The Phony Campaign

2016-09-25 Update

As I type, PredictWise puts Hillary at a 70% chance of winning in November, down 2 (two) percentage points from last week. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight puts her probability significantly lower (58.1%, 57.5%, or 56.0%, depending on which methodology you like); that's down a few percentage points from last week.

Nearly everyone seems desperate to make this election interesting, as opposed to…

Our Phony Polling shows Jill Stein expanding her phony lead, with Trump solidifying his grasp on second place over Hillary in third. Gary Johnson continues to be in the cellar:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Jill Stein" phony 3,750,000 +890,000
"Donald Trump" phony 1,100,000 +20,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 819,000 -201,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 110,000 +20,100

  • Is your vote for Jill Stein a wasted vote? Find out the unexpected answer to that question from Joshua Holland, writing in The Nation: "Your Vote for Jill Stein Is a Wasted Vote".

    If the last three presidential elections are any guide, 75 to 90 percent of those who say that they’re planning to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein in November won’t follow through. Yes, there are some dedicated Green voters, but much of the party’s support is an expression of contempt for the Democrats that evaporates in the voting booth. I’m a registered independent and a supporter of the Working Families Party, and my disdain for the Greens springs from my own experience with the party. I agree with much of the Greens’ platform, but when I went to Green Party meetings, I found a wildly disorganized, mostly white group that was riven with infighting, strategically inept, and organized around a factually flawed analysis of American politics. There are effective Green parties in Europe, but ours is a hot mess. And while the Greens’ bold ideas are attractive, what’s the point of wasting one’s time and energy on such a dysfunctional enterprise?

    Mostly white? Well, there you go.

    Honestly, I don't understand the concept of "wasted vote". Given the zero probability of your vote changing the election outcome, I don't see any benefit to not voting for the candidate you think is most in alignment with your own views. Where's the "waste" in voting for someone destined to come in third or fourth, as opposed to someone who'll be in the top two?

    Holland's essay doesn't clear things up on that score.

  • On a related note, Ms. Adele M. Stan, writes at Alternet with a list of 12 Ways Gary Johnson Is a Hardcore Right-Wing Radical.

    Ms. Stan, of course, has a clear fear: that "Johnson’s candidacy could pull more voters from Hillary Clinton than from her Republican rival, Donald Trump". Can't have that!

    For Ms. Stan, a "hardcore right-wing radical" is anyone who believes that the Federal Government should shed significant amounts of power (and associated dollars), returning such powers to the private sphere, or to the states. Here are some of "Johnson’s alarming stances and ties" according to Ms. Stan:

    1. Opposes federal guarantees for student loans.
    2. Opposes virtually all forms of gun control.
    3. Opposes the [Federal] minimum wage.
    4. Opposes equal-pay laws.
    5. Opposes collective bargaining for public employees.
    6. Proposes cuts to Social Security and removing Medicare and Medicaid from federal control.
    7. Supports private prisons.
    8. [ … You can read the remaining items at the link if you would like … ]

    For those who don't assume the Federal Government is entitled to ever-increasing power and money, all those stances are fine ideas. Thanks to Ms. Stan for clarifying.

  • Sometimes I think I should just auto-blog anything Kevin D. Williamson types. For example, "What Conservatives Can Learn from Gary Johnson". Kevin (I call him Kevin) has a deep sense of history, and will remind you (if necessary) of the 1980 candidacy of John Anderson, and its similarity to the Johnson/Weld effort.

    Gary Johnson and William Weld are both decent, honorable men with fine records in public service and no particular reason to be elected president and vice president. But the strength of this year’s Libertarian-party candidacy is a reminder that there is a substantial number of Americans who are looking for something that the Republican party is not offering, neither in its pre-Trump configuration nor after its disfiguration by Trump and Trumpism. Johnson is not offering them exactly what they want (still less what they need), but he is thriving for a reason, and conservatives should take note.

    What he said.

  • A reminder from Ronald Bailey, writing at Reason: "Burn-It-All-Down Political Antinomianism Is Not Libertarian". After quoting former Democratic presidential hopeful Jim Webb and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel and (some) Reason commenters, Bailey notes the significant meme: "burn it all down". Where "it" is the current political establishment.

    The burn-it-all-down Trump supporter (or potential supporter, in Webb's case) is engaged in what I call political antinomianism. In Christian theology, an antinomian is a person who believes the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation. In the current electoral context, voters disgusted with how corrupted our political system has become are attracted to the lawlessness at the heart of Trump's personalized theory of governance. "Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it," declared Trump at the Republican National Convention. Supporters have faith in Trump the Great Man and therefore are political antinomians.

    I see that tendency myself in some of the blogs I read. I'm persuaded by Bailey's argument that it's (at best) a dead end.

The Phony Campaign

2016-09-19 Update

PredictWise (as I type) has Hillary with a mere 72% win probability, down another couple of percentage points from last week. I thought she would be lower than that. I note that the FiveThirtyEight site run by Nate Silver has her at 61.1% this morning, well down from her near-90% probability a month ago.

I'm reminded of Woody Allen's 1979 "Speech to the Graduates" (back when he was funny, and we could imagine he wasn't a perv):

More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.

And now on to the Phony Poll. You'll note that Jill Stein has seized the lead once again:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Jill Stein" phony 2,860,000 +2,350,000
"Donald Trump" phony 1,080,000 +217,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 1,020,000 +55,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 89,900 -36,100

  • Ms. Sasha Stone proclaims: "If You are Voting for Jill Stein, Here is What I know About You". She knows five things, none of them flattering. Here's number one:

    1. I know you are selfish. It’s easy to pretend to care about other people and that somehow protesting the two-party system means you are doing the moral and ethical thing. You think that “what you believe in” matters more than what might happen to other people. Don’t pretend like you care about anyone other than yourself and your image and your brand. Selfishness is the only trait you display in this silly, pointless vote. Just stay home. Don’t bother revealing this ugly trait to the world.

    Might be just me, but I'd guess petulant name-calling and childish insults would be a counterproductive persuasion tactic. Could work on weak-minded leftists, though.

  • At (of all places) the Washington Post, Carlos Lozada earns his paycheck (plus, in a decent world, a hefty hazardous duty bonus) by reading and reviewing Stronger Together: A Blueprint for America's Future, the campaign book authored by Clinton/Kaine. His one-word review: "deplorable" (Ha!). But he goes into detail, for example:

    If you want one more recitation of the fact sheets on how a Clinton administration would ease student debt, fight the Islamic State and reform criminal justice, you’ll get your fill of bullet points here. You’ll also find little argumentation, because in this book whatever state of affairs Clinton and Kaine don’t like is self-evidently “outrageous,” while things they do like are just “common sense.” In a “Stronger Together” world, everything is empowering, everyone is public-private-partnering, and everything, Bill Clinton-style, is aimed at the 21st century. And we know their reforms are right because they’re all deemed “smart” — smart investments and smart federal standards and smart defense budgets and smart solutions. The rich must pay their “fair share” in taxes, with fairness less defined than obviously understood among friends. It’s the adjectival school of policymaking.

    Yay, Carlos! I'm a pretty libertarian guy, and believe that even politicians have the right of free speech. But if I were two clicks more to the authoritarian side, I'd support banning the words Carlos mentions from campaign advertisements, speeches, and websites.

  • I think Megan McArdle had an excellent take on Hillary's attempted health coverup: "Clinton Never Learns That the World Sees Every Stumble". Sample:

    Perhaps less obvious, but also true: this whole cycle was straight out of the playbook that worked for Bill Clinton for many years. Hide, deny, lie, and when that lie breaks down, spin another while surrogates and supporters attack. That playbook lost its mojo on Jan. 19, 1998, when the Drudge Report broke the story of Monica Lewinsky's presidential trysts. It has been steadily getting less effective since that day. Unfortunately, the only person who doesn’t seem to realize that is Hillary Clinton.

    As must be obvious to even the most devoted Hillary supporter (Rich Lowry, last week): "If there were any doubt before, the episode shows a Clinton White House would be habitually secretive and deceptive."

    But those Hillary supporters are much like Tommy Lee Jones:

  • And we don't dump on the Libertarians here as much as we should, sorry. One reason: they get the (un)coveted Pun Salad vote. But Kevin D. Williamson is honest and tough on William Weld's Wishful Thinking on fiscal reform.

    In an absurd interview with MarketWatch, Weld insists that he and Johnson would submit a balanced federal budget within 100 days of taking office. How? Part of the Johnson-Weld program is Libertarian party wish-fulfillment, heavy on closing military bases, domestically and, presumably, abroad. We might close as many as 20 percent of them, he conjectures, without doing very much damage to our military capacity. He is probably right about that, but that would not have much of an effect on the federal budget. That is because growth in military spending, like most of the rest of growth in government spending, is driven by personnel, not by infrastructure, mainly by paychecks, health-care benefits, and pensions. Never mind the number of military personnel we have, compensation spending per capita in the armed services has risen more than 40 percent since 2001, from an average cost of $88,000 per military employee in 2001 to $125,000 and climbing by 2012, according to a Bipartisan Policy Center study. With all the money we spend on aircraft carriers, bombs, and bases, more than a third of all military spending is personnel compensation, and the majority of that is cash compensation rather than medical benefits and the like. Military medical benefits and pensions alone account for more spending than does the discretionary budget for any federal department save the Department of Defense itself and the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Williamson notes: If the Libertarian candidates can't tell the truth about balancing the federal budget, then no one can. And the Libertarian candidates aren't telling the truth about balancing the federal budget. Therefore…

    Oh well. Where's a good place to buy gold and silver these days?

The Phony Campaign

2016-09-12 Update

Pictured at right (no, your right): a basket of deplorables, according to my dog.

PredictWise has Hillary this morning with a mere 74% win-probability, down 2% from last week. Frankly, I thought she'd be lower, but the prediction markets might want to see a few post-weekend polls before they panic.

But what really matters is that's she's also recovered her rightful standing in the Phony Poll:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Hillary Clinton" phony 965,000 +169,000
"Donald Trump" phony 863,000 -147,000
"Jill Stein" phony 510,000 -1,050,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 126,000 +49,600

Before we take the usual cheap shots, the 9/11 anniversary has me recalling Hillary's post-WTC remarks, recounted at the time by Nicholas Lehman in The New Yorker. (Unfortunately the article is not online, but I'm pretty sure my quoting is accurate.) Lehman asked Hillary how she thought people would react to knowing that they are on the receiving end of a murderous anger. Her response:

Oh, I am well aware that it is out there... One of the most difficult experiences that I personally had in the White House was during the health-care debate, being the object of extraordinary rage. I remember being in Seattle. I was there to make a speech about health care. This was probably August of '94. Radio talk-show hosts had urged their listeners to come out and yell and scream and carry on and prevent people from hearing me speak. There were threats that were coming in, and certain people didn't want me to speak, and they started taking weapons off people, and arresting people. I've had firsthand looks at this unreasoning anger and hatred that is focussed on an individual you don't know, a cause that you despise--whatever motivates people.

I originally posted this to Usenet back in October 2001. At the time, I thought it demonstrated Hillary's "wacky narcissistic self-martyrdom". What's the first thing that leaps into her mind when asked about the mindset that caused the deaths of thousands of Americans? Why, yes, this is just exactly like her getting booed in Seattle seven years previous.

In addition to painting her poltical opponents with the same brush as mass murderers, she quite clearly needs to view herself as under constant physical threat. Coming from the person who claimed to have landed under sniper fire in Bosnia, it's not a particularly credible claim.

Just wanted to get that off my chest.

  • Does phony populism feed the family? Fortunately, E. J. Dionne has the answer: "Help Wanted: Phony Populism Doesn't Feed the Family". Now, E. J. is a doctrinaire liberal, so we don't expect much more than Hillary-good, Trump-bad. And we are not disappointed:

    The truth is that Clinton has offered many more serious policy proposals for raising workers' incomes than Trump has. Her website is full of ideas on expanding profit-sharing, a "Make it in America" initiative to promote manufacturing, plans on family leave, child care, cutting student debt and much more.

    Gosh, aren't "proposals" and "ideas" great? When will Democrats go for broke and start selling the whole package as a Five-Year Plan? Surely that will work!

  • Since I'm writing on Monday, who knows where this will go, but it's clear that Hillary's health is just one more issue on which she's decided to admit only as much as she is absolutely forced to. Rich Lowry sums up the obvious:

    If there were any doubt before, the episode shows a Clinton White House would be habitually secretive and deceptive.

    And (as with the her e-mail issue), the only near-certainty is that this week's statements will be revealed next week to have been lies, carefully-worded prevarications, or irrelevant fakery.

  • Hillary, of course, was caught saying what she really thought:

    Hillary Clinton, speaking Friday at a big-ticket fundraiser in New York City, said half of Donald Trump’s supporters could be categorized into a “basket of deplorables,” implying that his backers hold “irredeemable” views on issues of race, gender and religion.

    To just be grossly generalist, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call ‘the basket of deplorables,’” Clinton told donors gathered at a Manhattan restaurant. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that, and he has lifted them up.”

    Eh, so she doesn't like 'em. She later "apologized" by saying that she shouldn't have said "half", which is just quibbling over numbers.

    It's no secret that I despise Trump, but… gee, I kinda wish she'd go into more detail on who she puts in the "basket of deplorables". Would I make the cut?

    Almost needless to say: Hillary's deepest contempt, deep down, must be for her own supporters. The people who have bought every one of her lies for decades. The people who have nothing to look forward to except more of the same.

  • Recommended: An insightful article from William Voegeli, "Hillary’s Empty Moralism Is a Reflection of the Greater Progressive Movement". Voegeli observes that people wonder if "Clintonism" is a coherent body of thought, or is there a big difference between the Bill-version and the Hillary-version.

    So, is Clintonism one body of thought, or two? The Clintons’ rhetorical oeuvre makes clear that the best answer is zero. Again and again, for a quarter century, their every attempt to connect and rationalize individual policy proposals culminates in sour nothings, windy declarations as solemn as they are vacuous.

    There's a quote from a Hillary speech earlier this year that almost proves the point by itself: “I believe in an America always moving toward the future.”

    Gosh, me too. Heck, as a physics major, I believe the entire frickin' universe is always moving toward the future. I shudder when I consider the alternatives.

  • Let's not let Trump go unzinged this week. Peruse Kevin D. Williamson on "What the Perpetually Aggrieved Mean by ‘Winning’". He notes the uncanny parallel…

    Bill Clinton was, so far as I can tell, the first American president who was actively admired for his dishonesty. Democrats — and not only they — loved to bask in Slick Willie’s cleverness, to watch him get himself into jams and get himself out again, making his opponents look like fools. Of course he betrayed his family, his supporters, and the country that entrusted him with the highest office in the land — but he won! This is what is going on in the mind of Donald Trump when he praises Vladimir Putin: Sure, he’s a brute, but look at those poll numbers. That is why in the minds of his admirers, anything Trump does can be spun into gold. “Winning!”

    Mr. Williamson reveals an ugly truth that (in his case) hits very close to home. RTWT.


Announcing the latest addition to the Salad household:

He's a real sweetheart. One feature is that he often looks at me expectantly, seemingly saying: "You know what you're supposed to do now, right?" No, sorry, I don't. Maybe I'll figure it out.

Last Modified 2016-09-08 8:22 AM EDT

The Phony Campaign

2016-09-04 Update

PredictWise has Hillary at a 76% win probability, down from 80% last week. Why, at this rate, the race could be an even matchup by late October!

Sorry. We need something to get excited about at Pun Salad.

In the phony polling, Jill Stein continues to pull away from the crowd:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Jill Stein" phony 1,560,000 +400,000
"Donald Trump" phony 1,010,000 +196,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 796,000 +27,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 76,400 -13,200

  • If you're looking forward to attending a Jill Stein campaign rally, you might want to leave a lot of time in your schedule for it: "Jill Stein delays rally after landing in wrong Ohio city".

    The presidential long shot accidentally flew to Cincinnati instead of Columbus, where she had been scheduled to speak at Capital University.

    I've long noticed that Ohio has a lot of localities beginning with "C". Very confusing!

    The article is from The Hill, and the comments are an amusing mirror image to the ones I usually see. ("A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Donald Trump").

    Dr. Jill notes (probably correctly) the Democrats-with-bylines press coverage:

  • There are gonna be Trump/Clinton debates, probably, at some point. Barring a polling miracle, no Johnson or Stein participation. I was going to say "you couldn't pay me to watch" but as a theoretical matter, you probably could pay me to watch.

    In any case, the NYT reports that "Hillary Clinton Piles Up Research in Bid to Needle Donald Trump at First Debate". Sounds like a laff riot! Trump, on the other hand, is disdaining "laborious and theatrical practice sessions":

    “I believe you can prep too much for those things,” Mr. Trump said in an interview last week. “It can be dangerous. You can sound scripted or phony — like you’re trying to be someone you’re not.”

    Given high unfavorability ratings, being someone you're not might be a decent debate strategy for both Trump and Hillary. Who can be the more convincing phony?

  • Donald Trump went to Detroit, speaking at a mostly African-American church about economic issues. Meanwhile, Hillary's been fundraising among what the NYT describes as the "ultrarich": Jimmy Buffett, Jon Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney, etc.

    Naturally, the mayor of Detroit noticed the difference here and … "Duggan blasts Trump as phony candidate without solutions".

    "This is the most phony major party nominee that I’ve seen in my lifetime, and that’s why we’re skeptical," Mayor Mike Duggan said at a news conference with Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield "I feel like I'm watching the next season of The Apprentice."

    I hear you, Mike. When I watch Hillary, it's like I'm listening to the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" for the five thousandth time.

  • Jonah Goldberg's G-File is always worth reading. This week is devoted to defending himself against prominent conservative Trump fans who are put out that Jonah won't get in line. RTWT of course, but as a one-liner, I snorted at this Trump observation:

    Every time you hear him talk about the Constitution, it’s like he’s trying to remember his high-school French.

  • The New York Daily News reports: "Phony ‘Dinner with Trump’ contest raised $1 million, donated $0 to Republican’s campaign".

    If you donated for a chance to win dinner with Donald Trump, your check may not have gone to the Republican’s campaign — and you certainly won’t be sharing an intimate meal at a table for two.

    Darn it! Also:

    I've been known to sign up for "Dinner with Hillary" contests, if and only if I can find the "enter without contributing" page.

The Phony Campaign

2016-08-28 Update

PredictWise again ignores the yuge crowds at Trump rallies and continues to express 80% confidence that Hillary's gonna beat the tar out of him in November. To a pulp. Like a rented mule. Like a drum. Like swords into plowshares.

And in the phony standings, Jill Stein continues to impress:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Jill Stein" phony 1,160,000 +140,000
"Donald Trump" phony 814,000 -82,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 769,000 +13,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 89,600 +45,500

  • The Democrats-with-bylines media continues to trash Jill Stein, of course. Example this week is the ultra-dependable Dana Milbank of the WaPo, who detects "From Jill Stein, disturbing echoes of Ralph Nader" The allusion being to Nader's role in the 2000 election; dejected liberals credit him with swinging the election to Dubya over Gore.

    In ordinary times, a voice such as Stein’s contributes to the national debate. But these are not ordinary times. Trump’s narrow path to the presidency requires Stein to do well in November, and polls indicate Trump does better with her in the race. But, 16 years after Ralph Nader helped swing the presidency to George W. Bush from Al Gore, liberals (including Bernie Sanders supporters) who otherwise agree with Stein are more inclined to recognize that she makes more likely the singular threat of a President Trump.

    Or: "You're cute, honey, but I've got my money on the other babe."

    At Reason, Anthony L. Fisher debunks the Nader-beat-Gore mythologizing, and notes the reason why Hillary sycophants like Milbank push it nonetheless.

  • More to my liking is Kevin D. Williamson, who's in nobody's pocket. His contribution this week is pointing out "Trump’s Unlikely Story". But what really caught my attention was the subheadline:

    This isn’t a campaign — it’s psychotherapy.

    Normally, I'd scoff. But (remember) just last week we linked to an article that was headlined "No, Jill Stein Supporters, You Are Not Crazy". Apparently that's a thing now: either (a) figuring out just what type of mental dysfunction is going on with candidates and their supporters, or (b) reassuring assertions that you're not crazy; it's those other guys.

    Kevin's in the former category:

    We should consider the possibility that Donald Trump is not really running a presidential campaign at all — that this is not politics, but psychotherapy. Trump has always been a figure of fun among those whose respect he most craves — the New York business community and the editors of the New York Times – and he obviously desires to be something more than a reality-television grotesque: a figure of significance. His presidential campaign is his bid for self-actualization, and it has taken along a great many gullible and credulous people — and a major political party — for the ride.

    That sounds unfortunately plausible.

  • Also firmly in National Review plague-on-both-houses camp is Jim I. Geraghty: "The Post-Reality Election". Many examples of candidates "insisting that the obvious truth wasn’t true". Here's one:

    Hillary Clinton [sought] to assure CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the complicated and shady financial dealings of her family foundation were on the up and up. “I know there’s a lot of smoke, and there’s no fire,” she said. This was perverse to say the least: The adage is, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” and that’s what common sense and experience tells us. But in Clinton’s telling, smoke should not be taken as evidence of fire. It’s like she’s citing an ancient proverb from her own personal alternate reality.

    One could only wish that Anderson Cooper were quick enough to follow up on the metaphor: "Wait a minute. If there's no fire, where the bleep is all the smoke coming from?"

  • I should point out the Facebook group "Libertarians Against Gary Johnson & Bill Weld". Its raison d'être:

    Gary Johnson & Bill Weld are fakes. They are big government, big spending moderates and have the record to prove it. They are as libertarian as Hillary!

    It's Facebook, so there's a lot of crap. I came away saying… "Yeah, maybe, but still better than Trump or Hillary."

  • And in the Twitter:

    A number of these signs were posted in LA to coincide with a Hillary's fundraiser (minimum admittance $33K) hosted by Justin Timberlake and that nice Jessica Biel. (The underlined "ill" in "Hillary" indicating that the perps were probably not Hillary supporters.)

Last Modified 2016-08-29 8:06 AM EDT

The Phony Campaign

2016-08-22 Update

The PredictWise "choose your doom" punters assign a 79% probability of a Hillary win, down from last week's 80%. And in the phony poll, one candidate has made a dramatic come-from-behind showing:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Jill Stein" phony 1,020,000 +180,000
"Donald Trump" phony 896,000 +23,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 756,000 -115,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 44,100 -3,200

  • What is behind Jill Stein's remarkable phony showing? Who knows? But a recent article by Caitlin Johnstone has encouraging news for Jill Stein supporters who have begun to doubt their own sanity: "No, Jill Stein Supporters, You Are Not Crazy".

    What is the definition of insane? According to Einstein, insane is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Trying to vote for the “lesser evil” in the desperate hope that this will somehow move us away from evil. Trying to vote for a woman who has shown us time and time again that she will push for military aggression at every opportunity in the desperate hope that this will somehow lead to less needless destruction and chaos. Trying to vote for a party that has already clearly demonstrated hostility to the progressive agenda in the desperate hope that this will facilitate a progressive agenda.

    That’s what’s crazy. You are healthy, wise, and right. Keep fighting the good fight, my bright-eyed brothers and sisters. You’re the only thing keeping things sane.

    Well, first: that "Einstein" saying is both (a) apocryphal and (b) one of the tiredest clichés in the lazy writer's toolbox.

    But in other news: if you're encouraged in the slightest bit by some dippy true-believing leftist telling you that "you are healthy, wise, and right" … well, maybe you should seek professional help. That's only one step up from the voices in your head telling you things.

  • In related news, the New York Daily News reported recent Texas polling:

    The Green Party doctor's support in the Lone Star State, 2%, is the same as support for Harambe the gorilla and less than that for joke candidate Deez Nuts, according to a new poll.

    "Deez Nuts", the article explains, is "the fictional politician sprung from the brain of Iowa teenager Brady Olson." Harambe is the gorilla Cincinnati Zoo officials shot dead earlier this year. No word as yet from Caitlin Johnstone on the sanity of Nuts/Harambe supporters.

  • Buried in this Buzzfeed article, "Juanita Broderick Wants To Be Believed" was the mutation of Hillary's web page on the topic of "campus sexual assault". As I type, there's a "Hillary" quote:

    "I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault: Don't let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard."

    Buzzfeed points out the unsubtle change from the previous version:

    “I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault: Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed, and we’re with you.

    The change was made after Juanita Broderick pointed out that Hillary doesn't believe in any of that, if the perpetrator of the assault is named "Clinton".

  • There's been some back and forth among the contributors at the linguistic blog Language Log about the verbal stylings of Donald Trump. But my favorite analysis (so far) is Mark Lieberman's: "The em-dash candidate". Trump's words don't come across well in standard sentence/paragraph form, but "it works pretty well if printed as free verse." I'll reproduce Mark's transcription of a passage in full:

    I'll tell you in particular lately
    we have a newspaper
    that's failing badly
    it's losing a lot of money
    it's gonna be out of business very soon
    the New York Times OK?
    I love it!
    they wrote a story today
    "anonymous sources have said"
    three anonymous sources, anonymous this, anonymous that
    they don't use names, I don't really think they have any names OK?
    but "anonymous sources have said"
    there are no anonymous s- you know with my campaign, I'll be honest with you
    it's me
    it's me
    they never call me
    they don't call me
    but these are the most dishonest people
    The good news is- I love- you know I put down
    "failing @ New York Times"
    the newspaper's going to hell
    they got a couple of reporters in that newspaper who are so bad
    with- I mean lack of talent
    but it's going to hell
    so I think maybe what we'll do
    maybe we'll start thinking about taking their press credentials away from them
    maybe we'll do that
    I think so
    I think so
    you know
    when they write dishonest stories
    you can't read em it's so much
    you can't read em there's so much I'd be reading all day long.
    When they write dishonest stories
    we should be a little bit tough, don't we agree, you know?
    Real garbage they're garbage it's a garbage paper OK
    So here's the story folks, talking about garbage
    talking about garbage
    talking about garbage
    you have a governor in this state who's done a very poor job.

    I did some of this myself during the 2008 election cycle. My victim was Elizabeth Kucinich, Dennis's lovely wife.

  • Our state's current governor, Maggie Hassan, is running for the US Senate seat currently occupied by Kelly Ayotte. Apparently a CNN interviewer decided to get in Maggie's face a bit, and… "Hassan Can’t Say If Clinton Is Honest, Even After She’s Asked Three Times"

    The Hillary-related questions asked by the CNN interviewer were:

    1. “Do you think that she’s honest and trustworthy?”
    2. “Do you think she’s honest?”
    3. “But do you think that she’s trustworthy?”

    You can read Maggie's non-responses at the link. But to be fair, it's difficult to know how to answer such questions if you have political reasons for not being honest yourself.

    A few days later, a local radio station tried again, and confidently reported: "Gov. Maggie Hassan now says 'Yes,' Hillary Clinton is trustworthy". Whew!

Last Modified 2016-08-22 8:50 AM EDT

The Phony Campaign

2016-08-14 Update

PredictWise (as I type) puts Hillary's election probability at 80%, up 5% from last week. Congratulations to the GOP for putting forth such a strong candidate.

To quote Homer Simpson and Donald Trump: "Oh by the way, I was being sarcastic."

But, dear readers, there's a near three-way tie in our phony poll:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Donald Trump" phony 873,000 -217,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 871,000 +27,000
"Jill Stein" phony 840,000 +212,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 47,300 -61,700

  • What's behind Jill Stein's dramatic rise in phony hit counts? Drudge quotes Julian Assange speaking via video link to the Green Party convention, in a response to a softball "what can we do" question:

    JULIAN ASSANGE: All right, great question. Well, first of all, have coherency in your own movement. I mean, you have to have coherency to be able to understand your own view of the world and the attacks that are occurring, which -- let me tell you that I've just seen that the attacks have started to ramp up on Jill Stein. They are going to go through the roof. I've had attacks from what is effectively the Clinton threat machine. They're now post-convention. You guys are going to be post-convention. Those attacks are going to be ferocious. But you'll see from that and learn lessons from that about how the media works and how one can defend your principles and ideas in the face of that kind of media corruption. ...

    As if on cue, one Chris Sosa wrote at the Huffington Post about "Jill Stein’s Dangerous Anti-Science Campaign".

    Stein’s plan to court left-wing voters disillusioned with the Democrats worked better than political watchers had anticipated. Her media stock rose as she engaged in pointed anti-Clinton rhetoric. In Stein’s world, Hillary Clinton is irredeemably corrupt with an appetite for war and loathing for the environment. Never mind that Clinton’s actual voting record doesn’t support the caricature. Stein’s barbs aren’t meant to reveal truth, rather provoke. Her style is remarkably similar to Donald Trump in its vapidity. One of her nastiest tweets attacked Clinton as a mother.

    Basically, it's a plea to Sanders supporters to forget all the nasty (but true) things Bernie said about Hillary and get in line like good little Democrats. (The "Anti-Science" bit refers to Green Party positions on vaccinations and homeopathy, etc.)

  • For an even less reality-tethered alternate take, check out one Bruce E. Levine at Counterpunch: "Naked Cynicism—Can I Be Bribed to Vote for a Phony, Hedge-Fund Loving Warmonger?"

    Short answer: yes, if and only if Hillary, the Clinton Foundation, and "the entire Democratic Party establishment" creates a “Student-Loan Debtor Foundation", and funds it to the tune of $10 billion.

    More than 43 million Americans have student-loan debt, many with monthly payments that are so crippling that I am ashamed to be part of a Baby Boomer generation that allowed this to happen. So, Democratic Party, prior to Election Day—because I don’t trust you will keep your commitment afterward—start getting those checks in the mail to the most desperate student-loan debtors. That’s the bribe I need—and of course will never get—in order to vote for a phony, hedge-fund whore warmonger.

    In addition to his accurate characterization of Hillary, Bruce deserves some additional credit for proposing a non-government program to help out all those women's studies majors who can't afford both their student loan payments and a hefty supply of decent Chardonnay.

  • Kevin D. Williamson writes at National Review "Thank Goodness Trump Is a Compulsive Liar".

    Wha…? Oh, the subtitle: "Otherwise, he’d just be bonkers."

    At issue is Trump's position(s) on entitlement reform, mostly Social Security and Medicare. Kevin notes the dismal math ("the shortfall of our total future government obligations — not the obligations themselves, just how short we are of paying them — almost equals the entire stock of wealth accumulated by the entire human race over the course of its history"), and Trump's utter inability to offer anything approaching a coherent policy to deal with the issue. But:

    Console yourselves with this: Donald Trump is a habitual, incorrigible liar. He lies about almost every subject he mentions: He lies about his real-estate holdings, lies about his bankruptcies, lies to his business partners, lies to his family, and he lies constantly to the rubes who have bought into his snake-oil presidential campaign.

    Read the whole thing, as you should do with all things Williamson.

  • Also at NR, Ben Shapiro looks at Trump's economic-policy speech in Detroit, and concludes that, as far as principled conservatism goes, Trump is a "Stranger in a Strange Land". His political pretensions are based in ignorance, taken "in order to get where he wants to be."

    Because conservatism is a foreign land to Trump, he regularly and unintentionally demeans conservative positions and philosophies. He allows the media to caricature conservatism as everything leftists have always believed conservatism to be: nasty, parochial, violent, and stupid. And thus conservatives have to spend more time re-explaining their positions than Trump spends defending them and promoting them to the American people.

    Ben also makes a lot of sense.

  • And not to turn this into an NR-fest, but David French asks: "Does Donald Trump Lie Under Oath?" And the conclusion is: well, of course. With examples.

    Trump seems to lie as easily as he breathes. Yes, he inflates his own accomplishments, but that’s not the only reason he lies. He lies to cover ignorance, to win debates, and to make news. He’ll like just because he wants to. In short, much like his Democratic competitor, he says and does whatever advances his perceived self-interest in the moment — often without regard to foreseeable, relatively immediate blowback.

    It's a tough call on whether Trump or Hillary is the worse liar, since their styles are so dissimilar. (French: "They’re the Steph Curry and LeBron James of lies")

  • I'm not sure of the best word to describe this Trump tweet:

    Delusional? As in, "those idiots cannot comprehend my genius"?

  • Betsy Newmark pens a ruthless takedown of a New York Times article, which purports (sympathetically, of course) to explain why Hillary is such a money-grubber.

    It's all because of the scare she got when Bill lost reelection for governor in 1980. There they were - a young couple with a baby and she had to worry about working and providing for them because Bill was, apparently, useless. He was only earning $55,000 a year which is about $160,800 today. What poverty! She was forced, forced mind you, to go work for the Rose Law Firm and become a corporate lawyer instead of working in public service. And then when Bill won back the governorship in 1982, she was forced, forced to keep on working there because she was so scarred. And that whole turning $1000 into 100,000 based on a a tip and the help from a rich friend for cattle futures was so very nerve-wracking.

    They had to move out of the governor's mansion and buy a house that was one of the smaller ones in the neighborhood. And, horrors of horrors, they had to buy furniture from thrift stores that DIDN'T MATCH. And, get this! The poor woman had to raise their 9-month baby without the free help they had used when he was governor. She had to be a working mother while there were people in Arkansas at that time who were making fortunes because they actually, you know, produced things that people wanted like Walmart or Tyson Foods. Yet she was able to buy a home that was worth $112,000 in 1980 which is about $327, 600 today. Not too shabby, but it wasn't like the other mansions that richer people had.

    Betsy's pretty good when she's mad.

It's OK When She Does It

For the record, I loathe Trump. But just a couple things I noticed:

  • It has been a couple weeks since Hillary gave her acceptance speech. On Trump, she said:

    He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.

    Appealing to people's fears: that's bad!

    But later:

    Imagine [Trump] in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.

    Aieee! He's gonna kill us all! Kaboom!

  • Just a couple days ago, Trump dubbed President Obama the "founder of ISIS", and added "crooked" Hillary as its "co-founder". Outrage ensued. From Hillary, no less:

    But back in December, …

    “He is becoming ISIS's best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists," Clinton said during Saturday's Democratic debate, hosted by ABC News.

    Nowhere near the same outcry. In fact, all the analysis seemed to be typified by the cooly rational Politifact, who rated Hillary's video claim "False".

    [At the time. Apparently Trump now appears in ISIS propaganda videos.]

Shocker: It appears that Hillary's one of those people who fails to live up to the standards she demands other people comply with. There should be a word for people like that.

Oh, right. There is.

[Addendum: you should read Jim "Indispensable" Geraghty on Trump's "‘Never Mind, I Was Being Sarcastic’ Candidacy". Demonstrating Trump's actual disqualification for the presidency: he doesn't know the difference between hyperbole and sarcasm.]

Last Modified 2016-08-12 10:39 AM EDT

The Phony Campaign

2016-08-07 Update

PredictWise can be so … predictable at times. Hillary's election probability goes up to 75% this week (from 70% last week), as Trump's manifest unfitness for the Presidency overshadows, for now, Hillary's manifest unfitness for the Presidency.

But Trump fans can at least take heart that his lead in the phony poll continues to widen:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Donald Trump" phony 1,090,000 +261,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 844,000 +64,000
"Jill Stein" phony 628,000 +139,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 109,000 +73,100

  • Some of Trump's phony lead seems to be self-generated:

    • In Arizona, Trump referred to Hillary's "phony lies and disgusting habits". We all know about the phony lies, but I was left wondering what the disgusting habits are. This week's Getty image is one possibility.

    • In Virginia, he griped about polling numbers showing him losing badly:

      "I think these polls, I don't know, there's something about these polls, there's something phony."

    • And in a Colorado radio interview, he railed against the recent good performance of the stock market:

      You know, one of the things, there are so many problems in our country that you can speak for two hours and you don’t cover the subject. The other thing that just came out, is home ownership. It’s the lowest in 58 years. Did they say 58? The lowest home ownership we’ve had, percentage-wise that we’ve had in this country in 58 years. The only thing we have is a phony, artificial stock market. So people think—But I’ll tell you what, nothing relates to the stock. Even in New York, on Wall Street and stuff, people think Wall Street. It’s a whole different world. The stock market is a phony number and it’s gotten there because nobody is paying any interest. When interest rates go up a little bit, you’ll see some very bad and very interesting things happen.

      [It's 51 years, but I won't quibble.]

    Why, it almost seems that he wants to push up his phony hit counts!

  • Jonah Goldberg's G-File this week concerns the dreadful idea pushed far and wide that Donald Trump will "pivot" from his thin-skinned know-nothing loose-cannon image into a "more presidential" version. Ain't gonna happen, says Jonah. Convincingly.

    In the days ahead, Trump will stay on message for a day or two and the reaction from many will be “The Prophecies Are True!” and “Watch out Hillary!” and “Behold! The Cat Who Pees!” Never mind that serious presidential candidates are expected to be disciplined for months on end. We’ve so downgraded our expectations of Trump that even minimal or sub-minimal professionalism from him is greeted like unprecedented statesmanship. But it won’t last. It won’t last because it can’t. The “Days Since an Unpresidential Screw-Up” Clock will never hit double digits.

    Note: Jonah is vacationing just down the street in Kittery, Maine, and the G-File contains graphic descriptions of local canine-on-rodent violence.

  • Hillary gave her first press conference in 260 days to a group of "journalists of color". Applause was ample, by most accounts, giving credence (if any was needed) to Instapundit's description of mainstream journalists as "Democrat operatives with bylines".

    One of the softball queries: “What is the most meaningful conversation you’ve had with an African-American friend?”

    She rambles on and on… but the only specific she manages to mention is that they've "tried to expand my musical tastes".

    "And they have great rhythm, and sure can dance! You ever notice that?"

  • Your tweet of the week from the gifted and insightful Michael Ramirez captures my own mood perfectly:

Last Modified 2016-08-07 9:20 AM EDT