The Phony Campaign

2008-10-19 Update

Neck-and-neck phoniness continues this week:

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"John McCain" phony1,140,000+10,000
"Barack Obama" phony1,110,000+10,000
"Bob Barr" phony39,700-700

To paraphrase John 21:25: "And there are also many other phony things which the candidates did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the blogs that should be written. Amen."

In other words: it's been a target-rich environment for taking potshots at the phony this week, and we want to keep this to a reasonable length; we're only hitting the high points. With that understanding:

  • On Sunday last, Gateway Pundit noticed the Obama campaign's "Fight the Smears" website had to drop one of its smear-fighting points into the memory hole, when the particular fought-against "smear" turned out to be, oops, true.

    (Is it time for a "Fight the 'Fight the Smears Website' Website"? Maybe!)

  • On Monday, James Taranto noted a Chicago Tribune column by John Kass, who made the point about Obama's buddy Bill Ayers:

    Ayers is a terrorist—the narcissistic son of privilege and clout—whose father, Thomas, was the boss of Commonwealth Edison and a friend of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley. As a leader of the ultraviolent Weather Underground, Ayers admitted to helping bomb the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon in the 1970s. He should have been sent to prison. Instead, Chicago political clout allowed him and his wife, fellow radical Bernardine Dohrn, to magically join the payrolls of universities here.

    [Kass's article is on the general topic of the mainstreaming of yesteryear's violent radicals into business-as-usual functionaries of the Democratic Party. A less-heralded example is Obama fundraiser Marilyn Katz: she "once advocated throwing studded nails in front of police cars", now her firm does PR for the Chicago Police Department. Kass comments: "Apparently, irony was not a '60s thing."]

    Taranto comments further:

    Ayers, in Kass's telling, was rehabilitated socially without being rehabilitated morally for no reason other than that he was a son of privilege. This makes his "radicalism"--the justification in his own mind for his violent acts--look rather phony.

    Unfortunately, the bombs weren't phony.

  • On Tuesday, Power Line pointed out the continued dishonesty of Obama's scary TV ads attacking the McCain health care plan. And made the further points that those attacks have gone largely unanswered, thanks to the difficulty of describing McCain's actual plan in a 30-second spot, and Obama's massive advantage in advertising funds.

  • If you can stand one more Ayers link: on Wednesday, Tom Maguire brought us up to speed:

    What is the history and extent of the relationship between unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and Barack Obama? Good question, and one that has stumped the Obama campaign since they delivered their first misinformation about it last February. In a different political environment this level of deceit and evasiveness would spark press coverage of an obvious cover-up, but you go to elections with the media you have.

    Nice understatement by Tom! The media we have is otherwise occupied trolling Facebook to find kids who went to school with McCain's kids who might have something nasty to say about Cindy McCain.

  • On Thursday, Ed Morrissey followed up Obama's debate statements about ACORN, Illinois infanticide, and (sorry, again) Ayers and found them low in factitude, but high in phoniness.

  • On Friday, Harvard econ prof Greg Mankiw looked at the Obama Social Security reform plan. Shorn of all the obfuscatory rhetoric:

    … it sounds like Senator Obama wants to close the projected gap between taxes and spending entirely by raising taxes.

    Via a commmenter, Prof Mankiw notes the special phoniness of an Obamanian adviser's description of the plan:

    Obama is confident that we can come together to find a workable solution. He believes that one strong option to improve Social Security's long-term solvency is asking people who earn more than $250,000 to pay a little more into the system.

    Describing a tax increase as "asking" people to "pay a little more"… I devoutly wish for some mechanism by which people who utter such bullshit would automatically be hooted off the public stage.

    Another commenter notes that Obama's plan won't actually, y'know, work. But that's the normal phoniness we can believe in.

  • And (finally) on Saturday, the real Sarah Palin met the phony one:

    Not the funniest thing I've ever seen on SNL, but not bad.

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

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

[Amazon Link] [2.5
stars] [IMDb Link]

I'm normally a fan of the raunchy comedies produced by the Judd Apatow factory, but this didn't really do it for me. (85% on the Tomatometer, though, so your take could be much more favorable.)

It centers on Peter, a composer of background music (or, as he describes it, "tones") for the TV series Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime. He's also in a relationship with the star of the show, Sarah Marshall. But that lasts about as long as I took to describe it: she announces (to his full-frontal male nudity) that she's seeing someone else and breaks up with him. He's morose, he goes to a Hawaii resort to try to recover, but Sarah's there with her new man, a spacy British rock star named Aldous. Peter meets a sympathetic hotel clerk, Rachel. Hijinks ensue.

What's good: Aldous is played by Russell Brand, and he's funny. There are some very funny performances in small roles: Kristen Wiig as a resort yoga instructor; Paul Rudd as a surfing instructor; Steve Landesberg (Dietrich on Barney Miller!) as Peter's doctor.

And everything about Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime is hilarious, from the title to the small clips we see of the show.

But (at least for me) Peter's character never became very sympathetic, which is deadly for this kind of movie. In addition, the raunch, while expected, seemed to be tacked on, much in the way brain-dead action movies insert explosions, chases, and fights every ten minutes or so. (Yes, I have high standards for raunch. Also explosions.)

The most amazing thing: it's been about 30 years since Steve Landesberg was on Barney Miller, and I don't think he's aged. How does he do that?

Last Modified 2012-10-10 1:12 PM EDT