The Phony Campaign

Final Results

Phony hits for all candidates crashed further and faster than the stock market this week, but they didn't crash quite far enough for Barack Obama to avoid being the winner of our little contest.

Congratulations! If that's the right word:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2008-10-26
"Barack Obama" phony282,000-640,000
"John McCain" phony271,000-663,000
"Bob Barr" phony12,900-20,000

We usually look at current phony events, but since this is our last in the series, let's take a longer range view:

  • Our first tally of phony hits, gathered August 8 of last year, is here. Interestingly, today's counts for Obama and McCain aren't that different from those gathered back then, nearly fifteen months ago. Although I have no idea what that might signify, if anything.

  • Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" result for Obama is a blog post by Chris Cilizza of the Washington Post written back in July of 2006. Cilizza made the hypothetical case for an Obama presidential candidacy in 2008. (Telling quote: "We tend to doubt he will make the race").

    The phony component is contributed by commenter "bill":

    Obama is phony as the day is long. Typically Clintonesque in that he espouses a "moderate" line; yet when he finally does speak he's somewhere to the left of Chuck Shumer. Phony. Phony. Phony. Of course with the Democratic Party looking something akin to picnic day at Haight Ashbury, I suppose anyone who even sounds "moderate" is attractive to the media. One caveat: look what the Dems did to Lieberman when he had the audacity to leave the far left plantation - they turned on him.

    To repeat: that was over two years ago. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Or so I'm told.

  • On the other hand, the "I'm Feeling Lucky" for McCain is a YouTube vlog from Jackie Mason from January of this year, a time when Mason was utterly disgusted with McCain's misrepresentation of Romney's statements on "timetables" in Iraq.

    Jackie is … unique. Nowadays he's more favorably inclined to Maverick.

  • And we haven't shown Bob Barr a lot of love here, but his "Lucky" link is also a YouTube result, where he speaks of phony conservatism:

    That's the kind of thing you won't hear from Obama or McCain.

So?

You often see comments to the effect that voting for a third-party candidate is "throwing away" one's vote. I don't really get that:

  1. It's not as if my vote will decide the fate of New Hampshire's four electoral votes.

  2. I don't get any particular psychic thrill from voting for the winner.

  3. A vote for the third-place guy is no more wasted than a vote for the second-place guy.

Also I pledged over two years ago in this very blog to never, ever, vote for John McCain for anything.

So I think my choice is pretty clear. I'd say "make up your own mind," but I'm pretty sure you, good reader, do not need my advice or permission to do that.


Last Modified 2014-12-01 1:19 PM EST

The Visitor

[Amazon Link] [3.5
stars] [IMDb Link]

I'd been seeing Richard Jenkins in movies for many years, but I first noticed him in an otherwise-dreary Jennifer Aniston movie (Rumor Has It...), where he played Jennifer's dad. He has an amazing little speech near the end of the movie that made me sit up and take notice. And ever since, I've been watching for movies where he appears. This is the first one, I think, where he plays a lead role.

He plays Walter, an econ prof at a college in Connecticut, emotionally shut down and stagnant after the death of his pianist wife. Apparently he's trying to learn to play the piano to somehow reconnect with her memory; it isn't going well.

Much against his wishes, Walter is sent to deliver a paper at a conference in New York City. He decides to stay in the apartment he keeps, but hasn't visited in years. To his surprise, it's occupied by a couple of illegal aliens, a drummer from Syria and his girlfriend from Senegal. (They're surprised too, since they were being scammed into paying rent.) Being a decent sort, Walter allows them to stay until they can make other arrangements. But gradually their relationship builds, fueled by his increasing fascination with drumming; it turns out to have been just the thing to bring him back to emotional life.

It's a nice little movie, especially if you like culture-clashes and character redemption. Richard Jenkins doesn't disappoint, communicating volumes about his character with the barest hints of eye movement and lip twitches.

Unfortunately, the plot then enmeshes with a PC saga about immigration and a harsh, unfeeling bureaucracy. OK, they probably had to do something, but this is pretty predictable.


Last Modified 2012-10-09 1:44 PM EDT