- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Behold, it’s “FU2016,” a spiffy new website for a fictional presidential campaign, and as canny a marketing tool as any real candidate could muster. The “FU” stands for Frank Underwood, the president of the U.S. as defined by actor Kevin Spacey in the Netflix series “House of Cards.” The website has all the hallmarks of the real thing, including a fake campaign ad that aired on CNN during the Republican debate on Tuesday.

“It’s a new day in America,” says Mr. Spacey in the faux spot — in character as Frank, of course. “Today, more people will go to work, return home to their families and sleep more soundly than ever before, all because one man refuses to settle, putting people before politics. That man is Frank Underwood.”

The fourth season for the series begins on March 4, 2016, even as the carefully crafted illusion continues.

“Progress. Forward momentum. Getting things done. These are my mottos. I have no patience for useless things — like political gridlock and stagnation. And neither should you. Join me. Let’s roll up our sleeves together. Let’s plow through the stubborn and small-minded and send Washington a message loud and clear. F.U. 2016,” the candidate advises at his website.

Ah, but President Underwood has already appeared on political polls — most recently earning better approval ratings than President Obama in a Reuters/Ipsos survey in March.

AND SOMETHING FOR THE JOURNALISTS

It’s over four months away, but what the heck. The White House Correspondents’ Association has already announced which comedian will provide the after-dinner entertainment at the organization’s gargantuan dinner on April 30. That would be Larry Wilmore, host of Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show.” The 2016 campaign will be in full whirl by then.

“Larry’s edgy, even provocative, brand of humor means he’s certainly up to the task of skewering politicians of all ideological stripes, and we don’t expect the nation’s news media to escape unscathed either,” said Carol Lee, White House correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and president of the association itself.

“I’m beyond excited for this,” Mr. Wilmore tweeted in the aftermath.

NOW THERE’S A THOUGHT

“In recent years thousands have rushed to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS — including hundreds from America and Europe. These people with Western and even American passports pose a distinct threat to national security because of how easy it is for them to travel to and from Europe and the United States. We must do a better job of tracking these people, and the administration must provide Congress detailed information on the flow of foreign fighters. By receiving up-to-date information, Congress is better equipped to pass laws addressing loopholes that foreign fighters might exploit so we can keep America safe.”

— House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, on the House passage of H.R. 4239, which requires the intelligence community to report to Congress on the flow of foreign fighters

STAR WARS, POLITICALLY SPEAKING

It was inevitable. The national debut of “The Force Awakens” looms on Friday, prompting one journalist to assign Star Wars characters to presidential hopefuls. From PJ Media contributor Tyler O’Neil comes the judgment calls: Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton is Darth Vader, Sen. Bernard Sanders is Chewbacca, and Martin O’Malley is Grand Moff Tarkin.

And onto the Republicans: Donald Trump is Anakin Skywalker, Sen. Marco Rubio is Luke Skywalker, and Sen. Ted Cruz is Obi-Wan Kenobi. “A skillful debater, parrying words as Obi-Wan parries blows, Ted Cruz is wise with the ways of the Force of Conservatism, but he can be a bit reckless in sticking his neck out for conservative goals. He may be better suited as a warrior than as a leader,” writes Mr. O’Neil.

Meanwhile, Ben Carson is C-3PO, Gov. Chris Christie is Gungan Boss Nass, Carly Fiorina is Princess Leia, Sen. Rand Paul Mace Windu and Gov. John Kasich Jar Jar Binks.

“This year, the presidential primary race has proven stranger than fiction,” Mr. O’Neil advises.

NOT QUITE SO ALARMED

Sociologists have previously faulted the outbreak of “fear culture” in America, inspired by Hollywood, of course, along with continuous news reports about violence, disease outbreaks and other alarming fare that prompted the public to be more fearful than they should be. But now it appears the public is getting a little more picky.

“Americans more worried about terrorism than mass shootings,” notes a new Gallup poll, which finds that 47 percent fret about the terrorists compared to 38 percent concerned about a shooting.

“But a majority of Americans say they are not worried about either potential event,” writes analyst Art Swift. And the numbers: 62 percent are not worrying about a mass shooting, and 53 percent feel the same about Islamic State-planned terrorism.

POLL DU JOUR

54 percent of Republicans say Donald Trump is the “strongest leader”; 13 percent say the same of Jeb Bush, 13 percent say it of Sen. Ted Cruz, 9 percent of Sen. Marco Rubio and 7 percent of Ben Carson.

51 percent say Mr. Trump will “bring change”; 8 percent say the same of Mr. Bush, 12 percent say it of Mr. Cruz, 11 percent of Mr. Rubio, 11 percent of Ben Carson.

47 percent say Mr. Trump has the best chance to be elected; 8 percent say the same of Mr. Bush, 15 percent say it of Mr. Cruz, 14 percent of Mr. Rubio, 7 percent of Ben Carson.

23 percent say Mr. Trump has the best personality; 18 percent say the same of Mr. Bush, 18 percent say it of Mr. Cruz, 17 percent of Mr. Rubio, 77 percent of Ben Carson.

23 percent say Mr. Trump is the “most honest”; 12 percent say the same of Mr. Bush, 12 percent say it of Mr. Cruz, 11 percent of Mr. Rubio and 24 percent of Ben Carson.

Source: A Washington Post/ABC News poll of 1,002 U.S. adults; the sample included 403 Republicans.

Churlish remarks, petty concerns to jharper@washingtontimes.com

 

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