Saturday, May 31, 2008

Priests, Pundits and Politics - Religion in the campaign season

This blog likes to highlight the similarities between pundits and wrestlers. What its really highlighting is charisma and presentation, usually in the art of talking. Politicians, Pundits, Comedians and Wrestlers all share this ability to move mass audiences with rousing speeches - and they've all been featured on this blog.

There is another group who command the attention of mass audiences and are arguably more influential than the aforementioned groups put together. Priests. They've taken an unusually prominent role in this Presidential Election season.

The role of church was quite prominent but pretty standard in the early weeks of the Presidential Primary season. The serious candidacy of Mitt Romney vying to be the first Mormon in the White House. Former Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee's amazing run finishing second for the GOP nomination, wearing his religiosity proudly (often blatantly) but disarming people with his good natured presentation.

The last few weeks religious leaders have become the newsmakers. Most prominently the controversy surrounding Obama's relationship with the controversial Jeremiah Wright which led to him delivering his 'Perfect Union' religion speech. Recently influential Pastor John Hagee withdrew his endorsement of Republican John McCain, beating him to the punch as McCain rescinded the endorsement moments after. Hagee made news after making controversial comments excusing Hitler's actions against the Jews as God's will.

Those controversies involved religious leaders with statements on the pulpit that have come back to hurt their affiliated candidates, underscoring the nature of politics today with the ubiquitousness of media technology. However the way some religious leaders have injected themselves into the campaign have been as straight partisan players. Recent examples of priests have surfaced using the type of rhetoric we're accustomed to seeing from Radio Talkers and Wrestlers when calling out opponents. Faith has begun to move away from being a solemn belief contributing to a person's moral character into the latest front in political war and theatre

Below are some recent examples:
VIDEO: Michael Pfleger - White Liberal Guilt at Its Finest
(mocking Hillary Clinton) I'm white, I'm entitled. There's a black man stealing my show.
VIDEO: Priest Jim Lisante at GOP dinner prays
"God, tell Obama to find a new pastor"
Priest JIM LISANTE: ...Lord, please tell Senator Obama that maybe change is a good thing, and that maybe he should think about changing his favorite preacher. I know a lot more of us would be comfortable with his judgment skills if he hadn’t sat for twenty years through those words offered by his preacher of division, bigotry, and, honestly, half-truths, without a word of objection from Senator Obama. That is, until the media brought it up. Now, he doesn’t want any part of the guy. I’m willing to be his new preacher.
Read Reverend Wright's bio from Trinity church's official site
Read John Hagee's bio from his official website
Read Michael Pfleger's bio from Saint Sabina Church's official site
Read Monsignor Jim Lisante's bio from his official site
Watch Mitt Romney's faith and politics speech "Faith In America" Dec 6, 2007
Watch Barack Obama's faith and politics speech "A more Perfect Union" March 18, 2008

Read previous religion themed Punditfight posts:
God in Politics and Wrestling
Mike Huckabee wishes Americans a Merry Christmas

Friday, May 30, 2008

The APF - end of week roundup (May 31st)

Hello fans. Its been quite here at the APF, but rest assured there are a lot of things happening behind the curtains. To restart the engines here is the first ever end of week pundit round up.

Bill O'Reilly wins a local Emmy award in Boston and is protested by a fellow newsman.
Sam Seder will be doing his last 'Seder on Sunday' broadcast for Air America, his broadcasting future is uncertain but we hope his voice finds a new home.
Michelle Malkin is not happy with Dunkin Donuts, Rachey Ray and a certain scarf
Keith Olbermann finds a new ally in Scott Mclellan
Marc Maron winds down the funny with fellow funnymen Andy Kindler and Eugene Mirman
Al Franken is in trouble with members of his party, but not for reasons you might think
Michael considered the most Savage shock jock of them all
Stephen Colbert continues his presidential campaign in an alternate universe

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hugh Hewitt on how Obama talks - Cadence over content

On the May 19th Edition of his show, Hugh Hewitt spent some time dissecting Obama's way of speaking. He shared with his audience what he considered Obama's "poker tell". Hugh contends that when Obama is nervous or lacks confidence on a subject he will hyper-punctuate. Using the rhythm of his voice to feign poise, what Hugh calls "Cadence over content".
I just love listening to this guy. Now that you have the tell down and you're listening to the number of pauses... there's nothing being said here, it's a cadence. It's just the cadence that's appealing. Cadence over content. He also swallows some syllables, I'm just listening here technically... he turns this stuff on and off...
Hugh labeling it a "poker tell" might be an overstatement. People generally hesitate when they are talking extemporaneously. Heavily scrutinized politicians moreso. George W Bush has a similar tic. It is noteworthy mainly because Obama is seen as a brilliant orator but considered mortal without a script. Hugh was closer to the mark when insisting Obama was measuring his words after a string of political gaffes and scrutiny over earlier statements regarding meeting with America's enemies. The best part of the audio is Hugh's Obama impersonation, talking in a mock rhythmic tone.
Listen and download the entire Hugh Hewitt segment here
Skip to 8m 33s for Hugh's Obama impression

The May 19th Edition of Time Magazine also touches on the subject of Obama's speaking style
Obama: How He Learned to Win
Obama, meanwhile, had junked his starchy speaking style in favor of something that helped him shore up his base. Dan Shomon, his campaign manager against Rush, believes Obama learned the art of public speaking at the scores of black churches he visited in 2000, absorbing the rhythm and flourishes of pastors and watching how their congregations reacted. David Mendell notes in his biography of Obama how the candidate would "drop into a Southern drawl, pepper his prose with a neatly placed 'ya'll' and call up various black colloquialisms." He rarely missed a chance to speak at Sunday services in black churches
Being well-spoken and showing poise are effective ways of projecting leadership, valuable qualities that can't be faked but can be developed and improved upon. In politics sometimes you need to attract people by talking the talk only then will you be given the chance to show you can also walk the walk.

Just a bonus feature for the wrestling fans. Like Hugh impersonating Obama's sometimes plodding delivery, WWE wrestler John Cena mocked rival Randy Orton's monotone speech in a recent episode of RAW.
Click to view video: John Cena subtly mocking Randy Orton
Cena's impersonation begins at the 20s mark

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Barack Obama and John McCain: could both be Manchurian Candidates?

With Obama all but sealing the Democratic nomination, it's time to ask "Is it possible America could elect a Manchurian candidate?... no matter who they choose."

Firstly, what is a "Manchurian candidate"?
The Manchurian Candidate was a thriller novel written by Richard Condon in 1959, most recently adapted into a 2004 film starring Denzel Washington. It is about the son of a prominent political family who has been brainwashed into becoming an unwitting assassin. It is often used in political context to describe a candidate who is intentionally misleading the public and concealing their true motives, someone who works at the bidding of malevolent interests.

I offer you the case for both sides.
McCain as the Manchurian candidate for the Vietnamese
The claim: The Vietnamese have taken control of McCain since capturing him in 1967 and are salivating at the prospect of having a North Vietnamese puppet having his finger on the "red button". It is not entirely clear what Vietnam has to gain.
John McCain: The Manchurian Candidate connection
In 1949 Dr. Andrew Salter authored Conditioned Reflex Therapy, a pioneering work in the field of psychoanalysis. Ten years later, as Richard Condon was writing The Manchurian Candidate, he asked Dr. Salter to help "design" the brainwashed character for the book and subsequent movie.

More than 40 years later, in 1992, during the C-SPAN broadcasts of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, Dr. Salter watched the hearings from his New York City apartment. Salter became fascinated with McCain's overly aggressive and angry behavior toward witnesses, especially family members of men still missing in action. After a few hours he called a friend telling her, "the signs are all there, I'm afraid Senator John McCain has been brainwashed."
The author Ted Sampley is a Vietnam veteran and writer/editor/publisher of The US Veteran Dispatch. He founded 'Vietnam Veterans against John Kerry' and is a contributor to 'Vietnam Veterans against John McCain'.

Barack as the Manchurian Candidate for Muslims
The claim: After attending a predominantly Muslim school in Indonesia during his youth, a secretly Muslim Obama will come to power giving Muslims the upper hand in the War on Terror presumably by destroying America from the inside.
Barack Hussein Obama: Once a Muslim, Always A Muslim
So, even if he identifies strongly as a Christian, and even if he despised the behavior of his father (as Obama said on Oprah); is a man who Muslims think is a Muslim, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Muslim father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father's heritage, a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?
Debbie Schlussel is a political commentator and radio talk host. She is noted for her writings on radical Islam and her legal actions as attorney against radical Islamic parties.

So is it possible that America could elect a Manchurian candidate? If you can believe its plausible for a person to be groomed as a Trojan Horse as far back as the 60s, navigate though life putting themselves in a position to contend seriously for the most powerful seat in the world whilst having any malevolent assistance go undetected then it wouldn't be a stretch to believe there are more out there - granted the odds of two Manchurian Presidential Candidates going head-to-head in the same year for separate interests would be astronomical. If this were to happen it would be the biggest political swerve in history, a sequence of events that would rival the preposterousness of any wrestling storyline.

Profile: Bill O'reilly

bill oreilly factor pundit

Apologies for my lack of posting. To get back into the swing of things here is a new profile. I usually do my profiles in pairs but when you're talking Bill O'Reilly...

Bill O'Reilly is one of the most prolific and dominant pundits on the APF. He is host of a self-titled cable program on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor'. The show comprises many popular segments, among them: 'Talking Points Memo' and 'Pinheads & Patriots'. O'Reilly features fellow APF pundits Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham and Dennis Miller as guests and fill-in hosts. O'Reilly's presentation and show format is famously parodied by comedian Stephen Colbert.

Bill also hosts a radio program for Westwood One, 'The Radio Factor'.

Bill has written numerous books, many becoming #1 New York Times' Best Sellers:
1) Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Television and Murder, April 1998 (Novel)
2) The O'Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life, Sept 2000
3) The No Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America, Oct 2001
4) Who's Looking Out for You?, 2003
5) The O'Reilly Factor for Kids: A Survival Guide for America's Families, 2004
6) Culture Warrior, 2006
7) Kids Are Americans Too, 2007
8) A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity (2008)

Bill is best known for his bloviating and crusading persona, his boycotts and confrontational interviews. Bill has had some memorable clashes with guests and has long running feuds with critics (mostly from the left). These include: Liberal website 'Daily KOs' and APF personalities Keith Olbermann and Al Franken.

Bill O'Reilly was the anchor for the first version of CNN's Inside Edition. He has won numerous journalism awards including two Emmys and a National Headliner Award. Bill has a comprehensive personal website to manage his mini empire.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bill O'Reilly gets angry on Inside Edition

Bill O'Reilly is arguably the hottest tempered pundit on the APF. Its this temperament that makes him compelling viewing. I was only made aware of this clip recently as it was mentioned on Pete Dominick's independent Radio show on Sirius.

Here is a classic clip of Bill losing his cool off-air on CBS 'Inside Edition'.

When asked by TVNewser about the meltdown, O'Reilly quipped "That video was just me practicing for my conversations with Geraldo."

Watch and read about other heated Bill O'Reilly moments below:
1) O'Reilly in a 'shootout' with Democratic Senator Chris Dodd
2) O'Reilly in an epic duel with commentator Phil Donahue
3) O'Reilly arguing with his FoxNews colleague, Geraldo

Update: May 16

Bill O'Reilly - The Inside Edition outburst remix
No surprise here, a remix of the outburst has surfaced.
Watch the video and read comments courtesy of HotAir: The obligatory, inevitable O’Reilly meltdown remix

Bill makes light of his 'Inside Edition' outburst
Bill O'Reilly makes light of his outburst in his latest conversation with Mary Katherine Ham: Watch the video and read comments courtesy of Hot Air: O’Reilly on his “Inside Edition” meltdown
Bill O'Reilly: By the way there's a tape floating around on the internet of me in a state of displeasure I understand. Apparently the tape is 20 years old but I your humble correspondent have plenty of much newer stuff because by contractual obligation I have to create a few dramas every year for the amusement of my coworkers. They'd quit if I didn't do that. Anyway if you'd like to buy the tapes I have, I'd be happy to sell them to you

What's curious about the clip is during Bill's monologue a mic'd up staffer laughs. I don't know how usual this is for O'Reilly's format but its reminiscent of Keith Olbermann, (Bill's arch nemesis) who often has a "staff laugh track" for light hearted moments with the audience.

Joe Klein on Barack Obama the 'Game changer'

For the second week in a row Time Magazine columnist Joe Klein touches on presentation in politics, this time with a more confessional tone. I've commented before on how Barack Obama is running a symbolic candidacy ironically by shunning symbolic political rituals (flag lapel pins, pandering), something Klein described previously as 'low information signaling'.

Its been accepted over the years that its fair game for a Presidential candidate to be judged on peripheral and otherwise trivial character traits. In 2004 John Kerry was deemed not presidential because he "seemed French", went windsurfing and only pretended to be a war hero. On the other hand George W Bush was seen as a macho warrior and someone you could have a beer with.

john kerry windsurfing george bush pilot hero

In wrestling, wrestlers are not judged by their arsenal of moves but on how they captivate the audience with their charisma. In politics, policy issues are secondary in the presentation of a candidate. Campaigns and debates are carnival like affairs that woo voters, powered by the candidates' charisma and the advancing of a person's narrative.

In the May 19, 2008 edition of Time Magazine Joe Klein writes on Obama's "game changing" strategy that asks voters and the media to rethink how they view and digest political theatre.
The Game Changer.
Barack Obama has refused to play by the old political rules. He's about to be rewarded for it...

Joe Klein continues confessionally
In retrospect, it was easy to see that Clinton was desperate, willing to say almost anything to get over. At the time, she just seemed strong, certainly stronger than Obama on Meet the Press ... at least she did to me and many members of my chattering tribe. And our knee-jerk reactions — our prejudice toward performance values over policy — could infect the campaign to come between Obama and John McCain, just as it has the primaries...

Klein concedes that politics may always be about 'show'
Politics will always be propelled by grease, hot air and showmanship, but in the astonishing prosperity of the late 20th century, we allowed our public life to drift toward too much show biz, too little substance. Yes, the low-information signals — the bowling and tamale-eating — are crucial; politicians have to show that they are in touch with the lives of average folks. But a balance needs to be struck between carnival populism and the higher demands of democracy, and as a nation, we haven't been very good lately with the serious part of the program...

Read Joe Klein's piece on "Obama - (The) Game Changer"
Read Joe Klein's previous piece on 'low information signaling'
Read my previous post "Obama - A 'no symbol' symbolic candidacy"
Go to Joe Klein's bio

Saturday, May 10, 2008

American Pundit Fighting finally has some competition

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Consider me flattered. It looks like there's another Political Wrestling federation on the block, the 'BCEW'. Otherwise known as Buckland County Extreme (Political) Wrestling.

political championship wrestling
'PCW Political Championship Wrestling' banner
Technically American Pundit Fighting focuses on the Punditocracy. Using wrestling as an analogy to deconstruct the psychology and presentation of modern punditry. Though I can only speculate, BCEW looks a bit more like 'Fantasy wrestling' not unlike 'fan fiction' for non wrestling fans. I'll let The BCEW's 'About' section speak for itself:
BCEW combines political satire and professional wrestling. Written in the style of Paul Heyman and the old ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling), BCEW is Political, Hardcore, Extreme, Wrestling or PHEW- which coincidentally is also an accurate description of the current state of American politics...

BCEW is set up similar to your typical pro wrestling show except that instead of the good guys vs. bad guys (or 'face' vs. 'heels') it's the left vs. right.
I must say I've been waiting for some competition. It'll allow me to set up a feud and become an authentic Wrestling Commissioner by being obnoxious and combative. For a site like mine that focuses on Politics with a Wrestling analogy you'd think it would be more satirical and irreverent, instead it's been all too earnest and more like media studies. This is not altogether bad, but this new competition might just be the catalyst to bringing a more 'humorist' approach to the site.

Expect some changes in the future, particularly the inclusion of me - Jim Stark as an animated character. I plan to write more personal pieces for the APF. In wrestling terms it will be like when Vince McMahon emerged from behind the commentators desk, morphing from his role as an impartial observer to becoming a prominent in-ring persona, the villainous Chairman of the WWE.

Like McMahon, expect 'Commissioner Stark' to have an epic feud with the denizens of BCEW. Wrestling fans will know what happened to WCW and ECW, the upstart rival federation of the WWE. The competition in the marketplace elevated the quality of all the brands, captivating the mainstream and enjoying immense popularity. Whilst the competition initially threatened the WWE's dominance both competitors were ultimately crushed then bought out. Expect the same of BCEW. Though there was eventually a downturn in popularity with the lack of competition I can worry about crossing that bridge later. There federation doesn't even have animated characters and art like we do.

Game on!

Go visit the competition, BCEW or Political Championship Wrestling
Go to the Wiki page on Fantasy Wrestling

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Democratic Primary: How should Barack and Hillary finish it?

Whilst Barack and Hillary split the last two primaries, Obama's better than expected thumping in North Carolina and Clinton's close victory in Indiana have many speculating she will suspend her campaign sooner rather than later. After a turbulent few months for Obama - dogged by his association with controversial former pastor Jeremiah Wright and doubts raised by his inability to close out Clinton, it finally looks like things are winding down. Only one question remains; How will the two end it?

After a rancorous Democratic Primary, it is crucial that things be resolved in a way that strengthens the party. The loser must be allowed to exit graciously. Wounds that were opened must be addressed and healed. The party needs to unite around the winner to generate as much momentum to take into the general election.

In a previous post I spoke about Aura. In wrestling, a wrestler's value hinges on how they gain and preserve their Aura. As there can only be one winner, the trick is in managing defeat in a way that allows a wrestler to preserve their aura. In this way both contenders regardless of how they fared can come out of the match strong.

In the May 7 edition of PBS Newshour, Mark Shields and David Brooks offer their suggestions for how the Democrats should end their feud:

Mark Shields
...understand this. What Hillary Clinton is going through right now is reality setting in. It's painfully public and publicly painful. It's the implosion of all her aspirations, all her ambitions.

And this is a time for the Aretha Franklin approach, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, on the part -- respect on the part of the Obama people. They shouldn't be taking victory laps. They shouldn't be gloating. They should give her time.
David Brooks
Well, I guess, from the Hillary Clinton camp, I would say harvest a few wins -- presumably, she will do quite well in West Virginia and Kentucky -- but not attack Barack Obama and just begin to have the conversations across the campaigns...

And, really, it's -- that's the way to do it. Just have a gracious campaign. Take a few victory laps, make the points you want to make, and thank the people who have been supporting you -- and she's run an incredibly resilient campaign -- but never attack.

And, if you do that, I think you will see a lot of the psychology -- and I personally believe there has been a lot of harm done to the Democratic Party. I think the polling reveals that in spades. But if you have a gracious few weeks of -- take a few victories, I think you will begin to heal that.
Read the entire transcript of PBS Newshour's Shields and Brooks.
Listen and Download the discussion

Barack VS Hillary is the meeting of two formidable and popular competitors, both with loyal supporters. It was never going to be easy deciding between two worthy and equally matched candidates. A matchup of epic proportions, not unlike the legendary clash between The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan. For the sake of their Party, Democrats must hope that the fight between Hillary and Obama ends the same way the wrestlers ended theirs.

VIDEO: The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan finish
with the "respect angle" at WrestleMania VI
(skip to 2m40s if you're not interested in the wrestling)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Telegraph UK lists 'The most influential US political pundits'

maher, savage, olbermann, stewart, colbert, limbaugh, hannity
The Telegraph UK listed their 50 most Influential US political pundits, no surprise there was a large representation of APF Pundits who made up a quarter of the list.

As with all 'best of lists', it's not always apparent how the list was decided upon and structured but in any case it's a good primer on the punditocracy. No list of this nature can escape charges of 'notable ommissions'. Reader 'Frank' notes "For you to have ommitted Ann Coulter distorts the poll and negates the whole effort". The APF submits the absence of Hugh Hewitt as another glaring ommission.

What's most noteworthy about the list is the "cute" ranking of Stephen Colbert (#11) just above "Papa Bear" Bill O'Reilly (#12), the pair placing just outside the Top Ten. Surely a slick ploy to bait Stephen Colbert into referencing the list on his show. Stephen has been known to make hay of any mention he gets in the media. A recent segment had Stephen continue his faux feud with Korean Pop Star 'Rain', who bested Colbert once again in 'TIME's 2008 Most influential people' list. Rain finished 2nd, one place above Colbert in the online international poll.

The placement of Colbert and O'Reilly outside the Top Ten is somewhat baffling. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made an appearance on Stephen Colbert's show on the eve of the hotly contested Pennsylvania Primary. The 'Colbert effect' so influential that John Edwards - no longer a contender for the Democratic nomination, even made an appearance. Bill O'Reilly on the other hand snared an exclusive one-on-one with Hillary Clinton, with a McCain interview to follow. With that said, all three Presidential contenders did feel it necessary to appear on a Wrestling show. A case proving the ability to secure important guests isn't the only measure of influence.

Read the Comedy Central Insider's take on the list
View the list of The most influential US political pundits
View The 2008 TIME 100 Finalists

Saturday, May 3, 2008

George W Bush, Hillary Clinton and Bill O'Reilly

Q: What do George W Bush and Hillary Clinton have in common?
A: Bill O'Reilly has told both of them that they are like him.

Hillary Clinton Sits Down With Bill O'Reilly
O'REILLY: ... And it's a personality run, which is why before Reverend Wright derailed him, Barack Obama had some momentum because you're a more polarizing personality than he is. Would you agree with that?
CLINTON: Well, I...
O'REILLY: He's perceived as a nicer guy?
CLINTON: Well, I've been around a long time. You know, I bear a lot of the scars...
CLINTON: This is the way our system is. They take shots at me. You know when I started running in New York people didn't think I could win. And then I came back and won with 67 percent of the vote.
O'REILLY: Look, you've done...
CLINTON: And the reason is...
O'REILLY: New York.
CLINTON: ...because I reached across party lines. I'm the one with the record of bipartisanship.
O'REILLY: But you're a more polarizing personality. You're like I am. And I hate to say that, with all due, but you are. And Obama's such a nice guy. And that's what this is all about.

The O'Reilly Factor. May 1, 2008
Read the full transcript of O'Reilly's interview with Hillary

VIDEO: Factor Exclusive with Hillary Clinton

Bill O'Reilly's Exclusive with George W Bush
O'REILLY: When people criticize me, I think I'm the second most criticized person in the country. You're first by a large margin, but I'm second.
BUSH: Yes?
O'REILLY: I get really furious, especially if it's dishonest.
BUSH: Yes.
O'REILLY: But you don't — you're different than I am. You're more philosophical. See, I'm sitting there going oh, if I had this guy's neck, you know.
BUSH: Well, I'm not as big as you are...

The O'Reilly Factor. October 20, 2006
Read the full transcript of Bill's Exclusive interview with President Bush

VIDEO: Bill O'Reilly talks about the haters with President Bush 

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Joe Klein: The "shrinking" democrats and low-information signals

In the most recent issue of 'Time Magazine', Joe Klein writes about the Democratic Primary battle and "low-information signaling". Though I'm not familiar with the term, the language of 'low-information signaling' encompasses what this blog is about. Though politics has serious implications on things like infrastructure, foreign policy and society the media and voters often base their political judgment on trivial matters.

Joe Klein on 'The Incredibly Shrinking Democrats'
Yes, yes, the bulk of the sludge was caricature, and some of it, especially the stuff circulating on the Internet, was scurrilous trash. But there is an immutable pedestrian reality to American politics: you have to get the social body language right if you want voters to consider the nobler reaches of your message. In his 1991 book, The Reasoning Voter, political scientist Samuel Popkin argued that most people make their choice on the basis of "low-information signaling" — that is, stupid things like whether you know how to roll a bowling ball or wear an American-flag pin. In the era of Republican dominance, the low-information signals were really low — how Michael Dukakis looked in a tanker's helmet, whether John Kerry's favorite sports were too precious (like wind-surfing), whether Al Gore's debate sighs over his opponent's simple obfuscations were patronizing. Bill Clinton was the lone Democratic master of low-information signaling — a love of McDonald's and other assorted big-gulp appetites gave him credibility that even trumped his evasion of military service.

The audacity of the Obama campaign was the belief that — the low-information politics could be tossed aside. That assumption hit a wall in Pennsylvania.

Joe Klein, April 24, 2008. Time Magazine

Samuel Popkin, Reasoning voter For more on "Low-information signals" find Samuel Popkin's book on Amazon "The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns".

Read more about Author Samuel Popkin

Here is the Product Description from
The Reasoning Voter is an insider's look at campaigns, candidates, media, and voters that convincingly argues that voters make informed logical choices. Samuel L. Popkin analyzes three primary campaigns—Carter in 1976; Bush and Reagan in 1980; and Hart, Mondale, and Jackson in 1984—to arrive at a new model of the way voters sort through commercials and sound bites to choose a candidate. Drawing on insights from economics and cognitive psychology, he convincingly demonstrates that, as trivial as campaigns often appear, they provide voters with a surprising amount of information on a candidate's views and skills. For all their shortcomings, campaigns do matter.

New Profile: Andrew Wilkow

I'm proud to announce the latest Animation Profile - Andrew Wilkow. It's a bit of an innovation from previous profiles. You will notice a toggle on the bottom left corner that will allow you to view Andrew in two different outfits, 'Suit' and 'Street' in keeping with Andrew's unique personality. I've also revamped the accompanying Republican logo to reflect Andrew's "younger" look.

In the near future expect to see new animations with a stable (team) of APF pundits. The first stable incorporating Andrew Wilkow shoulder to shoulder with Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. At this stage the tentative title for the stable is "The Freedom Alliance" though I'm open to suggestion. Your comments welcome below.

For fans of Andrew who'd like to promote his show. Email me below to get the code to have these animations featured on your site or myspace page:

Read my profile and interview with Andrew Wilkow here