The Phony Campaign

2011-04-17 Update

[phony baloney]

We say so long to Haley Barbour this week; he's dropped below our arbitrary 4%-seriously-phony-candidate threshold at Intrade, due primarily to the inexplicable rise of Donald Trump in the eyes of the traders. Somewhat more explicably, Trump also moved above Mitch Daniels in our phony standings:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 4,370,000 -110,000
"Sarah Palin" phony 2,950,000 -80,000
"Mike Huckabee" phony 2,040,000 +20,000
"Michele Bachmann" phony 1,300,000 -20,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 691,000 +44,000
"Tim Pawlenty" phony 671,000 +45,000
"Donald Trump" phony 469,000 +52,000
"Mitch Daniels" phony 465,000 -11,000
"Jon Huntsman" phony 174,000 0

The news behind the phony numbers this week:

  • The commanding leader is our President Obama, and he continues to demonstrate how he's going to be a tough guy to beat, phonywise. It seems 'twas earlier this month he was decrying petty partisan bickering. Oh, wait, it was.

    But on Wednesday—gee—he gave a budget speech that even usually-tame news crew at the Washington Post noted as, well, partisan bickering. At Commentary, Peter Wehner has a theory:

    Representative Paul Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee, has (rightly) criticized the president for “punting” when it comes to entitlement reform and dealing with the deficit and debt. My guess is that the notoriously thin-skinned Obama was enraged by this. To be accused of being timid, passive, a mere bystander cuts very deep; for Ryan to get credit for political courage and intellectual seriousness (even from his critics) made things even worse. Obama viewed the speech as payback.

    The problem for Obama is that he revealed himself to be an unusually petty and partisan figure, particularly in comparison to Ryan. And the narrative of Obama’s being a weak leader is taking hold. What the president doesn’t seem to comprehend is that petulance is not the same thing as leadership. I can’t imagine that many people were impressed by Obama’s churlish attacks.

    I'd like to propose an alternate theory: the President's an unusually large phony.

  • You can't get much phonier than this:

    EARNEST QUESTIONER: When Congress offers you a bill do you promise not to use Presidential signings to get your way?


    But that was then (nearly two whole years ago!) and this is now:

    In a statement issued Friday night, President Obama took issue with some provisions in the budget bill – and in one case simply says he will not abide by it.

    Amusingly, the lapdog Obameter can't bring itself to rate this promise as "broken". Instead they deem Obama's position a "compromise."

    Really? Obama's "compromising" with … who, exactly? His past self? An extra phony shout-out to the Obameter this week.

  • And we would be remiss if we omitted embedding this Cato video, demonstrating the "real spending cuts" touted by both President Obama and allegedly-GOP Speaker Boehner are, well guess what?

    Some (otherwise) reasonable people claim that this is unfair. For example, Quin Hillyer at the American Spectator blog. But it's tough to argue with reality: Your Federal Government is on track to spend $3.658 trillion in FY2011, as opposed to $3.566 trillion in FY2010. "It could have been worse" doesn't cut it with me.

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