The Phony Campaign

2015-04-05 Update

[phony baloney]

In exciting news, the bettors have thought better of Ted Cruz's candidacy, and have raised the PredictWise probability of his being elected President from 1.4% last week to … drum roll … 1.5% this week (sad trombone).

Our phony lineup remains unchanged:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2015-03-29
"Jeb Bush" phony 763,000 +10,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 382,000 -11,000
"Rand Paul" phony 152,000 -21,000
"Scott Walker" phony 115,000 -36,000
"Marco Rubio" phony 85,100 -5,800
"Elizabeth Warren" phony 81,600 -16,000

  • Back in March, Scott Walker visited Concord High School and revealed that he'd purchased an item at a Granite State Kohl's for a cool $1. (There's an 18-minute video at the link which I didn't view in its entirety, but I'll assume this Tale of Smart Shopping is in there somewhere.)

    It took a while for Scott's Tale of Shopping to become an Official Talking Point of Outrage, but I assume (1) opposition researchers dug out this meager crumb, leading to (2) fulminations about it at "progressive" sites; (3) our local Democrats dutifully transcribe such fulminations into letters sent to local print media—I assume there's some sort of organized clearinghouse that assigns such letters like homework—and (4) our local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat, dutifully prints them.

    And so it came to pass that on April Fool's Day, 2015, a letter from one Anthony McManus of Dover appeared in my paper, and it saith (in part):

    Scott Walker doesn’t deserve to be President because he doesn’t understand the irony and implications of his recent boasting about having been able to buy a t-shirt at Kohl’s for a dollar while campaigning in NH. It was likely meant to be an example of how frugal he is in his approach to spending, but consider this:

    The shirt was more than likely not made in the USA, another example of American jobs going overseas. The country of origin was probably one with subsistence wages, sub-standard working conditions, and minimal or non-existent health providers and educational opportunities for the workers who produced the shirt and their families. In other words, a system of exploitation of the population for the benefit of the factory owner and the large corporation, like Kohl’s.

    I.e., Walker doesn't "deserve to be President" because he doesn't buy the usual protectionist claptrap.

    I don't know about you, but this makes me want to go through Anthony McManus's closets and drawers to discover the countries whence the items of his apparel originated.

    Further illumination on this weighty matter came from an unlikely source: PolitiFact. They were egged on to check Walker's story by "readers from around the country." By which they meant: people who would love to catch Walker in a lie, even if it was only about shopping. And, as we know, Politifact would love to catch Walker in a lie as well. And so they dispatched their crack investigative team.

    But, alas, Politifact reluctantly had to rate Walker's yarn as "True". First, they examined the video, and determined that Walker was referring to the sweater he was wearing that very day. (Not, as Anthony McManus claimed, a t-shirt.) And, no doubt using CSI-style video recognition technology, they identified the item as a "Chaps Twisted Button Mock Sweater" in a color called "walnut twist."

    And Politifact found… well, what just about anyone who's spent more than five minutes in a Kohl's would have been able to tell them: Chaps sweaters can routinely be found on deep discount clearance, and if "Kohl's Cash" is used—as Walker claimed it was—"he could have easily gotten one for $1 out-of-pocket."

    Thanks goodness for investigative journalism!

  • A fresh opportunity for phoniness arose with the hoopla over Indiana's version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Jeb Bush apparently grabbed that opportunity with relish, as the NYT gleefully reported: "Jeb Bush Seems to Shift Tone in His Praise of Indiana Law":

    Jeb Bush appeared to modify his public comments about Indiana’s “religious freedom” law on Wednesday in a closed-door Silicon Valley fund-raiser, telling a small group of potential supporters that a “consensus-oriented” approach would have been better at the outset.

    The reporter deemed Jeb's position to the Silicon Valley fat cats to be "strikingly different in tone and in scope" than what he said a couple days previous to Hugh Hewitt.

    I sympathize somewhat with Jeb. Unless he says exactly the same thing on a topic to all listeners at all times, outlets such as the NYT will note that his comments are "strikingly different in tone and in scope".

    And if he does manage to stick to his talking points, he will be noted as "not straying from his pre-packaged script."

  • Even "respectable" MSM-friendly conservatives are beginning to notice Jeb's intractable problem connecting to the GOP base. A recent Tampa Bay Times analysis contains a good quote about his seeming annoyance with having to deal with those people:

    "That's not a starting point for dialogue with conservative voters. That's more like a middle finger," said Tucker Carlson, editor in chief of the Daily Caller. "You couldn't pick two more resonant issues for Republican primary voters than immigration and Common Core. ... Jeb says to them, 'Not only do I not agree with you, I don't agree with you at all — and I don't really respect your views on it.' "

    Or as Mickey Kaus tweets it: