The Phony Campaign

2008-02-11 Update

And then there were four:

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"Hillary Clinton" phony207,000-12,000
"Barack Obama" phony164,000-6,000
"John McCain" phony159,000-5,000
"Mike Huckabee" phony109,000-7,000

  • Our previous front-runner, Ron Paul, is gone. Well not exactly. To use the term used by nearly everyone, he's scaling back his campaign. Also common: he's "shifting his focus". But let's look at the actual announcement. Key sentences seem to be:

    With Romney gone, the chances of a brokered convention are nearly zero. But that does not affect my determination to fight on, in every caucus and primary remaining, and at the convention for our ideas, with just as many delegates as I can get. But with so many primaries and caucuses now over, we do not now need so big a national campaign staff, and so I am making it leaner and tighter.

    Congratulations to Dr. Paul! That's a very phony way of saying "I give up."

  • As Dr. Paul points out, Romney's gone too. Peter Keating describes how anti-Mormon feelings among evangelicals, fanned by the Huckabee campaign, doomed Mitt's chances:

    The New York Times Magazine quoted Huckabee as saying he didn't know much about Mormonism and asking, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?" Huckabee later said he was speaking out of unfamiliarity, with no harm intended. Sure he was. Just like the commenters on Huckabee's website who slammed Mormonism for weeks afterward were, too.

    But Keating can't resist the p-word:

    Obviously, there are reasons beyond faith for the failure of Romney's campaign. The guy's a puling phony, and McCain and Huckabee are both funnier and better under pressure.

    Puling? Ouch.

  • But was Mitt really an unusually big phony? Lefty Jon Chait detects major phoniness in the GOP front-runner:

    The prevalent view of McCain is that he is a generally conservative figure with a few maverick stances and an unwavering authenticity. Nearly every liberal editorial board that has made a Republican endorsement has chosen McCain, and nearly all have offered variations on the same theme. "Voters may disagree with his policies, but few doubt his sincerity," editorialized The Boston Globe. "The Arizona senator's conservatism is, if not always to our liking, at least genuine," concluded the Los Angeles Times. This is the consensus: McCain's basically a right-winger, but at least you know where he stands.

    Actually, this assessment gets McCain almost totally backward. He has diverged wildly and repeatedly from conservative orthodoxy, but he has also reinvented himself so completely that it has become nearly impossible to figure out what he really believes.

    Examples aplenty. This is from the New Republic, but even so people with conservative/libertarian/GOP sympathies will find it hard to read without a bottle of Zoloft nearby.

  • If you can't bear to read Chait because he's too liberal, check out Mona Charen and Brad Smith. (This last link via Quin Hillyer, who advises: "Read it. Read it. Read it.")

  • But anyway, with Dr. Paul gone, Democrats are solidly in front of the Republicans phony-wise. And, as lefty Mike Taibbi points out in a recent Rolling Stone article, there's a very good reason for that.

    Before the 2006 elections, Democrats told us we could expect more specifics on their war plans after Election Day. Nearly two years have passed since then, and now they are once again telling us to wait until after an election to see real action to stop the war. In the meantime, of course, we're to remember that they're the good guys, the Republicans are the real enemy, and, well, go Hillary! Semper fi! Yay, team!

    How much of this bullshit are we going to take? How long are we supposed to give the Reids and Pelosis and Hillarys of the world credit for wanting, deep down in their moldy hearts, to do the right thing?

    Look, fuck your hearts, OK? Just get it done. Because if you don't, sooner or later this con is going to run dry. It may not be in '08, but it'll be soon. Even Americans can't be fooled forever.

    For me, the funny thing is that the aging editorial staff at Rolling Stone has probably heard the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" approximately 53 bazillion times, and yet they do keep getting fooled again. And they're soooo mad and pottymouthed when they briefly wake from their delusions.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 10:01 AM EST