The Phony Campaign

2011-10-16 Update

[phony baloney]

As I type, Intrade has Mitt Romney with a 68.5% chance to be the 2012 GOP Presidential nominee, Rick Perry at 11.8%, and Herman Cain at 9.0%. Everyone else (Ron, Newt, Jon, Michele,...) is under 3%. My favorite among the declared candidates, Gary Johnson, is at 0.4%; must be tough for him to get up in the morning.

So no change in the phony poll contenders this week. But there were big changes in the hit counts: an inexplicable increase for Cain, and an equally inexplicable decrease for Romney:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Rick Perry" phony 12,900,000 -900,000
"Herman Cain" phony 8,380,000 +5,520,000
"Barack Obama" phony 7,010,000 -80,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 3,920,000 -3,910,000

But there's more than enough phoniness to go around:

  • In the Dartmouth debate on Tuesday, Rick Perry bespoke on energy policy:

    "We're going to be focused on initially the energy industry in this country and making America again independent, and clearly the place where domestic energy needs to be produced from," Perry said.

    Yup. If we're gonna have domestic energy, it definitely should be produced in this country. So-called "experts" may disagree, but Perry's spot on here.

    In Perry's (slight) defense, however: on the other side are the geniuses that gave us the Solyndra loan guarantee.

    Seriously: the linked article cheap-shots Perry for sounding like Jimmy Carter in his advocacy of "energy independence". But it's not just Carter: Perry's just echoing the same silly refrain that politicians of both major parties have been singing for decades. (See this 2004 Reason article for pronoucements by Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and candidate John Kerry; in 2006, Nancy Pelosi pledged to achieve "energy independence within 10 years"; in 2008, it was a staple of both the McCain and Obama campaigns.)

    I'd be impressed with a candidate that pointed out the folly of "energy independence." That's not going to be Obama or Perry, obviously. And it's not going to be Herman Cain or Mitt Romney either.

    By the way: anyone notice who was missing from this long history of political nonsense? Here's a quote from the 2004 Reason article linked above:

    Bush and Kerry should take a lesson from the one president who refused to meddle extensively in energy markets--Ronald Reagan. In January 1981, on the day he became president, Reagan ended the remaining federal regulations on domestic oil supplies and prices, allowing oil prices for the first time since 1971 to fall and rise with world market levels. In December 1985, Reagan signed legislation dismantling the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corp. What happened when all these government attempts to manage our energy supply were cruelly killed? Oil prices dropped from their peak of $37 per barrel in 1981 to less than $14 per barrel in 1986.

    Reagan understood that for most Americans lower gasoline prices and lower home electric bills are all the energy independence they want or need.

    It's a shame that the only candidate making Reaganesque noises in this area is Ron Paul.

  • Ron Paul
Eyebrow Speaking of Dr. Paul, even though he's too much of a long shot to include in our Phony Poll, we should give him an honorable mention for his phony eyebrows.

    Extra points for the explanation from Jesse Benton, Paul campaign spokesperson: "Dr. Paul's allergies acted up a touch."

  • But for real [sic] phoniness, the Obama Administration is a reliable weekly source. It's like drinking from a firehose! Ed Morrissey examined a recent bit of Barackrobatics:

    Old and busted: Jobs "saved or created." New hotness: Jobs "supported." In attempting to advance the argument for Barack Obama's new jobs stimulus plan, the White House has decided to create a new term that has, er, even less meaning than their previous measure[.]

    The rhetoric is silly, but the unstated strategy is obvious: transforming programs initially justified as one-time "emergency" spending into a long-term Federal commitment, allowing states and localities to dodge tough choices.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 2:44 PM EST