The Phony Campaign

2008-10-12 Update

McCain maintains a slimming lead over Obama:

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"John McCain" phony1,130,000-70,000
"Barack Obama" phony1,100,000-40,000
"Bob Barr" phony40,400-9,900

Some of the links behind all this phoniness:

  • Christopher Buckley (son of the late WFB, Jr.) announces his vote for Obama in an article at The Daily Beast. After declaring his previous admiration for McCain, he notes:
    But that was—sigh—then. John McCain has changed. He said, famously, apropos the Republican debacle post-1994, “We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us.” This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises, such as balancing the federal budget “by the end of my first term.” Who, really, believes that? Then there was the self-dramatizing and feckless suspension of his campaign over the financial crisis. His ninth-inning attack ads are mean-spirited and pointless. And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he have been thinking?
    Leave it to a Buckley to use an 11-letter word ("inauthentic") where a 5-letter word would do ("phony").

    But isn't Obama, in all his unalloyed leftiness, precisely the opposite of what a National Review writer would want?

    … President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. If he raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr.

  • Dafydd ab Hugh responded to Buckley's article. With respect to the paragraphs quoted above, he rebuts:
    So Obama is a "lefty," Buckley says, who has called for raising taxes, throwing up tariff walls, and opening the treasury of the Democratic Party to "bribe-money from the special interest groups" that he has railed against -- "disingenuously;" but worry not, because he doesn't really mean it and won't actually enact it. Its only purpose is to get him elected by promising everything. And after all, "Who, really, believes that?"

    But at least Obama is authentic.

    Right. For Buckley, the contest is between someone he thinks is phony, and someone he hopes is phony. Which reminds me …

  • Fun Free Google Fact: "the triumph of hope over experience" garners 32,700 hits, and if I were a betting man, I'd bet this number is about to go up, a lot.

  • But speaking of "authenticity", Melanie Phillips provides a good summary of Barackrobatics on the Ayers matter:
    Obama is twisting and turning over his relationship with unreprentant [sic] Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers, trying to pretend it didn’t amount to anything other than a chance acquaintance. But his story becomes ever more preposterous.
    Ms. Phillips can smell the "authenticity" all the way from England. You can tell, because the headline is "An absence of candour to believe in".

  • I was drawn to the headline in this article:
    Dion looks a doofus while Harper is Mr. Nasty
    What the… Oh. It's Canada. "Dion" is Stéphane Dion, Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in the Great White North, while "Harper" is Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of that same alleged nation.

    So why do they show up here, other than to illustrate that Canada has its own problems? Barbara Yaffe, the article's author, brings us in at the end:

    Bashing an opponent is the mother's milk of politics. American Democrats certainly have been trashing John McCain during the presidential campaign; but have you noticed?

    Whenever Barack Obama is personally asked about McCain, he takes the high road, exuding respect. It's as phony as a $2 bill, and it works.

    Numismatic note: Here in America, the two-dollar bill is not phony. But even in Canada, although two-dollar bills have long been withdrawn from circulation, they're not phony either.

  • Speaking of phony currency, it turns out that what America needs is an 18-cent piece, which would replace the dime. This would increase the efficiency of change-making, requiring an average of 3.89 coins in change per transaction, compared to 4.70 coins per transaction under the current system. Really.

    (Canada, on the other hand, needs an 83-cent piece. Where do Dion and Harper stand on this issue?)

  • An 18-cent piece would make this practice a lot easier:
    The Hebrew word for "life" is הי (chai), which has a numerical value of 18. Consequently, the custom has arisen in Jewish circles to give donations and monetary gifts in multiples of 18 as an expression of blessing for long life.

  • But what would we call this new coin? I would (based on the above) call it the chaim. Anyone who has seen Fiddler on the Roof knows how to pronounce it. And since it replaces the dime, existing song lyrics could be easily updated:
    Once I built a railroad, I made it run,
    Made it race against time.
    Once I built a railroad; now it's done.
    Brother, can you spare a chaim?

  • Do not, by the way, pronounce Hebrew-chai the same way as chai-as-in-tea. Or vice-versa. Either way, you'll sound like a rube trying to put on airs. Not that I would know that from personal experience or anything.

  • Whoa. How did I wind up talking about that? Oh, wait, let me check…. Yeah, I thought so:
    People who are depressed have trouble concentrating and find themselves struggling to think clearly. They will also have memory issues.
    So stay tuned for more of the same! Probably for years to come!

Last Modified 2014-12-01 1:20 PM EDT