The Phony Campaign

2012-01-29 Update

[phony baloney]

Newt's still hanging on at Intrade, where the traders have him with a 5.7% chance of capturing the GOP nomination. So:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 136,000,000 -33,000,000
"Newt Gingrich" phony 20,000,000 -1,800,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 5,590,000 -150,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 1,370,000 -100,000

  • President Obama mentioned phoniness in his State of the Union speech last week:
    No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits.
    Instead, he said, we're sticking with an economy weakened by overregulation, uncertainty, scapegoating, out-of-control government spending, and phony rat-hole subsidies like Solyndra.

  • Another bit of phoniness from the President's speech was his repeated use of Debbie Bosanek, Warren Buffett's secretary, to provide rhetorical cover fire for advocacy of Increased Taxes On The Rich Not You Just Those Rich Bastards Like Warren Buffett. Debbie was even a guest at the speech! Obama claimed:
    Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
    … which he used to advocate:
    […] we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of Members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes. Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.
    How phony is it to claim that it's "fair" to single out a class of citizens on which to impose an arbitrary rule?

  • Obama doubled down on even that, however:
    Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.
    There's that word again: "asking". Pretending that taxes are merely a polite request.

    If I had my way, every time a politician does that in a televised speech, an easily-read subtitle would automatically pop up on the screen: "GOVERNMENT WARNING: This person thinks you are stupid enough to be taken in by an obviously dishonest euphemism."

  • Some diligent folks tried to make sense out of the (specific) claim that Debbie was paying a tax rate of 35.8% while Warren was coasting along at 17.4%. Largely, they failed in matching up those numbers with any current tax laws. Despite being held up as a very public example of tax inequity, Debbie and Warren refused to release details that might clarify things. Maybe they were comparing apples and oranges. Maybe comparing apples and wombats. Maybe just flat lying, as phonies are wont to do. As Scott Johnson observes: "It is a farcical mistake to take anything these folks say at face value."

  • Another bit of Obama phoniness was teased out by Jim Geraghty, who concentrated on this (deserved) compliment to the Navy Seals:
    At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They're not consumed with personal ambition. They don't obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. Think about the America within our reach.
    Comment from Geraghty:
    The man who ran for the state legislature at age 34, who ran for a seat the U.S. House after four years in the state legislature, ran for the U.S. Senate at age 42, and ran for the presidency after two years in the Senate laments that America would be a better place if we weren't consumed with personal ambition.
    Mmmm… that's some good phony.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 2:39 PM EST