The Phony Campaign

2015-10-18 Update

Our leader board gets shaken up a bit this week. Both Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie have dropped below our 2% PredictWise inclusion threshold, and Ted Cruz has moved his five-foot-eight frame in to take their place. This is the first time Ted has broken 2% since we've been paying attention. So:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Jeb Bush" phony 3,190,000 +2,080,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 2,460,000 +1,926,000
"Donald Trump" phony 1,970,000 +1,525,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 298,000 +120,000
"Joe Biden" phony 203,000 -3,000
"Ted Cruz" phony 190,000 ---
"Ben Carson" phony 168,000 -61,000
"Marco Rubio" phony 134,000 +1,000

  • Let's welcome Ted by pointing out that—whoa—a lot of web-writers out there really, really, really despise him. Just click his link up there and peruse the first few Googled results. For example, Lynn Stuart Parramore of Alternet writing (a couple of years ago): "Ted Cruz Is a Big Phony and A Giant Narcissist".

    And a huge poopyhead too, amirite Lynn?

    Ted Cruz, the Tea Party darling, fake-filibustered his way into headlines recently with a 21-hour anti-Obamacare verbal rampage that simultaneously made his party look stupid and accomplished nothing. It did, however, spread images of his smarmy mug across televisions and newspapers around the country, which is the outcome Cruz most ardently hoped for.

    Lynn gets high marks for invective, insult, and innuendo. Matt K. Lewis (as you might expect) offers a more balanced picture: The Obama-like rhetoric, record, and divisiveness of Ted Cruz:

    Lots of people think Ted Cruz is a phony. Others are just as sure that he's among the most genuine politicians in America. He's not all that different from President Obama that way.

    Lewis argues that Cruz sees himself as (in Obama's words) "fundamentally transforming the United States of America." Except in a good way.

    Personally, I would prefer a candidate who would make the same pledge as Rick Perry made four years back: "I’ll work every day to try to make Washington, DC, as inconsequential in your life as I can."

  • At Reason, Nick Gillespie asks and answers the query troubling everyone many some maybe two or three people: "Just How Bad Would Joe Biden Be as President? Really F*cking Bad." (Asterisk in original.) Sample:

    For virtually his entire career, Biden has been a joke and a punchline, known not simply for dada-esque gaffes but also for cheating while in law school and, inexplicably, plagiarizing biographical details from a British politician during a disastrous White House run in 1988. Then there's the weird stuff during swearing-in ceremonies.

    But would Joe be be worse than Hillary? That's a tough call, right?

  • Hillary tried hard this week to disguise the motives for her recent flip-flop on the TPP trade deal as somehow something different than sheer political expediency. This involved her claiming she had perused the current state of the deal when she almost certainly had not. Fallout: an amusing exchange with White House Pressdroid, Josh Earnest:

    Q Josh, thanks. I want to ask you about Secretary Clinton and TPP. It’s interesting to me, because I remember back when we were talking earlier this year about GOP lawmakers who hadn’t seen the Iran deal, for example, and you were understandably very critical of them for being against something before they’d actually even seen it, they hadn’t even read it. And now we have Secretary Clinton who presumably also has not seen the final draft of the TPP and yet she’s against it, too. And I’m just curious if you feel like criticism is warranted because she is essentially doing what a lot of GOP lawmakers were doing earlier this year. You haven’t seen it, you haven’t read it, and you’re coming out against it. Seems phony, doesn’t it?

    MR. EARNEST: Well, I don’t think that I’ve minced any words in noting that we have a disagreement on this issue. But for the reasons that she has arrived at this position, I’d refer you to her campaign.

    In other words (actually in one other word): "Yes".

  • Actor Frank Ridley has a gig with, one of the seemingly endless groups looking to "end corruption". Ridley plays the role of "Honest Gil Fulbright", a straightforward pol who will tell you to your face that he's looking to screw ordinary people over to cater to "special interests." Honest Gil showed up at the Republican Liberty Caucus meeting in Nashua NH last weekend; here's his speech:

    Did you stay through the whole thing? Yeah, I didn't either. A bit obvious and heavy-handed.

    But here's the funny thing: phony candidate Honest Gil beat actual candidate Jeb Bush in the RLC straw poll, getting 1.5% to Jeb's 1.2%.

Last Modified 2015-10-18 10:52 AM EDT