Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Scott McClellan outs then apologizes to Bill O'Reilly

Jesse Ventura made the charge earlier this week that pundits like O'Reilly and Hannity got their stories from "upstairs". Today former White House spokesperson Scott McClellan repeats the same charge.

One of the clearest things to be gleamed from this episode is the ease in which McClellan allows himself to be coerced.

View the original clip where MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews leads McClellan to tarnish Hannity and O'Reilly by insinuating they received talking points from the White House.
From - O’Reilly attacks Scott McClellan for telling the truth

After this charge, Scott appears on Bill O'Reilly's radio show and retracts his charge that O'Reilly was fed talking points from the White House.
McClellan backtracks on O'Reilly's radio show

Read Scott McClellan's Wiki bio
View Scott McClellan's book: What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dennis Prager speaks with George Lakoff on the Political mind

One of the reasons the wrestling analogy is apt in describing politics is because both have peripheral factors that take primacy over what is happening in the ring. Wrestlers and politicians are not judged on their wrestling abilities or stances on issues, but rather how they portray themselves and their ability to connect with the audience. Psychology, charisma and archetypes all come into play.

A large part of connecting with the audience comes down to framing and the ability to convince people of the narratives they've constructed. I'm surprised I haven't featured more linguists and framers in this blog, it's been a long time coming.

Conservative talker Dennis Prager recently had an illuminating discussion with Professor George Lakoff on his new book The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain. George Lakoff is a professor of cognitive linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. Though Dennis describes him as being a liberal, George argues that
all kinds of combinations exist so there is no simple left to right spectrum... there's not just combinations of political attitudes but combinations of modes of thinking and we have to understand what those modes of thinking are and how they work. They are not simple.

It's an awkward interview as Lakoff practices what he preaches by dominating the interview and dictating terms, host Dennis Prager submits to Lakoff allowing him to dominate air time, filibuster and generally "frame" the discussion to his favour.

This passage from Professor Lakoff might explain why some tend to view Politics as team sports or as I contend the prism of Wrestling
Brain circuitry for emotions connect with brain circuitry for semantic concepts like hero villain stories... which both have inferences and emotions at once, that they're not separable. But it's not merely emotional... we think in frames and metaphors

Download and Listen to Dennis Prager's chat with George Lakoff
Go to Dennis Prager's audio archives
Go to Dennis Prager's bio
Go to Professor George Lakoff's bio

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jesse Ventura on Hannity and Colmes

On this morning's Hannity radio, Sean spoke glowingly of Jesse Ventura and announced he would be a guest on this evening's show. Speaking with a Minnesottan caller he described how he expected to not like Jesse prior to meeting him due to his arrogant persona. Hannity came out finding points of agreement and conceded Jesse was very knowledgeable on the issues. He segued into a monologue about term limits thereafter. Below you'll find video of Jesse's first appearance with Hannity.

VIDEO: Jesse Ventura on Hannity and Colmes - April 08, 2008

During this interview Hannity sets up a question by quoting from Jesse who has had experience as talk show host
All the stories come from upstairs, even though the hosts pretend it's them. You know peole need to understand Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and the rest of them - they're not these individual rogues setting their own agenda. These guys will deny it and say they have their own artistic freedom.
Jesse offers this statement as evidence for his charge.
So in other words you chose to talk about Anna Nicole Smith for one and a half months.
VIDEO: Jesse Ventura VS Sean Hannity - Round 2. July 29, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Political vernacular: Obama-esque

Over time ex-Presidents have entered regular vernacular as their names have become nouns capturing their famed characteristics.

Richard Nixon
Nixonian, or "Nixonite" is a term used to refer to Republicans who, rather than being conservative, tend to promote high domestic spending and an active regulatory regime, along with an aggressive foreign policy.
Read the full 'Nixonian' definition in Wikipedia

Bill Clinton
"Clintonian" has also carried the connotation of verbal craftiness, usually in a political or legal context, intended to deceive or obscure the truth.
Read the full definition of 'Clintonian' from Wikipedia

Other presidential descriptors include the complimentary 'Reaganesque' and the unflattering 'Bushist'

Whilst Obama is no certainty to occupy the White House his impact to culture has been further stamped by a noun bearing his name - 'Obamaesque'. Though it's definition is still organically growing, wrestling commentator Mick Foley employed it on a recent episode of WWE's Smackdown and was met with a rightfully curious response.
Mick Foley: I think some of his speech, his lectures about personal responsibility was positively Obama-esque, was it not?
Jim Ross: I don't even know what the heck Obama-esque is?...
Watch Mick Foley using the term Obama-esque
skip to the 6:53 mark to hear the quote

Watch the events that commentator Mick Foley refers to as being Obamaesque: MVP lecturing Jeff Hardy

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama hope, McCain Nope

The original 'Obama Hope' poster
by renowned street artist Shepard Fairey of 'Obey Giant' fame.

obama obey giant hope shepard fairey
Barack Obama "HOPE" poster
Parodies of the poster from Artist 'Tennyson':

obama arugula parody poster
obama snob parody poster Obama - Arugula: Why Arugula? Read the post and discussion of the art from - Introducing Barack “Arugula” Obama

Obama - Snob: Read more discussion on Tennyson's art from - Photoshop of the week: Typical liberal snob

McCain gets his turn... John McCain - Nope
mccain nope parody poster
John McCain, the "straight-talking, maverick" Republican candidate for president, is rapidly becoming better known as a flip-flopping, sycophant, who is happy to keep our troops in Iraq for another 100 years. In contrast to Barack Obama's campaign of optimism and hope, McCain offers a vision that is squarely focused on obstacles.

Peace? Nope. Health care? Nope. Fair trade and tax? Nope. Choice? Nope. Environment? Nope. Get the idea? Get the T-Shirt!
Get the design on a shirt at Crass Commerce

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bill Burr is the 'new Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly

After the success of 'The Colbert Report', Comedy Central hopes to mine more comedy gold from opinion punditry. Funnyman Bill Burr has signed on to create a new show parodying the pundit template of "ranting passionately whilst knowing very little".

Comedy Central books Burr - Network sends comedian to 'Purgatory'
Comedy Central has inked a pilot deal with comedian Bill Burr for a project that would feature a weekly rant from him on topical issues...

Burr said the series will feature him as a talking head like "Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly ... with no reading, no research -- just strong opinions."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sean Hannity baiting Senator Obama

As predicted, Hannity has escalated matters after Senator Obama called him out in a recent magazine interview. Hannity threw down the gauntlet to Obama, daring him to face some tough questions and offering to share hosting duties for his various shows.
SEAN HANNITY: Senator Obama here is my invitation to you. Anything I have ever said about you, you can sit right here and I will say it to your face. Do you have the guts to come on this program and take some tough questions?
This wrestling style promo is a tactic often employed by the blustery Bill O'Reilly. It has been a ploy that has worked to great effect for Conservative talker Mark Levin having successfully baited Democratic congressmen Maurice Hinchey and William Delahunt to appear on his show.

Hannity's challenge may seem pointed and ambitious, O'Reilly has done similar. Both pale in comparison to Keith Olbermann, who is much blunter with his rhetoric. In his 'Special Comments' segment, the Liberal pundit goes after the biggest fish of them all sitting US President George W. Bush.

Time will tell whether Hannity successfully baits the possible future president, Barack Obama.

VIDEO: Watch Hannity's challenge to Obama here

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jon Stewart on the outrage over the Obama cartoon

You know what Barack Obama's response should've been? "Barack Obama is in no way upset about the cartoon that depicts him as a muslim extremist, because you know who gets upset about cartoons? Muslim Extremists - of which Barack Obama is not. It's just a ***** cartoon!". As always, nowhere was the anger at the media hotter than in the media!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Barack Obama calls out Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity was recently singled out by Presidential candidate Obama in a recent interview for Glamour Magazine. For an opinion pundit this is an enviable coup. Apart from the traffic it generates towards Hannity's Television and Radio show, it puts him on equal footing with Obama who has essentially acknowledged and challenged the influential conservative star. Even if it's only in Hannity's own mind.

Below is the relevant passage from Glamour Magazine - Barack Obama tells Glamour: "Debate me, not Michelle" by guest blogger Cindi Leive
GLAMOUR: An AP poll shows that while the positive ratings on Michelle are higher than those of Cindy McCain, her negative ratings are higher as well. I'm curious about how as a husband that makes you feel. Does it mystify you? And what do you want to say to those Americans who don't know the woman that you know?

SENATOR OBAMA: It's infuriating, but it's not surprising, because let's face it: What happened was that the conservative press—Fox News and the National Review and columnists of every ilk—went fairly deliberately at her in a pretty systematic way...and treated her as the candidate in a way that you just rarely see the Democrats try to do against Republicans. And I've said this before: I would never have my campaign engage in a concerted effort to make Cindy McCain an issue, and I would not expect the Democratic National Committee or people who were allied with me to do it. Because essentially, spouses are civilians. They didn't sign up for this. They're supporting their spouse. So it took a toll. If you start being subjected to rants by Sean Hannity and the like, day in day out, that'll drive up your negatives.
Expect Sean to fire back at Obama and get as much mileage out of it for his shows. Hannity is already spending an inordinate amount of time on his "Stop Obama express". Hannity can make it personal now.

He has already begun challenging Obama to a debate. Expect Hannity to be more pointed in his badgering and challenge of Obama in the attempt to extend the perception of equal footing with the possible future President of the United States.
Watch Hannity's challenge here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

One Angry Man: Keith Olbermann

keith olbermann, new yorker
In a previous post I linked to a feature by the New York Times on Conservative figurehead Rush Limbaugh. This time we present you a feature by the New Yorker on Keith Olbermann, the closest thing the left has to a figurehead but with not nearly the same type or breadth of following as Rush'.

One Angry Man: Is Keith Olbermann changing TV news? by Peter J. Boyer

The piece refers to a little known tag-team partnership with an unlikely APF Pundit:
Shortly after Olbermann’s “shut the hell up” commentary on President Bush last month, conservative radio pounced on the implication that he was calling American troops in Iraq “cold-blooded killers,” and Olbermann took particular note of criticism from Laura Ingraham, who said on the air, “I believe MSNBC really needs to bring in a medical team at this point. . . . I don’t know what happened to him. I really don’t. He didn’t use to be this way.” (Olbermann dated Ingraham briefly a decade ago. “There were a few problems,” he told me. “There were a few things that I could see were going to be impediments. Oddly, they were not political things.”)
A profile of Olbermann's famed rivalry with Bill O'Reilly
Olbermann chose his office, a corner office on the fourth floor of NBC’s Rockefeller Plaza headquarters, for its view. From his desk, he can look out the window and see, directly across Sixth Avenue, the studios of Fox News, the broadcast home of his rival Bill O’Reilly. “Sometimes I imagine that I hear a howl coming from there,” Olbermann told me during a visit one afternoon. “I have been accused of having an obsession with him. I am a minor-leaguer compared to his obsession with me.”

The Olbermann-O’Reilly feud, which is wholly Olbermann’s creation, began with a wisecrack in 2003, the first year of “Countdown.” It evolved after Olbermann instituted a farcical segment called “The Worst Person in the World,” in which O’Reilly, depicted as a pompous buffoon, was regularly cited. O’Reilly, the biggest draw of the highest-rated cable-news network, could only lose by engaging with Olbermann, but he could not resist...
More illuminating than the written piece is the author's discussion of it with Matt Dellinger of New Yorker Out Loud
Listen and download audio of Peter Boyer commenting on Olbermann’s style and how it contrasts with traditional television news.
Find the Original New Yorker link here: Mouthing Off

Obama and McCain:Ten worst Running mate choices

Jake Tapper of ABC News has been hosting a series of tongue-in-cheek Top 10 lists for Presidential Candidates Obama and McCain: Top Ten Worst running mate choices.

View the videos here:
The Ten worst running mates Obama could choose

Read Comments from readers of on the McCain List and the Obama list.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Politics is wrestling - the 2004 edition

Whilst this blog is the number one resource for the analogy that politics is not unlike wrestling, I would never claim that I was the first to come up with it. It's an analogy that's been in the ether long before this blog and certainly before this election cycle.

In fact here is a post using the Politics is wrestling analogy from the 2004 election season. Written by pro wrestler Don "Cyrus" Callis for Canada's Canoe Slam Sports. Instead of the characters familiar to us today: Obama, McCain and Hillary. In 2004 the players then were John Kerry, Howard Dean and of course George W Bush. The article is written for wrestling "smarks" (intelligent fans) so some of the references may go over people's heads but its an interesting read nonetheless.
Politics or wrestling? by Cyrus (2004)
Of course, no wrestling angle would be complete without a strong bully of a heel for the babyface (Democrats) to be chasing. In this little bit of life imitating art, the role of lead heel is portrayed by none other than President George W. Bush, who democratic voters despise worse than Winnipeggers despised Bobby Heenan in 1977. This has heated up a war of words to rival wrestling at its finest.

Witness the verbiage from the front-runner, Senator John Kerry: "I have a message for George Bush: we're coming, you're going, and don't let the door hit you on the way out!" Now come on, if I fed you that line and asked if it came from a wrestling show or the potential next leader of the free world, what would you say?

Maybe the boys have been right all along, and life, including politics, is one big work.
Other links:
Politics is wrestling, Quote roundup: Ann Coulter, Jon Stewart, Mick Foley, Marc Ambinder, Matt Lewis, Wyatt Cenac, Mick Foley

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Michelle Obama and John McCain: when politicians embellish

It's not uncommon in life (but especially in politics) to embellish a story to make it more compelling for the immediate audience. Whilst this may be par for the course for the average Joe, this can be particularly damaging for a politician. With the ubiquity of media and the premium voters place on honesty and trust its a risky game playing fast and loose with stories.

This was the case for Michelle Obama and John McCain.
Michelle Obama in addressing the DNCs Gay & Lesbian Council audience tried to show off her husband's credentials as someone who "wins over unfriendly audiences". This was done at the expense of Texans
"Barack has the courage to talk to skeptical audiences, not just friendly ones. That’s why he told a crowd at a rally in Texas that gays and lesbians deserve equality. And you can imagine in Texas that that crowd got a little quiet."
We'll overlook the irony of touting "tolerance" by disparaging a state, stereotyping them as intolerant. Conservative talker Hugh Hewitt challenges Michelle's account of the event by playing the exact audio of Obama's speech with the accompanying audience reaction in context. It's clear Michelle was embellishing, the crowd did not act the way she depicted. To Hugh's credit he gives Michelle a slight benefit of the doubt, for possibly not having been in attendance to know firsthand.

Listen to audio of Hugh Hewitt speaking on Michelle Obama's "Texans" comment and fielding calls: July 1, 2008 - Hugh Hewitt talks with Texans about what the Obamas think of them.
this is my comment on Michelle. She has a habit of exaggerating grievance. Remember "the bar has moved", "we didn't have any money". It's always about exaggerating the grievance she has or that she believes other people have. It's a rhetorical device but its also a way of thinking and it's troubling because the world doesn't owe anybody anything and the world's done pretty well by Obama...

Keep an eye, listen very carefully. If they make stuff up like she did about this reaction of silence among the crowd in Texas, they'll make other stuff up. Get the fact-checkers out in full force..."
Find more audio of Michelle's speech to the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Council here from Townhall

John McCain finds himself in similar strife by changing details of a story he often tells about his time in Vietnam. McCain talks of being tortured and being forced to divulge the names of his squadron team, he recounts that he cleverly cited the names of the Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line in place of his fellow airmen. The Problem - McCain has recounted this story many times, most notably in his book Faith of My Fathers where he sources The Green Bay Packer's offensive line for his decoy names.

Countdown (Rachel Maddow): Was McCain’s Steeler Story A Pander Too Far In Exploiting His POW Past?
MADDOW: The McCain campaign is claiming that the Steeler story is an honest mistake. One of many, it would seem. So our choices here appear to be a) Sen. McCain’s memory is so bad that he can no longer be counted on to remember much of anything; or b) he will say pretty much anything to be President, even pander on the very issue that’s supposed to define him: the years he spent in a prisoner of war camp. Which one of those options is politically palatable here?
Watch video of Rachel Maddow discussing McCain's ever changing story

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hugh Hewitt reasons with young Obama voters

hugh hewitt barack obama youth vote
The Obama candidacy is a phenomenon that has captivated the imaginations of Americans and international observers alike. Nowhere is this more evident than in the youth awareness and response to Obama. APF pundit Hugh Hewitt found it so relevant that he has written a short book that hopes to convince young people to re-examine their likely vote for Obama.

Read an excerpt of Hugh Hewitt's book here:
A Letter to a Young Obama Supporter
There is a lively debate accompanying the post, a combination of Hugh Hewitt and Obama supporters and detractors examining the strength of Obama's candidacy and Hugh's case against it.

Excerpts of the discussion below:
Mr. Hewitt,
You have missed the point badly. It’s totally natural for young people to be idealists. Obama’s strength, by his own admission, is in allowing others to project their convictions onto his blank-slate persona. He encourages people to see in him their own highest aspirations. It’s a neat trick, but Obama is no idealist. He’s a magician who uses rhetoric to disguise his political ambition. Young people are easily taken in because they lack the cynicism that comes with age and experience. I think any effort to dissuade them from the fantasy will be counter-productive. They will learn the hard way when Mr. Obama is revealed as just another politician. I expect to get jumped on for my comments. But that will only serve to make my point.
Jul 3, 2008 - 7:11 am


“Senator Obama’s success is a testament to the country’s long, uphill struggle to deliver on the promise of the Declaration of Independence’s radical statement that all men are created equal.”

What a bunch of BS! Hugh, I’m sorry…I’m a fan, but you just stepped in it BIG TIME with this crap.

Obama’s success is CLEARLY (if one bothers to look at his election history) a testament to GAMING the system...
There are SO MANY reasons not to vote for Obama, and you hit on clearly (as the comments attest to) the WEAKEST ONE, which is his lack of experience. Young people DON’T CARE about his lack of experience! Period!!!!!
THAT would require someone to THINK a bit more than just be stroked with the flattery of their idealism or their energy! You do the “millenials” a DISERVICE when you condescend to their shortcomings or even their strengths. Treat them like the “grown-ups” they want to be seen as…and they may just surprise you! They are not stupid…even though Obama has managed to pull the wool over the vast majority of their eyes, that is true for many of their parents as well.

Hopefully, the 4 months we have until the election will open up some people’s eyes to the con-man and sham Obama really is…but your “pamphlet” will hardly do the trick.
Dave II:
Jul 3, 2008 - 8:29 am

A brief blurb on the book:
Letter to a Young Obama Supporter
Author and radio host Hugh Hewitt argues that young Americans are being misled by Barack Obama; underneath his veneer of exceptional rhetoric and youthful hipness lies a conventional liberal who is moreover thoroughly unqualified to be President of the United States.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Republican, a comedian and a Wrestler-cum-Governor run for the Minnesota Senate

APF pundit AL Franken has another person to contend with besides Republican Norm Coleman in his bid for Minessota's Senate seat, former wrestler Jesse Ventura.
Listen to news audio from NPR: Ventura would shake up Minnesota Senate Race

jesse ventura, wrestler, governor, Minessota
Former Wrestler/Governor Jesse Ventura to enter Minnesota Senate Race
Jesse Ventura has beaten Norm Coleman and a democrat once before, winning the governorship in 1998 as an independent. In the NPR piece, political scientist Laurence Jacobs speaks of Ventura's popularity, "I think Ventura could well win... he's coming in with about a quarter of the vote and he's not even declared his candidacy. That is much better than where he was in 1998 where he started off in single digits and frankly was a joke candidate".

Make no mistake, not everyone is a fan. In a recent post for Ed Morrissey doesn't mince his words speaking of Ventura.
Get ready for more Minnesota madness. Six years after last making the state a national laughingstock as governor, Jesse Ventura may enter the race for US Senate. ...Ventura did manage one signal accomplishment: bipartisanship. By the end of his term, Republicans and Democrats both hated him so much that they began overriding a slew of his vetoes, rendering The Body impotent. By the time he slunk out of office, he couldn’t have been elected dog-catcher in a one-man race.
Read Ed Morrissey's full post and reader comments here:
Jesse to make it a 3-way race?

Jesse Ventura on CNN's 'Larry King Live'
Go to 'Voters 4 Ventura', petitioning Ventura for a 2008 Presidential Run
Read Ventura's political stances compiled by resource 'On the Issues'.
Read Ventura's wrestling bio from WWE's Hall of Fame page
Read Al Franken's bio from their official site
Read Norm Coleman's bio from their official site

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dana Milbank: Obama and McCain both popular but treated differently

Dana Milbank posted an article months ago that highlights the difference in how Obama and McCain are getting treated by the media. As I've stated before Obama and McCain are popular candidates, 'babyfaces' to use wrestling parlance.
Find old posts here:
- McCain lovefest: The media, Pundits and Jon Stewart
- Babyface Barack Obama
- The Mac is back: Everybody loves John McCain

Whilst the Obama/Hillary matchup was hotly contested and relatively even, there was no denying Hillary was seen as the 'heel' (villain) personality of the two. In this General election there isn't such a clear delineation but Dana Millbank offers an insight on who has the inside track as the face (hero).

Round 1: McCain
John McCain and Barack Obama both appeared before the nation's newspaper editors yesterday. The putative Republican presidential nominee was given a box of doughnuts and a standing ovation. The likely Democratic nominee was likened to a terrorist.

At a luncheon for the editors hosted by the Associated Press, AP Chairman Dean Singleton quizzed Obama about whether he would send more troops to Afghanistan, where "Obama bin Laden is still at large?"

"I think that was Osama bin Laden," the candidate answered.

"If I did that, I'm so sorry!" Singleton said.

"This," Obama told the editors, is "part of the exercise that I've been going through over the last 15 months."

McCain wins round on points (didn't draw the bigger crowd but he did win them)
McCain got a standing ovation -- an honor Obama did not receive when his turn came two hours later.

The room and crowd were larger for Obama. The atmosphere was colder (this time, editors had to pass through metal detectors) and more formal (wine on each table and flowers on the dais). And the candidate was uncharacteristically flat.

Winner: McCain wins convincingly, trouncing Obama.
On the same day, the two media darlings of the presidential election cycle came to address their base -- and McCain easily bested his likely opponent.

McCain's moderators, the AP's Ron Fournier and Liz Sidoti, greeted McCain with a box of Dunkin' Donuts. "We spend quite a bit of time with you on the back of the Straight Talk Express asking you questions, and what we've decided to do today was invite everyone else along on the ride," Sidoti explained. "We even brought you your favorite treat."

McCain opened the offering. "Oh, yes, with sprinkles!" he said.

Sidoti passed him a cup. "A little coffee with a little cream and a little sugar," she said.

Read the full article from Dana Millbank of the Washington Post:
For Obama and McCain, the Bitter and the Sweet

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sam Anderson: A rehetorical analysis of Obama and his speeches

The latest issue of New York magazine (Summer issue) has an interesting piece by Sam Anderson analysing Obama's famed ability for speech.

Charting how that asset first brought him to national attention.
Obama first stepped out of the political phone booth on this occasion four years ago, when he gave the climactic keynote address for John Kerry’s otherwise legendarily droopy campaign. In ten minutes, America watched him rip off the rumpled suit of anonymous, mild-mannered state-senatorhood and squeeze into the gaudy cape and tights of our national oratorical superhero—a honey-tongued Frankenfusion of Lincoln, Gandhi, Cicero, Jesus, and all our most cherished national acronyms (MLK, JFK, RFK, FDR). Although he may have been canonized a little quickly, Obama has since managed to justify much of the hype. Over the course of his protracted death-grapple with Hillary, he delivered more game-changing speeches than most politicians muster in a full career: the momentum-swinging pre-Iowa dinner speech, the legitimizing post-Iowa victory speech, the YouTube-ready sloganeering (“Yes, we can”) after his loss in New Hampshire, and, in Philadelphia, a masterpiece—the shockingly honest (Grandma was a racist), paradigm-cracking, scandal-defusing 5,000-word disquisition about the cross-pollinating complexities of American race.

Sam highlights the audaciousness of Obama's narratives - complex, bordering on corny but executed so masterfully the audience never realises it.
It’s significant that he used his first appearance in the national spotlight, the keynote speech at Kerry’s DNC, to meta-sketch the inspirational origin of that very keynote speech: “Let’s face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely,” he said, and then unleashed, in about 60 seconds, a pithy intergenerational family saga spanning three continents and all the major events of mid-twentieth-century America (Depression, Pearl Harbor, postwar boom)—complete with such unlikely details as goat herding, a tin-roof shack, oil rigs, and Patton’s army marching across Europe. It was like a brilliant movie trailer designed to promote the incalculably awesome feature attraction of his future political career. To deny his candidacy, after that, would be to deny a very powerful narrative logic—the goats, the tin-roof shack, Patton, all of it. Every politician tries to tell stories, of course, to harness the emotional momentum of narrative in the service of an agenda. But few do so as naturally as Obama. All serious candidates have a maniacal ambition—in retrospect, Hillary’s looked unflattering because she didn’t nest it quite deeply enough in a persuasive narrative logic; Barack’s is so embedded in an attractive story that we hardly even notice it

Find the full article here:
Raise High the Rafters by Sam Anderson.
Find it in The New York Magazine (Summer Issue)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rush Limbaugh appears on the New York Times

Radio Equalizer reports on a new interview Rush Limbaugh has given to the New York Times. Some would say this is surprising considering how often Rush rails on the famed publication:
Venturing deep into enemy territory, Rush Limbaugh has given the New York Times unprecedented access to his election year sentiments. Can the talk titan trust his longtime foe to represent him honestly and accurately?

rush limbaugh new york timesRead excerpts from 'The New York Times' article preview
Late-Period Limbaugh By Zev Chafets
The anteroom was empty when I stepped off the elevator one afternoon in mid-February. Limbaugh receives very few visitors at work, and no journalists from the hated “mainstream media.” When I was buzzed into the control room, I was met by Bo Snerdly — a very large man in a Huey Newton beret — who glared at me. “Are you the guy who’s here to do the hit job on us?” he demanded in a deep voice.

“Absolutely,” I said.

Snerdly, whose real name is James Golden, held my eyes for a long moment before bursting into emphatic laughter.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

John McCain and Barack Obama Campaign Attack ads

In marketing as in politics the best counterattacks are done Jujitsu style - "self-defense with the clever use of the attacker's own weight and strength".
Here are a series of John McCain ads using Obama's own gaffes and words against him.

John McCain campaign ad: Seal
This ad mocks Obama's faux Presidential seal. It plays on the meme that Obama is aloof and plans to shape America in his own image. It also undercuts Obama's effective branding design.

VIDEO: John McCain campaign ad "Seal"
Tagline - For Barack Obama it's change you can make in Photoshop

John McCain campaign ad: Words
Turning Obama's strength in oratory and words against him by framing his new stance on public campaign financing to his declarations earlier.

VIDEO: John McCain campaign ad "Words"
Tagline - CHANGE That works for him: Breaking his word

I had originally intended to show Barack Obama's attack ads for John McCain. But it turns out they aren't that easy to find on Barack Obama's Youtube page.

This is likely a nod to his image as a post-partisan campaigner. Thats not to say there are no Anti-John McCain ads from the Obama team. They just aren't readily visible, getting swamped in the over 1000+ videos. Monstrous compared to McCain's modest 200+ videos. In fact Obama's attack videos are likely to be subtler, savvier and more subversive like this ad against Hillary Clinton which was later discovered to be a "citizen ad" made by someone working at a firm that did have ties to the Obama campaign.

VIDEO: Vote Different (Not Hillary Clinton)

Read the Article here - Mystery creator of anti-Clinton ad identified.
The creator of the atmospheric faux-Apple ad against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been unmasked as a Democratic operative who worked for a digital consulting firm with ties to Sen. Barack Obama, NBC News confirmed Wednesday night... Blue State Digital said in a statement that de Vellis had been “terminated” for violating a company policy against “outside political work or commentary on behalf of our clients or otherwise.” De Vellis contradicted that in his Web posting, insisting that he had resigned voluntarily.
Find all (213 total) John McCain YouTube videos here
Find all (1135 total) Barack Obama's Youtube videos here