The Phony Campaign

2012-08-26 Update

[phony baloney]

The Google would have us believe that nearly 18 million instances of the word "phony" combined with "Barack Obama" vanished from the web in less than a week:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Barack Obama" phony 6,050,000 -17,750,000
"Mitt Romney" phony 1,200,000 +40,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 465,000 -16,000

… or maybe they were never there to begin with! Or maybe they'll be back next week! Stay tuned!

In any case, the phony news just keeps coming:

  • In a followup to the revelation that the Twitter followers of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were largely fake, it was found that the phenomenon applied to lower-level pols as well:

    Overall, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had the highest level of phonies following them. Polis's followers are 82 percent fake, according to the study, a higher number than any other Democrat or Republican. Most others had a higher percentage of inactive accounts beefing up their follower numbers, but [the researcher] clarified that fake and inactive accounts tend to mean the same thing: there is no human being on the other side of that account.

    Color me shocked.

  • A Ms. Kate Randall, writing at (really) the "World Socialist Web Site" accidentally stumbled on a kernel of truth while writing an article headlined "Obama and Romney's phony Medicare debate":

    With less than three months to Election Day, the presumptive presidential candidates of the two big business parties in the US are accusing each other of targeting Medicare for drastic cuts and placing the government-run health care program for the elderly in jeopardy. The truth is that the policies of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both pose grave dangers to Medicare--a program currently depended upon by some 50 million American seniors.

    You know what else poses grave dangers to Medicare? Arithmetic. You would expect Ms. Rendell, as a World Socialist, to deny that, and she does.

    But Ms. Rendell, to her credit, recognizes the same phoniness that (for example) Peter Suderman at Reason does:

    […] the majority of politicians in both parties have proven stubbornly unwilling to prepare the public for the challenges of reform. President Obama sells ObamaCare on the argument that it strengthens the Medicare trust fund without mentioning that it only does so if you double count the Medicare savings. Romney is running an evasive and sketchy Medicare reform proposal as well as an explicit promise to repeal the Medicare cuts in ObamaCare.

    New Hampshire's own Charlie Arlinghaus, writing in my local paper this morning generalizes:

    You're an idiot. You're so self-serving and adolescent that you can't possibly have an adult conversation.

    That's the thinking of political professionals. Politicians and their like should carefully avoid talking to us like we're adults because clearly we aren't. Anyone attempting to have an adult conversation or be clear about his or her positions on the issues of the day is, in their view, a problem.

    Voters, we are led to believe, prefer bland banalities. Rather than a plan or an idea, politicians should say, "when I get there, I'm going to roll up my sleeves and get this thing going." God forbid -- or at least political hack forbid -- they should let us know they've reached a conclusion about what needs to be done or not.

    Or, as Herman Cain wrote… They Think You're Stupid.

  • What also makes it easy for politicians to be phony: phony journalists.

    The White House is doing something with its local TV interviews that it could not easily get away with in encounters with the White House press corps, which President Obama has been studiously ignoring: choosing the topic about which President Obama and the reporter will talk.

    An example probing query from a San Diego TV news bubblehead who'd been told the President wanted to talk about sequestration: "What do you want individual San Diegans to know about sequestration?"

    Obama gets a small unpaid political ad, where he earnestly rattles off his pre-prepared focus-grouped talking points, in a format that looks like "news". The TV news folks get to pretend they're bigtime serious journalists. It's a phony win-win!

Last Modified 2014-12-01 2:54 PM EDT