The Phony Campaign

2015-07-19 Update

[phony baloney]

The fickle oddsmakers at PredictWise have dropped Christie and Biden below our 2% threshold, but behold! Mike Huckabee has arisen to take their place. This is Huck's first appearance in the poll, and he's already in a solid second place:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2015-07-12
"Jeb Bush" phony 1,020,000 -110,000
"Mike Huckabee" phony 701,000 ---
"Hillary Clinton" phony 405,000 -8,000
"Donald Trump" phony 241,000 +14,000
"Rand Paul" phony 168,000 -4,000
"Scott Walker" phony 128,000 +19,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 120,000 +4,000
"Marco Rubio" phony 113,000 -10,000

In recent phony news:

  • The Donald dragged himself back into the spotlight by saying something stupid and offensive about John McCain. I concur with the sentiments of Matt Welch:

    What has gone underplayed in today's widespread outrage over Donald Trump's dismissal of John McCain's war heroism is that the GOP national-poll front-runner's comments, besides demonstrating an idiocratic lack of basic human judgment and decency, are also dead wrong.

    Because this is Donald Trump, and Donald Trump is a vulgar anti-intellect who cannot string a coherent paragraph together, his full statement contradicts itself several times within 57 short words.

    If you need reminding of just how dead wrong Trump was, check out the whole thing.

    Pun Salad is no fan of McCain as a person or politician. As noted back in March 2008: he's a jerk. And note that Trump's comment was in the wake of McCain's accusation that Trump had "fired up the crazies" in a Phoenix rally. Referring to thousands of McCain's own constituents.

    Pun Salad did not enjoy Star Trek season 3 much, but wishes for a solution to the McCain/Trump brawl similar to the episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield": beam them both down to a desolate planet, let them fight it out, while the rest of us move along at warp speed.

  • The NYT reported on the doin's of man-of-the-people Bernie Sanders last weekend:

    […] Mr. Sanders quietly stepped off the campaign trail this weekend to visit Martha’s Vineyard, a favorite summer destination of the country’s elite, in order to mix with representatives of some of the same interests he inveighs against in his stump speech.

    Mr. Sanders attended the annual Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fund-raiser on the Massachusetts island, a popular gathering that draws some of the most prominent business lobbyists and fund-raisers in the Democratic Party.

    A "prominent attendee" was anonymously quoted as saying that Bernie's presence at the affair (which had a $37K admission fee) "suggested he was more pragmatic than his rhetoric would let on."

    Pragmatic? That's an interesting way to spell "phony". (See the Weekly Standard for a funny poster.)

  • Reuters reports that computer algorithms used by analytics firms to harvest data from social media are flummoxed by "sarcasm and mockery". And—you see where this is going—that's a particular problem for political campaigns using those results to target advertising dollars. Example:

    Haystaq, a predictive analysis firm, examined Tweets containing the expression “classy” and found 72 percent of them used it in a positive way. But when used near the name of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, around three quarters of tweets citing "classy" were negative.

    <sarcasm>I certainly hope that campaigns don't waste money on poorly-targeted ads!</sarcasm>

  • Martin O'Malley hasn't cracked the 2% barrier at PredictWise lately, but we'll blog about him anyway. In just a few hours timespan:

    1. O'Malley made a horrific gaffe at the left-wing Netroots Nation conference by saying: "Black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter." The last two phrases departed from the current Progressive Holy Writ enough to get him booed off the stage.

    2. An abject apology was not long in forthcoming.

    3. Which caused this tweet in response:

    Note to analytic software algorithms: the above tweet is mockery. I repeat: mockery.