Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hillary Clinton impersonates Barack Obama

In wrestling, imitation done condescendingly is a tried and tested way to mock an opponent. As well as one of the cheapest ways for getting a crowd reaction. There are several elements that need to come into play for a mocking impersonation to be effective. The deliverer needs to be self assured in order to convince the audience that the mockery comes from a position of strength. The crowd must also be taken into account, some will be more receptive to an imitation cheapshot whilst others will be hostile.

Though it's within reason to expect it, it's not often you find mocking impersonations used in politics. A candidate will usually highlight the absurdity of their opponent's style by simply stating it. As seen here when Joe Biden pokes fun of Rudy Giuliani's rhetorical template.

VIDEO: Rudy Giuliani's "three words"

Hillary Clinton highlights her Democratic opponent's rhetorical style more directly. Her use of sarcasm works as she is in front of a friendly crowd, another type of audience may have given her a different reaction.

Read what conservative readers at said about Hillary's Obama parody
Read what liberal readers thought of that same exchange, from TPM Election central

Funnily enough, I found a TPM commentator with an eerily similar wrestling perspective
If you sort of cross your eyes and let the image on the screen get a little fuzzy, one could almost imagine that Hillary is pumping up the crowd at a WWE event, right before the big fight.

But then Obama comes out and the lights dim, a Public Enemy song blares from the speakers, and as he steps into the ring and removes his hood, he shouts:

Posted by billysumday

February 24, 2008 9:09 PM
If 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery', then wrestlers should be flattered. Watch how the wrestlers get it done
VIDEO: The Rock impersonating Kurt Angle

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sly Stallone and other celebrity Presidential endorsements

Whilst Chuck Norris has Mike Huckabee's back. Sylvester Stallone has McCain's. Not surprising considering the parallels between McCain's narrative and the 2 heroes Stallone made famous. McCain like Rambo is a Vietnam war vet from Arizona. McCain like Rocky, is an aging underdog going for one last run at glory. Interestingly following the analogy to its end, Rocky gets edged out by a much younger black opponent.

While Stallone isn't actively campaigning for McCain the way other celebrities have. His endorsement does have some value, even if it is just symbolic. For one it shows that even though he is a player in "liberal Hollywood", he's Conservative leaning. This doesn't mean he gets a free pass from talk radio and other critical media. Its a risk all celebrities face when publicly wearing their politics on their sleeve.

Stallone is respected by influential host Rush Limbaugh, who has had Stallone as guest for his last Rocky and Rambo movies. Rush' friend and fellow Talk show host Mark Levin, has not been so kind to Stallone in the past. Levin was "disappointed" in Stallone's "dumbass statements" in attacking the Mexican Border Fence.
"...A lot of people think he's a conservative. You know the day of the conservative in Hollywood is long over. The John Waynes... the Jimmy Stewarts and many many more. You get Republicans..."

Read Rush interviewing Stallone on Rambo
Read Rush listeners "disappointed" in the promotion of "Anti-gunner", Stallone.
Listen to Mark Levin expressing "disappointment" with Stallone and lamenting republican representation in Hollywood.

View the endorsement list from Hollywood and players of "All shapes and sizes" compiled by the New York Times.

celebrity endorsement new york times

Read my previous post on Celebrities and Politics (Part 1), (Part 2)

Friday, February 15, 2008

If Politics is like wrestling, does that mean its fixed?

As regular readers of this blog may be aware, I champion the analogy that Politics is not unlike wrestling. My thesis relates mostly to political pundits but also touches on politicians/politics. I say politics is like wrestling only in the sense that, Politics and punditry are more about things like charisma, managing aura and presentation. In politics, policy is secondary to success. In punditry, being correct is secondary to success. Actual Wrestling ability is secondary in being popular in wrestling.

I stumbled on an interesting article that also used the wrestling analogy.
The illusion of choices in the US elections: Does it herald the dissolution of these United States of America?
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, January 2, 2008

The 2008 presidential elections were likened to the World Wrestling Federation matches: take time and energy but obviously fixed/staged. A more apt analogy would go beyond these elections: the whole political system in the US is a theater play with predictable script but different actors...

Candidates of both parties are allowed to advance to final rounds whether in congressional or presidential elections only if they are cleared by the real powers to be. This is evident from issues they can and cannot tackle. The cleared Democratic and the Republican nominees cannot for example tackle the broken system with no proportional representation (rather than winner takes all) and no system to allow instant runoff elections.

Read full article here
Go to Mazin Qumsiyeh's website

During this time I've advanced this wrestling analogy, I never took into account the inference that "Politics was fixed". The wrestling analogy was originally intended to describe punditry, but as the Presidential campaigns have heated up I've transferred some of the wrestling analogies towards the candidates.

I wouldn't use the word fixed, I'll only go as far as saying "managed". I do agree there is a 'game' aspect in politics, I still believe that all games can be cracked (or when its bad- hijacked). Without sounding conspiratorial, there are also puppet masters in the nebulous sense, in the form of establishment types and lobbyists for corporate interests. If anything

With that said, if the unlikely successes of an unknown GOP candidate with a seemingly narrow constituency like Huckabee can succeed... If McCain a "Media establishment" conservative can overcome and nullify the influential "movement establishment" conservatives... If a fresh-faced Black candidate can inspire millions around the world on a message of hope. It shows that it is possible to upset the standard playbook.

All these things may be getting managed to an outcome that will ultimately lead back to the status quo (I doubt it). But it certainly doesn't mean its fixed.

Read my wrestling analogies as it relates to Punditry:
- Ann Coulter: Top heel
- William "Bill" Kristol: Top heel
- Aura (part 1) (part 2)
Shoot Fights

Read my wrestling analogies as they relate to Politics and the Presidential campaign:
- The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee (Part 1) (Part 2 (Part 3)
- Primary Campaign PPV posters
Pundit/Comedians Marc Maron and Sam Seder wondering if "the fix is in"

Monday, February 11, 2008

New Mike Huckabee Wallpapers

I've decided to retire my Primary PPV posters with the last one being the Super Tuesday one. As the primaries have dwindled down to the final 2 combatants I don't think there's any room to move art wise.
To view the Super Tuesday poster and other Primary art, go here.

In place of that discontinued art here are some new Mike Huckabee posters. I know a lot of people who stumble on this site come by way of the Huckamania posters, so I can't help but provide what the market demands. They come in 2 version - Mike with Chuck Norris and Mike rocking out.

1) Huck and Chuck wallpaper

Huck and Chuck wallpaper

Download 'Huck and Chuck' as 1024 x 768 wallpaper
Download 'Huck and Chuck' as 800 x 600 wallpaper

2) "Mike Huckabee Rocks!" wallpaper

mike huckabee chuck norris wallpaper

Download 'Huckabee Rocks!' as 1024 x 768 wallpaper
Download as 'Huckabee Rocks!' 800 x 600 wallpaper

Follow the links below to read my piece on how Huckabee rose to the top using techniques mirrored in wrestling:
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

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The War Hero and the populist - 2004 and 2008

mccain huckabee kerry edwards military populism

Mitt Romney has announced that he is suspending his campaign. At this stage it's ambiguous but it looks like both parties have been whittled down to the final 2. Huckabee and McCain for the Republicans. Obama and Clinton for the Democrats, with the race looking like its going down to the wire.

With the unlikely combination of Huckabee and McCain rising to the top and the antipathy the base feels against both candidates. It's interesting to note that the final two GOP contenders in '08' are eerily similar in narrative to the final two Democrats in the '04 Primaries - A war hero and a populist.

In '04 the democrats nominated John Kerry. A decorated war hero in Vietnam, he represented the anti war sentiment then (Vietnam) and looked to represent it now (Iraq). He was the choice for a party running against the war for his military credibility. In 'O8 the Republicans look to nominate John McCain. Whilst the Iraq war has lessened as an issue, John McCain is a military hawk who represents strong support for the Iraq War mirrored in the conservative base. John McCain was a strong proponent of the surge, when it was an unpopular course to take. Like John Kerry McCain fought Vietnam and was famously captured and tortured by the North Vietnamese in the "Hanoi Hilton". It's still unclear whether the perceived success of the surge can be credited for his improbable success, but its surely the issue John McCain is best heralded for by conservatives.

The other upstarts running an admirable second are Huckabee for the GOP, and John Edwards for the Democrats in 2004. Both were relatively unknown candidates. Both disarmingly charming and present populism with a smile. In the case of Edwards in '04 his popularity and support was rewarded as Kerry invited him to be his running mate for Veep. Its unclear whether McCain will extend the same courtesy to Huckabee. Even though both have been very cordial with each other and have tag-teamed to eliminate Romney, McCain may have to find someone who will better ease a base skeptical of both front-runners.

Whilst narratively both pairs are similar, their goals and stance on the issues are at odds. They still represent competing philosophies so what they hope to achieve and how they approach it will remain different. Kerry is fighting against the Iraq War, McCain is a strong supporter for it. Huckabee is addressing economic concerns with a heavy emphasis on his Christian values and the unconventional idea of a "Fair Tax" (flat tax). John Edwards has a more traditional secular approach. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Watch Mitt Romney's announcement at CPAC 2008
Read Washington Posts' account of Kerry choosing Edwards as his running mate
Read John Mccain's bio and military history
Read John Kerry's bio and military history
Read John Edward's bio
Read Mike Huckabee's bio

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Super Tuesday - Primaries and delegates

Super Tuesday primary results
Alabama, Akansas, Georgia, Tennesse, West Virginia
Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma
Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Utah

The Delegate wins that matter
Chuck Norris and Ric Flair
Rudy Giuliani, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Brooks, Michael Medved
Rush Limbaugh
Hugh Hewitt
Mark Levin
Laura Ingraham

Mark Levin on Romney
Rally for Romney
Let’s face it, none of the candidates are perfect. They never are. ... The only one left standing who can honestly be said to share most of our conservative principles is Mitt Romney. I say this as someone who has not been an active Romney supporter.
RUSH Limbaugh on Romney
"I think now, based on the way the campaign has shaken out, that there probably is a candidate on our side who does embody all three legs of the conservative stool, and that’s Romney."
Sean Hannity on Romney
"I'll be voting on the new York primary on Tuesday. I'll probably be voting, not probably, I am voting for Romney..."
Michael Medved on McCain
The truth of the matter is, look, folks have to come to terms with the fact that McCain is very likely going to be the nominee. So, for nine months are we going to be attacking a Republican nominee every single day, and calling him McVain and calling him McLame and calling him McAmnesty?
Ann Coulter on not McCain (and Hillary)
Manifestly, if he's our candidate, then Hillary's going to be our girl, Sean, because she's more conservative than he is. I think she would be stronger on the war on terrorism. I will campaign for her if it's McCain.
Talk Radio on McCain
Radio Talkers on the line against McCain
Talk radio pioneer Rush Limbaugh said that if McCain or Mike Huckabee are nominated, "it's going to destroy the Republican Party." Mark Levin calls the senator "John McLame." On Monday, Laura Ingraham said she was "concerned about the mental stability of the McCain campaign" and had cuckoo-clock sound effects accompany his words.

"Sen. McCain is a great American, a lousy senator and a terrible Republican," Hugh Hewitt told The Associated Press. "He has a legislative record that is not conservative. In fact, it is anti-conservative."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday and all the primaries before it

Check back for regular APF programming, but on this day the only thing on the political radar will be Super Tuesday.
Here is a round up of all the Primary PPV posters so far. I've even managed to update Iowa. The Iowa card will be updated shortly.

Here goes:
Iowa primary (No Way Out)
New Hampshire primary (Wrestlemania)
Michigan primary (Great American Bash)
South Carolina, Democratic primary (Survivor Series)
South Carolina + Nevada, Republican primary (Survivor Series)
Florida primary (SummerSlam)
Super Duper Tuesday (Taboo Tuesday)
And last but least, the long awaited Iowa poster.

Iowa primary poster
Here is the rundown of the card:
Democratic Battle Royale and Republican Battle Royale
2 separate Battle Royales will be taking place. In the blue ring:
Joe Biden
Hillary Clinton
Chris Dodd
John Edwards
Mike Gravel
Dennis Kucinich
Barack Obama
Bill Richardson

In the Red Ring
Mike Huckabee
Duncan Hunter
Rudy Giuliani
John McCain
Ron Paul
Mitt Romney
Fred Thompson

It will be a free-for-all with both rings brimming with candidates. The marginal candidates need to place strong to be taken seriously or run the risk of being thrown out of the ring. Realistically this will be the beginning of the end for most of the challengers. The top finishers will move on to the next round where they will compete for the title of Democratic or Republican champion.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

McCain and Hillary - "The FIX is in"

A lot has been made this Presidential election about how all the pundits have been so wrong and ineffective. No-one had predicted that Hillary and McCain would be leading at this late stage. Even though both were considered establishment choices and originally came in as front runners.

By the opening of Primary voting, Obama was surging in popularity ahead of Hillary and looked to continue doing so after taking Iowa. McCain was at best the 4th most popular option for the GOP behind Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Romney. His campaign was running out of money and close allies had bailed out on him. To make matters worse, a then-unknown Mike Huckabee leapfrogged in front of them all with surging support that delivered Iowa. McCain was pushed to fifth spot.

My how things have changed? Look at Hillary and McCain now. Who could have predicted it? One pundit did get it right - Ted Rall.
Marc Maron: What we'll find out in the next few months is if the big "fix" by the big "they" is really in. We're gonna find out in the next couple of months.

Sam Seder: Yes! Ted Rall came on the Majority Report, this must have been over a year and a half ago. And he said that he believed that McCain and Clinton were gonna win, were gonna be the nominees because they had the most money and there had never been a time where somebody had had that much money that far out and hadn't won. So it'll be interesting to see if that comes around.
Listen to the snippet of Sam and Marc's conversation.

Its an excerpt from Maron VS Seder. The exchange took place Jan 1st 2008, a few days before the first Primary voting in Iowa. I spoke about the episode where this snippet came from in an earlier post. Sam has mentioned this Ted Rall conversation numerous times, though I've never found the original audio interview. If anyone could provide a tip on when Ted Rall appeared on the Majority Report I'd appreciate it.

Full disclosure, I always bristled everytime Sam mentioned this Ted Rall conversation as I never believed that Hillary and especially McCain were going to be the nominees. To see that its now an overwhelming possibility is astonishing.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Super Tuesday - Live-on PPV

The mother-of-all Primaries is coming up this Tuesday. Up until now primaries have been held one state at a time with roughly a week's separation between each. On February 5th, dubbed 'Super Duper Tuesday', the Republicans and Democrats will be hosting primaries in up to 24 states with close to half the delegates up for grabs.

super tuesday mccain huckabee romney clinton obama democrats republicans
Super Duper Tuesday | February 5, 2008
(Taboo Tuesday)
Here is the Poster for Super Duper Tuesday (yes it's released early for once). The rundown of the card is as follows:

Iron Man Match
Barack Obama VS Hillary Clinton
Its now a 2-man race. 2004 Democratic runner-up, John Edwards withdrew his bid for the presidency after Florida. Edwards' departure will provide a clearer glimpse on where Democratic voters stand on the two front runners, Barack and Hillary. Barack has won twice, taking Iowa and South Carolina. Hillary has won four times taking New Hampshire, Nevada, Michigan and the all-important Florida giving her valuable momentum for Super Duper Tuesday.

This Iron man match will test the mettle of both candidates. After its all said and done we will know which person has the stamina and appeal to take the Democratic nomination.

Triple Threat Elimination match
John McCain VS Mitt Romney VS Mike Huckabee
Florida took an even bigger scalp from the GOP field, former Presidential frontrunner Rudy Giuliani. After his failed gamble on Florida, Giuliani's withdrawal from the race should open up the GOP. Huckabee and Romney have each had victories, but its John McCain who has all the momentum with wins in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.

The triple threat elimination match will most likely eliminate one of these candidates and possibly reveal the GOP nominee.

Read more about Super Tuesday at the PBS' "Vote 2008" minisite
Read about Giuliani forfeiting his Presidential bid and who he's endorsing. Watch the Video.
Read John Edward's stepping aside "so that history can blaze its path". Watch the video.