The Phony Campaign

2011-02-06 Update

[phony baloney]

The Google has mysteriously discovered that "Mitt Romney" and "phony" appear in a lot more web pages than they thought a mere seven days ago. And so, Mitt has easily jumped ahead of Huck and Newt this week:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 3,910,000 -30,000
"Sarah Palin" phony 2,880,000 +10,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 1,510,000 +1,022,000
"Mike Huckabee" phony 1,370,000 +10,000
"Newt Gingrich" phony 1,320,000 -30,000
"Tim Pawlenty" phony 379,000 +5,000
"Mitch Daniels" phony 190,000 +2,000
"John Thune" phony 138,000 +9,000

The phony stories catching Pun Salad's eye this week:

  • Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, in her show's "Let's Make Fun of Right-Wingers" segment, dripped Rhodes-scholar sarcasm all over a phony item from Christwire, a parody site whose basic theme is "Let's Make Fun of Right-Wingers". That made her job pretty easy, and almost certainly the site's importuning of Sarah Palin caused the MSNBC satire detectors to shut down for the night:
    Governor Palin needs to speak out publicly and forcibly for an American-led invasion to protect our interests in North Africa. As the largest recipient of foreign aid next to Israel, the United States has a tremendous investment in keeping Egypt stable and relatively terrorist-free. There are many sympathizers on the ground who have not been able to express their allegiance to democracy and freedom for fear of repression by the rioters. The Governor could become the center of their rallying cries. Upon her direction, other Western nations are sure to join us. This is the pressure Obama needs to act. With the recent ascent of the Tea Party in the House and Senate, this decision would certainly gain Congressional support. Do we truly need another 84 million enemies of Christianity? Sarah Palin can head off this possibility in Egypt if she moves swiftly.
    Yeah, that sounds real.

    You and I might have asked ourselves: If I could have been this easily duped by an obviously satirical news story, what else have I been fooled about? But (probably) you and (definitely) I are not Rhodes Scholars, and Ms. Maddow, at last report, showed no signs of self-reflection whatsoever.

  • The Fox News headline reads "Obama Botches Bible Verse at Prayer Breakfast".
    "Those who wait on the Lord will soar on wings like eagles, and they will run and not be weary, and they will walk and not faint," the president said during a speech to several thousand people at the breakfast.

    But the actual passage, from Isaiah 40:31, states: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

    The always amusing Media Matters played the sarcasm angle:
    Somewhat ironically, while Fox Nation appears to be positioning themselves as the arbiters of authentic Christianity, they seem unfamiliar with the fact that there is more than one version of the Bible.

    Obama was quoting from the New International Version, while Fox Nation was pointing to the King James Version to "debunk" him.

    Actually—trivia time, my fellow bible-thumpers!—the NIV version starts out "those who hope on the Lord", not "those who wait on the Lord". And all Bible versions include the strength-renewal stuff, which Obama dropped, and (almost certainly) is what Fox was referring to in the first place.

    Bottom line: in a Biblical dispute between Fox and Media Matters, bet on Fox.

    Even worse is "pastordan", blogging at "Religion Dispatches"; although claiming to be an actual minister, he based an entire entry on the Gospel According to Media Matters. Much easier than looking in his own Bible, apparently. Later, somewhat bitchingly, he added:

    This post has been corrected and comments have been closed as numerous commenters violated the terms they agreed to abide by.
    Heretical comments have been consigned to the memory hole, and "pastordan" admits:
    This is somewhat embarrassing.
    Indeed. And almost certainly the whole kerfuffle was caused by a White House speechwriter who thought the Bible verse could be improved by excising that "renew their strength" phrase. Flows better, or something. Stupid Isaiah.

    How long will it be before another President "edits" a Bible verse in a speech? I'm thinking decades, probably.

  • David Boaz calls "phony" on social conservatives like fourth-place Mike Huckabee, who point to (undeniable) social ills caused by family breakdown, but offer "solutions" by talking (vaguely) about abortion and gay marriage.
    Reducing the incidence of unwed motherhood, divorce, fatherlessness, welfare and crime would be a good thing. So why the focus on issues that would do nothing to solve the "breakdown of the basic family structure" and the resulting "high cost of a dysfunctional society"? Well, solving the problems of divorce and unwed motherhood is hard. And lots of Republican and conservative voters have been divorced. A constitutional amendment to ban divorce wouldn't go over very well, even with the social conservatives. Far better to pick on a small group, a group not perceived to be part of the Republican constituency, and blame it for social breakdown and its associated costs.

    That's why social conservatives point to a real problem and then offer phony solutions.

    But you won't find your keys on the thoroughfare if you dropped them in the alley, and you won't reduce the costs of social breakdown by keeping gays unmarried and preventing them from adopting orphans.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 2:19 PM EDT