The Phony Campaign

2012-07-01 Update

[phony baloney]

Well, President Obama's phony hit counts from two weeks back turned out to be phony indeed. Now he's back, pretty much to the status quo ante: simply a dominant phony lead over Mitt and Gary:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 23,000,000 -196,000,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 998,000 -22,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 389,000 -17,000

Apologies for missing the usual weekly posting last week. I'd provide an excuse, but excuses are even more boring than apologies.

Phoniness did not miss a week, however. I'll try to hit the high points:

  • The big phoniness did not involve the candidates directly, but was emitted by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who found a tenuous argument to vote with the four diehard liberal justices to preserve Obamacare. Mark Steyn was as unimpressed as I:

    There's nothing constitutionally seemly about a Court decision that says this law is only legal because the people's representatives flat-out lied to the people when they passed it. Throughout the Obamacare debates, Democrats explicitly denied it was a massive tax hike: "You reject that it's a tax increase?" George Stephanopoulos demanded to know on ABC. "I absolutely reject that notion," replied the president. Yet "that notion" is the only one that would fly at the Supreme Court. The jurists found the individual mandate constitutional by declining to recognize it as a mandate at all. For Roberts' defenders on the right, this is apparently a daring rout of Big Government: Like Nelson contemplating the Danish fleet at the Battle of Copenhagen, the chief justice held the telescope to his blind eye and declared, "I see no ships."

  • Michael Barone notes and exposes the phony excuse for Obama's mediocre standings in the polls and (possible) defeat in November: it's because he's black. Er, Barone says, waitaminnit:

    There's an obvious problem with the racism alibi. Barack Obama has run for president before, and he won. Voters in 2008 knew he was black. Most of them voted for him. He carried 28 states and won 365 electoral votes.

    Nationwide, he won 53% of the popular vote. That may not sound like a landslide, but it's a higher percentage than any Democratic nominee except Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

    The liberal punditry is dragging out this charge now in order to swing voters on the fence. "You may have voted for Obama in 2008, fine, but if you don't do the same in 2012, you're a racist." Get used to about four months of various permutations of this phony argument.

  • President Obama and I were (reportedly) within a mile of each other this past Monday, as he visited Durham, home of my employer, the University Near Here. I didn't even try to attend, but apparently I missed

    President Obama today ridiculed Mitt Romney's campaign for saying his former private-equity investment firm engaged in "outsourcing" services rather than "0ffshoring" [sic] jobs.

    "You cannot make this stuff up," Obama told backers in New Hampshire.

    "What Governor Romney and his advisers don't seem to understand is this: If you're a worker whose job went overseas, you don't need somebody trying to explain to you the difference between outsourcing and offshoring," Obama said.

    I mean, how different could those things be? They both begin with "O", end in "ing", and they relate to jobs. Trust me, says the President, you fine Granite Staters don't need to bother your pretty little heads with any argument that makes relevant, not very difficult, distinctions!

    [Amazon Link] Kevin G. Williamson has a request:

    Could somebody please get Barack Obama to shut up about "outsourcing" until some undergraduate aide has explained to him what the word means? As it stands, the president is showing himself an ignorant rube on the subject, and that is to nobody's advantage.

    Unfortunately, Kevin, that's not likely to happen. As long as the President can make a demagogic know-nothing argument, he probably will do so. Yes, they think you're stupid.

    The anti-Romney charges are loosely based on a Washington Post article; Jen Rubin, their house right-wing blogger tells the story of Romney's rebuttal and the Post's subsequent "clarification" article. She also links to the Post's Glenn Kessler awarding the coveted four Pinocchios to an Obama ad on the topic.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 2:54 PM EDT

The Artist

[4.5 stars] The Artist (2011) on IMDb [Amazon]

IMDB has this (as I type) as number 151 of the top 250 movies of all time. I don't know about that, but sure: it's pretty good. It also—oh yeah—won five Oscars including Best Picture.

The story is from the Singin' in the Rain era: talkies are coming in, and the silent movie stars of the day must either adapt or retire, gracefully or gracelessly. Case in point: George Valentin, devilishly handsome, well-liked, and so full of himself he could just about burst. Fate throws him together with Peppy Miller, a fresh-faced actress full of ebullient talent and naïveté. Unbeknownst to them both: careerwise and otherwise, she's on the way up, he's on the way down.

As you may have heard, there are a number of gimmicks that make this all work: (1) George has a co-starring dog, a Jack Russell terrier in the fine tradition of Frasier's Eddie, intelligent, unflinchingly loyal, and very funny; (2) the movie is black&white, and (mostly) silent with occasional dialogue cards; (3) there are also a number of fantasy scenes, due to George's occasional inebriation.

So it's a lot of fun, although George's downward spiral takes him into territory that makes it less than a total laff riot. George and Peppy are played by a couple of French actors I (and probably you) haven't seen before: Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo. A fine cast supports them, including a lot of people I hadn't seen in a while: John Goodman as a film studio exec; Missi Pyle (from Galaxy Quest!) as one of George's co-stars; Penelope Ann Miller as George's about-to-be-ex wife; James Cromwell as George's loyal servant and chauffeur; Ed Lauter as Peppy's butler. Even Malcolm McDowell!

Last Modified 2012-09-21 10:12 AM EDT


[5.0 stars] Brave (2012) on IMDb [Amazon]

It's Pixar. It's got John Ratzenberger. What more do you need to know? Of course it's good. Maybe not as insanely great as Up, The Incredibles, or Toy Story( (2|3))?, but still a decent way to spend your entertainment dollar.

It's set in medieval Scotland, just barely out of savagery. In a few centuries, it would be producing geniuses like Adam Smith, James Watt, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Craig Ferguson, etc. But that would have made a different tale, laddie.

The heroine is Merida, a princess parented by oh-so-proper Elinor and nae-so-proper Fergus. She's blessed with hair so red and wild it's practically a separate character. She's a tomboy, excelling in horsemanship and archery. She's also a tad spoiled and willful, at constant loggerheads with her mom, and is extremely put out that tradition demands that she be betrothed to one of the lunkhead sons of the neighboring lords. She views this prospect with such alarm that she accepts supernatural help from a local witch. But this turns out—as usual in such situations—to make things much worse.

There's a lot of hilarity, gorgeous scenery, amazing animation, a gripping plot, sympathetic characters (eventually) in great peril. What's not to like? We didn't spring for the 3-D. Maybe would have been even better.

Consumer note: in our case Brave was playing next door to Magic Mike, and the timing was such that we got to see a couple of exiting crowds. We estimated that the female percentage was somewhere north of 95%. I guess that's not surprising.

Last Modified 2012-09-21 10:11 AM EDT