The Phony Campaign

2011-02-27 Update

[phony baloney]

So long to John Thune, who dropped out of contention for the GOP presidential nomination this past week, no doubt disappointed in his cellar-dwelling numbers in the Phony Campaign. No new GOP candidates have risen above our (arbitrary) 4% threshold at Intrade this week, although Michelle Bachmann (3.9%) and Haley Barbour (3.8%), are threatening.

It occurred that we should check the Democrat side of Intrade as well. Which turned out to be a mistake, because if we wanted to be consistent, we'd have to include Hillary Clinton (whose chances are currently at 6.5%) and Joe Biden (4%). I'm OK with being inconsistent, because I don't want to think about those scenarios any more than you do. (But, pretty clearly, some Intrade traders do think about those scenarios.)

The current numbers:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 3,780,000 -30,000
"Sarah Palin" phony 2,720,000 -110,000
"Mike Huckabee" phony 1,370,000 +60,000
"Newt Gingrich" phony 1,320,000 +160,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 552,000 -17,000
"Tim Pawlenty" phony 433,000 -5,000
"Mitch Daniels" phony 325,000 +51,000
"Jon Huntsman" phony 146,000 +31,000

  • The proprietor of the Looney Thune website isn't picking up his marbles and going home. Instead, he announced a "new direction" for his site, converting it into the almost-as-funny "". (He adds: "once I find someone internet savvy to do it for me.")

  • A Washington Post story questions whether Mike Huckabee "still wants to be president."

    Don't look for him in the early presidential debates, which begin just over two months from now, for instance. He doesn't have fond memories of standing on those crowded stages during the last campaign, fighting for airtime and answering question after question about Iraq.

    "We just rehashed the same stuff, over and over. I was bored with it," Huckabee said. "It was the same tripe, and I found it just incredibly disgusting, and ultimately meaningless."

    In other words, Huck just might not be phony enough to run for president. Impressive!

  • Pun Salad likes Mitch Daniels (mostly because of his stellar reading list), but just to show that even admirable politicians have their deeply phony side, Jacob Sullum discusses how Mitch, as a junior at Princeton, managed to (a) get caught with two shoeboxes full of marijuana, and (b) managed to wangle his legal penalty down to a $350 fine for "maintaining a common nuisance." Sullum concludes:

    As [another pundit, Paul] Waldman's American Prospect colleague Adam Serwer points out, Daniels' galling hypocrisy is mitigated by his more recent support for sentencing reform, including reduced penalties for nonviolent drug offenders. But if Daniels really thinks a $350 fine is an appropriate penalty for someone caught with several ounces of marijuana, he should at least support decriminalizing possession. Currently in Indiana, the amount of pot Daniels had triggers a sentence of six months to three years.

    The current President, of course, is another self-admitted ex-pothead. A close call on who's the bigger phony.

  • Mitt Romney's big phony issue, of course, is RomneyCare, the Massachusetts version of ObamaCare, which, as governor, he enthusiastically shepherded to passage, with the cooperation of state Democrats. Peter Suderman describes how Mitt is threading the needle of opposing ObamaCare while insisting his health reform was just great, except where it isn't, which is not his fault.

    Of course, Romney also wants everyone to know he thinks the federal overhaul that was modeled on the plan he signed into law is a really, really bad idea—despite the fact that the White House has been happy to highlight the similarities between the two plans. According to his spokesman, Romney believes that the federal law was a terrible mistake: “What's important now is to return to the states the power to determine their own healthcare solutions by repealing Obamacare. A one-size-fits-all plan for the entire nation just doesn't work.” ObamaCare for me, but not for thee?

    At least he's not a reformed pothead, right?

Last Modified 2014-12-01 2:29 PM EST