The Phony Campaign

2012-03-18 Update

[phony baloney]

Rick Santorum's primary victories this past Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi catapulted him all the way up to a 7% (!) probability of getting the GOP nomination at Intrade. But cooler heads prevailed, and Rick's back down to 2.4% (as I type), well below our arbitrary threshold for inclusion in the phony polling.


Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 145,000,000 -27,000,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 8,240,000 +220,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 1,100,000 -30,000

  • Alabamans were no doubt unimpressed with Mitt's latest flip-flop on an important issue, breathlessly reported by the Huffington Post: whether he's a catfish fan or not:
    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reversed his position on catfish Monday at a campaign stop in Alabama, according to the LA Times.

    Romney, who is campaigning in the state ahead of its Tuesday primary, said he loved the freshwater fish.

    "I had catfish for the second time," Romney said. "It was delicious, just like the first time."

    But as LA Times reporter Matea Gold pointed out in a tweet, the former Massachusetts governor expressed a different opinion just two short months ago.

    During a campaign stop in Lexington, S.C. in Jan. 2012, the LA Times reported on an exchange between Romney and the owner of Hudson's Smokehouse.

    Romney peered into the smoker, and said he was not "a catfish man, or not a fish man so much."

    In Romney's defense: It is possible for someone to become a catfish fan in less than two months, especially if you're down South, where they do catfish right.

  • Meanwhile, Vice President Biden appeared at Senator John Kerry's Georgetown (DC) home for a fundraiser where the minimum charge to get in the door was a cool $10K. And the Veep actually said:
    "These guys don't have a sense of the average folks out there," Biden said according to the pool report, "They don't know what it means to be middle class."
    On the menu was Steamed Irony with a Black Truffle Balsamic Glaze; dessert was Baked Cognitive Dissonance with Whipped Heavy Cream and Imported Black Cherries.

  • James Pethokoukis has discovered what he thinks is "the entire Obama presidency, in one anecdote". He makes a compelling case for this tale from a recent book about the Administration:
    Energy was a particular obsession of the president-elect's, and therefore a particular source of frustration. Week after week, [White House economic adviser Christina] Romer would march in with an estimate of the jobs all the investments in clean energy would produce; week after week, Obama would send her back to check the numbers. "I don't get it," he'd say. "We make these large-scale investments in infrastructure. What do you mean, there are no jobs?" But the numbers rarely budged.
    "I don't get it."


    When your entire childlike ideological faith is invested in the notion that the State, with the properly enlightened people in charge, can engineer economic prosperity through the wise application of mandates, regulation, taxation, and subsidies, you are fairly rapidly going to be surprised by your lack of results.

    It can't be your fault. And so the search for scapegoats begins…

    Why, it's almost as if he read The Road to Serfdom and thought it sounded like a darn good idea.

  • But the big phony news this week was Obama's speech on Thursday, where he derided his political opponents:
    "Of course, we've heard this kind of thinking before. If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society. ... There always have been folks who are the naysayers and don't believe in the future, and don't believe in trying to do things differently. One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, 'It's a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?' That's why he's not on Mount Rushmore because he's looking backwards. He's not looking forwards. He's explaining why we can't do something, instead of why we can do something."
    This managed to imply that (a) people thought the world was flat back in Columbus's day; (b) President Hayes was a technophobic Luddite. Both assertions are nonsense; Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post awarded Obama's remarks a rare Four Pinnochios.

    Kessler's analysis is a tut-tutting, and obvious, one: if you're going to be claiming that your opponents are on the wrong side of history, it just might be a good idea to get your own historical pants on with the zipper side facing forward.

    But Jim "Indispensable" Geraghty puts his finger on the real problem:

    This president gets more indignant and intolerant as his term wears on, doesn't it? After Solyndra, Ener1, Beacon Power, and gas approaching $5 per gallon, you would think this president might be a little more modest in arguing that he's made the right calls. No, he still has the gall to insist that his critics are backwards and ignorant - at an "official", not campaign, event, no less.
    Why, it's almost as if all those Presidential calls for "civility" a mere few months ago were a cold and cynical ploy that were only meant to disarm one side in the rhetorical battle. You think?

Last Modified 2014-12-01 2:58 PM EDT

The Adventures of Tintin

[3.5 stars] The Adventures of Tintin (2011) on IMDb [Amazon link]

I never got into the Tintin comics much, although I enjoyed what I read. But Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson were huge fans, and they did a decent job of turning them into PG-rated action (mortion-capture animation) flick. Although it was 3-D in the movies (and also available that way at home, if you have the equipment), I saw the 2-D version; unlike Hugo, I didn't feel I was missing much of importance.

This is an "origin" story, but as the movie opens Tintin, a young European journalist, is already semi-famous for rooting out corruption and crime, with his super-intelligent dog Snowy. Adventure begins by accident when Tintin buys a ship model from a street vendor just ahead of the evil Dr. Sakharine. Pretty quickly Tintin's flat is ransacked, a mysterious character is shot to death on his doorstep (but in a totally PG manner); and Tintin is hijacked aboard a dilapidated old freighter. In his escape attempt, he meets up with drunken, but good-hearted, Captain Haddock, who will become his comrade for the rest of the movie. (And, as readers know, for the rest of their lives.)

There's a lot of slapstick humor. Stop-motion animation is still kind of creepy, although I understand it's much better than it used to be.

Last Modified 2012-09-24 4:44 AM EDT