The Phony Campaign

2016-06-26 Update

PredictWise says Bernie is back, baby, once again meeting our 2% criterion for inclusion in our poll. In other news, Hillary has retaken the phony lead in Google hit counts:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Hillary Clinton" phony 571,000 +41,000
"Donald Trump" phony 455,000 -176,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 357,000 ---
"Gary Johnson" phony 72,400 +2,500

  • Donald Trump made a speech about Hillary where … guess what?

    "Most people know she's a world class liar," Trump said. "Just look at her pathetic email server statements or her phony landing—or her phony landing in Bosnia where she said she was under attack, and the attack turned out to be young girls handing her flowers."

    Amusingly, even the left-leaning Politifact had little choice than to rate this claim true.

    The only flaw in Trump’s speech is he said Clinton was handed flowers. It was a poem, which seems like a trivial difference.

    I will embed this classic YouTube video on this topic from 2008, because it's funny:

    Politifact's analysis of 27 claims made in Trump's speech is here. Even discounting for its usual bias, it's not pretty. Donald, if you're gonna give a speech about someone else being a "world-class liar", you'd better be scrupulous about your own facts.

  • The NYPost reports: "Trump has been giving out fake diamond cuff links for years".

    Donald Trump has been doling out diamond cuff links to unsuspecting pals as presents — but they’re actually fabulous fakes, sources say.

    One of the people claiming that Trump attempted to pass off "cheap pewter and bad zirconias" as platinum and diamonds from Harry Winston is … Charlie Sheen, so who knows?

    Still, under a Trump presidency, the nightly news could well resemble four or eight bonus seasons of Two and a Half Men. Except being even less funny, and accompanied by real-world catastrophes.

  • Factcheck revealed "Gary Johnson’s False Marijuana Claim".

    Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson claimed that “no politicians outside of Bernie Sanders and myself support legalizing marijuana” at the “congressional, gubernatorial, senatorial level.” He’s wrong.

    When asked for a comment on the refutation, Johnson reportedly said: "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

    Well, no. And I'm still voting for him.

  • And your tweet of the week:


In Edutopia, We Don't Overthink

I almost certainly would not have noticed this tweet:

… were it not for approximately three dozen conservative commenters, all asking more or less "Yeah, so where's the diversity in that picture?"

A cheap shot, of course. (On Twitter, given the character limit, it's a very rare shot that isn't cheap.)

But I clicked over to the Edutopia article anyway. It's by Jinnie Spiegler, credited as "Director of Curriculum, Anti-Defamation League". The article is loaded with earnest smugness and self-congratulation, all designed to make right-wing troglodytes (like me) roll their eyes and bemoan the indoctrination of kids with progressive claptrap.

Paragraph One sets the tone, with an example so hoary I remember a gag about it on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 70's:

When my daughter was three years old, I taught her the word "stereotype." She was just beginning to string words together into sentences, had determined that pink was definitely not her favorite color, and asked (demanded, actually) why all the "girl stuff" was pink and the "boy stuff" was blue. Because there's no three-year-old version for a word describing why colors are gendered in our society, I figured that planting the seed might yield fruit soon enough. And somewhat surprisingly, I was correct.

She was correct! And she claims to have been surprised by that, but I bet she wasn't.

Nevertheless, stereotyping is thoughtcrime in the Spiegler curriculum. Got that?

So I kept reading… all the way to Paragraph Three:

However, young children have a keen awareness of and passion for fairness. They demand right over wrong, just over unjust. And they notice differences without apology or discomfort.

You may notice that Mother Spiegler isn't really consistent on that whole stereotyping thing. Heck, even her three-year-old daughter might notice.

The Phony Campaign

2016-06-19 Update

PredictWise has finally dropped Bernie Sanders (look out below) under our 2% threshold. And although he doesn't yet appear on Predictwise's radar, I'm putting Gary Johnson into the mix, dammit:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Donald Trump" phony 631,000 +47,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 530,000 -91,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 69,900 ---

Well, what do you know? D. Trump is on top once again.

  • So about Gary Johnson? Well, he has his detractors. For example, earlier this year one Jeb Lund wrote at theguardian: "Presidential hopeful Gary Johnson is no Libertarian. He's a pro-pot Trump"

    In an exclusive interview with Reason on Wednesday, former New Mexico governor and former Republican Gary Johnson announced that he will again seek the Libertarian party presidential nomination in order to, among other things, ban Muslim women from wearing burqas.

    As it turns out, it took about 24 hours for Johnson to realize that banning burqas would be a bad idea. The Reason link makes that 180 clear.

    One might wish that an ideal candidate would be able to articulate a well-developed position and supporting arguments on the pressing burqa issue on the spur of the moment. That would make embarrassing day-later reversals unnecessary.

    Nevertheless, burqa-banning is not on Johnson's to-do list. That, of course, makes much of Lund's article misguided and silly.

  • Tho Bishop at a site called "The Liberty Conservative", in a pre-LP convention article, noted: "Gary Johnson Selects “Phony Libertarian” As VP". Bishop, I fear, is a little more on-target than was Lund:

    Gary Johnson, perceived front-runner for the Libertarian Party, announced today that he would choose former Massachusetts’s Governor Bill Weld as his Vice Presidential candidate. On paper, the move seems to make a lot of sense. Weld, like Johnson, is a former Republican who has long had a reputation for being a “libertarian,” having been a long standing supporter of abortion, gay marriage, and the legalization of marijuana. Unfortunately, also like Johnson, his grasp of libertarian principles is questionable outside these few social issues.

    I was never enthusiastic about Weld when he was governor of Massachusetts; his subsequent political behavior struck me as erratic at best. Still, he's respectable. And my guess is he'll be better than whatever veep picks the major parties emit.

  • Okay, what about the Donald?

    To be fair, the WaPo briefly had an online screaming headline: “Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting.” This was later downgraded to “Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting.”

    To be double-fair, trying to extract coherent thoughts out of Trump's stream-of-consciousness babbling would be challenging for even the fairest news organization.

  • Also this week

    Donald Trump is not a man of ideological principles, conservative or otherwise. He's a reflexive authoritarian who thinks the answer to virtually every problem is more government involvement, at least and especially if "winners" like himself are in charge. Case in point: Trump is backing a gun control measure fervently supported by Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.

    Specifically, Trump is backing the use of the no-fly list ("a poorly curated list of predominantly Muslim names") to prohibit gun sales. A measure that would have prevented precisely zero recent mass-murders, but would deliver far more power to the government.

Last Modified 2016-06-27 8:40 AM EDT

The Phony Campaign

2016-06-12 Update

PredictWise stubbornly continues to hold Bernie Sanders with just enough regard to mandate his inclusion in our phony survey. (Gary Johnson still missing, though.)

And Hillary has surged to a lead over Donald Trump. How exciting!

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Hillary Clinton" phony 621,000 +96,000
"Donald Trump" phony 584,000 -45,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 442,000 -40,000

  • Our Googling often takes us into LeftWorld, where Deep Thinkers (in this case, someone named Alexander Reed Kelly) posit questions like "Is Elizabeth Warren a Phony Progressive for Failing to Endorse Bernie Sanders?"

    Now, if you're like me, you could have answered that question after its first five words.

    Is Elizabeth Warren a phony?


    Could you expand on that?

    Um,… OK. Hell, yes.

    But as it turns out, Alexander Reed Kelly doesn't seem to have any thoughts of his own on the issue. Instead he quotes another Deep Thinker, Cenk Uygur, who makes the Really Important Distinction:

    I believe that she genuinely thought that the best way to keep progressive ideals alive was to make sure there was a voice for progressives in the very likely event that Hillary Clinton won. That is a calculation that she made. Now, you could say hey, I’m being overly generous to her or I’m being naive about it, and that is possible, but that’s my sincere belief.

    Uygur knows that failing to endorse Bernie is a big red X on the 2016 American Progressive Purity Test, so how can we get Fauxcahontas at least partial credit? By imagining (without evidence) the Senator's inner motivations as those of "practical calculation" instead of those of (Kelly's words) "a self-interested traitor".

  • In related YouTubeness, it's lefty talking to lefty about how corruptible Hillary is:

  • In Trump news, pundits fell all over themselves to (a) be outraged about Trump's claims about the Hispanic ethnicity of the judge overseeing the Trump University case while (b) maintaining that Sonia Sotomayor's 2001 musings on the same theme ("Whether born from experience or inherent physiological [!] or cultural differences, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.") are perfectly OK.

    [My view, in case you were wondering: both reprehensible.]

  • Your tweet of the week:

  • And your bonus tweet of the week is one of my own. (Default embedding of a GoComics cartoon, you may need to click for the whole thing.)

The Phony Campaign

2016-06-05 Update

PredictWise punters continue to give Bernie Sanders just enough love to keep him in our rankings. Still MIA: the Libertarian Party's nominee, Gary Johnson.

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Donald Trump" phony 629,000 +12,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 525,000 -59,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 482,000 +6,000

There's always phoniness in the news. A sampling from the past week.

  • At Salon, Amanda Marcotte urges us to: "Forget Clinton’s fake scandals — Donald Trump’s history of real estate grifts is the real deal".

    It's difficult not to hear the plaintive pleading in that headline: "Please don't think about Hillary's decades of sleaze and dishonesty; instead concentrate on Trump."

    Marcotte's lack of enthusiasm for this argument is made clear in the subheadline:

    Trump is caught up in not one, but two shady scandals involving tricking people into shady real estate investments

    She can't even muster the effort to look up synonyms for "shady"?

    But to her credit, Marcotte does manage to accomplish the relatively easy task of rattling off Trump's current and previous efforts to make wads of cash off his famous name instead of honest work. All true!

    Why, I heard he made hundreds of thousands of dollars just for three secret speeches to … oh, wait, that was someone else. And Amanda Marcotte would desperately like you to forget who that was.

  • Ann Althouse notes Donald Trump's response to Hillary's "foreign policy speech".

    'After what she said about me today in her phony speech – that was a phony speech, that was a Donald Trump hit job – I will say this: Hillary Clinton has to go to jail, okay?'

    'She has to go to jail. Has to go to jail,' he said again as cheers erupted in sternum-shaking chaos.

    'That was a phony hit job. She's guilty as hell.'

    Prof Althouse notes a key paragraph from the NYT coverage of Hillary's speech, a slightly less negative take than Trump's:

    But although her campaign had described the speech as a major foreign policy address, Mrs. Clinton spent more time ridiculing and dismantling Mr. Trump’s statements than she did elucidating her positions. Here are a few key issues she did not discuss....

    Ah, this would be hilarious if only the future of our country wasn't at stake.

  • Danielle Pletka, a foreign policy expert from the American Enterprise Institute, writing at the WaPo: Clinton’s foreign policy speech: Slam dunk on Trump, but short on fresh ideas.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am a foreign policy voter. I care what is said about the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Islamic State, NATO defense budgets and Crimea and Muslims. I’m listening to Trump and have already made my decision: #NeverTrump. But the same is true of Clinton: #NeverHillary. She had her turn and failed to distinguish herself in any way; her indifference about the fate of Libya was appalling. And the Clinton Foundation is grifting on a major, disqualifying scale.

    I'm with Danielle.

  • Did Bernie Sanders take the opportunity of softball questions from Rolling Stone interviewer/sycophant Tim Dickinson to brand Donald Trump a …

    Many working-class people in this country no longer have faith in establishment politics. And, of course, that's what Trump has seized upon. He's a phony and an opportunist. But he has seized upon that and said, "I am not part of the establishment." He's only a multibillionaire who has worked with Wall Street and everybody else. But he claims not to be part of the establishment, right? That has created a certain amount of support for him.

    Well, yes he did.

  • And your tweet of the week:

The Phony Campaign

2016-05-29 Update

PredictWise saith: Bernie Sanders still has a shot. In fact, the prediction markets are giving him a 3% probability, a whole percentage point higher than our cutoff. I assume this is due to bettors thinking (reasonably enough): "If Hillary is indicted, I could make a lot of money here." I can see that scenario playing out myself.

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Donald Trump" phony 617,000 -18,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 584,000 +77,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 476,000 +107,000

  • At Cato, David Boaz gets a chuckle out of some MSM angels-dancing-on-pinhead rhetorical acrobatics:

    Earlier this week Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post published a column titled (in the print edition) “Stonewaller, shape-shifter, liar.” I won’t keep you in suspense: it was about Donald Trump. But apparently I wasn’t the only reader to have the reaction, Wouldn’t that title apply to more than one candidate this year? And some of the readers made their view known to Marcus. So today she tries valiantly to explain why Hillary Clinton isn’t – really, quite, so much – guilty of the same offenses.

    Boaz would like journalists to hold politicians to the same phony standards. Really, is that too much to ask? Apparently, it is. Neither Boaz nor I will be holding our breaths waiting for it to happen.

  • Have you ever wondered why both Clintons are such unapologetic liars? Jonah Goldberg offers up his theory: "Why Both Clintons Are Such Unapologetic Liars".

    It all boils down to one of the more weaselly words in the political vocabulary: "pragmatism".

    Pragmatism bills itself as being beyond ideology and “labels.” Well, if you don’t feel bound to any objective ideological or even ontological criteria — labels, after all, are the words we use to describe reality — why not lie? Why not wax philosophic about the meaning of “is”? If attaining and wielding power is your only benchmark, the ethical imperative of telling the truth is no imperative at all. It’s just another false ideological construct.

    Jonah proposes that we neologize "Clinton" as a verb: "to Clinton" meaning “to say whatever the moment requires, with an eye to being able to defend the statement under oath.”

    And (I would add) knowing that some syncophatic saps will defend you no matter what outrageous lies you tell.

  • And have you been wondering what Donald Trump’s past comments about Bill Clinton prove? Look no further than Sean Colarossi's article at PoliticsUSA: "Donald Trump’s Past Comments About Bill Clinton Prove He’s An Opportunistic Phony". (I bet you saw that coming.)

    Hoping to resuscitate discredited attacks of the 1990s and energize his supporters, Donald Trump has gone hard after Bill Clinton in recent weeks. Whether it’s slamming the 41st president’s economic policies or his personal baggage involving women, there is no boundary Trump has been afraid to cross.

    His supporters likely look at these attacks as another example of Trump not being afraid to “go there,” but an increasing amount of old Trump video clips show that the self-obsessed billionaire’s recent comments are just as phony as his tan.

    (Note that "discredited attacks" is the term-of-art Clinton fans use to refer to stuff the Clintons did that they'd rather not talk about.)

  • At Front Page, Jack Kerwick points out: "Bernie Sanders: Not a Good Guy"

    Even among far too many Republicans, a popular misconception persists that Bernie Sanders, while fundamentally wrong-headed politically, is nevertheless a decent person that means well for the country.

    In the meantime, it is Donald Trump and his supporters who have gotten branded as “haters” who encourage violence.

    This is bizarro world or, what amounts to the same thing, an ideologically-useful fiction of the left’s.

    Socialism, even "democratic" socialism, is all about centralizing ever-more coercive power in the political sphere. So not too surprising that its fans tend to be bullies. [Downside: Kerwick repeats the chair-hurling allegations that we looked at last week.]

  • The great Mickey Kaus sums up a NYT article: "Trump Not Fake Enough!"

    The NYT says “Donald Trump’s Campaign Stumbles As it Tries to Go Big.” Evidence of the stumbling? 1) Trump met with “dozens of female chief executives and entrepreneurs” last week but “never publicized” it! Instead of putting out this staged campaign news, Trump put out real news (that he’d fired political director RIck Wiley, the man who crash-landed Scott Walker’s campaign.) 2) Trump only has one communications aide. One! Why, Hillary has “a press team of more than a dozen, including people devoted solely to the news media for black and Hispanic audiences”! 3) Trump hasn’t yet violated the spirit of the campaign finance laws by “unofficially” anointing a particular super Pac (a campaign organization he’s technically supposed to be independent of).

  • And finally, your Tweet of the week:

The Phony Campaign

2016-05-22 Update

PredictWise provides us with the same lineup as last week and Trump widens his phony lead somewhat:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Donald Trump" phony 635,000 +57,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 507,000 -53,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 369,000 +22,000

  • Eric Boehlert opines at Salon: "Donald Trump is a phony and a liar: The press doesn’t get to call him “authentic” ever again"

    For a candidate who’s often touted in the press as an authentic straight shooter, Donald Trump did a lot last week to puncture that reputation. From insisting that his promise of a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” was really “only a suggestion,” to flip-flopping on whether voters had a right to see his tax returns, Trump seemed to cast aside promises on a daily basis.

    Now, Donald Trump is a phony and a liar. No argument here.

    But even if you didn't know anything else, wouldn't you detect a tad of totalitarianism in asserting what the press "doesn't get" to do?

    However, it gets worse: Eric Boehlert is employed by "Media Matters for America", an organization effectively a subsidiary of the Clinton campaign. What you won't see: Boehlert demanding that the press apply the same standard to judging authenticity and honesty to both Trump and Clinton. Such a demand would get him fired from Media Matters for America before it hit the Interwebs.

  • At the somewhat less partisan Fortune, Michael D'Antonio details "Donald Trump's Long, Strange History of Using Fake Names"

    All political candidates use some spin to advance their cause. It is now so common that voters come to expect it. As a businessman, Donald Trump long practiced an extreme version of self-promotion he called “truthful hyperbole” to get what he wanted. Now, as he is the presumptive GOP nominee for president, this past is coming back to haunt him.

    Summary: Trump's sock-puppetry has been going on a long time. It was also practiced by Daddy Trump, Fred, who inquired about real estate properties as "Mr. Green", to avoid possible aggressive bargaining.

  • If you follow the news, you probably "know" that unruly Bernie Sanders supporters threw chairs at the Democratic National Committee convention in Nevada this week. Implication: Sanders supporters are a bunch of violent hotheads, prone to misbehave unacceptably when they don't get their way.

    Problem is, as this Snopes article shows rather convincingly: there's no direct evidence the chair-throwing actually happened. The NYT, NPR, AP, … based their stories on the account of a single reporter who didn't witness it himself.

    Or did it happen? Check this story:

    Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas: It isn’t just the title of the classic Hunter S. Thompson book. It quite accurately describes the atmosphere of the Nevada State Democratic Party (NSDP) Convention this past weekend. A sitting US Senator & long-time progressive icon [Barbara Boxer] was booed off the stage. Mere credentials updates were being filibustered to death. And the whole shebang ended with punches & chairs taking flight.

    Given the partisan tempers involved, the truth may be known… never.

  • Hillary made note of the fact that Donald Trump is refusing to release his tax returns.

    For those of us who aren't Trumpkins, the reason is pretty obvious: he would be deeply embarrassed if they were made public. No doubt.

    But for Hillary to make this complaint is beyond ludicrous. Here's our tweet of the week:

The Phony Campaign

2016-05-15 Update

Bernie's still hanging in there at PredictWise, with the underlying bettors wagering that he still has a 2% shot at becoming your next President.

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Donald Trump" phony 578,000 +22,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 560,000 +11,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 347,000 -20,000

Meanwhile, I'm wondering: where's Gary Johnson?

Maybe I'm optimistic, but over the next 176 days or so, we're going to hear a lot of stories about how both Trump and Clinton are lying, power-hungry, unprincipled dangers to liberty, prosperity, and peace. These stories will be persuasive, because true.

So I think Gary Johnson has a shot, if he's on the ballot in enough states. Heck, I think Mister Mxyzptlk would have a shot against these two.

Back to the real phony news:

  • In New York Magazine, Ed Kilgore looks at the advice Hillary is receiving to shift her positions to appeal more to either Sanders/Warren leftists or to more moderate folk. He says nay: "Hillary Clinton Shouldn’t Be ‘Pivoting’ to the Left — or to the Center"

    If all this hypothetical "pivoting" and "moving" makes you a little dizzy, how must it seem to voters whose main concern about Hillary Clinton is that she seems a tad too calculating and inauthentic — in a word, phony? Not so good. And since it's these personal characteristics, and not her positioning on an ideological spectrum, that are arguably the biggest source of her relative unpopularity among general-election participants, perhaps she should keep that pivot foot un-planted.

    Here's the problem with Ed's argument: let's posit there's a bloc of voters that somehow aren't currently convinced of Hillary's phoniness. Isn't it obvious that these voters are either willfully blind or ignorant enough so that they wouldn't care if she "pivoted" left, center, or right, or toward new dimensions beyond that which is known to man?

  • In this week's "well, of course he did" department: "Donald Trump masqueraded as publicist to brag about himself".

    The voice is instantly familiar; the tone, confident, even cocky; the cadence, distinctly Trumpian. The man on the phone vigorously defending Donald Trump says he’s a media spokesman named John Miller, but then he says, “I’m sort of new here,” and “I’m somebody that he knows and I think somebody that he trusts and likes” and even “I’m going to do this a little, part time, and then, yeah, go on with my life.”

    Do Trump supporters care about stuff like this? Recent history says: not so much.

  • Even though (or maybe because) they tap into the same rich vein of voter attitude, there's no love lost between Bernie and Trump:

    In an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday, Mr. Sanders didn’t leap to defend Mrs. Clinton, who has come under heated attacks from Mr. Trump. But when asked about whether many votes for him were essentially votes against Mrs. Clinton and for Mr. Trump, he showed how little affection he has for the billionaire businessman: “I think the people of America, the more they see Mr. Trump, understand that he’s a total phony, that what he said yesterday is not what he’s going to say tomorrow. That he is a pathological liar and that he gets a lot of media attention for attacking people but that is going to wear thin.”

    In response:

    For his part, Mr. Trump, in a Fox News interview earlier in the day, said he now plans to call Mr. Sanders “Crazy Bernie” — not typically a term of endearment.

    Reminds me of grade-school playground feuds, albeit at a lower intellectual level.

  • And…

The Phony Campaign

2016-05-08 Update

After Ted Cruz's ignominious defeat in Indiana and subsequent campaign suspension, PredictWise has predictably dropped him below our 2% probability threshold. But, unexpectedly, Bernie Sanders has popped (barely) back into the running.

Leaving candidates who happen to be utterly contemptible or completely foolish (guess which are which):

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Donald Trump" phony 556,000 +307,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 549,000 +447,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 367,000 ---

If those hit counts look a little huge compared to recent values, it's because Google totally turned off its long-deprecated Google Web Search API at some point in the past week, which I'd been using to automatically grab its data. Well, it was fun while it lasted. Your blogger has gone back to the old method of generating the search link, bringing it up in a browser, then copy-and-pasting from the browser window. To quote Dr. McCoy: "What is this, the Dark Ages?"

"Good" news: our remaining lineup has more than enough phoniness to last us until November. And maybe Gary Johnson will show up at some point. Frankly, I think that anyone appearing on the ballot not named "Clinton" or "Trump" would have a good shot at a plurality of the popular vote.

  • Back in those happy days before Indiana Republicans voted, Jim Treacher requested: "Watch Trump Lie About Mike Tyson’s Rape Conviction". Ted Cruz had pointed out, accurately, that the Trump-endorsing Tyson was a past rapist. It came up during an interview with Chris Wallace. Treacher summarizes:

    Trump tells an enormous, outrageous lie — that Mike Tyson isn’t a rapist — and then says it’s just more evidence that Cruz is the liar.

    Chris Wallace could have followed up, pointing out Trump's lie. He didn't.

    Other media, with more readership than Treacher, could have pointed out Trump's lie. Ho hum.

    And the GOP voters of Indiana either didn't bother to find out or didn't care that they were voting for such a slimeball. May they all go pee on a substation transformer.

  • The NY Post editorial writer observed: "Even Hillary Clinton’s pals can’t pretend to believe her lies". Verdict: true! But what was it this time?

    In West Virginia, she was confronted with her March comment: "We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business."

    Clinton’s eye-rolling answer: “What I was saying is that the way things are going now, we will continue to lose jobs.”

    Riiight. Except that's not what she was saying.

    In any case, her excuse is: She Has A Plan that will seamlessly transform all those coal miners into well-paid solar panel installers.

  • At the WaPo, Glenn Kessler details "The Sanders campaign’s phony math on superdelegates". At issue is the Sanders campaign manager's assertion that Democrat superdelegates (who can vote for whoever they want at the convention) are a historically wishy-washy bunch:

    "During the course of 2008, over 120 superdelegates switched their quote-unquote allegiance in that process. In fact, there is a lot of movement of superdelegates in these contests.”

    Kessler will tell you more than you want to know about the electoral history of superdelegates. But the bottom line is: Four Pinocchios. The Sanders campaign is as unrealistic (or dishonest) about superdelegates as it is about economics, foreign policy, national defense….

The Phony Campaign

2016-05-01 Update

And then there were three… PredictWise has sent poor Bernie's probability of being President a-glimmering below our 2% threshold. So it's down to:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Donald Trump" phony 249,000 -7,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 102,000 -96,000
"Ted Cruz" phony 90,700 -6,900

I guess the conventional wisdom is that Hillary won't be indicted for her classified-material carelessness, or that people won't care if she is.

  • When you have nothing better to say… "Trump repeats phony pig's blood story at rally."

    At an Orange County rally Thursday, Donald Trump repeated a bogus yarn about executing Muslim prisoners with bullets dipped in pigs' blood.

    How many ways does this make Trump look bad?

    1. He loves this story, even though it's a (false) tale of American atrocity;
    2. He either:
      • knows it's false, which makes him a demagogic bigoted liar; or
      • doesn't know it's false, which makes him an ignorant fool.

  • Michael Kinsley pens a Miami Herald op-ed: "Trump’s a phony — but he’s for real."

    How can that be, Mike?

    The explanation [of Trump's voter appeal] is not so difficult. In the opening paragraph of his novel Ravelstein, Saul Bellow writes, “Anyone who wants to govern the country has to entertain it.” [Hillary] Clinton has been called many things, but “entertaining” is not one of them. This is not the case with Trump, who is an authentic American character like something out of Mark Twain. All the other candidates except Sanders had the character squeezed out of them when they decided they wanted to be president. Trump’s a phony of course (not to mention a racist), but his phoniness is authentic. He’s self-made — not in the financial sense, but characterologically.

    OK. Maybe.

    Caveat Lector: you can read the whole thing if you like, but beware, it contains a later sentence which you should not read while drinking a beverage:

    When President Obama proposes something, you know it’s been analyzed and balanced and weighed against the alternatives, tested in the laboratory and found to be a reasonable solution given the limitations and under the circumstances.

    Kinsley's ideology sometimes limits his insightfulness.

  • At Reason, Jacob Sullum noted some phoniness in Hillary's endorsement of a proposed Pennsylvania soda tax

    When Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders argued about soda taxes last week, neither of them mentioned obesity. That striking omission reflects a shift in tactics by advocates of a special levy on sugar-sweetened drinks, who have started emphasizing the good that can be done with the resulting revenue instead of the evil that can be prevented by encouraging people to consume fewer calories.

    A very old saying, attributed to Kin Hubbard: "When a fellow says, 'It hain't the money, but th' principle o' the thing,' it's th' money."

  • Belated addition:

Last Modified 2016-05-01 10:05 AM EDT