Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Florida Primary - Live on PPV

It's that time again, another Presidential primary. You know what that means? - another tardy PPV poster and card rundown.

giuliani florida mccain romney clinton democrats republicans
Florida primary | January 29, 2008
Here is the card for the January 29 Florida Primary:
Elimination Chamber Match
Mitt Romney, John mcCain, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani
This is it for Rudy. Rudy Giuliani was the presumptive nominee for most of 2007 for his big reputation and nationwide name idea as the mayor of New York during 9/11. He has lost a lot of his lustre these past few months as he has been out of the media narrative. Giuliani has taken a big gamble, sitting out the early primaries and focusing all his attention on Florida.

Florida is seen as a must-win for Rudy. A victory he plans to ride into the coming mother-of-all PPVs - "Super Duper Tuesday".

In this Elimination Chamber Match, the three Republican candidates are already in heated battle with each contender winning one primary each. McCain with a victory in South Carolina and New Hampshire, Romney with Michigan and Huckabee taking out Iowa. Rudy is waiting patiently for the gates to open for Florida. Time to see if the gamble pays off.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

South Carolina (Democratic Primary) - Live on PPV

As is customary before a major primary, the APF introduces a PPV poster and provides a rundown of the card. Also customary is the late timing...
south carolina hillary bill clinton obama edwards democrats
South Carolina, Democratic primary | January 26, 2008
(Survivor Series)

Here is the card for the Democratic Primary held in South Carolina, January 26 2008.

Triple threat match (No Disqualification match)
Hillary Clinton w/ Bill Clinton
VS Barack Obama VS John Edwards

As the we get deeper into the primaries, the gloves start coming off. This is a no holds barred match. Leading up to the primary, Barack Obama who has derided 'slash and burn' style politics has had to get dirty as Hillary's enforcer Bill Clinton has taken him to the mat. Native son and 2004 South Carolina primary winner, John Edwards hopes to capitalise. By staying out of the crossfire, Edwards has reminded voters that he is the fitting alternative to Obama, a change agent with a hopeful message. This is a must-win for John Edwards. Look for former President Bill Clinton to play a key role from ringside.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

McCain supporters - David Brooks and Michael Medved

Anyone with the slightest awareness of conservative punditry will know that McCain doesn't have many supporters. APF Pundits from Rush, Mark Levin, Michelle Malkin to Laura Ingraham have come out strongly on their radio programs and have even taken to print to discredit McCain. And that's putting it lightly.

Only 2 prominent conservatives come to mind as McCain supporters, Radio talker Michael Medved and NY Time columnist David Brooks. Both pundits during the early stages of the GOP debate were supportive or at least accommodating of the then front-runner, Mike Huckabee. After McCain's victory in New Hampshire and subsequent ascendancy, both pundits were more pronounced in their support of McCain. Some have contended that their glowing editorials for Huckabee in the early stages of the GOP race was a ploy to pave McCain's path to the nomination. Hugh Hewitt, a radio stablemate of Medved's has contended as much.
The New York Times' David Brooks is gleeful that Huckabee has monkeywrenched Romney. Huck can't be president, Brooks assures us, but it was good to see the party establishment humbled and McCain's way forward cleared. "Mitt Romney is now grievously wounded," Brooks enthused. "My guess is Republicans will now swing behind McCain in order to stop Mike."

Is the picture clearer this morning for all those Iowa evangelicals on why Mike Huckabee got the gentle treatment after his bizarre news conference Monday?
Read Hugh's full post here

Anti-McCain feeling has been a staple of the Conservative pundit class. The clamour will only get louder with every McCain success in the primaries and polls. Its only been recently that I've heard hits against the McCain supporters such as Brooks and Medved.

Listen and Download Hugh talking with Medved as McCain is declared the victor in the New Hampshire primary.

This exchange is very cordial. Hugh's famed bias for Mitt Romney shows in the discussion as he downplays McCain's victory, Hugh's memes were challenged handily by Medved.
HUGH HEWITT: Michael you're a McCain guy, I'm a Romney guy. We're gonna go back and forth for the next month and we're gonna be friends after this. But I gotta say, aren't you a little disappointed.. the guy who got 60% 8 years ago is down to 37% and out of money
Michael Medved: Absolutely Not! Hugh I think you're really reaching... to beat... the first Massachusetts candidate in the history of the New Hampshire Primary to lose. I mean c'mon Mitt Romney had every advantage here, he outspent John McCain. A win is a win is a win.
Onto another Brooks/Medved rant. This time not as cordial. Mark Levin cuts a mean promo on the two pundits for their support of McCain. In signature Levin style, he calls Brooks a "foolish and almost incoherent man from the New York Slimes" and labels Medved a "backbencher".
Listen and Download Levin's promo here.
Read Mark Levin articulating his anti-McCain/anti-Brooks sentiments in print.

Whilst there is uniformity in the trashing of McCain from these pundits. Another thing is certain, McCain is held in high esteem for his service to America as a respected military man and POW in Vietnam. But as Hugh Hewitt is quick to point "McCain is a Great American, lousy senator and terrible Republican".

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Janeane, Seder, Maher and Coulter

Today I heard for the first time, Sam Seder and Janeane Garofalo's maiden episode of their Majority Report radio show. It was a very entertaining and smooth running show, especially considering they were radio amateurs at the time and aren't exactly famed for their preparedness.

The inaugural show featured top notch guests, progressive businessman Ben Cohen (Ben of Ben and Jerry's), blogger Atrios as well as uber comedians Bill Maher and Dave Chappelle.

Its an episode worth seeking. I've chosen this particular snippet simply because it features and references 4 APF pundits.
GAROFALO: You're friendship with Ann Coulter which a lot of people make a lot of. It does strike me as weird though as one of your main tenants of your stand up... you were saying is that "we can't tolerate intolerance"
MAHER: Right
GAROFALO: and Ann Coulter is very, very, very intolerant. At least her public persona is. I don't know what she's like behind closed doors. Her public persona is so intolerant as to be absurd... she says things that are bordering on performance art. In fact I do have a theory that she is Andy Kaufman, the female Tony Clifton.
Listen to a snippet of Majority Report Episode 1 (March 31, 2004)
Go to the old Majority Report blog

Saturday, January 19, 2008

South Carolina and Nevada - Live on PPV

Due to some computer issues at PunditFight HQ, we weren't able to organise a PPV poster as is customary before a major Primary. However the poster will be coming soon, so stay tuned.

In the meanwhile you can view the old posters here:
View the New Hampshire PPV poster
View the Michigan PPV poster

Updated: Posters added Jan 25.
south carolina nevada clinton obama romney mccain democrats republicans
South Carolina + Nevada, Republican primary | January 19, 2008
(Survivor Series)

Now let's move onto the South Carolina and Nevada PPVs:

With 3 different primary winners for the GOP and 2 different winners for the Democrats. The upcoming primary will be 'Survivor Series' rules with each candidate pairing with a like minded peer to hopefully eliminate the others and improve their standing.

The Republican primary is taking place in the Palmetto State, South Carolina.
The Outsiders (Mike Huckabee & John McCain)
VS The Reagan Coalition (Mitt Romney & Fred Thompson)

McCain and Huckabee are two candidates gaining popular support amongst the masses and the media but shunned by the Conservative establishment and pundit class. Romney and Thompson have positioned themselves as Republicans who will lead in the grand tradition of Reagan. Both teams will face off with competing ideas ideas for the future of the Republican party.
A win in the South Carolina primary would be a big boost to every campaign but particularly crucial to Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. Huckabee needs to win to show that his Iowa caucus win was not a a fluke and to prove that he can win in a general primary. Thompson needs to win if he is to be taken seriously. If he can't place well in his "own backyard" he will have to consider forfeiting his presidential run.

The Democratic primary is being held in Nevada.
The Clinton Machine (Bill & Hillary Clinton)
VS Team Change (John Edwards and Barack Obama)
The Clinton brand name plans to roll on through Nevada. After her surprising New Hampshire win, the Clinton juggernaut hope to snuff the 'change' movement early by winning Nevada. Hillary is flanked by her Ex President husband, Bill Clinton. Bill has been instrumental, standing outside the ring with a trashcan full of all manner of foreign objects. Striking at Obama and Edwards on behalf of Hillary whilst the refs have been distracted.
Obama still enjoys popular support but needs to beat Hillary who will only get more unwieldy with each primary win. John Edwards needs to notch a win in Nevada if he is to be taken seriously as a Presidential contender.

Follow the campaign on PBS Newshour's Vote 2008 site
Listen and Download the analysis of Shields and Brooks. Particularly as they touch on the GOP field and Bill Clinton's role in the democratic race. Transcript here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

FAQ: What is Pundit Fighting all about?

I often get emails asking me what American Pundit Fighting is all about. "I like the characters? Are they suppose to fight? Is this a game?" I suspect most of the confusion comes from the MySpace Page. For the benefit of everyone involved here are is a quick rundown.

What is the site about?
The site is about Politics and Punditry. People sometimes characterise partisan politics as a 'horse race', I've always found that comparison one-dimensional. I see it more as a popularity contest, where intangibles like charisma, aura and ideology come into play. I use wrestling as an analogy to illustrate this.
Click here for a quick rundown of the site

Who is the site for?
The site is for everybody! You don't have to know anything about politics and you don't have to know anything about wrestling. A passing knowledge of both might make it more accessible but its not necessary. I don't assume any foreknowledge on the part of the reader so I make a point of providing links, resources and video whenever possible. If my mum can make sense of it, this site has done its job.

What's with the characters and animations?
I'm a graphic designer by day. The site for all intents and purposes could survive without the characters or animations. However as I'm equipped to and enjoy making graphics I use them in place of stock images. The Myspace page is a rarely updated resource page that provides a rundown on all the pundits I may mention on this blog.

The APF is a way of showcasing my writing as well as my illustration and animation skills. I would love for the characters to be used for the purposes of a game and one day I hope to make an animation of the characters wrestling each other. But at this stage they are peripheral goals, the bread and butter of the site is the writing.
Click here for all the art

Where should I start?
I touch on issues of presentation in politics and punditry. Because the themes I discuss are generic and universal, they are not tethered to a time or event. The columns I write should remain relevant no matter how far removed they are from the time I write it to when you read it. I would encourage you to read through the archives. You can begin with some of my favourite posts here:
- Aura
- Kayfabe and Bill O'Reilly
- Heels and Ann Coulter

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Michigan Republican Primary - Live on PPV

As per tradition, here is a wallpaper for the upcoming GOP primary in Michigan. To look at the previous wallpaper go here.

Michigan Romney Huckabee McCain Thompson
Michigan Primary | January 15, 2008
(Great American Bash)

The card is as follows:
January 15, 2008. The Michigan GOP Primaries

Buried Alive Match
Fred Thompson Vs Mitt Romney
This is a must win for both candidates, The Buried Alive Match will literally change the direction of the candidate's campaign. If Fred loses he will need to consider leaving the race or stay simply to soften up the others. If Romney loses he will need to question whether this endeavor is a worthy investment. Either way, the loser is on borrowed time.

Money in the Bank match
Mike Huckabee VS John McCain
The Champion of the Iowa Primary, Mike Huckabee meets the Champion of the New Hampshire Primary, John McCain. The first person to grab the suitcase at the top of the ladder will have an enormous amount of momentum going forward. If both fail, they face a spirited and long GOP nomination that will go the distance.

Punjabi Prison Match
Ron Paul VS Rudy Giuliani
Both candidates are popular leaders. Giuliani has the strongest name ID amongst the conservative field and has been widely tipped to win the nomination. His strategy of sitting out the early primaries has kept him absent from the media narrative.
Ron Paul enjoys popular enthusiastic support. A hit online and fundraising more than any other GOP candidate. Despite this both have been lackluster in their placings for the last two debates. Both will have to climb out this funk and over the wall if they are to contend for the nomination.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Mac is back - Everybody loves John McCain

The GOP narrative as told by the pundits and the Media:
- Mike Huckabee and John McCain are RINOs (Republicans in name only)
- Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson are the only true conservatives
- Huckabee and McCain are teaming together to topple Romney
- Huckabee and McCain's do not follow the model of the Reagan Coalition

Whilst McCain is a soft target for pundits like Rush, Mark Levin and Hugh Hewitt. McCain curiously enjoys a lot of respect from his fellow GOP candidates. In the most recent republican debate he was left relatively unscathed
South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson said afterward he was surprised that nobody onstage really went after McCain.

“It was very respectful tonight,” Dawson said. “It wasn’t a rough debate.”

Yet South Carolina is known for its bare-knuckled politics and Dawson predicted that McCain would not enjoy a glide path to next week’s primary.

But with Romney moving to pull out of the primary here — and Thompson, Giuliani and Huckabee indicating again Thursday that they’re not comfortable attacking McCain in person — the Arizonan is on track to enjoy the precise opposite of what he experienced in South Carolina in 2000.

The deference Thompson and Romney give to McCain can be explained in the previous positive history they've had with the man.

Romney enlisted the help of McCain in endorsing him for Governor in 2002. Whilst this affects positively on Romney. It also shows a mutual respect and admiration for each other, and makes McCain not look as radioactive as most pundits would have us believe.

Fred Thompson, who is considered more convincingly conservative is ironically the most supportive of McCain. Fred has worked with McCain in the past and was one of four senators to endorse McCain in the 2000 Republican primary. Fred Thompson acted as the national co-chairman of McCain's campaign. Whilst there has been much said about the validity of such claims, its widely known that if Thompson were to drop out the race he would most likely endorse Mccain. With a possible view towards a Vice Presidential slot under a McCain presidency. There is also a possible Republican ticket of McCain/Huckabee. With pundits speculating that Huckabee is largely in the race for and is better suited for the VP slot.

Fred Thompson who is anticipated to help McCain if he were ever to forfeit his Presdiential run also helps McCain the longer he stays in. Thompson, as a 'Reagan Coalition' conservative peels voters away from Romney. Fred has also done a good job beating up on Huckabee, a front runner with a similar appeal of moderate conservative support as McCain's.

Listen to former Republican senator Rick Santorum eviscerating McCain
Listen and Download Mark Levin explaining why McCain and Huckabee are the worst Republican candidates
Listen to Mark Levin beating up on McCain

Friday, January 11, 2008

Huckabee, Colbert and Podhoretz

In my last post I featured links to many of the Presidential candidates' Concession speeches after the New Hampshire Primary. In a recent interview with Hugh Hewitt, Conservative commentary, John Podhoretz concludes that Huckabee is a vapid candidate as evidenced by the content of his 'Thank You' speech.
HUGH HEWITT: ... that's why I don't think Mike Huckabee is really a serious contender here. He's not reliable on the war. Do you think he is?
JOHN PODHORETZ: No, I think, i see no reliable evidence that he is reliable in much of anything actually
HEWITT: So how can he be ahead in South Carolina?
PODHORETZ: Well we don't know that he is, and this is my point. Look! There's two weeks till South Carolina. We'll see how ahead he is. Let me put it to you this way. Listen to his speech last night, his concession speech OK. McCain made a passionate speech about the War and Service. Romney made a speech in which he delved in issues. Obama talked about issues, Hillary talked about issues. What did Huckabee do? He talked about how Mrs So-and-so took him in their house and gave him a nice piece of pie and he loves it. It was Elvis' birthday. Thank you so much, you're all so nice. You are all so wonderful. This is a vapid candidacy.A vapid candidacy that is depend in on his personality which is nice but isn't like Obama's. Magnetic like Obama's...

Listen to the discussion between Hugh and John Podhoretz

So John Podhoretz thinks Mike Huckabee is vapid? Well... Mike was on Stephen Colbert's show recently. You can judge for yourself. Stephen actually raises an issue I posted about recently, regarding the waning influence of the pundit class.

Listen to the discussion between Hugh and J-Pod

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Hampshire Victory and Thank You speeches

The New Hampshire results are in. In fact its old news now. Make sure to check back and look out for Iowa and Michigan posters coming soon. Expect a PPV poster for all the major Primaries.

In the meanwhile here are links to audio of several of the Presidential candidate's speeches after the closing of the New Hampshire Primary.

John McCain
Hillary Clinton
Mitt Romney
Barack Obama
Mike Huckabee
John Edwards
Rudy Giuliani

Find them all at AM1090 Progressive Talk

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Pundits humbled. Is their influence waning?

Following the shock of Huckabee winning Iowa and an even more astonishing win for Hillary who was counted out against the surging Obama. Not to mention the lazarus like return of McCain. Pundits are scratching their heads.

Here is an exchange between conservative blogger and personality Mary Katherine Ham talking with APF's own Hugh Hewitt
HH: Mary Katherine I don't think there is a press meme. I don't think the press has anything- in fact I think the electorate are looking at these people without our help for the first time in the history of American politics
MKH: Well we certainly have been proved wrong at one point or another. Throughout this process as I've written on the blog, if there's one thing this election has been. It's been humbling for the pundits. I mean it's impressive what's going on here.
Listen and Download Hugh Hewitt's discussion with MKH
Read MKH's blog post on 'humbled pundits'
Read Mary Katherine Ham's blog

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Hampshire Primary - live on PPV

Here is a PPV poster for the upcoming New Hampshire Primary. A posthumous poster for the Iowa PPV will be coming shortly.
new hampshire clinton obama romney huckabee
New Hampshire | January 8, 2008

The card is as follows:
January 8, 2008. The New Hampshire Primaries

2-on-1 Handicap match
Mike Huckabee and John McCain VS Mitt Romney
The Iowa winner, Mike Huckabee teams with surging veteran, John McCain. Both taking on Pundit favourite Mitt Romney. It started with smear ads and will to ahead tonight in New Hampshire. This is personal!

Last Man Standing match
Fred Thompson VS Ron Paul
This is an important match for Fred. If he doesn't place well, he will have to compete in an "I Quit Match" in the next primary. Ron Paul needs to finish here positively to remain in the championship mix.

Triple Threat Match
Barack Obama VS Hillary Clinton VS John Edwards
This is a rematch of the match in Iowa. The person who wins this match will challenge the Democrat of his choice in the next Primary. A poor showing here could spell doom for the Edward's or Clinton candidacy.

This is is just a bit of fun. Whilst its in the spirit of the APF, I don't want people to think that we at the APF don't take politics seriously.

Find out more about the Candidate's involved in the New Hampshire PPV:
Hillary Clinton
John Edwards
Rudy Giuliani
Mike Gravel
Mike Huckabee
Duncan Hunter
Dennis Kucinich
John McCain
Barack Obama
Ron Paul
Bill Richardson
Mitt Romney
Fred Thompson

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Mitt Romney's campaign

Every once in a while I highlight comment threads that are relevant to the spirit of the APF. While I don't consider it a good thing for politics there is no denying that Style can often trump Substance. An overwhelming majority of voters are casual observers who don't follow a candidate's every move and policy positions. Instead they base their vote on superficial impressions based on a few minutes of TV screen time. The comment thread I will be highlighting discusses the issue of aesthetics as it relates to republican candidate Mitt Romney.

This thread comes from Ross Douthat's Column for The Atlantic on January 3, 2008

My Mitt Romney problem (and your's?)

Mitt Romney has to be judged the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, but it's awfully hard to find anyone not named Hugh Hewitt who seems excited about the prospect. More than enough ink has been spilled on how his political inauthenticity, his consultant-ish pursuit of ideological correctness, has undermined any excitement surrounding his candidacy, replacing it with the resigned, "he's the best we can do" thinking that undergirds the NR endorsement and others like it. (David Brooks' column this weekend offers, I think, the last word on the subject.) For my part, though, the most alienating and off-putting quality of the Romney campaign hasn't been what's he’s said, but how he’s said it - the words he's chosen and the tone he's employed, which have made following the Romney campaign the equivalent of listening to nails drawn across a chalkboard.

I've tried to highlight the best points and counterpoints in this post. Enjoy!

John and Ross,

Please stop with the "annoying" and "irritating" comments about Romney's style. Let's focus on the issues.

Posted by Rob

Style is an issue here for two reasons

1)This is a campaign. Campaigns need voters. If somebody sounds insincere, it's an issue.

2) It seems clear that Romney's positions on every substantive issue are purely poll-driven. In other words, complaints about his appearing insincere may be stylistic, but that insincerity has lead directly to Romney-the-chameleon on matters of substantive policy. That does not instill me with a lot of confidence in the consistency of his new positions.

Posted by John
We are really in trouble as a country if we choose not to vote for someone merely because of his/her lack of charisma. Object to Romney on whatever campaign issues you want. Feel free to doubt his sincerity on policy changes. But it's a sad day when a voter goes to a caucus or primary and says, "Ew, he creeps me out!"

Me, I'd rather have a "phony-sounding" dedicated, creative leader in the White House than a homeboy who has no idea about foreign policy, flip-flops as much as Mitt but won't admit it (unlike Romney), childishly handles finances, lets So. Baptist dogma skew his decisions, and and really IS a phony!

Posted by Jon
But it's a sad day when a voter goes to a caucus or primary and says, "Ew, he creeps me out!"

Like it or not, that's exactly how most American voters choose a president. Furthermore, they position their views on a candidate's grasp of policy, etc. in direct proportion to how much "he creeps me out." I imagine a number of Romney supporters were among those who wouldn't vote for John Kerry because he was "a flip-flopper". The differences? Romney's flip-flopped the "right way" and John Kerry "creeped them out."

Posted by Lynn
I'm sick of people saying they won't support Romney because he sounds 'too slick' or he is 'annoying'.

Ross, if you are going to attack a guy because of his character, you have slid we below the belt.

I don't care that he has changed his mind or that he 'sounds' calculating when he talks. I only care that when he was in charge, he made the right decisions at the right time. He is extremely intelligent: BYU Valedictorian, and Harvard Law/Business school grad. He turned many, many businesses around, and he ran a great governership in Mass.

Maybe his responses about Terrorism, Economics and Immigration ARE scripted. So what? Isn't that better than a guy like Mike Huckabee that doesn't know what's going on around him at all? Or better than John McCain who is just angry all the time. If he has 'memorized' the issues going on around him, then he will be much better prepared to deal with them.

Lets not be stupid and vote another George Bush, think-with-your-heart clone. Let's vote someone with a brain who has PROVEN he can get it done.

Vote for Mitt Romney

Posted by Casey

Although I agree Mitt has a strong resume, I doubt his electability. The number of folks he truly inspires seems limited. His background suits him well to connect with top executives and board members, but not the average American.

As a business owner I would be pretty concerned if I pumped millions of dollars into a product launch and I was only getting limited traction. That indicates to me there is something wrong with the product. The fact that Mitt has not been able to connect with so many Republicans, even after his $17 million investment, is a pretty good indication there is a problem. It's not the message, it's the man!

Posted by rough-air
"Please stop with the "annoying" and "irritating" comments about Romney's style. Let's focus on the issues," sez Rob. Rob, a politician's ability to irritate and annoy is an issue. (We may thank God for that, as it preserves us from Hillary in the White House.) Romney comes across as what Orwell once memorably described as "a hole in the air". To call him plastic is to insult a useful and protean material. He is the Edsel of Republican politicians, proof that an expensive ad campaign cannot sell a clunker product. Not forever, anyway.

Posted by Scott Walker
Scott says: "a politician's ability to irritate and annoy is an issue".

Last I checked, having a charismatic, funny president won't lower the cost of oil, secure the borders, keep taxes low or catch terrorists. Or maybe you can show me a President that used a joke to solve any of these problems?

Posted by Casey
Wow! This has got to be the shallowest argument I ever heard against any candidate. Almost as shallow as the majority of those in favor of Huckabee.

Posted by mperry57

Learn about Mitt Romney
Go to The Atlantic's official website
Read Ross Douthat's bio
Read more of Ross Douthat's work

Friday, January 4, 2008

Huckamania takes over Iowa!

Huckamania is running wild on you! In wallpaper form.

huckamania wallpaper mike huckabee cartoon

Update (Feb 11, 2008): Find new 'Huckamania' wallpapers here.

Read how Mike got here:
Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 1 of 3
Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 2 of 3
Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 3 of 3

I'm working on some New posters for Iowa and the upcoming PPV in New Hampshire. So sit tight. As well as a round up of what went down from the Pundits' and politicians' perspective.
Been a big day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Seder VS Maron on the Democratic Primary

Listen to Maron VS Seder Episode 14

I encourage readers to listen to the New Years Episode of Maron VS Seder. For those unfamiliar with Maron VS Seder, its essentially a conversation between two friends talking unfettered about politics and anything else that comes to mind. Both are comedians and Air America alums.

What makes the show unique is the candidness in which they speak as there are no commercial considerations. The format also allows them to touch on narratives and in a depth not found in other media except perhaps the blogosphere. They just press record and start talking. On the negative side, its poorly presented because of its reliance on temperamental emerging technologies and achieved without the help of a producer.

Note: Unless you're charmed by men fumbling around with technology or Sam dreading the unknown (you'll know what I mean when you listen to it), it might be best to skip the traditional first 10 minutes of dead air. Otherwise its a riveting listen.

This episode discusses the dilemma both face in the Democratic Primary on who to vote for. Its a toss up between John Edwards and Barack Obama. Both candidly discuss the the role rhetoric and political correctness will play in their chances for the General Election, conceding they may be playing into Republican memes.

Line of the night goes to Maron,
After Sam talked about the possibility of Barack rejuvenating and empowering the liberal tent, Mark facetiously commented:
MARC MARON: In my experience, just being part of Air America. There's nothing better than, opening the door to as many progressives as possible, because it always ends well and everything is wonderful. When progressives come from all different sides and get involved in one undertaking. Cause it always works out.

Visit Marc Maron's official website
Visit Sam Seder's official website
Go to Marc's IMDB profile
Go to Sam's IMDB profile

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year everyone!

1000 points to the first person who explains the wrestling link to this 'Jim Carrey on Letterman' clip.
Hint: it's related to the first post of '08 below.

Hugh Hewitt - Wrestling style color commentator

Welcome! The first post of 2008...

The first of the primary votes held in Iowa is fast approaching. Whether you're a political junkie or a casual observer there is no escaping the barrage of commentary predicting who will win and what will happen.

Partisan Pundits and commentators usually do one of two things during Primary season.
1) Stay neutral and play it safe.
Pundits will speak of the candidates in generic terms, mirroring the mood found in the polling data. A common sentiment would be "I stay out of the primaries, but I will endorse whoever our party chooses over anything the opposition offers". There are many reasons for taking this approach. An explicit endorsement would alienate the other candidates and their supporters. This may jeopardise listenership, advertising buys and possible appearances.

2) Be a Kingmaker or on the front line smearing.
A pundit will openly campaign for a specific primary candidate on the air. This is a bold and risky move which is why most pundits would rather equivocate so as to not upset listeners. A pundit is effectively staking his reputation on the candidate, it will rise and fall according to the candidate's movements and fortunes. If the nominee loses or becomes an embarrassment the endorsing pundit will appear foolish, if they win the pundit will be credited for their astuteness and influence.

Commentators are generally expected to be neutral. Whilst they wear there convictions on their sleeve, the audience reads credibility when a pundit is seen as objective.

One of the more entertaining aspects of this primary season has been watching Hugh Hewitt report on the Republican field. Hugh Hewitt has been very transparent in his support of Mitt Romney as the Republican Nominee. He has written 'the book' on Romney, A Mormon in the White House? and has had him on his show several times. This is true to form for Hugh as he is famously known for interviewing reporters and columnists and asking them to reveal their previous voting record. As he expects his peers to be open about their political orientation and biases its not surprising that he would do so in kind.

In wrestling, the audience often overlooks the importance commentators play in advancing the storyline. The viewers usually focus on the actors in the ring - the wrestlers and the ref. Commentators actually play a big part in setting the context and mood of the stories. They can emphasise key points of the match, remind viewers of the backstory as well as mask any blunders in the ring. A commentator can also emphasise a wrestler's moves by overselling a reaction. Conversely they can underplay a wrestler by dismissing their efforts, when this is forced it may appear cartoony and may even cause resentment. In wrestling this is referred to as 'turning heel', being a character 'people love to hate'. This is what Hugh is becoming.

Hugh's overselling of Mitt Romney is turning comical.
Allahpundit of has had a good time poking fun at Hugh's overselling:
1) Hugh Hewitt: Mitt had an objectively great day, and if you disagree, well, you don’t much matter anyway
Of all the people commenting today about this, there’s only one who sounds like he’s coming unglued. And it ain’t any of Mitt’s critics...Exit question: Does Hugh need to “sit down”?

2) LAT poll: Huckabee out to big lead in Iowa over Mitt, 37-23
Hugh Hewitt on suicide watch? Nah — Mitt still leads McCain by 13 in New Hampshire and a new Strategic Visions poll, which HH will surely tout as the more reliable, has Iowa a virtual dead heat.
A reader commented on this post with this telling line -
I’m sure that Republican nausea over HH’s pro-Romney shilling accounts for at least 7% of Romney’s declining support.

I encourage you to listen to the first 10 minutes of audio from the December 28 episode of Hugh's show. It's a parade of overselling for Mitt. I will try to provide a partial transcript of Hugh's best lines. Listen here.

Do you think Hugh sounds like a Jerry-Lawler-style wrestling commentator?
Listen to commentator Jerry Lawler in this clip clearly compensating for the heel 'Double-J'.

VIDEO: Commentator Jerry Lawler shills for the villain 'Double-J'
Listen to all of Hugh's radio archives