Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Introducing the newest APF Pundit - Andrew Wilkow

Andrew Wilkow, sirius, interview
A conversation with Andrew Wilkow
Deconstructing punditry using a pro-wrestling analogy, part of what I do on this blog is identify archetypes. To be a successful talker, passion for a cause is a prerequisite as well as an engaging persona that commands attention. Conservative Radio Talker Andrew Wilkow has all these qualities, but he also doesn’t fit the usual molds.

I first heard Andrew filling in for Mark Levin. I was immediately drawn to his championing of conservative principles from a youth perspective, coupling information with logic and philosophy. The hook that drew me in was his glowing praise for Metal band ‘Avenged Sevenfold’ and his suggestion that conservatives begin to explore art as an avenue for furthering and promoting conservative thought.

With hip shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report providing a gateway for younger audiences to be engaged in political discussion I pictured Andrew as the conservative antidote. This was confirmed the more I listened to him, but not in the way I originally thought.

At 35, Andrew is one of the youngest radio talkers you’ll find of any stripe. Although you’ll hear him in a tone that reflects a connection with the youth, you won’t hear him dumbing things down or patronizing his audience. Andrew isn’t interested in competing for the youth by being cool at the expense of rational thought and mature discussion, “That type of sarcasm as a stand in for intellectual thought and good debating is gonna run its course eventually.”

Andrew spends a majority of his show explaining and rationalizing liberal thinking. The non-commercial format of his show on Sirius Satellite Radio works to Andrew’s advantage as it allows him to expand on his ideas providing a fuller more pure experience, “My program is designed to not be condescending, not be esoteric…I can take an argument, I can break it down, build a new foundation then build a house on top of it, dust my hands and say See that’s how it works”

Andrew Wilkow is also known for being co-founder of ConservativePunk.com. He formed it with his now-producer Nick Rizzuto. Nick had sent an email after hearing Andrew talk about how “the politics began to take over the music”. A friendship was formed and after some “beers and burgers cooked up Conservative Punk”, Andrew continues “within a day or two of launching we had 1000 members and the BBC flew a crew out from the UK to interview us.” Many would know Conservative Punk as the counterweight to Punkvoter.com - a high profile campaign organized by ‘Fat Mike’ of legendary punk band NOFX. An initiative which enlisted fellow punkers, mainstream rock acts like Green Day and Foo Fighters and their fans to oust George W Bush in the 2004 presidential elections.

Punk is often regarded as being anti-establishment, likewise Punk is also synonymous with being contrarian, asking questions and fighting against groupthink, something the South Park guys have made a living off. Conservative Punk isn’t an exercise at just being contrarian, Andrew is quick to remind that “Johnny Ramone was a Reagan Republican” though ultimately it’s a moot point “I go to a music event to listen to music, I don’t really care about the opinions held by the band one way or another… nobody owns the music”

Don't expect to find Andrew making his name from dissing fellow talkers. There is a graciousness and respect for his competition, be it left or right because he knows “the road to talk radio is really, really hard”. You could sum up Andrew’s career as the collision of passion, hard work and opportunity. His first major break came from a “risktaker” that saw talent and found him “compelling”. A young woman heard Andrew as a Rock DJ and recommended it to her father. That man happened to be Phil Boyce, the Program Director who revitalized NewsTalkRadio WABC (AM) in New York City and the man responsible for giving Sean Hannity and Mark Levin their big breaks. Andrew began his talk career as a trial fill-in for Mark Levin, eventually inheriting the weekend timeslot as Mark moved up. Andrew was later enlisted by Sirius Satellite Radio, adding him to their conservative roster on the ‘Sirius Patriot’ channel. The young woman who first took notice of Andrew would later become his wife.

Mark enjoys a camaraderie with Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Andrew is one of the privileged few “Mark allows to fill in for him” and one of the few people Hannity allows to broadcast from his ‘Freedom Concert. It’s no surprise that Sirius have programmed Andrew with his colleagues, kicking off a formidable 8 hour bloc from noon which continues with Hannity then Levin.

With the support of influential friends and a cutting edge media in Sirius Satellite Radio, you can expect big things from Andrew Wilkow. Quoting from his website, “Now is the time for the new school of conservative voices with a whole new style and passion – moving to SIRIUS lets me take that style and passion nationwide."

Listen to Andrew by signing up to Sirius Satellite Radio
Go to Andrew’s official page on the Sirius site
Go to Andrew Wilkow’s myspace page
Go to ConservativePunk.com

Rush Limbaugh and 'Operation Chaos' - "wishes for Riots"

Following from my previous post on Rush Limbaugh's 'Operation Chaos', a caller managed to make Rush squirm by calling him on some of his incendiary insinuations.

Listen to the caller speaking to Rush here
CALLER: You made the comment, um, I think one of the call -- your callers that called in, you were saying that you were hoping for riots if the Democrats choose Hillary over Obama, and you even kind of sang your statement to the tune of I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas, or did you mean a white country?
RUSH: Oh, ho-ho-ho-ho-ho! (laughing)
CALLER: What -- what exactly did you mean by those statements yesterday?
RUSH: (laughing) Yeah.
CALLER: Because I feel like all Americans, the American people want is what's best for this country.
RUSH: No, they don't.
CALLER: Why do you have to be such a hate-filled comment from you --
RUSH: Oh, now, Lisa?
CALLER: -- and other radio hosts?

Rush Limbaugh Show April 23, 2008
Rush hit back by accusing the caller of being the one preoccupied with race and was in fact the racist. He cited events from Chicago in 68' where there had already been an example of race-fueled fighting amongst Democrats
Mayor Daley's cops, his thugs went out there and were attacking Democrats, and the SDS was there and all the anti-war crowd -- the Jerry Rubins and the Tom Haydens -- they were starting fires and so forth, and the Democrats sent Mayor Daley's thugs out there to beat 'em upside the head! There have been countless commentators and columnists and pundits throughout the Drive-By Media, lamenting the fact that if the superdelegates don't give this nomination to Obama that they're going to have to a repeat of '68 in Chicago. Now, what the hell was that? What happened in '68 in Chicago? We all know it.

Rush Limbaugh Show April 23, 2008
Read the full transcript of Rush's original conversation with Caller 'Lisa' and his follow-up.
Lisa from Atlanta: Racist Seminar Caller on Denver Convention Riots

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rush the Vote: The Operation Chaos movement

operation chaos, rush limbaugh"Operation Chaos" is the initiative championed by influential talker Rush Limbaugh which attempts to protract the Democratic primary race by encouraging Republicans to vote for Hillary. As a powerful and notoriously "ruthless" Democrat, Republicans see Hillary as the best vehicle to stain Obama. The longer she stays in, the more harm it does to Obama and her own Democratic Party thus paving the way for Republican John McCain. Hillary cannot mathematically win, the way the Democratic Primary is structured she has little chance of overtaking Obama. The only slim chance involves tarnishing Obama so much that Superdelegates use their tiebreaking votes to pick Hillary. This could have serious ramifications for the Democratic Party who will undoubtedly suffer a major backlash particularly from the reliable African-American constituency.

The influence of Rush and other conservative talkers was put in question earlier in the year during the Republican Primaries. The nomination of John McCain as the Republican candidate had conservatives up in arms. Prominent talkers like Rush and Laura Ingraham mobilised their audiences of 20 million+ strong to not vote for McCain. Many had lobbied hard for Mitt Romney, most prominently Hugh Hewitt with many endorsing Romney explicitly when it was already too little too late. Ann Coulter even went as far as vowing to campaign for Hillary if McCain were to be nominated. With this in mind it's unlikely that Republican mischief-makers/strategists number to an amount that can claim responsibility for Hillary winning. It's far more probable that they are padding the margin of victory rather than the root of it.

operation chaos, shirts, merchandise, capsWhile its uncertain how effective Rush' campaign is, it's certainly getting media attention and has even spawned a range of merchandise. The one clear winner in all this is Rush Limbaugh.


Not all of Rush' listeners agree, a listener emailed this:
Why It's Called Operation Chaos
Thanks for being the egomaniac you have become. Because of your stupid prank, Hillary is still in the race. I have always been taught that when you could eliminate an enemy, you do it. Not you. You would rather boost your ego and hear yourself talk than eliminate her early and have Republicans run against Obama, which would be a slam-dunk for us. She's going to end up winning this nomination. Your big, fat ego will be the reason. I have been a listener and a 24/7 person for four years now, but all I hear is your ego. I have stopped listening because all you worry about is yourself and your ego. You sure your last name isn't Clinton? Thank you for being such a [butt] hole. Former Dittohead, Eugene Quinn.

Read the full report and Rush' comeback here

Fellow talkers and pundits weigh in on 'Operation Chaos'
Michael Medved, Mike Allen and Dennis Prager speak to Hugh Hewitt. Medved responds to Hugh's question asking if 'Operation Chaos' is a good idea?
Absolutely not! First of all I don't think it's amounted to anything. If you actually look at the numbers of Republicans who switched to the Democratic registration. It's very small, about 4000 statewide. The claim that Rush is trying to do, in the beginning it was very entertaining but at this point it's embarrassing. It makes Republicans look bad. It makes Conservatives look bad. The franchise is very important - voting is very important...

Listen to the full discussion here

Read more about Operation Chaos
- Go to Rush Limbaugh's official site
- San Francisco Chronicle Runs Front-Page Operation Chaos Story
- Rush the Vote: Operation Chaos Meeting and Exceeding Objectives
- Why It's Called Operation Chaos
- Go to the Rush Limbaugh Store to buy 'Operation Chaos' merch

Monday, April 28, 2008

David Brooks: Obama's lapen pin and the Democats' image problem

The analysis from Shields and Brooks on the April 18th edition of PBS' Newshour had a spirited debate on the issue of symbols.

David Brooks: And the reason I think they were legitimate is this. The reason Democrats have lost presidential elections in more recent years has not been because people don't agree with them on the issues. They do tend to agree with them about health care and education, things like that.

It's because they're not sure that candidate -- John Kerry, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore -- is like them, shares their values, shares their basic life experience. The question is now asked of Barack Obama, "Is he like us?"

And whether you like it or not, the way people measure that question is through the use of symbols, whether it was Michael Dukakis sitting there in the tank, or John Kerry wind-surfing, or John Edwards' $400 haircut, people care about the symbols when they're saying, "Is that guy like us?"

So when they look at Barack Obama, the things he said in San Francisco, that raises the question, "Is he like us?"...

April 18, 2008. PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer


Listen to the full conversation from Shields and Brooks here.
Go to the Shields and Brooks archive page, Political Wrap
Read "Obama - A 'no symbol' symbolic candidacy"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

WWE wrestler JBL named Olbermann's 'Worst Person in the World'

I never intended this site to be reporting much Wrestling news. The site primarily focuses on the Charisma, Presentation and Psychology of modern politics. I use wrestling as an analogy as I see an overlap in the theatrics and archetypes found in wrestling and politics.

But sometimes Wrestling and Politics intersect directly and purely. This time it happened again when Keith Olbermann named WWE wrestler John Bradshaw Layfield the 'Worst Person in the World' in his signature segment.

JBL started out in WWE as a middling character named Bradshaw. Fans didn't take to him as he didn't have an exciting or memorable gimmick. He grew in prominence once the WWE changed his persona into a villainous "Republican stereotype".

From Wikipedia
He is the longest reigning World Champion in SmackDown history, the brand which he recently left his position as a color commentator to restart his career as an in-ring competitor.

His gimmick—a wealthy, gladhanding businessman—is based on Layfield's real-life accomplishments as a stock market investor. Layfield is a regular panelist on Fox News Channel's The Cost of Freedom and previously appeared on CNBC. He has also written a best-selling book on financial planning called 'Have More Money Now'. While Layfield continues to perform for WWE, he also hosts a weekend talk radio program, syndicated nationally by Talk Radio Network, in which he discusses his conservative political views. Layfield is also employed by Northeast Securities as Senior Vice President.
Read JBL's bio from Wikipedia

VIDEO: Watch KO name JBL the 'Worst Person in the World'

Read JBl's rebuttal from WWE.com
So, now I, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, am Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person of the Week."

What I first have to put in perspective is that more people will read this article than watch him on MSNBC. So, Keith, you are welcome, I am actually doing you a favor by writing about you.
Read JBL's official bio on WWE.com
Read JBL's blog on WWE.com
Read Keith Olbermann's bio from MSNBC

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hillary Clinton to appear on WWE Raw

The unthinkable has happened, Hillary and the rest of the candidates will appear on a wrestling program. I have previously highlighted how Hillary and the other candidates have fitting wrestling personas so its not entirely surprising. Many wrestling analysts had dismissed this as a WWE stunt with no possibility of the candidates showing. If anything the consensus was that an appearance would hurt more than help.
(Update: All 3 candidates appeared on WWE's Raw, see below)

Obama despite being a darling of the youth demographic has shied away from pandering to entertainment media. Presumably to project a tone of seriousness and legitimacy. Obama's presentation despite his undoubted appeal to the youth is arguably the least self-deprecating. That's why seemingly incongruent charges of 'aloofness and elitism' have stuck. Ironic considering this meme likely originated from pundits and thinktanks, though Hillary has forwarded the same charge.

McCain on the other hand, despite being a republican with the distinction of being the oldest ever candidate to run for President has been cast as the folksiest of the 3 remaining contenders. This is evidenced in his close to a dozen appearances on the Daily Show and his warm friendship with Jon Stewart. McCain was also invited to guest host 'Saturday Night Live' in 2002.

Hillary has also been good at courting the Entertainment audience. She's made appearances on Entertainment Tonight, The View, Letterman. She was a welcome and self deprecating guest on Saturday Night Live, where she is perceived to be favoured because of their successful parodies of Obama. She has also previously appeared on WWE programming, airing a commercial for the troops during Christmas.

Hillary despite her appearances, is arguably perceived as the most forced in courting these mainstream and youth audiences. Hillary in her long time in the public eye has always been caricatured as an 'Ice Queen'. It has been a strategy of hers to shed this stereotype. I wasn't entirely surprised that Hillary would appear on WWE, partly because she needs all the help she can get to leap frog Obama but mostly because it fits the pattern of her candidacy.

VIDEO: Watch the Presidential candidates on WWE
10,000 points for the first person to pick out all the appropriated Wrestling lines. Comment below.

This is HotAir's take on the candidate cameos:
It’s come to this: "Hill-Rod" to appear on WWE Raw
McCain sounds forced, Hillary sounds desperate, Obama made me laugh aloud. This is a good example, though, of why I can’t help but sympathize with her to some extent: The “Hill-Rod” thing is so painfully lame, even as a form of ingratiation, that it’s almost endearing. She’s like the class nerd running against the homecoming king, trying to connect with people in a way that comes easily to him but not to her.
- Read why Obama is seen as a 'face' (Hero Persona)
- Read why McCain is seen as a 'face' (Hero Persona)
- Read why Hillary is seen as a 'Heel' (Villain Persona)
- Read how Politics and Wrestling have intersected so far
- Watch Hill-Rod's previous appearance on WWE Raw

Update April 22
After a mildly embarrassing but good natured appearance from all the candidates on WWE programming. The WWE decided to make a completely mockery of themselves and politics by doing a predictable slapstick segment on WWE Raw (April 21). Disappointing for wrestling fans as it provides no storyline value and makes wrestling look even more foolish to the casual viewer. The candidates also don't look too great after associating themselves with the product. Does that mean the blog looks foolish now too?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pennsylvania Democratic Primary Poster

I've retired my Primary PPV posters twice before. Once after Super Tuesday, then I returned to make a one-off poster for the Ohio/Texas Primary. Well it's back. Again! I had retired the posters previously because I foolishly thought the democratic race would be over by now or at least dwindling in relevance. I was wrong.

pennsylvania primary clinton obama democrats republicans
"Pennsylvania" (WrestleMania)
The lead up to the Pennsylvania primaries has brought even more controversy and rancor. Hillary remains defiant and Obama is ambushed and stumbles during the ABC debates. I've taken a different approach design wise, more minimalist with the candidates not even featured.


Read more about the Pennsylvania Primary at the PBS' "Vote 2008" minisite

View all the Primary Posters individually:
Iowa Primary, January 3
New Hampshire Primary, January 8
Michigan Primary, January 15
South Carolina (Rep) & Nevada (Dem) Primary, January 19
South Carolina (Dem) Primary, January 26
Florida Primary, January 29
Super Tuesday, February 5
Ohio and Texas Primary, March 4

Friday, April 18, 2008

Clinton, Obama and Edwards in the Colbert Pit

The Colbert Report demonstrated its popularity and influence once again by hosting the 3 most popular Democratic candidates - Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. Edwards forfeited his campaign after a disappointing showing culminating in a 3rd place finish in his hometown South Carolina. It's a testament to the Colbert Show that Edwards sought face time despite being out of the Democratic picture for several months.

Stephen Colbert hosted a week's worth of live shows in Philadelphia in anticipation of the Pennsylvania primaries next week. Guests included Michelle and Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Chris Matthews and various politicians with endorsements.

The Colbert Report: Ed Words - Valued Voter

Find recaps from some of my favourite comedy blogs:
from Comic VS Audience
- THIS WEEK: The Colbert Report in Philadelphia
- RECAP: 'The Colbert Report' in Philadelphia, 4/14
- RECAP: 'The Colbert Report' in Philadelphia, 4/15
- RECAP: 'The Colbert Report' in Philadelphia, 4/16
- RECAP: 'The Colbert Report' in Philadelpha, 4/17

From The Comic's Comic
- Clinton AND Obama do Colbert Report

Thursday, April 17, 2008

People's Champion - Hugh hewitt

Some vintage audio from conservative talker Hugh Hewitt. Hugh has a very folksy style. He kids often about playing guitar, talks a lot of football (he ribs Steelers fans) and baseball (ribs Red Sox fans). Values guns and religion. Talks frequently about his Christian values. Talks about how effete liberals are, mocks the media and educational institutions. Hugh Hewitt is a regular man of the people, a red blooded conservative.

Hugh Hewitt is also a learned and cultured man. He graduated cum laude from Harvard University with a B.A. in Government. Hugh organises Cruises for his fellow listeners where there are readings from prominent authors and Hugh himself. Hugh has regular poetry readings from Tarzana Joe on his show. Hugh also has a cultured and topical look at the movies with Emmet of the Unblinking Eye.

I recall one instance (I wish I had the audio), Hugh was describing some unruly protests in France. Hugh was reading out a French location, stumbled the pronunciation and muttered dismissively to the effect "whatever that place is". I recall thinking surely Hugh could pronounce it or at least values being articulate. Hugh uses many literary references when speaking to callers and guests, he has an impressive vocabulary which I assume extends to French words.

I always found it interesting this dichotomy in Hugh's presentation.

All this can be summed up on this latest piece of audio. Listen to Hugh discussing how elite and 'out of touch' Presidential hopeful Barack Obama is.

Hugh speaking of Obama
What a clueless, elitist, arrogant, self-absorbed, anti-middle class, collectivist, bitter organiser.

Read Hugh Hewitt's bio
Go to Hugh's audio archives
Read about Hugh Hewitt's cruises, From Hugh's official site and Sterling Travel's site

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Marc Maron performing in Sydney

Just a friendly reminder to any Australian readers - APF pundit Marc Maron is doing a two week run at the Sydney Comedy Store.

Get full Maron tour Dates from the Comedy Store website
Listen to a short snippet of the interview we did with Marc prior to his arrival.
Read previous Marc Maron posts here

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chris Matthews on Straight talk Obama

During a conversation with NBC correspondent David Shuster, Chris Matthews astutely noted that Barack Obama has a candor and straight talk to rival McCain's. Matthews also points out that Obama is not one to go for the 2nd best option but will go after what he wants.


Of course I'm being facetious. Chris has been known to value presentation in politics, usually at its most superficial. It is not too dissimilar to the way Maureen Dowd has tended to approach her writing, judging politicians through how smooth or tough they are reminiscent of High School. This clip provides an insight into what Matthews values, evident also in his latest book Life's a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success.

Go to the entire Media Matters piece,transcript included
Watch Matthews promoting his book on the Daily Show. Jon Stewart challenges Matthews on his sense of perspective.
Read a previous APF post on Maureen Dowd and her writings on presentation
Go to Chris Matthews bio, from NBC
Go to Maureen Dowd's bio, from The New York Times

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Politician Promos - top political speeches

In pro wrestling, 'cutting a promo' is the act of getting on the mic and delivering an impassioned speech, usually to call out another wrestler. In the past I've detailed some memorable promos conducted by pundits and politicians.

Below are some effective promos conducted by some passionate conservatives:
VIDEO: Virgil Goode On The Surge Resolution And Muslims
Read Virgil Goode's biography. Virgil is a Republican Congressman from Virginia.

But my favourite promo goes to....

VIDEO: Conservative Radio Talker, Bill Cunningham introducing
John McCain 
and taking swipes at Obama

Conservative Radio Talker Bill Cunningham cuts a theatrical promo as he introduces Republican Presidential nominee, John McCain at a Cincinnati rally. Bill made some colorful statements mocking Barack Obama which led to McCain having to distance himself away from the talk show host.
Sen. McCain apologized for the remarks by the WLW radio talk show host.

"I take responsibility and I repudiate what he said," Sen. McCain told reporters after the rally at Memorial Hall.

Cunningham came out on stage to whip up the crowd as he often does at Republican campaign events in Cincinnati.
Read the full article from USA Today

Bill Cunningham stood by his comments and furiously fired back at McCain. After originally aiming his insults towards Barack, he drew his ire at the Republican nominee. Some of Cunningham's memorable zingers include:
1) "John McCain threw me under a bus -- under the 'Straight Talk Express"
2) "I, for one, regret that John McCain is the nominee of the conservative party,"
3) "But I'm not going to meet him again. I've had it up to here with John McCain. I'm joining Ann Coulter in supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton"
Read the full article on the conservative back and forth from CNN

Watch the full uncensored promo here, as taped by an audience member
Read HotAir's take on the issue with comments from conservative readers
Go Bill "Willie" Cunningham's official radio page
Watch video of Bill cuting a promo on Obama and McCain on CNN's Election Center

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wrestling meets Politics - the story so far

Anyone familiar with the site will know we deal with Politics and Punditry using the analogy of Wrestling. We rarely touch on wrestling itself, but we don't shy away from it when wrestling and politics do intersect.

As the Democratic Primaries get more rancorous, the WWE are playing up on the developing feud between Hillary and Obama by inviting them to an episode of Raw. The last time the WWE capitalised on a public rivalry was a parody of the Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell feud. This involved actor look-a-likes brawling in the ring, it was however a precursor to introducing the real Donald Trump into a wrestling storyline. Its highly unlikely that Barack or Hillary will accept the invitation, at any rate whatever the WWE do expect to hear the line "If you smell what Barack is cooking."

obama, hillary, wwe, raw, wrestling, feud

Watch the video here
From the WWE site:
The Race for the Democratic Presidential nomination is in full swing, and WWE invites Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to settle their differences in the ring when Raw returns from England on April 21.

Check out the WWE official website

WWE Tribute to the Troops
The WWE has had a bipartisan history with Politics in the past. The WWE frequently go to combat zones and host Annual Wrestling shows for the troops.
From the WWE site:
Tribute to the Troops is WWE's way of helping to bring the Troops home to you for the Holidays.

WWE's most important broadcast of the year – the only entertainment event broadcast from Iraq – takes the Superstars of Raw, SmackDown and ECW to the Middle East to proudly serve up a slice of Americana to the men and women serving in the Armed Forces.

Visit the WWE's 'Tribute to the Troops' microsite.

WWE superstars nominate their all-time favourite Presidents
A fun feature detailing which Presidents assorted wrestlers admire and the reasons behind it.
Go here to view WWE Presidential tag teams

Get off the Couch, Get in the Booth
The WWE have a site dedicated to getting voters interested in American Politics and voting, Smackdown your Vote.

Wrestlers and their Politics
Some wrestlers have been much more open with their politics:
- Ric Flair was the 2nd-most well-known early endorser of Republican Presidential runner-up, Mike Huckabee. The first of course was Chuck Norris.
- Kane AKA Glen Jacobs was seen endorsing conservative upstart Ron Paul.
- Rob van Dam got himself into trouble by sitting himself out for a troop benefit show. Though it was optional for wrestlers to appear, Rob Van Dam apparently upset management with his ungracious approach to the invitation. RVD touches lightly on his side of the story here.
- Hillary Clinton pays for WWE airtime, airing a Holiday ad for the troops.

Update: (April 19)
The latest WWE Hillary/Obama commercial

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Get some Attytood

I've recently discovered a blog after my own heart. It's by Will Bunch, senior writer for the Philadelphia Daily News. The blog is called Attytood.

The blog has a scope similar to American Pundit Fighting. It talks about the presentation & psychology of politics and punditry, the only difference being I use the analogy of Pro-wrestling to prove my point. I'll leave it up to you to decide whether that makes my blog better or not.

Below are two of his most recent and relevant posts:
1) Barack Obama as re-imagined by Time's Joe Klein April 3, 2008
Perhaps the most appealing thing about Obama's candidacy -- even if you're not a supporter -- is his notion that thought-free token patriotism, in the form of lapel pins and the like, can be replaced with love not for symbols but for true American ideals -- like opportunity for all, and basic human and Constitutonal rights, the ideas that caused those supporters to chant "U-S-A, U-S-A."

I recently posted about Obama's concerted effort to transcend symbols in how he is running his campaign. Read here: Obama - A 'no symbol' symbolic candidacy.

2) Time to retire "the E-word" April 2, 2008
Well, you knew this was coming, didn't you? Maureen dropped the E-bomb -- as in "effete" -- on Barack Obama, because, well, God knows we wouldn't want the Democrats to break their streak of nominating candidates ineligible for the White House because of their lack of machismo. would we?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Dukakis in the tank, Kerry windsurfing -- God knows the Republicans would never put up that kind of dork to be our commander-in-chief. Well, except for....

I've talked before about Maureen Dowd's MO, her penchant for framing candidates through their manliness.
Read my previous posts on Maureen but particularly the issue of framing candidates through the narrow prism of persona here:
- Maron VS Seder VS Ana Marie Cox
- Maureen Dowd and American Pundit Fighting
- The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee (part 3 of 3)

McCain lovefest: The media, Pundits and Jon Stewart

A meme that has been around for years and is gathering steam once again is that John McCain is a Media darling. Ironic really, the sheen of Obama has worn off as the Democratic primary protracts and gets uglier. Saturday Night Live kickstarted a media backlash with it's mocking and critique of the media's fawning treatment of Obama. In this wake John McCain has reemerged as the top darling of the media.

On a recent episode of Seder on Sundays, host Sam Seder had an interesting conversation with a caller followed up by a discussion with his former cohost Janeane Garofalo. A caller had advanced a theory that much of John McCain's appeal was through his self deprecating and 'good sport' persona projected through his many appearances on the Daily Show with friend Jon Stewart. McCain even guest hosted Saturday Night Live in 2002, affirming his appeal as a cultural figure transcending politics. You could argue he was an 'Obama', before there was an 'Obama' as we know him now...
A Caller speaking to Sam Seder
I know of lot of progressive friends of mine...they were saying they were considering McCain... They seem to get, i'm not kidding, most of their news from the Daily Show. I understand their frustration with mainstream media of course. The Daily Show, as well as other talk shows - but particularly Jon Stewart has really lauded John McCain and presented him as this Maverick and this really cool guy and this progressive thinker...

Sam recounting the conversation to Janeane who has held the same theory for a while
He (McCain) went to SNL and I remember my friend Amy Poehler (comedienne and SNL cast member), the great Amy Poehler telling me that John McCain seemed to have a crush on her. Which told me he had great taste in women... I remember thinking at that time - theres' something appealing about John McCain. He seems to have a sense of humour about himself and he seems to actually believe what he's saying. Now that no longer holds...
John mcCain, SNL, Daily Show, Jon Stewart

Below are list of headings and links from the liberal blogosphere lamenting 'Irrational McCain Love':

From Crooks and Liars
CNN Reporter Doesn’t Know The Difference Between A Legitimate Question & Heckling, Defends McCain. Again.
It is such an indictment on the pathetic notions of journalism from a journalist–especially when it comes to dealing with media darling John McCain–that CNN reporter Jim Acosta can’t even recognize a legitimate question being asked of a presidential candidate and characterized it as being under fire from a heckler...

The Media’s defense of McCain’s 100-years in Iraq comment.
...from emailer Candice:
On Friday night April 4th’s Nightly News, Brian Williams made the claim that McCain had been well received by the crowd at the Motel monument site where Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered. Not exactly the truth...

The Chris Matthews Show: How big an issue is John McCain’s age?
Argh. Despite polls that show that John McCain’s age is a factor for more voters than Obama’s race or Clinton’s gender, the punditocracy can’t lose their McCain love.

The Warrior King
From liberal blogger Digby of Hullabaloo
Quoting an exchange between anchors Brian Williams and Chris Matthews:
Brian Williams: You know what I thought was unsaid ---they took their position Chris, we're seeing the replay --- they end up in this spot and the sun is coming is just from the side and there in the shadow is John McCain's buckled, concave shoulder. It's a part of his body the suit doesn't fill out because of his war injuries. Again you wouldn't spot it unless you knew to look for it. He doesn't give the same full chested profile as the president standing next to him. Talk about a warrior...

Listen and Download audio of Sam Seder talking with a Caller, then Janeane about McCain's appeal.
Go to an episode Summary of John McCain's appearance on Saturday Night Live.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Primary Posters: The Collected works

Who would've thought that at this stage the primaries would still be undecided? In the meanwhile we can look back at the Primaries gone by and the APF posters that accompanied them.

I present to you a new Wallpaper, collecting the 8 primary posters made so far.

Super Tuesday, iowa, new hampshire, florida, south carolina
Download the 800 x 600 version
Download the 1024 x 768 version

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Obama - A 'no symbol' symbolic candidacy

There are certain symbolic norms that are expected when a candidate is running for Presidency. They are usually followed for the sake of expediency. Barack Obama has managed to forsake some of these norms and has managed to remain successful, proving that he is a transcendent Presidential candidate. Barack has made headlines, among other things, for consciously not wearing a flag lapel pin or putting his hand on his heart during National Anthems. Barack has also made other symbolic moves - riding in an undecorated black Campaign bus and going without a campaign slogan early in his campaign.

Barack's glowing press coverage, his undisputed appeal and recognition have afforded him the luxury of going without the usual bells and whistles. Things like the blank campaign bus are perceived as subtle cues for a prudent candidate who transcends symbols rather than a frugal contender with poor financial backing. It is clear Barack is aiming to be the first symbolic president, paradoxically without the use of symbols.

No Hand on Heart During National Anthem
Images have been circulating of Obama not displaying the proper etiquette of putting one's hand on the chest during the playing of the national anthem. This has been picked up by Obama critics as a gesture of disrespect and lack of patriotism. This charge was argued on an episode of Hannity and Colmes between Dick Morris and the hosts. national anthem Barack obama heart
Read the transcript and watch video at MediaMatters.org
Read Conservative comments on Joe Scarborough's take on Obama's perceived protest at Newsbusters.org

Obama's Campaign Bus
This was spotted in passing during a NewsHour news clip. Barack is using a no-frills, blank Campaign bus rather than the standard decorated bus with the candidate's face and name on it we are accustomed to. Not quite sure if this is the bus he's been using the whole campaign. This matter hasn't received much media coverage but why should it.
Barack obama campaign bus

Obama's non-use of a Campaign Slogan
I noticed in a previous issue of Time Magazine (October 22, 2007) that Obama was listed as not having a Campaign Slogan. He has seemingly adopted an official campaign slogan since then "Change we can believe in".

Barack Obama campaign slogan Time magazine

View Time Magazine's full article here

No flag lapel pin
Obama has also famously been known NOT to wear a flag lapel pin. In an interview he explained:
"The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin," Obama said. "Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security.
- Barack during a TV interview with KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Read the full story on FoxNews.com

Whilst Barack has enjoyed success in spite of the charges of stubborness and lack of patriotism due to his forsaking of expected symbols. David Frum (Author and former George W Bush speechwriter) lays a possibly more damaging charge - Barack believes his own press and has an inflated ego. More charitable detractors may put it down to naivete or blind idealism.

David Frum on Barack Obama - Real Time w/ Bill Maher, February 22


FRUM: ...Barack Obama then said, “But, there are some things that – that only the president can do. There’s this special magic” – I don’t think he used that phrase – “that comes from a presidential meeting.”
I think one of the things that, if he becomes president, is going to be his real Achilles heel, is he seems to have a great over-estimation of the power of his personality. That he has been drinking his own bathwater, so absorbed with all of this—

MAHER: [he laughs]

FRUM: [overlapping]—so absorbed with all of this enthusiasm and applause, that he thinks – he thinks he’s going to go apply that Obama magic to a meeting with America’s enemies, and that they will rhapsodize just the way—

MAHER: [overlapping] No, no.
AMY WALTER: [overlapping] Yeah, but—

FRUM: [overlapping]—because, for him to be over-committing the procedure of the presidency in advance of actually having it, you can only imagine what he’s going to do when he does have it. If he has it.

Read the full transcript of this episode from Bill Maher's website