Sunday, August 31, 2008

Introducing the newest APF Pundit - Mark Steyn


As a special request for reader Kathy who was kind enough to keep me in the loop. The APF proudly introduces Mark Steyn to it's roster of pundits.

Mark Steyn is a contributing writer and columnist for multiple publications around the world. Mark is one the privileged few Rush Limbaugh tags to helm the #1 show in his absence. He is also a weekly guest on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

Go to Mark Steyn's official website. To view the list of publications Mark contributes to, visit his bio and FAQ page.

Mark has authored 4 political books:
1) The Face of the Tiger (Collected essays, 2002)
2) Mark Steyn From Head To Toe: An Anatomical Anthology (2004)
3) Mark Steyn's Passing Parade (Paperback, 2006)
4) America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It (2008)

Steyn writes with a dry wit and sarcasm. Evident in the the endorsements he proudly displays on his site, tongue firmly in cheek. His dry writing has got him in hot water recently, after a Human rights complaint against Maclean's magazine which implicated some of Steyn's articles. Mark was awarded the 2006 Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism for his article 'Be glad the flag is worth burning'.

Update:
A banner for 'Free Mark Steyn' advocates to place on their sites, fire an email and i'll gladly provide the code. Read more about the case here.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

VP Pundit Roundup: Joe Biden and Sarah Palin

Liberals on Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden:

Sam Seder on Joe Biden - CNN: Secret Service to Biden's house
He's a corporatist and I've always imagined he spends a lot of time in the mirror choosing a pose for his Senate portrait- but at least he's no Evan Bayh.


Rachel Maddow on Joe Biden - Rachel Maddow praises Joe Biden on Womens' Issues


Conservatives on Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin:
Michael Medved on Sarah Palin - What Sarah Brings
It begins to close the energy gap... It underscores the best issues for McCain... She emphasizes McCain’s credibility as a reformer... Palin allows Republicans to compete on the novelty front... The choice should help to reassure grumblers on the right who have insisted that McCain isn’t a “real conservative.” ... Yes, this undermines McCain’s future use of the experience issue, but that’s almost certainly a good thing, too.


Hugh Hewitt on Sarah Palin - An Extraordinary Choice
Pro-life conservatives across the country have to be thrilled with John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as the GOP nominee for Veep. Reformers have to be thrilled. Inside-baseball analysts have to be thrilled.


Mark Levin on Sarah Palin - McCain-Palin?
I should add that if Palin is the choice, this also suggests that McCain may not be as stubborn as portrayed — and that’s a good thing given his positions on a number of issues that have given conservatives heart-burn. At least it gives us some hope in that regard.


Rush Limbaugh on Sarah Palin - Governor Sarah Palin: Story and Experience Dwarf Barack Obama
...they're talking about how this is a bad pick because she doesn't have any experience. She's got more experience than Obama does! She has more experience running things. She's got a bigger story to tell than Obama has, and she's got plenty of people who will tell that great story of hers. Obama has nobody he wants us to hear tell his story. He has to tell his story himself. I think they've been rope-a-doped here. I think McCain has made a brilliant move.


Michelle Malkin on Sarah Palin - Palin for America: A true conservative
The announcement from Dayton will start any minute. There’s a new rock star in town. Conservatives are full of Hope that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will bring much-needed Change to McCain Republicanism.
Catch the fever.

Friday, August 29, 2008

John McCain's wrestling promo on WWE

john mccain, wwe, wrestler
John McCain appearing on WWE Raw
I recently discovered the full video of John McCain's wrestling style promo he made for WWE in conjunction with Obama and Hillary. It's listed amongst McCain's top Videos.

Excerpts of McCain's promo
I believe America is the greatest nation in the world and Americans don't watch wrestling because were bitter. We watch WWE because wrestling is about celebrating our freedom. It's about fighting to be the very best. So can you smell what the Mac is cooking?

Let me give you some straight talk WWE fans, you might need a ticket to the Fatal Four next weekend but you don't need a ticket to the Cage match in November. All you have to do is get out there and vote. You decide the champion. You make the difference. And that's the bottom line because John McCain said so!
Watch the video on John McCain's official website

Read the storied links between politics and wrestling - Wrestling meets Politics: the story so far
Read all wrestling themed posts here

It's official: Sarah Palin is tagged by Mccain for VP on the republican ticket

sarah palin, john mccain, vice president, republican ticket
It's official, GOP rising star Sarah Palin has been introduced as the Vice Presidential tag partner for McCain's Republican ticket.
Palin Has 'Maverick' Credentials Similar to McCain

In an announcement, McCain's campaign said that Palin, who has been governor less than two years, "has the record of reform and bipartisanship that others can only speak of."

The campaign also said: "Her experience in shaking up the status quo is exactly what is needed in Washington today."

As governor, she successfully took on the oil industry, leading to a tax increase on oil company profits that has the state's treasury swelling.

Read Sarah Palin's bio on John McCain's official website
Excerpted from her Vice Presidential acceptance speech
Transcript: Palin's Speech In Dayton, Ohio
"Well, it's always, though, safer in politics to avoid risk, to just kind of go along with the status quo. But I didn't get into government to do the safe and easy things. A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why the ship is built. Politics isn't just a game of competing interests and clashing parties. The people of America expect us to seek public office and to serve for the right reasons. And the right reason is to challenge the status quo and to serve the common good...

"Now, no leader in America has shown these qualities so clearly or presents so clear a threat to business as usual in Washington as Senator John S. McCain. This -- this is a moment when principles and political independence matter a lot more than just the party line. And this is a man who has always been there to serve his country, not just his party.

McCain picks Palin for running mate: Laura Ingraham was right

Laura makes the case for Alaska governor Palin to be the to be first female vice-presidential candidate for Republicans.



As an aside I've heard pundits like Dean Barnett and Mark Levin remark the last few months about her being an "attractive" choice. Speaking of attractive, an earnest Sarah Palin fan page with a slightly unwholesome Web domain - VPilf.com

One of my favourite bloggers Allahpundit of HotAir mused about a possible Sarah Palin choice a few days ago...
Laura Ingraham: Palin for VP?
Actually, Greta’s more excited about the idea than Ingraham is. I’m continually amazed by how much support there is for Palin, basically sight unseen, here in the comments at HA even though putting her on the ticket would obliterate the GOP’s strongest line of attack against The One. She’s personally appealing, represents a physical manifestation of Change, and is alarmingly young and inexperienced for such a momentous job. Remind you of anyone you know? Nor am I sold on Greta’s argument that women voters would flock to her. Conservatives love Palin because she’s down to earth to an extent that’s almost too good to be true... the perceived difference in emphasis might be enough to turn Clintonites off to someone like Palin who doesn’t fit the traditional image of a feminist as well as Her Majesty does...

Still, not the worst VP idea I’ve heard today. Exit question: I’m pretty sure I’ve asked this before, but I’ll ask again. Why would Palin make a better pick than, say, Huckabee?
APF Pundit Glenn Beck offered his endorsement of Sarah Palin and why, they both share a child of special needs.
Perspective, she understands the gift she's been given (in regards to the birth of her child)


Read Sarah Palin's bio from askthegovernors.com

Daily Show: MSNBC Meltdown

Jon Stewart on MSNBC's on-air infighting
Keith Olbermann VS Joe Scarborough VS Chris Matthews - Media Analysis unity
Obviously the big story this week has been 'Unity'- sublimating rage, chocking down bitterness and hatred for the good of the team. One network (MSNBC) is so focused on uncovering the smallest brushfire of discontent amongst Democrats, it perhaps hasn't noticed it's own house is on fire.



Read the comments from HotAir.com - Video: Meltdown at MSNBC

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Democratic convention tension: PUMA, Matthews and Olbermann

Coming into the Democratic convention, the media focused its attention on the possible fireworks between Barack Obama and the Clintons. The promise of tension from feisty Hillary supporters and republican mischief makers, the most notable being The P.U.M.As. Short for "Party Unity My Ass", the meaning has since changed to the tamer "People United Means Action".

After Bill and Hillary's gracious and full-throated endorsement of Barack and the non-impact of the P.U.M.As, it seemed the media wasn't going to get the drama it wanted. Ironically the tension and fireworks anticipated from the convention came from the media themselves.

Keith Olbermann who's recent feature in the 'New York Magazine' was titled 'One Angry man' lived up to it by causing friction with MSNBC stablemates Chris Matthews and APF pundit Joe Scarborough. Republican strategist Mike Murphy stirred the pot. Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin was attacked by a mob led by underground media personality and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

1) Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews fight to be the alpha dog

Keith Olbermann steals Chris Matthews' thunder by assigning credit to Matthews' observations to fellow MSNBC pundit Rachel Maddow. Matthews gets upset by Olbermann's seeming oneupsmanship

2) Keith Olbermann tries to wrap up mischievous Republican strategist Michael Murphy from ring side
'Let's Wrap Him Up': Olbermann Tries To Get Rid of Republican Murphy
As Chris Matthews was interviewing GOP consultant Mike Murphy in the interlude between Bill Clinton and Joe Biden tonight, Olbermann could be heard off-camera angrily demanding "let's wrap him up, alright?"
From Newsbusters.org

3) Keith Olbermann harrumphs Joe Scarborough, “Jesus, Joe, why don’t you get a shovel?”


4) Chris Matthews makes a stinkface after Olbermann steps on his line
Matthews Furious—Did Olbermann Lift His Lines?
Matthews appeared to be reading a script from his laptop, when he suddenly stopped. Olbermann picked up the thread and threw it to young Russert. A furious expression crossed Matthews' face and he began to shake his head and mutter, until his image was blotted out by a prominent NBC logo.
From Newsbusters.org

5) MSNBC in defense of their Convention lineup
MSNBC prez defends convention team
DENVER — Amid a spate of awkward on-air conflicts among MNSBC anchors at this week’s Democratic convention, some staff members say there are sharp internal disputes at the cable network over whether its opinion and personality-driven political coverage has crossed the line.

“The situation at our channel is about to blow up,” a high-ranking MSNBC journalist told Politico on Wednesday.
From Politico.com

Update: A new PunditFight animation

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Michael Tomasky: The Clinton Drama

This blog by it's design highlights the theatre and psychology of politics and punditry. Most of the attention is paid to the bluster, tension, personalities and framing of political discourse.

Michael Tomasky of The Guardian provides a little perspective.
The Clinton Drama
...Politics is not therapy. It's not something that is conducted so people who live essentially comfortable lives can feel good about themselves and happy about outcomes. Politics is about the state of the country and the world. It's about a million things beyond the "character" of the candidate.

It's about what kinds of lawyers are appointed to important positions in the Justice Department to defend the constitution and people's civil liberties. It's about what kinds of people will be working in Labor Department, either helping or hindering the creation of more unions. It's about who is at the Environmental Protection Agency, and whether the laws that protect poor communities from illegal toxic dumping will be enforced or ignored. It's about what the State Department and other agencies do to foster the development of democracy and human rights, or what they turn a blind eye to. And of course it's about the Supreme Court. And it's about a hundred other things just like these things.

In the face of all this, people think politics is about their feelings?...

Roundup: Hillary Clinton speaks at the DNC

A roundup of comment threads regarding Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention.

From HotAir.com -
WaPo: Hillary inspired her delegates … to wish she had won

From CrooksandLiars.com -
Hillary Knocks It Out of The Park: “No Way. No How, No McCain.”

From MichellMalkin.com -
DNC night 2 open thread

The DailyKos with their roundup -
Your Abbreviated Pundit Round-up

Most importantly this story allows me to re-post my favorite montage picture
unity, obama, clinton, democrats, hulk hogan, ultimate warrior
Hogan and Warrior = Obama and Hillary. Respect angle
In a previous post I suggested how the two warring Democrats should end their hard fought campaign.
The Democratic Primary: How should Barack and Hillary finish it? With Hillary's speech, the circle is complete.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Obama, McCain, Mitt Romney all look like...

It's amusing the type of analogies columnists and comedians have created for Presidential candidates, usually to disparage them. Very specific analogies that describe the candidate's character in ways casual audiences can identify with.

In an earlier post I referenced Karl Rove's 'Barack analogy' from an interview with GQ magazine - Karl Rove interviewed by GQ
"Even if you never met him, you know this guy," Rove said... "He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by."


Mike Murphy a republican consultant in a commentary for Time Magazine offers his own assessment of Obama - Can Obama Be a Working-Class Hero? by Mike Murphy
Obama's academic style is much of his problem. For many, Obama reminds them of the Ivy League whiz kids they've dealt with at work during the latest downsizing. They look at him and see another bloodless young achiever coming down from the top floor to fix the ailing machine-tool company. They listen to his polished pitch in the employee cafeteria, and he wins some converts. But after he is finished, a few old-timers exchange knowing glances and mutter to one another about how young this hotshot is. Somebody makes a cynical and unkind remark about affirmative action. Deep down, they think he'd rather hit the executive gym for a cardio workout during lunch hour than share a cheesesteak and beer with the hourly workforce. And they ask one another, Why did he change his name in college back to Barack? What's wrong with Barry?

Read the full commentary here

Comedians have also had there shot at painting the candidates. During the early primary season a favorite target for talk show host David Letterman was Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
Mitt looks like a guy wearing a golf shirt in an Eddie Bauer catalogue.
Mitt looks like the guy at a party who gives you his card.
He looks like a cosmetic surgeon who gets ambushed on '60 Minutes.'
He looks like an American President in a Canadian movie.
He looks like the guy who promises accident victims he'll get the money they deserve


Read an exhaustive compilation of Letterman's Romney jokes, dubbed "Mitticisms" at Politicalhumor.about.com - David Letterman Mocks Mitt Romney
Watch a video compilation of Letterman's 'Mitticisms' at Gawker.com

The last republican standing, John McCain also gets the Letterman treatment

In true McCain fashion, John shows his sense of humor by turning the tables on Dave. Watch John McCain telling David Letterman who he looks like

George W Bush and Obama: Flight suits and making a Hollywood President (part 1 of 3)

It's a maxim in politics that people elect their leaders based on personality not policy. I would offer "narrative" is more powerful as it packages and predigests both elements for its audience. Whether this is harmful or not is another matter.

Much has been made about the harm of ubiquitous media, the 24 news cycle and the 5 second soundbite. The constant barrage of information, otherwise light and inconsequential only gain weight once coalesced into a larger narrative. Most of the overriding narratives are created by the media, forwarding digestable storylines for the casual and hurried observer. The negative ramifications of this is what conservative talker Rush Limbaugh derisively refers to as "The Drive by media". Narratives are also created by political opponents. Creating memes by consolidating isolated storylines to paint a candidate as being a "goofball", "elitist", "pretty boy", "French", or "cold".

Then there are the narratives the Candidates themselves create. This is what I'd like to focus on. Much has been made of Barack Obama's rise to prominence. In the early stages of his campaign, Obama seemed impervious to attack as he positioned himself as being post-partisan, after entering the national stage with a charming narrative invoking humble beginnings and the American Dream. In recent weeks Obama's campaign has gone through turbulence as conservative talkers have jujitsued Obama's pollyannaish script. Sean Hannity has taken to calling Obama a 'Hollywood production'. On his show Hugh Hewitt exposes Obama as Prompter Dependent, highlighting that Obama is a creation built on stagecraft and speeches but ultimately hollow away from the script.

This year's Presidential election can be summed up as two competing narratives - The transcendent historical candidate VS the American hero. A continuation of the Hollywood presidency of George W Bush...

continued in part 2 of 2>>

Monday, August 25, 2008

When Politics goes Hollywood

dnc, democratic, convention, hollywood, wrestlemania 24,
The stage design for the Democratic convention has been unveiled. The extravagant set is reminiscent of WWE's PPV ring entrances.

I don't know why the DNC took this approach in it's design but I would assume it's the same reason wrestling does it - Showbiz!
A commenter from Digitaljournal.com has an interesting take on it.
Ok.. I give them both credit for looking great. The DNC is the most elaborate and showy, The RNC's is a very clean to the point style. Now for the conservative view...

It seems that the DNC's is something that would better fit a Hollywood awards show or American Idol etc..with all the glitter and glam. I would hate to even guess how much cash the stage cost to build. It seems to reflect the superstar persona that has been attached to Obama as seen in McCain's add with Britney and Paris right along with what almost every radio personality has said about him! Why would Obama and the DNC want to further support this image? It too me shows the complete exuberant heavy handed spending of funds on not so essential things. Not to mention what Denver is doing alone on the street level.

As for the RNC's stage It looks as though they could have added just a bit more to it somewhere, but it is a clean and precise no nonsense styling. But a little flourish would have helped.

I will give the DNC a 10 out of 10 in just pure creativity and looks and the RNC a 7.

It sends a message of how you can expect each side to spend your cash though in my honest opinion.
Posted Aug 22, 2008 by RCB2875


Read the DigitalJournal post and user comments - Democrats and Republicans Unveil Convention Podiums

Expect a future post on the nexus of Hollywood glitz and Politics - The Flight Suit and the making of a Hollywood President.

WWE Smackdown: McCain and Obama on the Youth vote

obama, mccain, wwe, youth vote
You'd be forgiven for thinking that Politics and Wrestling could only coexist in an unserious or sarcastic context but you'd be mistaken. Anyone familiar with the WWE and owner Vince McMahon would know that he is earnest in his initiative to promote Voting awareness to his audience.

From Smackdown Your Vote! - www.vote.wwe.com
Obama and McCain Sound Off in VIP Match-UP
Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain have responded in writing to the issues outlined in the 18-30 Voter Issues Paper (VIP). WWE's Smackdown Your Vote! has combined their answers in this VIP Match-Up so you can see where the presidential candidates stand on issues important to Americans 30 and under in this election...
Check it out or download it to share with friends. And while you’re here, don’t forget to register to vote.


Read Obama and McCain's stance youth issues from jobs creation, living wage to social security.
Download the PDF of Obama and McCain's response to the 18-30 Voter Issues Paper

During the convention season WWE superstars and divas will be in attendance to "encourage more voters, ages 30 and younger, to vote in this year’s election".
Batista, Shelton Benjamin and Candice Michelle will attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver from Aug. 26 to 31. Shawn Michaels, Mr. Kennedy and Mickie James will attend the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., from Sept. 1 to 4.

This is the third presidential election in which WWE’s Smackdown Your Vote! has been active. The program has been engaged in national, state and local elections each year since 2000... Young voter turnout is one of the top news headlines of 2008 with turnout doubling and tripling in early 2008 contests.


Read the full article from WWE here - WWE at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Barack Obama tags Joe Biden for Vice President

barack obama, joe biden, democrats, vice president,
It's official, Barack Obama has selected Joe Biden to make up the Democratic tag team to challenge republican nominee John McCain. Biden is the Senior Senator for Delaware. The Republican ticket will be announced shortly. Most observers speculate McCain will strategically announce his VP choice during the Democratic convention.

Read Comments on the breaking News from selected blogs:
1) Via Daily KOs - Special Open Thread #3: Official Biden Edition
2) Via Hot Air - In the dead of night, Obama announces VP choice
3) Via Democratic Underground - AP: Obama chooses Biden as running mate
4) Via Newsbusters - MSNBC: Obama-Biden 'a Very Powerful Combination'

Watch a profile from ABC - Who is Joe Biden?


Read Joe Biden's profile and Watch a feature of Joe Biden from PBS' NewsHour. Compiled during Biden's own Presidential run earlier in the season.

Saving and spreading: Resolving broken links

A large part of this site is media based. A lot of video and audio to supplement the articles and provide samples for newcomers unfamiliar with certain pundits.

Most of the links refer to sites external to this blog so there is always the possibility that they'll become dormant. I'll do my best to host most of these. If there is any audio you find that are broken and you are keen to hear them, kindly report them and I will scour my own archives to upload local versions.

YouTube also has its own issues, with live links not always reliable. Wrestling/WWE content is particularly tricky as they have a temperamental policy with their content.

I'm happy for people to save any media from the site and encourage you host to your own versions for preservation. In the meantime kindly inform me of broken links through the corresponding comments page or drop me an email.

I've updated audio links for some recent Sam Seder posts -
1) Seder 'cuts a promo' on the right wing (part 1)
2) Seder 'cuts a promo' on the right wing (part 2)

The corresponding audio as follows:
Listen to Sam on Medved Part 1
Listen to Sam Vs Medved Part 2
and
Listen to Round 1 of Sam VS John Gibson
Listen to Round 2 of Sam's humiliation of Gibson

More updates as I find them.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kazoos in Politics: Hillary supporters at the Democratic convention

VIDEO: Edge and Christian play the Kazoo

As absurd as this video is, CBS News suggests there may be scenes not dissimilar to this at the Democratic Convention in Denver.
Clinton Creates 'whip Team' To Quell Anti-Obama Protests
By Glenn Thrush
In an unusual move, Hillary Clinton's staff is creating a 40-member "whip team" at the Denver Democratic convention to ensure that her supporters don't engage in embarrassing anti-Obama demonstrations during the floor vote on her nomination, according to people familiar with the planning...

"If people get down there on the floor and want to start blowing kazoos and making a scene we want to make sure we've got people who stand in front of them with Obama signs," said person involved in the planning.

"Is it typical for a losing candidate to have their own whip team? No. But it's also not usual for a losing candidate to get 18 million votes either," said the person.
Read the full article here from Glenn Thrush
Watch NBC's Chuck Todd mentioning the Kazoo threat to Keith Olbermann

Rachel Maddow gets her own show on MSNBC

Quite possibly the youngest of the APF Pundits, Rachel Maddow gets her own show on MSNBC. This is a stratospheric rise for Maddow, a Rhodes Scholar. She got her first radio gig after impressing at an open audition for her local radio station, she later successfully lobbied for a spot on the fledgling Air America Network where she quickly rose through the ranks.

She co-hosted the now canceled Unfiltered with Chuck D and Lizz Winstead. She began hosting her own two-hour-long program in 2005, The Rachel Maddow Show. The show was later expanded to three hours earlier this year. She became a regular panelist on many news programs, for Tucker Carlson's now defunct MSNBC show and CNN's Paula Zahn Now. She was a frequent contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann and has been tapped as a fill-in host for the show.

Her mega-push continuous with the announcement that she will have her own show on MSNBC.

APF pundit Keith Olbermann informed fans and welcomed Rachel by writing a diary post for the DailyKOs . As well as being glowing of Rachel, Keith's piece provides as much insight into Keith's character as it does of Rachel's.
Rachel Gets Her Own MSNBC Show by Keith Olbermann
Happy Now?
The network will be formally announcing this tomorrow, but I am pleased to inform you in this fully authorized leak, that as of Monday, September 8, our mutual friend Ms. Maddow will become host of her own show...

Let me answer the key questions in advance:
1) No, she will not be serving as a VeeJay introducing music clips or cartoons...
4) Yes, I had something to do with it...
5) Yes, you had something to do with it...
6) Yes, this is why I never really responded to any of the 41,754 comments that all pretty much read "And get Rachel her own show, nitwit."
8) Yes, I did like the description of her in The Nation: "Everything about her radiates competence and a deft, bright careerism."...
10) No, this actually happened pretty quickly. Less than five months between first paid appearance and own show is pretty fast. I believe I still hold the MSNBC record: I came back to guest host for three days in 2003 and 39 days later I had a contract to do the 8 PM show. With people as talented like Rachel, getting it locked down quickly is a good thing...
Read the full Olbermann diary post from the DailyKOs
Read The Nation feature on Rachel - Mad for Rachel Maddow
Go to Rachel Maddow's official website

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Politicians channeling Rocky: Baracky II

VIDEO: Baracky II

Possibly the most entertaining political video I've seen to date. Very well designed.
Updated August 22: With apolgies to Anonymous, when it comes to the funny and design its tough to beat the guys at JibJab.

This is the second time a Democratic candidate has been likened to Rocky. Hillary Clinton was first to liken themselves to the never-say-die boxer during a speech in Philadelphia Now Barack (albeit by an anonymous videographer) has been cast as Rocky.

Ironically Sylvester Stallone - the man who made Rocky, is an unabashed John McCain fan. McCain best embodies the Rocky spirit as the aging underdog going for his last hurrah.

I know Stallone has received criticism and praise from Conservatives, but I'd like to put politics aside for a moment. I must say I'm a proud fan of Sly Stallone. I would encourage everyone if they could, to find a copy of the Rocky Box Set. On the first disc you will find a talking head documentary where Stallone speaks about the journey he had to go through to bring vision to the big screen.

It is a truly inspirational and captivating story. Stallone is thoughtful and articulate and reveals him as a true artist. You'll see how closely Stallone's journey in conquering Hollywood mirrors Rocky's in the movies. Rocky has the look of a vacant but endearing brute, this coupled with his slurring speech makes it easy for people to overlook and underestimate him. You'll be reminded that whilst its a look that makes for a great film character its also Stallone's authentic appearance. Sly through his tenacity and self-belief has managed to succeed in spite of his handicaps.

VIDEO: Everyone wants to be Rocky

But Stallone clearly hopes to cast someone else as the hero
I like McCain a lot. And you know, things may change along the way, but there's something about matching the character with the script. And right now, the script that's being written and reality is pretty brutal and pretty hard-edged like a rough action film, and you need somebody who's been in that to deal with it.
Stallone Endorses McCain - Read comments at MSNBC's First Read

Read my previous Sly Stallone post here

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

PunditFight interview: A conversation with Sam Seder

Sam Seder, Interview

Sam Seder is a liberal talker with a great following on the left blogosphere. He is a pioneer when it comes to integrating and mobilising the online progressive community using the radio medium. He is credited for elevating prominent liberal bloggers like Markos Moulitsas (Founder of The Daily KOs), Atrios, and Digby amongst many others by giving them a regular platform on his show.

During the 2006 midterm elections Sam hosted a weekly segment called 'The Fighting Dems'. Organised with Markos, the segment profiled a range of Military Vets running for office as Democrats. Some candidates ran in Primaries challenging "less liberal" Democratic incumbents. The initiative helped propel military Democrats like Jim Webb into office. Sam was arguably the first national broadcaster to spotlight Senator Webb.

Whilst Sam has enjoyed great support from his audience, he has had a tumultuous career as a talker. He has had 3 different shows on AirAmerica ('The Majority Report', 'The Sam Seder Show' and 'Seder on Sundays') with talks of a fourth. It's possibly attributed to his outspokeness - he's been suspended for calling out a stablemate and received some grief over an on-air feud with a prominent liberal talker. Perhaps it could be something else entirely, The Boston Globe did see it fit to title it's feature profile of Sam "Failure is an option".

In our conversation we discuss the differences between the Liberal and Conservative infrastructure (ThinkTanks/ Talk radio/ Blogosphere). We Talk about the price of being outspoken and his opinion of conservative talkers Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Enjoy!








A list of notable Sam Seder posts
1) Sam dissects Conservative talkers John Gibson and Armstong Williams (updated: broken links resolved)
2) Sam dissects Conservative talkers Michael Medved and Michael Savage (updated: broken links resolved)
3) Funny segment that involves Rush Limbaugh and regular caller 'Dewey'
4) Sam Seder on Maureen Dowd and the mainstream media

Sam on the turbulence in Progressive talk and his own career
I started my radio career at Air America, that creates some difficulty in and of itself. That whole Ed Schultz thing was blown way out of proportion. I don't think it's helped me in any way. Across the board progressive talk radio is having some growth problems and part of that is a function of the industry as a whole. They don't recognise it as a distinct format. Frankly the industry as a whole has larger problems than progressive talk.
Sam on how his experience at Air America has helped him understand party politics
There have been times in the past at Air America where people's assumptions as to why certain things were done. My losing my morning show for example or Maron losing his show. They project (pause) that dynamic of hearing what the audience thinks is happening behind the scenes. It's given me insight in the way that I as an outsider can see what is going on in the Bush Administration. There's been times where people have sent me emails about conspiracy theories that are taking place in Air America. Sometimes the conjecture isn't necessarily irrational, when people deeply care about an institution, whether it's Air America or the US government, and it's not being responsive to them in some way. They are left to their own devices in terms of creating a narrative to explain it.
Sam on Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and the conservative audience
I don't know what their (Rush and Sean's) perception of reality is because I only know them [from what I hear]. I've met Hannity a couple of times off the show but he seems like as much of a nutball as he does on his show. I don't know the way they perceive reality. They espouse, I don't know that I would really call it a philosophy as I don't think it reaches that bar. There mouthpieces to a certain extent. Hannity is just lame, he's literally almost by definition a 'tool'.

Limbaugh I think has created a worldview that sells. If you want to create a strong and loyal audience it's a smart one. It's preying on his audiences' desire not to have such doubt in their life. It's really not that different in terms of dynamic to say Scientology or any other so-called philosophy that gives you answers and makes it easier for you. You listen to Limbaugh and anytime you're having a dilemma. It's resolved for you very simply and always in a way that makes "You" the winner because everybody else by definition is wrong and that is essentially the conservative ideology. That is why they're going to do so well in the role of the opposition...

I think Limbaugh is good at what he does, it's a very easy formula. If you look in the paper and you start with the assumption that anything you see or read that you don't do or experience on a regular basis is wrong. You'll find it's very easy because everything becomes a story...
Read full transcripts of the Sam Seder interview here

Monday, August 18, 2008

PunditFight: Hugh Hewitt's protege?

In recent days Hugh Hewitt has given this blog a ratings boost. Hugh has played the Donald Trump role, elevating the blog with his esteemed association and bringing with it more mainstream attention.

However reading posts like this, people might start turning on Hugh and the blog if there is a perception PunditFight is seen as Hugh's deranged protege.
Cicero writes:
Slow news day today, Hugh?
Looks like a rather nondescript blog to me. But I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

Once again, allow me to provide some examples of what your readers SHOULD be reading...
Not unlike the Presidential candidates, at this point it's all about maximising the attention. Plotting the rollout of content so as to stay in the news cycle for as long as possible. Stay tuned for some new animations, including a tag team of everyone's favourite Boston/Cleveland connection.

- Hugh Hewitt endorses 'PunditFight'
- Introducing 'Team Hugh Hewitt' - Hewitt, Barnett and Steyn

Hugh Hewitt endorses Pundit Fight

Some flattering news today. Influential talker Hugh Hewitt, on his Friday show endorsed 'American Pundit Fighting'. Whilst not a complete non-sequitur it was definitely a welcome surprise.
Hugh Hewitt Show (August 15, 2008)
HUGH HEWITT: It reminded me of one of my favourite websites ever, have you seen Pundit Fight yet Generalissimo? Go google Pundit Fight, it is really a very funny website that treats pundits (like me I'm one of them) as though we're professional wrestlers. With the same conventions as professional wrestling and the same kind of theatrics and show, that sort of thing. It's a guilty pleasure, but he's a very smart guy. I just don't want it to catch on which is why I'm telling 2 million people about it. (sarcastically) So don't go to Pundit Fight. I don't know what the URL is.
It's extremely flattering and validating. Needless to say expect to see the APF releasing a Campaign ad with Hugh's endorsement sometime soon.
Listen to the full audio from Hugh's August 15th show
Listen to the excerpted audio of Hugh endorsing PunditFight

This might be a good time to address the unique accessory adorning Wrestler Hugh Hewitt. Attentive readers may have noticed that Hugh is the only pundit wearing a belt. See for yourself on the APF MySpace page.

Hugh is wearing the "Fight Champion" Belt described thusly:
Vote for pundit of the year!
The 'Fight Champion' belt goes to the pundit who is the most effective at opposing fellow pundits and other notable people of influence. For maximum points the Pundit should be challenging opponents who are more than capable of defending themselves. The award is not based on how many duels they win or lose, but rather the competitive fighting spirit in them.

I had originally planned to bestow awards to the pundits in 4 different categories commemorating their achievements in 2007. I silently postponed the awards, opting to let the nomination process marinate for another year. Read the awards on offer here. I did manage to fit Hugh with a belt however, largely because he was an outright winner for Fight Champion in 2007, Notable duels include:
1) Conservative Callers surprisingly defend Obama much to Hugh's chagrin
2) Hugh has an Iron Man match with marginalised conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan
3) Allahpundit of HotAir.com challenges Hugh Hewitt
4) Hugh and his callers duel over the chess game that was the Republican Primary
5) Hugh Hewitt turns the tables on legendary press reporter Helen Thomas

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sam Seder interview coming soon

In the past week I conducted an interview with Liberal Radio talker Sam Seder, look for it to appear soon.

We discussed topics ranging from his future in Air America, the price he's had to pay for his outspokenness and the state of the Media. Sam also sounds off on other talkers like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

Read previous Sam Seder posts here:
1) The outspoken Sam Seder
2) Sam on conservative talkers Michael Savage and Michael Medved
3) Sam on conservative talkers John Gibson and Armstrong Williams

Read my other pundit interviews here:
1) Liberal talker and Comedian Marc Maron
2) Young Conservative talker Andrew Wilkow
3) Independent talker and comedian Pete Dominick

Welcome new APF fans

The last few days the APF has received a spike in new readers. We can only surmise that the spike has come from either a mention in print or on the radio. If anyone could help with their theories by dropping us an email or leaving a comment it would be greatly appreciated.

First one to reply will receive a personalised animation featuring a pundit of your choosing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Boston Globe: Obama and McCain, a portrait in words

mccain, obama, words, boston globeThe Boston Globe has an interesting feature, aggregating all the words in each of the Presidential Candidate's blogs to create a portrait defined by the messages they choose to prioritize.

As Obama famously said (channeling Democratic Governor Deval Patrick), and Sean Hannity is quick to remind, "Don't tell me words don't matter".

Find the link to the Boston Globe feature - Portrait of the candidate as a pile of words
Read reactions to the graphic from readers of CrooksandLiars.com

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mick Foley and Sean Morley: When wrestlers become pundits

mick foley, jbl, democrat, republican, debate, wwe
American Pundit Fighting takes pride in being the preeminent blog for Politics AND Wrestling. The site focuses on how pundits and politicians act like wrestlers, borrowing heavily from wrestling in their use of psychology, framing and theatrics. I've mentioned in the past how wrestlers have been involved in politics, from Ric Flair endorsing Mike Huckabee to Kane joining the Ron Paul revolution. Then there's former Governor Jesse Ventura, the hugely popular Hall of Fame wrestler who could possibly become the future President of the United States.

What I haven't talked about and perhaps little known amongst wrestling fans, are the growing number of wrestlers entering into political punditry. During the 2004 Bush/Kerry Presidential Election, wrestlers Mick Foley and JBL engaged in a series of political debates. Mick championing the Democratic Party and its nominee John Kerry whilst JBL supported the incumbent George W Bush. The debate was organised by the WWE in conjunction with The University of Miami. The WWE has a reputation for encouraging Voting especially amongst their target youth demographic.

Read the Miami Hurricane's recap of the event (October 5, 2004) - 'WWE tag team debate'
Read reviews of the debate from the knowledgeable fans at TheSmartMarks.com- Foley/JBL Debate Report

Whilst Mick Foley and JBL have dabbled in Punditry as ambassadors for the WWE, former wrestler Sean Morley has shifted his focus towards being a full time pundit. Best known as Val Venis in the WWE, Sean is a proud Libertarian (or what he calls "Freetarian"). Sean is passionate in his beliefs and is clearly a student of pundit media. In this latest audio Morley speaks of Sean Hannity who he admires but has lost some respect for due to his sloppy and sensational handling of the Chris Benoit murder-suicide. Sean Morley had worked with and was a friend of Chris Benoit.

Listen to the Freetarian Show (July 27)
"Out of control spending, war on drugs, the Benoit case and mainstream media"

Supplementary links
- Read an interview with Mick Foley discussing the reasoning behind the debate with JBL
- Go to Mick Foley's official myspace, read his blog post on campaigning for Barack Obama
- Read a previous post on JBL and his shoot fight with Keith Olbermann
- Go to Sean Morley's 'Freetarian' website

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rush Limbaugh on Hannity and the rest of the competition

I touched on the New York Times' feature of Rush Limbaugh in a previous post. There is an interesting segment in the piece where Rush sounds off on his competition. Whilst there is a cordial respect amongst the higher profile pundits, there is also a serious rivalry.

Rush dismisses Michal Savage wholly, "He’s not even in my rearview mirror". Rush hesitantly concedes of Bill O'Reilly "somebody’s got to say it... the man is Ted Baxter". Here Rush and Keith Olbermann find a point of agreement.

VIDEO: Watch the fictional News anchorman, Ted Baxter in action

But the real tension comes with Sean Hannity, who comes closest in threatening Rush' mantle as the most influential talker in America.
Late-Period Limbaugh
Limbaugh has a deeply conflicted attitude toward Sean Hannity, his one-time stand in and now perpetual No. 2 on the Talkers list. He speaks of the younger man with the same condescending affection that Muhammad Ali once showed Jimmy Ellis, a former sparring partner turned challenger. But he wanted me to remember who is the Greatest. “I have no competitors,” he said. “Hannity isn’t even close to me.”
- Read the relevant page of the New York Times Feature
- Read the previous APF post on the feature

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Who is the real celebrity John McCain or Barack Obama

I've talked in the past about Republican Presidential nominee John McCain's numerous appearances on the Daily Show and previous hosting of Saturday Night Live. MSNBC pundit Dan Abrams hosted a panel discussing who might be the real celebrity of this Presidential race? The panel guest were Newsweek Columnist Jonathan Alter, Associate Editor of The Hill A.B. Stoddard, Republican strategist Brad Blakeman



Find discussion of the clip at CrooksandLiars.com

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Comedian Ralphie May: If you smell what Barack is cooking?

Consider this the comedy segment. A few months ago comic Ralphie May offered some funny insights on the Presidential candidates. Most notably the uncanny resemblance Barack has to a certain wrestler - WWE's 'The Rock'.


RALPHIE MAY: Can you smell what Barack is cooking? I find it odd that he sounds exactly like the Rock. If you listen to the Rock and Barack together, they might be cousins dude. I mean they sound exactly alike, if that's true what a great President.
VIDEO: Barack Obama the entertainer

See for yourself. Both are known for their great oratory and their ability to whip crowds into a frenzy. Its clear though that when it comes to pure entertainment, it doesn't get any more electrifying than The Rock. As the video below shows, some might argue both personalities share similarities in their relationship with the "media"

VIDEO: The Rock interviewed by Lillian Garcia

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Obama in Berlin, Germany. McCain in Sturgis, South Dakota.

After Obama's tour through Europe observers wondered how McCain would match Obama's itinerary. Obama received a bounce from his trip making himself more Presidential following in the footsteps of previous Presidents, JFK and Reagan who had delivered historic speeches in Germany. Barack's poll numbers subsequently plummeted as the Right Wing jujitsued the symbolism of the tour, branding it pompous and presumptuous. Effectively turning the 200,000 Germans in attendance and the global attention into a liability for a Barack.

To counter, John McCain delivered his speech to a momentous audience of Bikers attending the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

McCain gets loud welcome at Sturgis bike rally

“STURGIS, S.D. - Thousands of motorcyclists greeted Republican presidential candidate John McCain with an approving roar Monday as he sought blue-collar and heartland support by visiting a giant motorcycle rally.

"As you may know, not long ago a couple hundred thousand Berliners made a lot of noise for my opponent. I'll take the roar of 50,000 Harleys any day," McCain said, referring to Democrat Barack Obama's recent visit to the German capital."

Read the full post from MSNBC here



McCain is in good company. Whilst Obama may have overreached in the gravitas symbolism by following in the footsteps of JFK and Reagan before even securing the presidency. McCain has opted for a more parochial but arguably more potent symbolic audience, following in the footsteps of wrestling.

WCW presents "Road Wild 98" - Sturgis, South Dakota

Monday, August 4, 2008

Seder VS Maron on hiatus but with new graphic

seder, maron, vodcast, shadowboxing One of the APF's favorite programs Seder VS Maron is on hiatus but as we await its return a new graphic encourages us with a promise of exciting things to come. The art was created by Nicole and draws inspiration from wrestling/boxing style imagery. It contains the tagline "Two guys shadowboxing together", in the comedic vein of the two protagonists I offer the suggestion "2 Jews, only One winner!".

Find previous Seder VS Maron vodcasts here.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Is Barack Obama to fit to be the President

The Wall Street Journal recently drew attention to a liability that may hurt Barack Obama's chances this coming Presidential Election. We've heard charges that Obama may be too black (or not enough) and too elite, now The Wall Street Journal asks "[Is Barack] "Too Fit to Be President?"

Too fit to be President?
... In a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability? Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them...

While most voters don't base their decision on physical appearance alone, a candidate's height, weight and overall look can play a big role in what Americans perceive as "presidential," says Thomas "Mack" McLarty, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.

In an earlier post describing the rise and rise of Mike Huckabee I noted how something as innocuous as appearance can signal to voters how "Presidential" a candidate is.

With the relentless and exhaustive coverage of the 08 election, The WSJ piece would likely be filed under 'Human Interest'. The Carpetbagger Report raises questions on this type of trivial journalism.
WSJ asks: ‘Could Sen. Obama’s skinniness be a liability?’
Some reporting on human-interest stories relating to presidential candidates is normal; news outlets aren’t going to be all-substance, all-the-time. Adding some trivia to the mix can help make coverage of the campaign, for lack of a better word, “lively.”

The problem is when the media treats trivia as if it were serious. I don’t mind frivolous reporting, so much as I mind when news outlets pretend it isn’t frivolous reporting.

Update: August 9, 2008
TheOnion.com has a funny take on voter waistlines -
As Obese Population Rises, More Candidates
Courting The Fat Vote