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August 02, 2005

Paul Hackett Can WIN!!!

Maybe. Just not in the Republican-friendly Ohio district he's running in.

In case you don't know, there's a special Congressional election today in Ohio, in which a war-veteran liberal named Paul Hackett is playing the John Kerry card and running on his military record while opposing the mission in Iraq. Nothing wrong with that, but it does seem to me that this elevates biography and personality over substantive positions, which the media generally scolds (see Schwarzenegger, Arnold), except when a liberal is having success with the tactic.

He'll probably lose but he does have that impressive biography so who knows. A lot of left-leaning blogs are vigorously pimping his candidacy, and the media, of course, will take a Hackett victory as proof of Bush's ills and "failure to make the case" to the American people. If he loses, well, they'll just ignore that, as usual.

Lorie from PoliPundit catches a misleading ad from Hackett, showing him "supporting the troops" and suggesting, by implication, that he also supports their mission.

She doesn't think this tactic of telling the general public one thing while telling the Democratic base the precise opposite worked out very well for Tom Daschle.

Then again, there was a lot more coverage of Daschle, so I guess we'll have to see.

And... Lorie has a bit more on Jimmy Stewart, Commie Hunter.

Again, if you haven't seen it, check out Anatomy of a Murder. My big problem with old movies is the stagey sort of acting and the generally dated feel of the writing and direction and performances. Old movie performances are marred by the broad, arch, and often ham-handed style of acting that may work when you have to project out to the upper mezzanine, but with cameras in tight close-up, it seems a bit goofy.

Anatomy of a Murder is black and white, but it feels very modern. The performances are subdued and smart, and the script is as cynical and occasionally brutal as any modern court procedural. Indeed, the cynicism is actually presented as something of a virtue, because the charming but not quite ethical Jimmy Stewart subtly suggests, without quite saying so (thus avoiding any chance of being disbarred), that his client has to lie to change his story to a claim of temporary insanity. And this is presented in a neutral fashion, even a sort of funny one.

His client is accused of murder, which he actually did commit (and there's no doubt about that). His client murdered a man who is said to have raped his wife, several hours after the actual event. The client wants to plead justification, but Stewart informs him that justification doesn't apply. Thus the need for an alternative defense... like temporary insanity. It's an interesting situation, because the guy is definitely guilty under the law, but something in us says the law is an ass in this case, and certain allowances for rough extra-judicial justice should be made.

Stewart's speech about his client's defense -- how he suggests without quite saying so that his client should lie on the stand -- is sort of famous and is cited by some trial clinicians as a perfect example of the right way to suborn perjury without actually exposing oneself to sanctions.

George C. Scott plays the hotshot state's attorney sent down from the capital to prosecute the case, while Stewart is the folksy local country lawyer. And of course Stewart seems a bit outmatched, but he's twice as clever as the arrogant Scott.

Again, as someone who's not a fan of old movies generally, I can heartily recommend this one as an old movie that seems like it could have been made in 1997.


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posted by Ace at 01:45 PM

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