The Phony Campaign

2012-02-05 Update

[phony baloney]

Newt is still hanging in, above our arbitrary 4% threshold at Intrade, so we will continue to include him in our Phony table:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 159,000,000 +23,000,000
"Newt Gingrich" phony 7,980,000 -12,020,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 5,800,000 +210,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 1,270,000 -100,000

  • President Obama continues to lead by a wide margin. Little wonder. Back on January 25, in his State of the Union speech, he decried "phony profits". This past Thursday brought him to the National Prayer Breakfast, where
    We can all benefit from turning to our Creator, listening to Him. Avoiding phony religiosity, listening to Him.
    As usual with the President, this was a cheap shot. Phony religiosity? Who could be against it? And since Obama didn't provide any examples, all who listened could imagine he was inveighing against their favorite examples of fake piety.

  • And, not that it matters, but isn't this whole "National Prayer Breakfast" concept kind of an in-your-face insult to The Man Himself? I mean, here He is in Matthew 6:5:
    And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
    And back in Jesus's day, they didn't even have C-SPAN. Which almost certainly is seen of men more than in the corners of the streets.

  • But one more thing about that quote: Back in August, "news"man David Gregory (on Meet the Press) demanded that then-candidate Michele Bachmann reveal how much "cues from God" would play in her Presidential decision-making. Now that President Obama has revealed his pride in "listening" to God, will Gregory similarly grill the President on this matter?

    Just kidding. He won't. Because nobody thinks Obama actually believes anything he says about God.

  • At least he didn't botch a Bible quote this year, as he did in the same venue in 2011.

    Oh, wait. He did.

    And when I talk about shared responsibility, it's because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it's hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income, or young people with student loans, or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone. And I think to myself, if I'm willing to give something up as somebody who's been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that's going to make economic sense.

    But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus's teaching that "for unto whom much is given, much shall be required." It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who've been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others.

    As the good professor Mark Liberman points out at Language Log, the quote from Luke 12:48 actually says:
    For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required;…
    By omitting the "of him" part, Obama (says Liberman) made the quote "ungrammatical and semantically incoherent."

  • But more important than a mere Bible misquotation: the verse so beloved by the President is the punchline to one of Jesus's more violent parables. It concerns a slave assigned high responsibilities by his master. During the master's long absence, the servant takes to beating other "menservants and maidens", plunders the master's larder, and gets drunk on the master's booze.

    But—oh oh—when the master returns, there's big trouble: the head servant gets "cut… in sunder", and sent to Hell. Other misbehaving servants who knew they were disobeying the master's will get heavy whippings. Everyone else? Just a few "stripes" with the lash.

    Swell. This is how our President knows he's advocating the right tax policy: because he dimly remembers a parable about the right amount of punishment masters should dole out to slaves.

Maybe next week we'll return to talking about the phoniness of the other candidates. Or maybe Obama will keep making the big phony news. We'll see.

Last Modified 2014-12-05 11:43 AM EDT