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Joe Biden (#110 of 9)

What Would Barry Do?

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What Would Barry Do?
What Would Barry Do?

To be perfectly honest, I had turned off last week’s election broadcasts by 9:30pm. My prediction that it would be decided by nine o’clock was only premature by half an hour. Instead of watching John McCain, my choice for president, get defeated by Barack Obama, I decided that the movie 300 would be a more entertaining lost cause to see played out. Based on what little of the coverage I did catch, including that high-tech news anchor hologram on CNN and those inane electronic touch screens that are more suited for weather reports, I think I made the right decision.

Proud to Be (Un)American

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Proud to Be (Un)American
Proud to Be (Un)American

We’ve entered the final stretch of the presidential election and the drowning McCain campaign has resorted to the oldest playground tactic in the book: name-calling. Last week it was “anti-American,” a tack recommended to Hillary Clinton by a top advisor last year but which the senator wisely declined to exercise. This is nothing new, of course: False accusations that Barack Obama doesn’t wear a flag pin, that he refuses to pledge allegiance to the American flag, and that he’s a Muslim have circulated throughout the Internet and by the mainstream media for over a year. But the candidate managed to escape those scurrilous claims—at least enough to win his party’s nomination and take a lead in the latest polls. And so, desperately, deliberately and recklessly, surrogates for John McCain have decided to go whole-hog, with Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann summoning the worst in our country’s political history by suggesting Obama is anti-American and calling for a McCarthyite witch hunt in Congress.

At a rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin earlier this month, a McCain supporter took the microphone and declared his uncontainable anger: “I’m mad. I’m really mad, and what may surprise you is it’s not the economy,” he spat to a roar of cheers. “We’ve got to have our heads examined,” he continued, referring to the prospect of electing Obama as our next president. “It’s time to have you two [McCain and Vice Presidential lightning rod Sarah Palin] represent us. So go get ’em.” It was a call for the McCain campaign to get tougher—and presumably dirtier—on Obama, and when I first saw a clip of the man’s rant on television, I wondered what could possibly have filled him with such anger, hatred and resentment. After all, his party has held the presidency for 20 out of the last 28 years and has had control of Congress for 12 out of the last 14. I thought, “He’s angry?”

The Second Presidential Debate: Wooden Carts and Candidates

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The Second Presidential Debate: Wooden Carts and Candidates
The Second Presidential Debate: Wooden Carts and Candidates

On hand at the aftermath of long and bloody skirmish, General George Patton (George C. Scott) looks across a still smoking battlefield and, referring to war, declares, “I love it. God help me, I do love it so.” Just before uttering that famous line of dialogue, Patton tells an aide with certainty that he knew the Germans were going to lose. His aide seemingly unconvinced, Patton adds “The carts,” and points out the primitive wooden carts employed by the German army to move their wounded and supplies in lieu of mechanized vehicles that a lack of fuel has rendered useless.

I had my own “wooden cart” moment a week before the Vice Presidential debate. Given the factors that strongly favor Democrats in November, I was always doubtful that John McCain could beat Barack Obama. But the closeness of the polls still left room for hope.

My epiphany occurred when I tried to get a McCain lawn poster from a local campaign office here in Michigan. I was told that because they were out of signs, I had to go on a waiting list. A waiting list? I wondered exactly when these signs would come in (December?). A GOP friend of mine, more familiar with Michigan campaign operations, told me that because of McCain’s limited funds, it made more sense to spend money on TV ads rather than yard signs.

That’s when I knew McCain was going to lose.

Understanding Screenwriting #7: Miracle at St. Anna, The Tall Target, How I Met Your Mother, Ugly Betty, & More

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Understanding Screenwriting #7: <em>Miracle at St. Anna</em>, <em>The Tall Target</em>, <em>How I Met Your Mother</em>, <em>Ugly Betty</em>, & More
Understanding Screenwriting #7: <em>Miracle at St. Anna</em>, <em>The Tall Target</em>, <em>How I Met Your Mother</em>, <em>Ugly Betty</em>, & More

Coming Up In This Column: Biden-Palin Vice Presidential Debate; Miracle at St. Anna; The Tall Target; How I Met Your Mother; Two and a Half Men; CSI: Miami; Boston Legal; Ugly Betty; ER; Desperate Housewives; You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story, but first…

Fan Mail: And a tip of Viggo Mortensen’s hat back to Michael Peterson. I am looking forward to more of his Comics Column.

The Vice Presidential Debate (2008. Written by Joe Biden, Sarah Palin, and others. 90 minutes): While I will occasionally deal with documentaries in this column, as I did with The Order of Myths in US#2, I will generally avoid “reality television,” since the writing, especially the structuring of the shows, is so obvious and klunky. To take one guilty pleasure of mine, you always know that Carson will convince the woman of the week on How to Look Good Naked that she does look good naked.

However, what struck me about last week’s Vice-Presidential Debate was the subtle structure that emerged, which is a tribute not to Gwen Ifill and the debate sponsors, but to its two primary authors Biden and Palin and their anonymous co-writers.

The Vice Presidential Debate: It Gets Complicated

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The Vice Presidential Debate: It Gets Complicated
The Vice Presidential Debate: It Gets Complicated

In a previous post, I said that Sarah Palin is no Dan Quayle. I’ll add that the Alaskan governor is no Tina Fey either.

If you’re afflicted with PDS (“Palin Derangement Syndrome”) the symptoms of which include: extreme hatred, e-mailing all your friends YouTube clips of that horrible Katie Couric performance, and rushing home early to catch Fey on Saturday Night Live, then it’s unlikely that you appreciated just how well she did at Thursday’s Vice Presidential debate. My guess is that it made your PDS flare up even more. For instance, I hear that Sandra Bernhard has now amended her calls for gang-raping Palin to include cannibalism.

Notes on the RNC #1: Let The Games Begin

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Notes on the RNC #1: Let The Games Begin
Notes on the RNC #1: Let The Games Begin

Call me Ishmael.

I’ve been a McCain supporter since the 2000 GOP presidential primaries. Then, I was at odds with my Republican friends who favored the more traditional George W. My argument at the time was that McCain was the most qualified of the candidates (including Al Gore).

Two terms and a bungled Middle East excursion later, nothing has dissuaded me from that original opinion.