The Phony Campaign

2011-11-13 Update

[phony baloney]

And just like that, we're down to three phony contenders:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 16,900,000 +200,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 16,800,000 +200,000
"Newt Gingrich" phony 7,370,000 -340,000

  • Way back in February, we made the decision to only include GOP candidates who, as judged by Intrade, had a 4% probability or greater at the nomination. Back then, that gave us eight: Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, John Thune, and Jon Huntsman.

    And now, after a very volatile week, we're down to two, Mitt and Newt. Here's how the Intraders are betting this week:

    Mitt Romney 71.5%
    Newt Gingrich 13.7%
    Herman Cain 3.7%
    Ron Paul 3.6%
    Rick Perry 3.2%
    Jon Huntsman 3.2%
    Michele Bachmann 0.9%
    Others 5.8%

    As always: these are the numbers as I type, not necessarily the same when you read. Which is especially true right now: the numbers are volatile, and who knows, we may see Herman, Ron, or Rick again. Maybe even Jon.

  • Note that Intrade still gives Hillary Clinton a 5.0% probability of getting the 2012 Democratic nomination. Yes, this means Intrade thinks Hillary has a better chance on her side, than any of Perry, Paul, Cain, or Huntsman on theirs.

  • Katrina Trinko reports on the founding of, a group dedicated to… well, guess.

    Two objections:

    1. The obvious: It's all well and good to be against, but who are you for, and why? Ah, that's a little harder, innit?
    2. More subtle: Hey, you know who has a good shot at being not Mitt Romney? Mitt Romney, that's who. He's very flexible!

    But as a collection point for all things anti-Mitt, it's a decent website. The only question is: will they take it down the very day that Mitt clinches the nomination, or before?

  • At Bloomberg, Ramesh Ponnuru concedes the point about Mitt's essential phoniness. But he notes how that complicates things for the Obama campaign: they can say that Mitt's a flip-flopper. Or they can take the usual tack of trying to paint him as—eek!—an extremist. But:
    Obama can't get both of these messages across simultaneously. He can't make voters fear Romney's positions while also telling them he is liable to change them whenever they prove unpopular. So he is going to have to choose which attack to make central to his campaign.
    What the hell. I suggest a Marxist campaign slogan for Mitt:
    These are my principles. And if you don't like them, I have others.
    That's Groucho, not Karl.

  • And if you can stand one more GOP-basher, A. Barton Hinkle (apparently his real name) notes that Republicans aren't exactly believable when they're singing a laissez-faire song. Specifically, he makes me feel a little less sad of the self-immolation of one eventual-ex candidate:
    Take Rick Perry. He sings the praises of "the free-market enterprise [system] I grew up with." But in Texas, his Enterprise Fund and Emerging Technology Fund have shoveled nearly $650 million of the taxpayers' money into the pockets of private corporations, either by purchasing equity stakes or simply by giving companies cash to relocate. Conservative groups have called the programs "slush funds" and termed Perry "more pro-business than he is pro-free markets."
    Can the GOP win on a "our cronies are better than their cronies" platform? Maybe!

  • We already blogged about the on-again, off-again phony tax on Christmas trees, to be used in the fight against phony Christmas trees. Kind of a perfect phony storm, as the Obama Administration both (a) denied that it bore no responsibility for it, but (b) certainly got it shut down quickly enough.

  • In addition, the most Transparently Phony Administration in history, when faced with a decision guaranteed to anger at least one powerful faction of its shaky left-wing coalition,… punted:
    The Obama administration announced today that it would study alternate routes for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, kicking a politically contentious issue down the road past the 2012 election.
    They announced a 12-18 month delay "to consider alternate routes in Nebraska."

    Estimates are that the decision will cost 20,000 shovel-ready jobs, but this neglects all those bureaucrats taking 12-18 months to "consider alternate routes in Nebraska".

    I mean, that's real work there. Considering those alternate routes.

    Of course, Obama's only interested in "creating or saving" one job right now. And guess what? In a certain metaphorical sense, it's shovel intensive.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 2:43 PM EDT