The Phony Campaign

2015-10-25 Update

Yet another shakeup in our phony lineup this week. Joe Biden took himself out of the running, and this allowed Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee to sneak above our arbitrary 2% probability threshold, according to PredictWise. This is Huckabee's first appearance since August 9.

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2015-10-18
"Jeb Bush" phony 1,090,000 -2,100,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 536,000 -1,924,000
"Donald Trump" phony 407,000 -1,563,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 235,000 -63,000
"Ted Cruz" phony 154,000 -36,000
"Ben Carson" phony 151,000 -17,000
"Marco Rubio" phony 124,000 -10,000
"Chris Christie" phony 110,000 ---
"Mike Huckabee" phony 76,100 ---

The week in phoniness.

  • Did the Benghazi hearings confirm yet again what a brazen liar Hillary is? Find out the answer to that question in Jonah Goldberg's G-File, headlined "The Benghazi Hearings Confirm Yet Again What a Brazen Liar Hillary Is".

    Not shocking news. (Jonah: "Of course, this wasn’t actually a revelation any more than testimony from the Secretary of the Interior that, after extensive study, he can confirm that bears do, in fact s*** in the woods.")

    Also non-shocking (but depressing): the mainstream media's unwillingness to make Hillary's serial mendacity clear to their readers/viewers. Jonah's summary: "Protect the Hive Queen!". He links to Noah Rothman's summary of media coverage at Commentary. His conclusion:

    The Benghazi Committee is owed a public debt if only because it has exposed the decay in Washington’s culture of wagon-circling. Pundits who forever lament America’s sense of alienation from the political class and their growing cynicism towards elected elites appear not to notice when they are exacerbating that condition. While news media and Democrats are praising Clinton’s performance, Americans are waking up to the notion that they might have been deliberately misled about the deaths of their fellow citizens in a terror attack and likely for petty political gain. There is something rotten here.

    Indeed.

  • Ryan Lizza in the New Yorker mulls on Jeb's campaign woes:

    Jeb has presented himself as the most electable Republican candidate: willing to break with Republican orthodoxy on domestic issues such as immigration and education, and committed to breaking, if vaguely, with his brother’s legacy on foreign policy and to being, as he has said, his “own man.” Before Bush officially entered the 2016 campaign, he remarked to a group of C.E.O.s at a conference in Washington, D.C., that a successful candidate had to be willing to “lose the primary to win the general,” and should campaign “without violating your principles.” He meant that one must avoid the perennial trap of party primaries, in which “base voters,” the hard-core conservatives, force politicians to take extreme positions that will prove unpopular in a general election and, when later disavowed, expose the candidate as a phony. “It’s not an easy task, to be honest with you,” he noted. (Hillary Clinton faces a similar problem in her race for the Democratic nomination.)

    Interesting strategy, Jeb: don't be exposed as a phony. How's that working out for you?

  • Politico's Seung Min Kim notes the tightrope walk by Marco Rubio on immigration: he once favored the infamous "Gang of Eight" immigration approach, now not so much.

    “He’s saying to donors and to Latinos that I’m still for a path to citizenship, I’m still for immigration reform. But I’ve learned the hard way” regarding a comprehensive bill, Sharry said. “It’s very clever. It sounds reasonable. But for people who actually know what it takes to pass legislation, especially immigration reform legislation, it’s so hollow. It has all the substance of Cheetos.”

    Snarky comment: those people "who actually know what it takes to pass legislation" didn't actually pass legislation.

    Once you discount the article's obvious bias, it appears that Rubio has actually shifted his position, but doesn't want to pay the price with pro-"comprehensive" reformers. And the hunk of the electorate that might agree with his current enforcement-first-then-we'll-talk stance don't really view his conversion as genuine. It's tough out there for a phony.

Bad Monkey

[Amazon Link]

I came a little late to Carl Hiaasen fandom, but since then I've been a loyal reader. I just no longer buy the hardcovers on publication day. In fact, I picked this up from our local Barnes&Noble remainder display and saved a couple bucks over both paperback and Kindle editions.

Things kick off when a tourist on a fishing expedition off the Florida coast reels in a grisly discovery: a human arm, middle finger outstretched. Local law enforcement treats it like a hot potato: nobody wants to deal with this obvious unfortunate accident. Disgraced ex-cop Andrew Yates is tasked with passing off the arm to someone, anyone, who'll take it off his hands.

Andrew is your typical flawed Hiaasen hero: honest, but quick-tempered with poor impulse control. He's been demoted to restaurant-inspection duty because—see if you can follow this—the husband of the woman Andrew had been involved insulted her honor, and Andrew sodomized him with a vacuum cleaner in front of a few hundred witnesses.

Anyway, Andrew sees the arm as a possible tool to get his job back. (Restaurant inspection is a dreadful, disgusting job as paragraphs of Hiaasenian prose make clear.) Identifying the person to which the arm used to be attached is pretty easy. The widow, however, is suspiciously non-grieving. Then people start dying. Of course, not all is as it seems.

Oh yeah: there's a monkey. And he's not well-behaved. It turns out that show-biz (Pirates of the Caribbean, specifically) can burn out animals the same way it does humans.

Not a bad read, but I found myself bemused at the pacing. There's a big climactic showdown/rescue/revelation … and then the book goes on for eighty more pages.