. McCain's campaign imploded last summer because of his support for "comprehensive" immigration reform, including legalization of existing illegals (semi-amnesty).
    Good points, all: McCain's Iraq position wasn't particularly brave during primary season; Ron Paul had the pro-defeat vote all to himself at that time, and see what it got him: lots of hype, not too many votes.

    But McCain did have an arguably courageous position on immigration, and—gulp!—he decided he'd rather flip-flop on it than lose the nomination. He'd "learned a message" [sic] and pledged to "secure the border first."

    A few months back, Bryron York looked at this "flexibility" and wondered "which McCain is the real McCain?" Thanks for asking, Byron; the answer is: the phony one.

  • And this may be the first time Pun Salad has linked to Daily Kos but your blogger would be failing his phony duties if he didn't link the story of stock feelgood photos of black people used in the video introduction to McCain's acceptance speech.

    (Pun Salad speculates that the video also used stock feelgood photos of white people, but that's not a scandal to your average Kossite.)

  • Sarah Palin's VP nomination gave rise to a host of phony rumors. Remember all those Democrats tut-tutting about the "politics of personal destruction" and "Swiftboating"? Remember "fighting the smears"? (It seems like it was only a few months ago… oh, wait, it was.)

    If you bought that rhetoric, well, then, more fool you. It turns out that Democrats are positively entusiastic about trotting out slurs, innuendo, and lies about Caribou Barbie. Charles Martin is attempting to provide the definitive list of Sarah Palin rumors, so if you've gotten some scurrlious e-mail about Sarah's brats, tats, bikini pix, book-banning tricks, etc., check it out.

    Captain Ed makes a good point:

    Just spitballing here, but what stereotypes of naughty women have the media and the lunatics missed?  So far, they’ve made her out to be a slut, a b***h, a beauty-queen airhead, and an unfit mother. She’s obviously not frigid, so that smear won’t work. How many other demeaning gender-based slurs can they throw her way?
    I suspect you'll only need to turn on MSNBC or read the New York Times to find out.

  • And also check out Dean Barnett on tracing one of the smears. Andrew Sullivan seems to be the foremost propagator in this particular case, but it's only one example where he's eagerly and uncritically passed along a sewer-spawned rumor handed to him by people who would conveniently prefer to be anonymous. He's dragging down The Atlantic's journalistic standards to sub-tabloid levels. (More on Slimeball Sullivan from Ace and Patterico.)

Last Modified 2014-12-01 1:22 PM EST

Experimental Results


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

  • 1:40AM on TNT: Die Hard (Bruce Willis)
  • 6:30AM on TNT: Blood Work (Clint Eastwood)
  • 11:30AM on TNT: Air Force One (Harrison Ford)
  • 1:30PM on AMC: A Fistful of Dollars (Clint Eastwood)
  • 6:00PM on FX: Firewall (Harrison Ford)
  • 8:30PM on FX: I, Robot (Will Smith)

Ah, a full slate of manly action. But who doesn't have Die Hard memorized by now? "Hello, this is agent Johnson. … No, the other one."

Theory status: unrefuted for 29 consecutive weeks.