The Phony Campaign

2007-11-10 Update

Huge movements in phoniness over the past few days:

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"Ron Paul" phony941,000+464,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony929,000+343,000
"Barack Obama" phony888,000+251,000
"John Edwards" phony882,000+432,000
"Fred Thompson" phony424,000+106,000
"John McCain" phony191,000-179,000
"Mitt Romney" phony179,000-176,000
"Rudy Giuliani" phony176,000-160,000
"Mike Huckabee" phony164,000-37,000
"Dennis Kucinich" phony95,900-72,100

  • We're seeing—at least for now—a bifurcation in phoniness, with Phony Haves (Paul, Clinton, Obama, Edwards) at the top, the Phony Have-Nots(McCain, Romney, Giuliani, Huckabee, Kucinich) at the bottom. With only Fred Thompson in the vanishing Phony Middle Class. Can phony class warfare be far behind?

  • This is Ron Paul's first appearance in the top spot: welcome, Ron! My guess is this may be due to the Wired investigation of phony websites that appear to be for a candidate's supporters, but are actually thinly-disguised hit jobs. (Here you go:;;; and … well, you can figure out the others.) Comments the article:

    "A lot of [the website content] is sarcastic, and playing to stereotypical impressions," says Bill Beutler, a senior online analyst with the political consulting group New Media Strategies in Arlington, Virginia. "It is my impression that a majority of people on the ( board are Ron Paul supporters."

    Indeed, Texas lawmaker Ron Paul seems to have escaped the phenomenon. A Ron Paul forum hosted from the same IP address, and with the same layout as the others, is packed with genuine supporters in earnest discussion. The registered owner of that domain did not respond to interview requests from Wired News.

    Very phony, Ron Paul supporters! Congratulations!

  • But is there hope for Hillary to regain her former solid hold on the coveted Phoniest Candidate position? She's trying! With phony planted questions in Iowa, for example:

    Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton's campaign admitted Friday that it planted a global warming question in Newton, Iowa, Tuesday during a town hall meeting to discuss clean energy.

    If nothing else, this shows Hillary is well-qualified to handle FEMA.

    And then there's the matter of Anita Esterday, waitress at the Toledo, Iowa Maid-Rite restaurant. Andrew Sullivan despises Hillary with a white-hot passion, so he's all over the story of how Anita was stiffed, tip-wise, when the Clinton campaign blew through her restaurant at lunch. Andrew observes:

    I covered the Clintons for eight years. The one thing I learned about them is that they lie. It's reflexive to them; after decades of the lying that tends to infect the households of addicts, they don't have a normal person's understanding of truth and falsehood. They have an average sociopath's understanding of truth and falsehood. They lie about big things; they lie about small things; and they lie about things that are so trivial you can't believe anyone would bother lying about them. But the Clintons do. They did for eight years. They put the entire country through a trauma because they have no sense of what's true and false any more. Living in a relationship where lying has been integrated into its very essence will do that. They can't help it. Lying is their entropic state of being - big lies, small lies, and everything in between.

    Irrelevant personal comment: I grew up in Iowa, and one of the numerous things I miss are Maid-Rites.

  • Our own favorite, John Edwards, languishes in fourth place, but still in striking range of the top. His phony efforts in Exira, Iowa were recently noted in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

    [Edwards] asked an old friend to warm up the crowd, which included men in coveralls and baseball caps and a woman in a sweat shirt with dancing teddy bears on it.

    "I want to introduce you to someone who resonates with the heart of America, just like 'The Dukes of Hazzard' resonates," said Ben (Cooter) Jones, who played Cooter Davenport on the television series and once was a Georgia congressman. "The reason I like John Edwards is he hasn't for-got who he was.

    "He's not gotten above his raisin'."

    Riiight. I'm trying to detect the Edwards campaign's logic here: "Let's get a guy who used to play a hick on TV to talk like a hick in front of a bunch of Iowans. That will show how much we respect Iowa hicks Democrat voters."

    The article is has some churlish observations on other candidates too. (Fred, if you're gonna kiss a pig, change out of your Ferragamo loafers first!)

To paraphrase the ancient Chinese curse: May you live in phony times.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 10:21 AM EDT