The Phony Campaign

2011-03-06 Update

[phony baloney]

Haley Barbour cracked our (arbitrary) 4% barrier at at Intrade this week, so he debuts in our Phony list today, already ahead of Huntsman and My Man Mitch Daniels:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 3,850,000 +70,000
"Sarah Palin" phony 2,710,000 -10,000
"Mike Huckabee" phony 1,540,000 +170,000
"Newt Gingrich" phony 1,460,000 +140,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 533,000 -19,000
"Tim Pawlenty" phony 459,000 +26,000
"Haley Barbour" phony 425,000 ---
"Mitch Daniels" phony 396,000 +71,000
"Jon Huntsman" phony 147,000 +1,000

  • The two leading phony GOP males got their hats handed to them by George F'n Will for buying into silly (albeit non-birther) fantasies about Barack Obama's Kenyan ideological roots. Read the whole thing, but here's the summary.

    Let us not mince words. There are at most five plausible Republican presidents on the horizon - Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Utah governor and departing ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, former Massachusetts governor Romney and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.

    So the Republican winnowing process is far advanced. But the nominee may emerge much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons.

    If you noticed that Sarah Palin is also missing from Will's plausible list, good eye. Pun Salad shares the Instapundit reaction, which I will quote in full:

    I would vote for a syphilitic camel over Barack Obama in 2012, so therefore I would even vote for Huckabee or Gingrich. But I might try to talk the camel into running one more time.

    Or, alternatively, Ron Paul.

  • Mitt Romney visited beautiful Bartlett NH yesterday. The AP describes Romney's Problem Number One:

    Among Romney's biggest challenges: explaining to GOP primary voters why he signed a law that became the foundation for Obama's national overhaul. Passed by Congress last year, Obama's health care law has enraged conservatives who view it as a costly government expansion and intrusion into their lives because it mandates insurance for most Americans.

    The AP also notes the delicious phoniness of Democrats praising RomneyCare. This is similar to Democrats praising McCain for his maverickness four years ago—right up until he became the GOP nominee, and he instantly became a Dubya clone.

    In the National Journal, Beth Reinhard is upfront about Romney's Other Big Problem:

    In 2008, it wasn’t until onetime front-runner John McCain was down and nearly out that he sealed the deal with the GOP faithful. In contrast, the well-heeled Romney never broke through. A moderate Republican who thrived in the true-blue state of Massachusetts, Romney tried to remake himself as a conservative crusader and came off as a phony.

    And I had to look twice to make sure that this was not the exact same article, but it's from Paul West of the LA Times:

    One of his biggest problems is "a suspicion that [Romney] is not as authentic as voters would like and he doesn't connect as well with voters as they would like," said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster not aligned with any candidate. "Politicians who are viewed as authentic have a much easier time connecting with the voters they are wooing. People like Ronald Reagan and [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie seem to have no trouble connecting, in part because they seem so comfortable in their skin."

    The problem has been fed by the fact that, in each of his runs for public office, Romney has remade himself. Last time out, he shed his moderate social views on abortion and gay rights, then struggled to convince primary voters of his conservative bona fides. A perception grew that the handsome candidate, with his almost-too-perfect hair and teeth and seemingly scripted answers to every question, would say anything to get elected.

    It's dreadfully unfair: Romney's actual phoniness is probably not significantly different than his peers, but his good looks and smooth manner tend to magnify it. Or, to repeat once more Jonah Goldberg's wonderful quip: if you hit the "mute" button while Romney is speaking, he seems to be saying "what do I have to do to put you in this BMW today?"

  • Although it's dog-bites-man territory by now, fairness demands that we slag President Obama. Providing ammo on that front is Richard M. Salsman at Forbes:

    Since his party’s failure in the mid-term elections, President Barack Obama has been posing as “pro-business” and a “centrist.” There’s not a single reason to believe it. Obama is a phony — on this and many other issues — just as he was during his 2008 campaign. If Obama is “pro-business” in any way, like most politicians today he claims to be so only to extract tax revenues and campaign funding. That’s the sole extent of it. Business is a mere host to his political parasitism.

    Ooops, I cut that off one sentence too soon. For Mr. Salsman continues:

    Yet his hostile attitude isn’t much different from that seen in the GOP.


Last Modified 2014-12-01 2:32 PM EST