The Phony Campaign

2011-02-13 Update

[phony baloney]

Mitt Romney comes crashing back to earth this week after his brief stay in third. And since Ron Paul won the Conservative Political Action Alliance (CPAC) straw poll, we're reluctantly including him. (Even though our gut tells us that, lacking the Iraq issue he had in 2008, he's going to be pretty minor this year.)

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 3,940,000 +30,000
"Sarah Palin" phony 2,960,000 +80,000
"Mike Huckabee" phony 1,400,000 +30,000
"Ron Paul" phony 1,390,000 ---
"Newt Gingrich" phony 1,350,000 +30,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 533,000 -977,000
"Tim Pawlenty" phony 413,000 +34,000
"Mitch Daniels" phony 223,000 +33,000
"John Thune" phony 172,000 +34,000

  • A lot of phony news happened at CPAC. Lefty Alex Pareene, writing at Salon was unimpressed by Mitt's speech there:

    Desperate phony Mitt Romney delivered what amounted to a presidential campaign speech -- though not a very good one. The entire thing was devoted to Palinesque sarcasm delivered without her elan.

    But that's not all:

    A highlight: Shortly after unlovable Mitt finished speaking, he was upstaged by Sarah Palin, who isn't even attending the conference. A Palin look-alike (a pretty good one, actually) entered the ballroom and immediately attracted a massive crowd. For a moment, everyone thought it was a surprise appearance by the one candidate all the (non-Ron Paul supporting) attendees are actually excited by.

    A phony Sarah upstaging actual (but still phony) Mitt? That's the kind of thing phony connoisseurs live for.

    By the way: Pareene's observation that Palin was "one candidate all the (non-Ron Paul supporting) attendees are actually excited by" turned out to be remarkably non-astute. She garnered merely 3% in the poll, compared to Romney's 23%.)

  • In other CPAC news, Scott Magill of the group Veterans In Defense of Liberty took to the virtual pages of the Washington Times to write a column headlined: "Defend CPAC from phony conservatives". CPAC, he bemoans, "has become a showcase for the enemies of the American tradition." Oddly, given the name of his group, Magill doesn't much care for libertarians; to be fair, he does a decent job in zinging some of the more zany ideas of American Conservative Union board member Grover Norquist.

    Mr. Norquist serves on the GOProud advisory board and also has advocated legalization of drugs, open borders and amnesty for illegals; supported closing the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay; opposed aspects of the USA Patriot Act; and supports the construction of the Ground Zero Mosque. He is actively promoting the Obama administration's “engagement plan” with Islam, which has the Muslim Brotherhood's seal of approval. He certainly has a right to hold those views, but it is false advertising to call them conservative.

    But if you read that, you might also want to check the rebuttal from Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason.

    … it's fascinating to me that the conservative movement can't recognize some elemental facts. First and foremost that the world they're trying to create, especially when it comes to intolerance of alternative lifestyles, is never going to happen. And that by insisting, as Sen. James DeMint and Rep. Jim Jordan have, that you can't be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative, you're alienating all those independents who just might give the GOP a second chance at running the federal budget. And you're in open denial of reality: A person's choice of sexual partner in no way means he or she can't be in favor of less spending on farm subsidies. There's a stunning knot of bull-dinkey at the heart of the argument that tolerance equals uncritical embrace. Do conservatives, of all people, think that the state allowing all religions to practice means official endorsement?

    Pun Salad is very much in the can't-we-all-just-get-along camp.

  • Last week it was Rachel Maddow, this week it's Time, promoting a phony story about a made-up Sarah Palin quote. It's becoming a whole journalistic genre.

    (Time now claims their story "was intended as satire". At least Maddow had the grace to admit she'd been suckered.)

  • Finally: couldn't help but checking out the story under this eye-catching headline:

    Freshman Congresswoman Praises Hooters

    As it turns out:

    Congresswoman Julia Hurley (R-32) spent time working at Hooters, where, according to the Associated Press, she was able to hone her business talents and networking skills. During the election campaign, this information was brought to the forefront, but instead of shying away from the news, or giving a typical phony politician apology, Hurley took it all in stride.

    Darn. That's not what I thought it would be about.

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

The Narrows

[Amazon Link]

Michael Connelly is a current master of the crime/mystery/thriller genre; he deserves his automatic position on the best-seller lists for each of his books. I was a relative latecomer, and I finally made it up to this 2004 book. Interestingly, it sequelizes a number of Connelly's previous works: The Poet, which involved FBI agent Rachel Walling's trackdown of a brilliant serial killer; Blood Work, which involved ex-FBI agent Terry McCaleb's investigation into the murder of a young woman who—don't ask— was the donor of Terry's transplanted heart; and A Darkness More Than Night, which teamed up McCaleb with Connelly's primary crimefighter, Harry Bosch. Just so you know: you might want to read those books before you crack this one.

So: in this one, Terry McCaleb has kicked the bucket; seemingly his transplanted heart failed him. But his widow, Graciela, suspects foul play; she calls upon Bosch to investigate.

Meanwhile, disgraced Rachel Walling from The Poet is summoned out of FBI exile status in South Dakota. Apparently the serial killer from that book has re-emerged, and she's off to the desert between LA and Vegas to investigate the grisly evidence thereof.

Eventually, surprising everyone but the attentive reader, Bosch's investigation leads him smack dab into the FBI's.

As always, Connelly keeps me turning the pages. One bit I particularly enjoyed: here in the real world, they made a movie based on Blood Work starring Clint Eastwood as Terry McCaleb. In the fictional universe of the book, that movie has also been made, also starring Clint Eastwood. In a nice touch, Mr. Eastwood attends McCaleb's funeral. "I think he took his own helicopter out," comments one character. It's kind of reminiscent of how Sherlock Holmes used to tweak Dr. Watson for his popularizations of their investigations.

Last Modified 2012-09-27 11:56 AM EDT

Let Me In

stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

I watched and blogged about the Swedish horror movie Let the Right One In a couple years ago. I liked it well enough to check out this new American version. It is a faithful remake; the main difference is that you don't need to navigate subtitles. Instead of dreary early-80's Sweden, it is set in dreary early-80's Los Alamos, New Mexico. (President Reagan is heard offscreen in a couple of scenes; I don't know what point the filmmakers were going for.)

Owen, a young boy, lives with his mom in a beehive apartment complex; he is relentlessly bullied by his schoolmates. Dad is elsewhere, and sorely needed; Owen is capital-T Troubled, occasionally indulging in violent revenge fantasies. One night Abby moves into the apartment next door; she appears to be a young girl accompanied by her father (the great Richard Jenkins). But appearances can be, and in this case are, deceiving. Pretty soon some grisly murders occur. This does not prevent Abby and Owen from developing a relationship. But not a healthy one.

Even though the movie has kids in it, it's not for the kids: rated R for (as the MPAA puts it) "strong bloody horror violence, language and a brief sexual situation." The actress playing Abby, Chloë Grace Moretz, previously played the role of "Hit-Girl" in R-rated Kick-Ass; she just turned 14, and she might be trying to set a record for appearances in movies that she can't see herself, unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.

Last Modified 2012-09-27 11:51 AM EDT