Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hillary Clinton appears on WWE Television supporting the troops

A reader, Annette has brought to my attention that Hillary Clinton made an off-site video appearance on the latest episode of WWE's Raw.

Via the Wrestling-Online Newswire
Hilary Clinton campaign video on WWE.COM
- The usual pro-Republican WWE is carrying a video message from Hillary Clinton on the front page of WWE.COM. It is a Christmas message from the Democratic party front runner directed to the US military personnel spread around the world. The video/advert is paid for by the Hilary campaign and since it has nothing wrestling related - although it's part of the Tribute To The Troops mini site - it is probably just another paid ad for the website.
This is the video WWE viewers would have seen,

VIDEO: Hillary Clinton's holiday message to the troops

See the video on Hillary's official website
Visit WWE's Tribute to the Troops minisite

Saturday, December 29, 2007

End of Year Awards

I hope everyone enjoyed spending time over the Christmas holidays with their friends and family. As is tradition for this time of year, we will be looking back at the year that was in punditry and politics.

We will also be looking to slap some belts on the deserving pundits to mark their achievements for 2007.
pundit of the year

Even though we are wrapping up 2007, that doesn't mean that news is slowing down, actually quite the contrary. The first primary votes in Iowa and Hew Hampshire kick off in early 08'. So there's plenty of punditry and politics to report.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas APF Supporters

Hello loyal APF readers,
The year is winding down, I hope you've had an enjoyable and prosperous 2007 with more success for the coming year.
I will leave you with some presidential campaign ads following the Christmas theme:
- Fred Thompson
- Mike Huckabee
- John McCain
- Rudy Giuliani
- Ron Paul
- Hillary Clinton
- Barack Obama
- John Edwards
Listen to Shields and Brooks on the Christmas campaign ads.

Notably absent is a Christmas Ad from Mitt Romney. There is however a Christmas themed video on the decision the Romney family had to make on whether to campaign for Presidency back in 2006. Watch video here
VIDEO: The infamous subliminal Mike Huckabee Christmas ad

Saturday, December 22, 2007

God in Politics and Wrestling

The American political system is famously known for its separation of Church and state. That is not to say that there aren't politicians who wear their Religion on their sleeve. The religious right have been a powerful movement and voting bloc for the Republican party. It is this constituency that is credited for twice voting George W Bush into the White House and responsible for Mike Huckabee's surge in the polls.

There is also much faith found in Wrestling. Surprising as wrestling is considered a brutish sport which essentially is about two people beating the heck out of each other. It also has a reputation for drugs and debauchery, standard temptations that come with a road lifestyle. In spite of this there are many prominent wrestlers of faith, well-known Christian wrestlers include: Sting, 'Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase and Shawn Michaels.

wrestling with god religion politics The book Wrestling with God (by Chad Bonham) details these "modern day warriors whose lives were dramatically changed by a face-to-face encounter with God - the one and only Master of the Universe".

Whilst faith is considered a solemn exercise. Today I will be highlighting some lighthearted (arguably cynical) uses of faith in Politics and wrestling.




Mike Huckabee getting a call from God, parodying a similar "interruption" that Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani had with his wife.

VIDEO: Mike Huckabee's call from above

VIDEO: Huckabee puts his success in the polls down to 'divine intervention'

VIDEO: Wrestler Shawn Michaels puts his wrestling victories down to "divine intervention"
Shawn Michaels' faith and strong Christian beliefs is well-documented. Mr. McMahon booked a match for the 'Backlash PPV' pitting himself and son Shane in tag team action against Shawn Michaels partnering with "God".
Read more about the role of God in this match here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mike Huckabee Wallpaper - Huckamania!

There's been a lot of Huck lately in the APF. Can you blame me? Apart from the fact he is getting a big push at the moment. He is the only candidate endorsed by a wrestler (Ric Flair) and the term used to describe his popularity is borrowed from wrestling - "Huckamania!".

As the leading voice in Politics AND wrestling, its only fitting that the APF comes to the party with its own Mike Huckabee "Huckamania" wallpaper. It comes in classic red and yellow.


mike huckabee wallpaper huckamania cartoon logo


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

Follow the links below to read my piece on how Huckabee rose to the top using techniques mirrored in wrestling:
Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 1 of 3
Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 2 of 3
Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 3 of 3

Friday, December 14, 2007

Frank Luntz on the Iowa Democratic debate

Frank Luntz appeared on Hannity and Colmes to discuss John Edward's "victory" at the Iowa democratic debate. Luntz showed off his patented focus group applause-o-meter. However APF pundit Sean Hannity tries to rain on the parade by constantly reminding his viewers of John Edward's "$2000" haircut.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee (part 3 of 3)

Mike Huckabee was an overlooked 2nd tier Republican candidate. While other midcard candidates had claims to fame that were policy related (Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo - strong on immigration, Ron Paul - Anti war). Mike's claim to fame was his remarkable weight loss, losing over 110 pounds which he chronicled in his book, "Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork: A 12-Stop Program to End Bad Habits and Begin a Healthy Lifestyle". At first glance this may seem like an inconsequential qualification for a person seeking America's highest office. To the contrary. This marked only the beginning Huckabee's campaign, rising from a midcarder to front-running Presidential candidate.

As I detailed in post 2 of 3, appearance counts. Having the right look doesn't apply only to wrestling, it also matters when running for President. Even Al Gore, a sure favourite if he were to throw his hat in the ring cannot escape questions about his would-be presidential appearance. Diane Sawyer once pointedly asked of Gore
“Donna Brazile, your former campaign manager, has said, ‘If he drops 25 to 30 pounds, he’s running.’ Lost any weight?”.

Gore despite enjoying great popularity with his role as Nobel Prize winning environmentalist has his chances of Presidency tethered to his appearance. Read Maureen Dowd's op-ed for more on Gore's appearance. This is the reason why Mike Huckabee's weight loss was not only a significant personal triumph but also a necessary precaution in his bid for presidency.

Whether you're a Presidential candidate or a wrestler, appearance will distinguish you from a contender to a champion.
randy orton muscly skinny contender champion
mike huckabee fat skinny thin presidential

Another thing Mike Huckabee had to work on was his gimmick. Mike is an affable person, a noted public speaker with considerable charisma. An ordained Southern Baptist minister and musician. All the ingredients for a likeable personality but not the name ID or corporate/media backing to get him noticed. Huckabee had to tweak his gimmick, he played to his strength as a "hipper alternative" by getting endorsements from ironically cool celebrities like Action Star Chuck Norris and wrestling great Ric Flair. Mike appeared in a series of ads with Chuck Norris which gave him great exposure outside of political news and was a successful viral campaign online.

The ads were often corny, but Chuck was a compelling endorser that raised Huckabee's profile and likability


To balance this playful side, Huckabee has also effectively cornered the evangelical base of the party by using language and rhetoric that appeals to that audience. Mike has been wooing Evangelical voters using the same viral techniques that served him well in the Chuck Norris campaign. The Washington Post describes a mailing list Mike has tapped into, loosely affiliated with Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, read full article here.

A series of religion based videos have been circulating online that play to Mike's religious base:

Mike explaining the Divine help he's getting in the polling


Mike parodies the phone call fellow Frontrunner Rudy Giuliani received mid speech


You will notice I have not credited any of Huckabee's policies or policy shifts to the success of his campaign. Like a wrestler who elevates to championship status, wrestling ability doesn't need to be compromised. Whilst ring technique can be important to some purists, to the large majority of casual fans the appearance of ability is all that is expected. The same follows in politics, policy wonks will argue over the finer points but effective spin can win over casual observers.

When a wrestler tweaks their gimmick, they don't adopt a whole new arsenal of moves. That would be impractical as the wrestler is limited to what they already know. They simply rename their existing set of moves and perhaps add a few embellishments. The same goes for Presidential Candidates. They won't adopt new policies or turn their back on their history completely. They will simply dress up existing policies with new titles and spin to suit their evolved persona.

Mike was often a standout in debates, even when his name ID was low. Huckabee is known for his mic work and for being an exceptional retail politician. This was amplified once he raised his profile. Mike has risen through the ranks using a combination of marketing savvy and genuine charisma. From streamlining his appearance, to using effective gimmickry to capture attention and finally securing voter confidence through his charm. He has risen to the top by effectively using the playbook from wrestling. Its only fitting that he is endorsed by one of the most beloved wrestlers of all time.

Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 1 of 3
Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 2 of 3

Find "Huckamania!" posters here and newer ones here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

4 New APF face posters

A treat for all you APF fans- Large face posters of the 4 newest APF pundits. Posters for the rest of the pundits can be found in this previous post. Feel free to use this art in anyway you deem necessary. Drop me a line if you have any suggestions or would like share some of the creative ways you've used the art.

Click to download the images:
Glenn Beck
Michael Savage
Stephanie Miller
Marc Maron

republican, logodemocrat, logocaricature, pundit, Savagemaron, caricature, pundit

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee (part 2 of 3)

First impressions matter in wrestling. Fans instinctively know if a wrestler has main event (1st tier) potential or will toil as a simple midcarder (2nd tier). These are based on basic human biases. The wrestler's gimmick, stage presence, look and physique are the usual points of judgment, wrestling ability funnily enough is not high on the list.

For a wrestler who is not connecting with the fans, there are several things they can adjust to improve their popularity.

1. Tweaking the persona or gimmick
Gimmicks often don't work when they are inauthentic or too cartoony. A wrestler is served by a gimmick that suits their personality- a gimmick that has original appeal but also one that fans find credible and take seriously. Ideally the transformation is achieved gently, convincingly and organically.

2. Work on appearance - Get bigger!
Almost all successful wrestlers share a musclebound look. Even once a wrestler reaches the pinnacle as champion, you will notice their physique getting larger still. Fans have been conditioned to expect a certain type of look.

Presidential candidates go to similar transformations from their midcard positions as 'smaller town' governors and senators. The Presidential hopefuls tweak their persona and record to appeal better to their national ideological base. Certain actions that were prudent for their region may need to be justified to satisfy the base. Private personality traits that were acceptable may no longer be tolerable for the national audience. In this election, most Republican candidates will have to explain their record on illegal immigration and tax raising which may have been necessary in their locales. For Democrats they may have to explain their actions in regards to the War in Iraq. Expect to see candidates tweaking their personas to broaden their appeal and distance themselves from gimmicks that will not play to the national audience.

While wrestlers build up their physique as they climb for the top. Politicians pad their resumes and strengthen their rhetoric on Foreign policy and National security. They become tougher, more hawkish versions of themselves to convince voters that they are ready to command the military and lead the country.

Wrestlers can get away with certain performances when they occupy the middle of the bill, so to politicians governing smaller cities. There are higher expectations however when they are tasked with being the figurehead of a company or elected to be leader of the free world.

Though the party nominees won't be decided for months still, the candidates and their chances are clearly delineated. Rudy Giuliani (rep), a former Mayor of New York and Time Magazine man of the year is first-tier by name ID and reputation. So too is former first lady and New York Senator Hillary Clinton (dem), previous Presidential campaigners John McCain (rep) and John Edwards (dem) as well new stars Mitt Romney (rep) and Barack Obama (dem). Then there is Fred Thompson, a person who has gained strong name ID largely from his work in Hollywood.

The 2nd tier (midcard) candidates are Bill Richardson and Joe Biden for the Democrats, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee for the republicans.

All these candidates have clearly defined personas and gimmicks. The fresh faced idealistic senator who is hoping to become the first black President of the United States. The battled hardened war hero, The Mormon, The First Lady-cum-First Woman President, Mr 9/11, Hollywood Fred, the baby faced Robin Hood, the baptist preacher and the Libertarian People's Champion.

One of these 'characters' is riding a wave of popularity that could possibly earn them the Presidential Championship belt. I will be detailing how this rise was achieved in Part 3 of this post

to be continued part 3 of 3

Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 1 of 3
Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 3 of 3

Find "Huckamania!" posters here and newer ones here.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee (part 1 of 3)

There is no denying it, Mike Huckabee is a bonafide main-eventer. In a previous post I discussed the two ways characters in wrestling are elevated to main event status:
a) Being pushed by management
b) The overwhelming demand of the people

Casual observers may not realise that wrestling is actually a meritocracy. Whilst there are main event wrestlers who have become so through their connections with management. There are also wrestlers who earn first-tier status by connecting successfully with the audience. Once the people spot a 'star', its in the interests of management to give in to the demand. Careers are elevated and buried at the mercy of management but ultimately it is the people that decide who they want to see. Presidential Politics is no different.

There are establishment darlings, those with strong name ID and powerful corporate backers. Conversely there are the grassroots candidates who manufacture their own buzz. The money crucial to American Politics however makes it difficult for those in the latter category to jump the final hurdle.

Fred Thompson is an example of a candidate anointed into main-event status. In a previous post I spoke of Thompson receiving a 'monster push'. Even before a single day of official campaigning Fred entered the GOP Presidential race as the instant number 2 frontrunner behind only Giuliani. He was seen by many conservatives talkers as a Republican in the Reagan mold. Someone who could provide a better alternative to the flawed candidates currently available. As Thompson hadn't earned his first-tier status from the ground up his objective is to preserve and justify the confidence already bestowed on him.

Mike Huckabee is an example of a candidate who has won the people over from the bottom up. Mike was originally a high second tier candidate behind more famous Republicans, Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Romney and McCain in that order. The grassroots excitement he has generated has made the media shine the spotlight on him. By most accounts he is closing in on the number one spot nationally. This is an astounding achievement - a midcarder outside the top 4 elevating to become the Number 1 GOP contender.

To be a first tier candidate one must look the part. In politics it is known as 'looking Presidential'. They need to have corporate and media backing as well as possessing intangibles like trustworthiness and gravitas. Things that will convince voters to elect them as leader of the free world. In wrestling all would-be champions conform to a criteria. They need to be of a certain size and physique if they are to be believable as World Champions. They also must possess great charisma.

Sometimes wrestlers or politicians will be lacking in one of these areas which is what relegates them to a midcarder (2nd tier). For a wrestler they may not be big enough or lack the right "look". For politicians, they may not have establishment support, endorsement from the pundit class or strong corporate backing.

to be continued in part 2 of 3

Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 2 of 3
Read 'The Rise and Rise of Mike Huckabee' Part 3 of 3

Find "Huckamania!" posters here and newer ones here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Lou Dobbs smacking down Tim Rutten and the LA Times

In pro wrestling, 'cutting a promo' is the act of getting on the mic and calling out another wrestler. It can be conducted in front of the live audience, in the middle of the ring or spoken direct to camera backstage.

There was a great promo cut by Lou Dobbs yesterday on a "Hack liberal advocate posing as a media critic". Lou is a CNN Anchorman and immigration specialist. He ripped into Tim Rutten of the LA Times for his column (need to register) on CNN's cynical fixation with Immigration.

What is noteworthy about this promo is its the only one I've seen not conducted behind a desk. It's done standing up, like all good wrestler promos.

VIDEO: Lou Dobbs cuts a promo on Tim Rutten and the LA Times

Monday, December 3, 2007

Even more on the YouTube CNN debate

I've been highlighting a lot of the buzz that's been going on surrounding the debate. There's been plenty of it which shows the effectiveness of the debate as a 'main event'.

Here are two more post mortems:
1) Mary Katherine Ham gives the debate a thumbs up. Mary is a Townhall stablemate of Hugh Hewitt who is a BIG Critic of the debate. Read the discussion at HotAir.

VIDEO: Mary Katherine Ham discusses the YouTube debates

2) Famed Republican pollster Frank Luntz gives his verdict on the winners and losers of the debate.
Watch and Download Frank Luntz' post debate analysis on FoxNews. Read the discussion at CrooksandLiars

Friday, November 30, 2007

The CNN YouTube debates

youtube, debates, republicans,democrats
The CNN YouTube Debates '08
The CNN Youtube debates were on recently, hosting the Republican nominees this time. It has been undoubtedly controversial in its short lifespan. Exposure is key during the early party primaries, especially in this election where campaigning began many months earlier than usual. There are a slew of debates on offer that allow candidates to tap into various audiences. tom tancredo, republican, debate naacp They don't always have to show up, like in this debate organized by the NAACP where only Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo made an appearance. Read full story here

For all the controversy surrounding the format of the YouTube debate, there is no doubt that it attracts a lot of attention from commentators and the blogosphere. Of contention is the validity of the 'Open democratic' nature of the debate. Whilst questions are submitted by users around the world, detractors argue that it is an illusion as CNN picks the questions that go to air. The fact that potential leaders of the free world are questioned by 'unserious' characters is also unsettling. To be fair YouTube and open democracy is represented largely by unserious characters.


VIDEO: Critics point to the Snowman as the exemplar for the debate's ridiculousness

APF pundit Hugh Hewitt is one the biggest critics of the Youtube debates. He has a combative conversation with Steve Grove, the Youtube director of News and Politics. In this interview Hugh questions the judging panel that ultimately chooses the questions as well as undermining the the age and inexperience of the Youtube committee (Steve is 30). Listen to the audio here. Afterwards Hugh does a play by play of the 'travesty' that was the Youtube debate. He shows great interest and seems riveted whilst simultaneously bashing the debate. Listen here.

To highlight the activity on the blogosphere, here are some quick links from two of the biggest video blogs. Representing the right, HotAir. For the left, Crooks and Liars.

From Crooks and Liars (liberal leaning)
- Countdown: John Edwards mocks Republicans for being afraid to take Questions from Democrats
- Giuliani Asked About Creative Bookkeeping To Hide Travel Expenses
- Post-Debate: Undecided GOP Voter Leaning Towards Edwards
- Mitt & Rudy’s Spat–Sanctuary City or Sanctuary Mansion?
- More Boos At Republican YouTube Debate As McCain Re-Writes History
- Retired Gay General Slams Republicans On Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy

From HotAir (conservative leaning)
- CNN producer last week: We want GOP debate to be … “a debate of their party”
- Debate questioner is affiliated with Hillary’s and Kerry’s campaigns
- Hillary plant insists he’s not a Hillary plant
- The disappearing Hillary plant - Does it matter who the questions come from?
- Rudy’s then-mistress “used the PD as her personal taxi service
- Mitt alienates Red Sox nation
- Romney and Huckabee clash over scholarships for illegal aliens

Listen to Hugh criticise the debate before it started
Listen to Hugh criticise the debate after it finished

View all the questions on the official YouTube page.



Updates:
Hugh Hewitt's disdain for the debate doesn't end there. Here are three more clips of Hugh diss-cussing the debate.
1. Listen to Hugh getting reaction to the "debacle of a debate" from regular guests, Mark Steyn and others.
2. Listen as Hugh continues to get reaction to the "fiasco" that was the CNN/YouTube debate from Time Magazine's Nancy Gibbs, and humorist and columnist James Lileks.
3. Listen to Hugh talking politics and the "CNN debate debacle" with the Fox News Beltway Boys

The greatest pundit of them all, Rush Limbaugh comments on the CNN YouTube debate. Rush also goes close to endorsing a candidate by singling him out as the only true conservative. Listen to the audio via HotAir

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fred Thompson shows some fighting spirit

There was a riveting exchange on FoxNews between Fred Thompson and Chris Wallace. In a recent post I explained how Fred had not met the expectations that greeted his entry into the GOP Presidential race. Read previous post here.

Fred's lethargic and lackluster campaigning has been attracting heat in recent weeks from the media. The pundit class that had built the hype on Fred was beginning to turn hostile towards him. Even from corners that were seemingly ideologically friendly.

It all came to a head on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace interviewing Fred Thompson. After being asked a pointy question about his "disappointing" campaign, Fred in his signature pace vigorously defended his performance
FRED THOMPSON: I understand the game of build UP and I understand game of take DOWN and we all go through it.
VIDEO: Fred Thompson on FoxNews Sunday

Read what HotAir readers thought of the exchange
Read the responses from Democratic Underground readers

Update:
Fred Thompson was on Mark Levin's show yesterday following up from his showing on Fox News Sunday. Mark Levin is friendly towards Fred which allowed him to clear the air.
Listen To Fred interviewed by Mark Levin.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Presidential endorsements - Pundits, Wrestlers and Chuck Norris show their support

The US election Season is heating up so its time to round up the thoughts and Presidential endorsements from the people that matter most. At least the people that matter in the APF universe: the pundit class, wrestlers and the one and only Chuck Norris.

We'll start with the pundit class. Conservative columnist Ramesh Ponnuru has written a piece for National Review contending that Conservative pundits have voted Rudy Giuliani as winner of the 'Pundit Primary'. He listed several prominent Conservative commentators who have declared support for Rudy, this includes the likes of John Podhoretz of the New York Post and the editors of the New York Sun. However he did provide a cautionary note based on the winner of the last Presidential 'Pundit Primary', John McCain who incidentally Ramesh endorses for '08.
Rudy Wins the Pundit Primary
Rooting too heavily for a candidate can be self-defeating. The less detached a pundit, the less persuasive his advocacy. There is a precedent for backfiring commentary. In 2000, the scribblers behind McCain helped to define his candidacy as an attack on the conservative movement and the Republican establishment, which responded by joining forces to crush him. McCain won the pundit primary, but he lost the nomination.
Read Ramesh' full NRO post here
Laura Ingraham briefly discusses this piece with Byron York. Listen to the audio here.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now for a wrestler's perspective. I won't have to convince APF supporters of the nexus between politics and wrestling. Heck this whole blog is a living document that proves wrestling and politics are inextricably linked. You won't need to be convinced that a wrestler cannot only hold influence by endorsing someone for President, they could in fact run themselves'. That's what Governor Jesse Ventura's popular supporters would have us believe.

As far as wrestler endorsements go, it doesn't get any better than 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair. A living legend in the ring and undisputed Champion has endorsed Mike Huckabee for president. He will be making his endorsement official by appearing at a tailgate party with Huckabee before a football game in Columbia, S.C.
In a statement Flair said
It's a tremendous honor to offer my support to such an outstanding leader as Mike Huckabee," Flair said in a statement issued by the former Arkansas governor's campaign. "His authentic conservative qualifications and level of executive leadership experience are unmatched by his opponents...And like I always say, to be the man, you've got to beat the man and Mike Huckabee is the man. Whoooooooo!
Huckabee as a fan returns the compliment with a nice wrestling reference of his own
Ric's endorsement will help us put a figure-four leglock on our opponents
Read the CNN Political Ticker's story on the endorsement
Read the Boston Globe's story on the Ric Flair endorsement

VIDEO: The 'incumbent President' Ric Flair

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lastly we can't forget the Mother of all endorsements ,Chuck Norris. The APF has already said that Mr Norris is our favourite celebrity pundit for being the sometime fill-in for Sean Hannity. Kickass!

VIDEO: We'll let Huck and Chuck give you the facts

Read
the Huckabee Blog on Chuck's endorsement.
Read HotAir's take on the endorsement

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fred Thompson - is the honeymoon over?

Over a month a go I talked about Fred Thompson and the 'monster push' he was getting from conservatives and the media. A "push" in wrestling parlance is the 'positive coverage or hype bestowed on a character in order to win over fans'. I wrote:
The Charisma of Fred Thompson
A wrestler gets pushed because management realises a personality is being warmly accepted by the fans or has the potential to. That in turn will feed the demand and elevate that person to main event status. Its hard to quantify what gives a person 'star quality', but we know it when we see it. For the wrestler being pushed, all he needs to do is run with the ball once they're given it...Fred is at the point where he's just been given the ball and is now being asked to run with it.
So what's the verdict, how did Fred handle the hype?
The answer - not very well. Whilst he still has his supporters and is firmly in the top tier of republican candidates. He does not have the same aura he once had when he was still an attractive unknown quantity.
It's not all bad. Even though his official entry into the Republican primary was sluggish considering all the excitement that welcomed him. He turned in a passable effort at his first debate. In his early weeks conservatives in blogs and the media spoke of him in even tones even when critiquing his lacklustre performance. This was because he still enjoyed number #2 status in Republican polling and still had the promise of great things. Now not so much.

Pundits and bloggers now freely admit he is boring, lazy and lacking in energy. The candid criticism has largely come about because pundits began to realise he was not the great white hope conservatives were yearning for. They reverted back to battle hardened and dutiful candidates Romney and Giuliani after being briefly being intrigued by 'the new guy'.

Below are some examples of pundits comfortably taking shots at Thompson.
David Brooks calls Fred boring on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer
Giuliani gave a great speech, Fred Thompson was so boring it was in violation of the Geneva Convention... it was the most boring political speech i've ever seen. I'm still suffering from it.
Mark Shields on the same Newshour segment
I did hear Fred speak. He was a cure for insomniacs, if you have a problem sleeping you oughta get a tape of Fred's [speech]... it was not a sterling performance. And I say that as an admirer of Fred Thompson
it's not all bad
Jim: and yet David, the polls, the national polls show Thompson still very strong
David: That's exactly right. And its true that if you leave Washington and go around the Country there
(crosstalk)
Jim: Yes the punditry is all against him
David: Yes and we're all wrong as usual, but in the Country he still has support...
Listen to the whole Shields and Brooks discussion here.
It's from the October 5 episode of PBS's Newshour. The relevant bits start at the 12min mark.

HotAir.com being lukewarm on Fred
"Fred: I need to finish at least third in Iowa". Read post
"Fred’s House supporters wondering where it all went wrong" Read post

Hugh Hewitt scoffing at the NRLC endorsement of Fred. Hugh thinks the National Right to Life Committee has lost their credibility by wasting their endorsement on Fred. Listen to the fiery debate here.
While Hugh has said he will gladly support Fred if he gets the nomination. He has in the past called him a 'dud' and labeled his campaign 'as falling like a rock'

Fred on Fred. Thompson prompts his audience to applaud him. To his defense he was self deprecating in his honesty.
" ...I will [pause] First of all can I get a round of applause. [applause] Well I had to drag that out of you. Now let's talk about what you wanna talk about...
VIDEO: Fred Thompson addressing a small audience

The Round up
Listen to Shields and Brooks on Fred (12min mark)
Read HotAir's take on Fred's goals for Iowa
Read HotAir's take on Fred's support
Listen to Hugh Hewitt on Fred's social conservative bonafides

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Political Cluedo - McCain? Giuliani? Thompson? Romney?!

There is a developing story that gets more and more interesting by the day.

In early-voting states there have been controversial "push polling" calls that pretend to ask earnest questions regarding Mormonism. These 20 minute calls are designed to harm Mormon Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney.
Western Wats, a Utah-based company, placed the calls that initially sound like a poll but then pose questions that cast Romney in a harsh light, according to people who received the calls. In politics, this type of phone surveying is called "push polling" — contacting potential voters and asking questions intended to plant a message, usually negative, rather than gauging attitudes.
Read full story here
Which begs the question, Who's behind it?

Some have speculated that Romney's Republican rivals are behind it. Others like Hugh Hewitt wonder if it's a democratic operation striking while there are "other suspects holding the gun". Many consider this political suicide for the campaign which is found to be affiliated with this smear. The latest evidence is beginning to point at Romney or Romney sympathisers, orchestrating a pity campaign. Dun dun dun.

It's like Cluedo! Or better yet a wrestling angle! Where the final reveal shows that the attacker and victim are one and the same. Its a Classic wrestling storyline, so many examples to choose from. Enjoy!


VIDEO: Undertaker revealing who has been instructing him 
to torment his boss Vince Mcmahon


Quick links to the story:
1) Fox News on the reactions from Romneys' fellow Republican nominees
2) Hugh Hewiit speculates with columnist Frank Gaffney on the whodunnit
3) Hugh blogs on the "Anti Americanism" of the push polling
4) Politico's Jonathan Martin blogs on Romney's veiled accusations against John McCain
5) Mary Katharine Ham blogs on the Whodunnit?
6) Hugh Hewitt and Larry Kudlow express admiration for Romney's principled handling of the smear.
7) Evidence mounts implicating Romney. A Huckabee supporter speculates on his blog, ktracy.com

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hugh Hewitt - when callers attack

There was some spirited discussion on Hugh Hewitt's show Thursday on two different topics:
1) National Right To Life Committee endorsement of Fred Thompson with NRLC executive director David O'Steen.
2) Budget 101, pork and appropriations with Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn
Whilst both discussions were interesting. The former was a fiery debate, the latter an informative discussion. What made these segments fascinating were the calls that followed. Hugh was taken to task by a few callers for his approach and stance during the interviews.

As I've discussed before Hugh is widely known for his soft support of Mitt Romney for President. Whilst he has not openly endorsed Mitt, he has written 'THE' book on the Presidential hopeful and has handicapped the Republican nominee to only 2 candidates, Giuliani and Romney. Hugh has all but discounted all the other republicans and is arguably hostile to them. When he isn't being condescending or campaigning against a candidate, he will show support but only if it has the net effect of favoring his preferred nominee, Mitt. Listen to conservative callers challenging and unsettling Hugh for marginalising the Huckabee, Thompson, Tancredo and Ron Paul supporters.

Below is a sampling from two irate callers that followed the Right to Life conversation:
Caller unhappy with Hugh prematurely declaring the Republican primary a two man race
I'm irritated by the fact that people are telling me before one vote has been cast in any primary that we only have two people to choose from. That it's only a two-man race...interview people, give us your opinion which you do but let us make our minds


Caller vowing never to listen to Hugh again because of his rudeness
Caller Ruth: Well I think you'd win more arguments if you were just a little kinder sometimes...
Hugh: No i can't
(crosstalk)
Caller: you're really quite rude
Hugh: I'm really just doing my job
Caller: Ok you're job is being rude
Hugh: Are you still gonna call back?
Caller: No, I'm not even going to listen to you
Hugh: YOU'RE NOT! (theatrical shock)
Caller: No
Hugh: Who are you going to listen to?
Caller: You know, after that last election where you were so wrong!
...

Listen and download Hugh's spirited discussion with angry callers regarding the Conservative primary and the NRLC's endorsement of Fred Thompson

The testy calls to Hugh don't end there. After an interesting discussion with Republican Senator Tom Coburn on the budget, Hugh would receive more heat.
After Hugh softly agreed with a caller that "Social Security is welfare"
Caller: ... the AARP is one of the most evil organizations... everyone out there who is in the AARP on Social Security or Medicare, you are a welfare recipient and that's what needs to be said..."
Hugh: Yeah well I do agree, I don't think evil. I think they are very short-sighted. I think they are extremely bad for the country in their lobbying and that unless and until the senior lobby recognises they are bankrupting their grandchildren we're gonna have a major problem


An elderly caller expressed his anger at Hugh's sentiments, this was echoed by other frustrated listeners. Hugh would later retract his statement after further badgering.
Caller: Yeah I'm infuriated at that little rat you had talking to you a minute ago saying that Social Security recipients are welfare people
Hugh: Well you are!
Caller: You talk to the other guy at the economics, Reagan and all the other guys following that have taken the $3trillion that we paid into it
Hugh: Yeah but you guys
(crosstalk)
Callers: You guys are living off it, that little rat and you have been living off the Social security payments that we made in, Now he's what? 40yrs old. He's a little welper now but when it's time for him to receive Social Security you're going to see him seeing an entirely different tune"
...

Listen to the entire segment on Social Security and the spirited talk that followed here.

It seems that this blog has focused on Hugh a lot lately. Its largely because of his comprehensive media archives. But his show's have been enjoyable lately. Not only for the informative guests and combative discourse. But I also enjoy Hugh's many transparent maneuverings to get his man Romney elected whilst keeping up the pretense of impartiality to appease supporters of other candidates.

I encourage you to listen to the audio for yourself as my makeshift transcripts don't do the passion of the callers any justice. Listen below:
1) NRLC endorsement of Fred Thompson with executive director David O'Steen. Listen now.
2) Budget 101, pork and appropriations with Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn. Listen now.
3) Full Hugh Hewitt Audio archives. Find listings here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

6 degrees - Politics to wrestling and back again

People familiar with the blog will be aware of the similarities I've drawn between politics and wrestling. I know some of you are skeptical. Politics and wrestling - What?

I will illustrate the point through my patented 'YouTube 6 degrees of separation'. Initially i was going to write a short description to link the videos, for now i'll let the videos speak for themselves. All I ask is that you indulge me and devote a few minutes of your time to watch the clips. You'll realise without a shadow of doubt Politics and Wrestling are inextricably linked.
(As always with YouTube there's a serious risk of dormant links. Kindly let me know if there are any problems)











Looks like i did it in 5!

Pundit of the year 2007 Wallpaper

Here a nice treat for all you APF fans. A wallpaper to commemorate the Pundit of the Year awards.

Currently it's available in two sizes:
800w x 600h wallpaper
1024w x 768h wallpaper

pundit of the year wallpaper
'American Pundit Fighting' Wallpaper
You can still get your nominations and votes in for Pundit of the Year, Simply follow the link here or the graphic on the far right column.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Matt Taibbi and Sam Seder on the liberal aesthetic

This blog focuses largely on presentation, however it is meaningless if it's not authentic or credible. In June, Matt Taibbi was on Sam Seder's show talking about his piece in Adbusters Magazine critiquing American liberalism. Matt contends that liberals have a victim complex and that their representatives are not connected to the traditional causes and concerns of liberalism. Matt is critical of liberals not only in the way they've chosen to present themselves (victimhood), but also its execution (Rich white college kids as victims).
MATT TAIBBI: ...the people who are the public voice of American liberalism rarely have any real connection to the ordinary working people whose interests they putatively champion. They tend instead to be well-off, college-educated yuppies from California or the East Coast, and hard as they try to worry about food stamps or veterans’ rights or securing federal assistance for heating oil bills, they invariably gravitate instead to things that actually matter to them – like the slick Al Gore documentary on global warming, or the “All Things Considered” interview on NPR with the British author of Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook.
Read the full Adbuster's article, The American Left's Silly Victim Complex here

Sam and Matt have a fascinating discussion on the aesthetics of liberalism. How activists need to refocus their energy on being the change they want to see.
MATT TAIBBI: It's not that there not exercising it, they are just not acting like it. If you're showing up at a war rally in a 'Cat in the Hat' hat and stilts... is that a person who you'd think would consider themselves a member of the ruling class in this country. These are rich white college kids, these are the future rulers of this country. They are not acting like people who are preparing to take leading positions in society.
Listen to Matt and Sam's full discussion here

- Go to Matt Taibbi's blog
- Visit the Adbusters homepage
- Read Matt's article in Adbusters
- Listen to the discussion between Sam and Matt on Liberal presentation

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Hewitt and Huckabee - Anatomy of a campaign

In wrestling, an 'angle' is the story arc between characters. There is a storyline currently taking place between APF pundit Hugh Hewitt and Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee that i'd like to focus on. I've covered events as they've unfolded through its news cycle before but I've never really broken down a story play by play. I thought it would be interesting to unpack an angle as it played out.

a) Tuesday October 30, 2007
It's widely known that Hugh has pretty much called the GOP race a 'two-man show' between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, inferring that a vote for anyone else is a wasted vote. To muddy the waters further Hugh has written "the" book on Romney, A Mormon in the White House?: 10 Things Every American Should Know about Mitt Romney. Whether it really is a 2 man debate is questionable as most polls put Fred Thompson 2nd ahead of Romney. Fred, Rudy and Romney are are generally considered 1st tier candidates, though 2nd tier candidate Mike Huckabee has been gaining ground.
Hugh addresses this perceived bias later in this angle.
Listen to Hugh talk about his thoughts on the Republican nomination here.

b) Wednesday October 31, 2007
Hugh interviews Governor Mike Huckabee. Callers ring in to Hugh's show after the interview expressing disappointment and regret at Mike's answers. Huckabee fans complain that Hugh is impartial because of his connections with Mitt Romney.
Listen to Hugh's interview with Huckabee followed by listener phone calls

c) Thursday, November 1, 2007
On his blog Hugh provides a backstory on the Huckabee angle, then goes on to question his strength on conservative values:
But there is a real question about Huckabee's ideological commitment to the bottom-line for many conservatives .... long-serving governors like Mike Huckabee, should be the most experienced and most forceful advocates for a robust federalism .... But for now, those suspicions about Mike Huckabee's conservative credentials seem more solid than they were even two weeks ago."
In his blog Hugh admits that there is an assumption that he has all but discounted the other candidates. He addresses this through the case of second tier candidate, Governor Mike Huckabee.
...I think Huckabee has a prayer --and little else-- of being the GOP nominee, but when significant pundits have time to take a few shots at you, it is worth a closer look.
Huckabee fans have accused me of being anti-Mike for some time because of my view that the GOP race is a two man show between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney My protests that I am just handicapping the race and not giving air time to the second tier GOPers have been unpersuasive to the Huckabee supporters, so I knew they'd be listening closely to my questions Wednesday to see if they contained an agenda.
Read the full column here

d) Mike Huckabee was a guest on APF pundit Bill O'Reilly's show directly after Hugh's interview (view the interview here). Hugh is concerned by Bill's line of questioning in regards to religion. Although a deeply religious and vocal Christian, Hugh does not believe there should be a religious litmus test for presidential candidates.
I wrote at length about the dangers of theology as a guide to presidential qualifications and as a subject for close inspection by journalists covering candidates in A Mormon In The White House. One part of the argument was that demands on Romney to explain his LDS beliefs would set evangelicals and Catholics at the top of a very steep, very slippery slope. O'Reilly's interview questions confirms that my concerns were justified, and the slip down the slope begun.

Read Hugh's full post here.
Hugh also discussed this issue with guest Jim Geraghty on his show.
Listen to the audio here in the 3rd segment. It is a short but interesting exchange on what they call a "bizarre" exchange between Huckabee and O'Reilly. There are a few shots taken against Bill's ego thrown in as well.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Larry King with Seinfeld

Don't quite know how this video fits into the theme of this blog, but I like it. I found this clip on Hugh Hewitt's Townhall blog. It's a funny clip, I don't quite know what to make of it. Where was King going with this, was it a work or did he genuinely not know? Seinfeld's face is priceless.

For the record I wouldn't classify Larry King as a pundit.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Congratulations RedSox and welcome Dean Barnett

Truth be told i'm not the greatest baseball fan but congratulations to the Redsox for winning the World Series once again. Speaking of Bostonians and teams who love to be hated I'm proud to introduce the latest APF pundit - Dean Barnett.


Dean Barnett

This characterisation still needs a bit of work. I'll beef Dean up considerably as some of the latest video I've seen of him has Dean hulked up. I don't think i've got the jawline down yet either and the cap... lets just say its still a work in progress. I had a few suggestions for the special move which included the 'Boston Strangler', 'Boston Crab' and 'Beantown Blast'

APF readers will be aware that Dean actually featured this humble blog on his show when he was filling in for Hugh Hewitt.
The old post can be found here.
I have edited the original 35 minute audio archive into a shorter 7min snippet containing just the Wrestling/Politics discussion between Dean and Jonathan V Last.
Find the snippet here

Read the Original dean Barnett Post
Read Dean Barnett featuring the APF on his blog
Listen to Dean talk about the APF - Long version (35min+)
Listen to Dean talk about the APF - edited version (7min+)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Presidential debates: zingers, one liners and catchphrases

Everyone knows wrestling is scripted which is why it is ridiculed by many. What most people don't know is that the wrestlers themselves help write their own lines. Whilst film actors are given scripts to read from and will defer to stuntmen for action scenes, wrestlers will often craft their own lines and obviously perform their own stunts. The ownership of their character allows their persona to be more authentic and appealing to the audience. That's not too discount their handlers and creative department who manage them also. Politicians are not so different, as can be seen in the Presidential debates.

In wrestling, characters develop catchphrases and signature lines to project there persona. They are short and snappy, designed to excite the crowd into wild cheers. Easy to remember and digest making them easy to sing along to and repeat. These lines are perfect for video packages hyping future feuds. Contrary to popular opinion wrestlers don't read off scripts. They largely improvise but are given a template as to what narrative needs to be conveyed to the viewer, it is up to the wrestlers to come up with and rehearse the zingers to achieve this. Some lines are zingers that are meant to damage a rival with a memorable quip. Other lines are purely clever to endear the audience with the candidate's charm and poise.

As we have seen in the Presidential debates the candidates go through a similar process. Chomping at the bit to execute there rehearsed lines often resorting to non sequiturs to get there. I've put in a sampler of some of the better lines from the debates with more to follow.

First I'll start things off with how the wrestlers get it done.
Chris Jericho and The Rock go at it each other face to face


A compilation of the best lines from the latest Republican debate


Mitt Romney serves up a line at latecomer Fred Thompson. Fred volleys with a witty comeback of his own



Democratic hopeful Joe Biden takes a shot at Republican Rudy Giuliani, poking fun at Rudy's catchphrase formula


Republicans Mike Huckabee takes on 'fringe' candidate Ron Paul. As the video shows, the author is already with me on the wrestling/fighting analogy

Your APF commissioner is back

After an extended vacation traveling and being away from political media and all things punditry I have returned. It might take me a while to get back into the swing of things, so please bear with me.
In the meanwhile you can trawl through the archives or find any of my old art in the the resources tab. Also I encourage you to email me or comment below on your nominations for 2007 Pundit of the Year.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Help promote the APF Pundit of the Year awards



Kindly help promote the APF by hosting our banners on your own site and blog. I will be away for a while, but when I return there will be new art and new postings galore. Take care.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vote for pundit of the year!

pundit of the year
Vote for APF's 'Pundit of the Year'

Just letting you guys know that this blog won't be updated for over a week as i'll be taking a well deserved trip. With that, I'll be leaving with you a nomination form to vote for the top pundits of 2007.


The 4 award categories are:
1) Heel Pundit of the Year
A 'heel' is a person we love to hate. The 'best heel' award will go to the pundit who engenders the most passion from detractors. This pundit sets message boards and blogs aflame in debate with their divisiveness.
Read previous Heel posts here

2) Face Pundit of the Year
A face is a heroic figure, someone you look up to and root for to win. This person gets gushing praise in the blogosphere and the media. Their mere presence spikes up readership and ratings. They enjoy bi-partisan warmth and praise.
Read previous "Face" posts here

3) APF Fight Champion 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.

4) Best Overall Pundit for 2007
This Pundit encompasses all aspect of the first 3 awards. They are popular, well-known and successful. They enjoy loyal support from their audience, but they are also so relevant and consequential that they can be subject to controversy and criticism. This pundit must also enjoy being on the offensive as well as being fully capable in defending themselves when under fire. They have great aura and charisma.

You can vote on your favorites by commenting below. Each nomination gets a point, with a heavier weighting given to those who provide compelling arguments in support of their nominated pundit. You can nominate any opinion maker you like, they don't need to be a member of the APF.
While you're at it you can vote for the APF itself, for the 'Blogger's Choice Awards'.
pundit of the year
Vote for 'Punditfight.blogspot.com'

See the roster of APF pundits

Monday, October 15, 2007

New art coming soon!

For the dozens and dozens of fans around the world... there will be some new artwork coming soon so get your emailing and forwarding fingers ready as i'll need your help to promote the APF's inaugural 'Pundit of the year' Awards.

Friday, October 12, 2007

APF updates courtesy of HotAir

Just a quick update on the last few posts I've made courtesy of conservative video blog, HotAir.

The charisma of Fred Thompson - View original post
HotAir links to a video surprisingly made by a "righty" that mocks the communication skills of Fred Thompson during his maiden debate.


Read the post and comments from the HotAir audience
Visit Kevin Tracy's website, the conservative who made the video. (btw he's a Mike Huckabee supporter)

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Republican NY City councilman James Oddo clears the air - View original post
Councilman James Oddo, who has become minor internet sensation with his outburst at some faux journalists sets the record straight on how the whole thing went down. James presents himself well and shows the dimensions to his character outside of the 'Noo Yawkah tough guy' persona. Not unlike when you see wrestlers interviewed out of character.


Read the post and comments on James Oddo at HotAir

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Top Heel Ann Coulter is at it again - View original post
Ann Coulter not surprisingly is causing a stir as she goes on her book tour. A few weeks ago I was actually considering increasing her 'Pop' rating because of her runner-up placing in a poll of the most popular conservatives. Obviously more content to play the villain, she infuriates the right as well in her latest outrageous attention grabber.


Read more on what she said from HotAir
Read more on the conservative reaction to Coulter

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Republican James Oddo lays the smack down

I don't quite know how this clip belongs on my wrestling analogy for politics. I just know it works somehow. In the vain of satirists like Ali G and the APF's own Stephen Colbert, a Norwegian performer Pia Haraldsen tried to do a work on New York City Councilman James Oddo with disastrous results.

One of the running themes in this blog is how much performance and fakery there is with politicians and pundits, how they work us into believing they are genuine. This episode flips the script, as it is the politician who calls 'bullsh*t' when he sees it. Done with charming authenticity and machismo that would make any wrestler proud.

Before you watch the video, just to underscore my point this is how it usually plays out:

The reporter calls the wrestler out for being fake, then pays the price for doing so. Here 20/20 reporter John Stossel feels the wrath of wrestler David "Dr D" Schultz after challenging his authenticity.

VIDEO: David "Dr D" Schultz slaps John Stossel

In this instance. This Norwegian reporter is the one being fake and the politician makes them pay the price.

VIDEO: James Oddo "Get the f*ck out of my office!"
REPORTER: Isn't it against the constitution that Barack Obama run for Presidency considering the fact that he is not an American citizen?
JAMES ODDO: He is an American citizen. He's a United States Senator.
REPORTER: But I read somewhere that he's African American.
ODDO: African Americans are citizens of this Country
REPORTER: Alright that's good to know. Can you say a little bit more about the Democrats. Do you really think Hillary stands a chance after the embarrassing incident with the cigar
James Oddo is annoyed and leaves his seatODDO: Hey? Chris. What the f*ck do you have me in with these people. Throw these f*ckin people out of my office. Get the fuck out of here. Get the f*ck out of my office!
Read what conservatives thought on HotAir
Read the Washington Post article on satirical comedy
Read James Oddo's official bio

Update: Republican Congressman Michael Grimm had a recent expletive filled tirade on a legitimate news reporter. This was no joke
- When Politicans and Wrestlers threathen reporters: Rep. Michael Grimm and WWE Champion Randy Orton get mad

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The charisma of Fred Thompson

In wrestling parlance a 'push' is defined as:
(v) The act of a wrestler being promoted on television and through other means in order to give that wrestler popularity or recognition, usually through victories, interviews, and television features.
fred thompson debate republicans
Fred Thompson to debate on CNBC
A wrestler gets pushed because management realises a personality is being warmly accepted by the fans or has the potential to. That in turn will feed the demand and elevate that person to main event status. Its hard to quantify what gives a person 'star quality', but we know it when we see it. For the wrestler being pushed, all he needs to do is run with the ball once they're given it.

There are a few pitfalls for the pushed wrestler however. There is a marked difference between a wrestler who earns main event status and a personality annointed by management and just 'looks the part'. Some wrestlers become darlings of management first, then look to appeal to the fans later. They are physically imposing and are promising potential figureheads for the organization. Other wrestlers maybe be more physically modest, but their performance and charisma make them fan favourites. Regardless of how they got their push, their mission is one and the same. Show the fans they deserve to be a main eventer. If they don't deliver the audience will let it be known. Obviously for the wrestler who grew his popularity organically, it will be a good run while it lasted. For the artificially pushed wrestler, there will be resentment against the wrestler and management. Backlash from the fans who don't appreciate being forcefed into liking someone.

This takes us to conservative presidential hopeful Fred Thompson. Fred is currently enjoying main event status as the #2 Republican behind Rudy Giuliani, despite only recently (officially) declaring his bid for presidency. There is no doubt Fred is receiving a major push from conservatives who see similarities between Fred and another actor-turned-politican, the beloved Ronald Reagan.

Fred is at the point where he's just been given the ball and is now being asked to run with it. Fred will be making his first appearance on a Republican debate after tactically dodging the first half dozen. It is of great interest to many how Thompson performs in his maiden debate. Suspenseful for the conservative faithful who are looking for a new great leader and fascinating to the rest of the population who want to see what all the fuss is about.

In part 2 of this post, I will be discussing how effective Fred's campaign has been so far and the appraisal of it from his supporters. Perceptions will change dramatically after the close of this first debate, but either way the fact there is this much attention means Fred Thompson is a big draw. The question is- does he deserve it?

VIDEO: A sign of things to come, Fred Thompson in a 1994 radio debate

Visit the Official Fred Thompson website
Read the NY times articles, He Can Act, but Can He Debate? Untested Thompson Faces Rivals for First Time
Read from HotAir what conservatives hope to see in Fred in this debate
Read more Pre-fight coverage from Hotair
Watch and get full coverage on the GOP debate from CNBC
Get full 2008 election coverage from CNBC

Follow-up:
- Fred Thompson shows some fighting spirit
- Fred Thompson - is the honeymoon over?