The Phony Campaign

2015-03-29 Update

[phony baloney]

Small technical note: I'm arbitrarily switching our inclusion criterion for the phony poll (which were already arbitrary) to "2.0% or higher at PredictWise.

For now, Predictwise (run by some smart Microsoft Research employees) is driven by the Betfair exchange results we were previously using, although they go to the trouble of (a) calculating a probability from the current betting odds; (b) sorting the results by decreasing probability; (c) normalizing the results so they add up, more or less, to 100%.

Under the new criterion, the candidate list is the same this week, with Hil and Liz for the Dems; Jeb, Scott, Marco, and Rand for the GOPs:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2015-03-22
"Jeb Bush" phony 753,000 -138,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 393,000 -23,000
"Rand Paul" phony 173,000 +5,000
"Scott Walker" phony 151,000 +2,000
"Elizabeth Warren" phony 97,600 +5,000
"Marco Rubio" phony 90,900 -5,200

  • Ted Cruz announced his candidacy this week and promptly… remained just as much of a long shot as he was before (PredictWise: 1.4%). If that depresses you as much as it does me, Kevin D. Williamson wrote a piece for us at NR: "Of Course Ted Cruz Could Win".

    Well, yeah, sure, he could. But people wagering actual cash think otherwise.

    It's a darn shame, too, because if we included Ted in our table, he would be in a solid third place, right behind Hillary. For example, Peggy Noonan from her Saturday WSJ braindump column:

    It is not hard to notice that every Cruz conversation, every interview, seems to be the rote performance of a speech. In public, and often in private, he moves his hands and face and modulates his voice like a TV pro. Politicians have to be actors, but the trick is to be an actor without being a phony.

    Ms. Noonan also quotes, but does not name, another conservative senator: "He's a complete charlatan, you know." Merits aside, it's hard to see how he wins when he's generated this much intraparty ire, this early in his career.

    Also see: Matt Lewis in The Week.

  • In one of those coincidences that made "synchronicity" a thing: the world "spoliation" plays an important role on last week's episode of "Better Call Saul". And then "Better Call Paul" Mirengoff of Powerline uses the term to describe what Hillary did at some point to her private e-mail server.

    The public need not draw adverse inferences about Clinton’s actions relating to Benghazi, and most non-partisans probably won’t. But if the public reaches the inescapable conclusion (assuming the facts support it) that Clinton destroyed documents after the State Department, not Republicans, asked her for them, and that controversy was swirling around her at the time, Clinton’s bid for the presidency might well be set back.

    My guess is such a setback would require actual journalistic diligence and integrity from the MSM, so it's not likely.

    For example, note George Will's recent column noting the most characteristic behavior of Hillary, Bill, and their close associates: a sleazy, shady lawlessness. Can you tell me with a straight face that anyone else (especially any-Republican-one else) would have not been hounded out of public life long ago?

  • These tweets from NYT reporter Amy Chozick drew a lot of attention:

    At first I thought… naw, "HRC Super Volunteers" has to be a false-flag operation run by some right-winger with a sense of humor and a good feel for a tone that might fool a credulous NYT reporter.

    But apparently not; although not officially attached to the Clinton campaign, the mail came from a group headed by ex-male model John West, composed of real-deal Hillary fans. And John, for one, is sensitive to that sort of stuff:

    "It was sexist media coverage that brought us together, especially in Texas and Ohio," West said of HRC Super Volunteers' founding. "As a gay man, I find sexism synonymous with homophobia. We're liberals and progressives. So we're very sensitive to that sort of stuff."

    Told you.

    There is a "HRC Suprt Volunteers" Twitter account. I am unconvinced that this is not a parody. I dare you to read it without chuckling.