The Phony Campaign

2015-11-01 Update

The bettors that drive the PredictWise numbers thought better of Mike Huckabee's appearance in last week's list, and drove his Presidential Probability back under our arbitrary 2% threshold.

Jeb Bush's phony hit counts dropped him back into the pack this week, and, lo, we have a new front-runner. And (if I may be allowed a bit of editorial comment) one who actually deserves the position:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2015-10-25
"Donald Trump" phony 1,110,000 +703,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 1,080,000 +544,000
"Ted Cruz" phony 270,000 +116,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 257,000 +22,000
"Jeb Bush" phony 225,000 -865,000
"Marco Rubio" phony 195,000 +71,000
"Ben Carson" phony 144,000 -7,000
"Chris Christie" phony 118,000 +8,000

  • Our two phony leaders managed to utter more-obvious-than-usual falsehoods over recent days, which inspired Scott Shackford at Reason to fit three rhetorical questions into his headline: "Does Clinton’s DOMA Lie Matter? Does Trump’s Immigration Lie Matter? Do Any Lies Matter?"

    Shackford patiently outlines the deceptions and the ho-hum, it's-business-as-usual response. Bottom line:

    Politicians lie, obviously, of course, especially during elections. Even when they don't lie, they make promises they don't know whether they can keep, they mislead, they deflect criticism rather than address it. There's a significant voter undercurrent that seems to be embracing it, because the important thing is that those terrible other people—whose lies are so much worse—don't win the election.

    We've come a long way since Jimmy Carter famously promised: "I'll never tell a lie. I'll never knowingly make a misstatement of fact. I'll never betray your trust. If I do any of these things, I don't want you to support me."

    In contrast, I can imagine Hillary or Trump saying: "Yeah, I'll lie. About anything. And my dimwit supporters will love it."

  • Shackford could well have added Dr. Ben Carson into his list, as Carson veered into outright falsehood during the debate when questioned about his relationship with Mannatech, a purveyor of "glyconutrient" dietary supplements to the gullible. The indispensable Jim Geraghty describes "What Ben Carson’s Mannatech Answer Tells Us".

    Carson’s lack of due diligence before working with the company is forgivable. His blatant lying about it now is much harder to forgive.

  • James Fallows is a pretty doctrinaire liberal, but his observations on the GOP debate are kind of interesting, and he has this to say about Ted Cruz:

    What usually rings phony about Cruz’s manner, in my “according to me” personal view, is that he is so transparently talking down. He is posturing about things he obviously knows aren’t really true: that Chuck Hagel might be an agent of the North Koreans, that it makes sense to shut down the government, whatever else he is saying now. In this latest debate, he came out for the gold standard! The chance that a Princeton/Harvard graduate in his 40s, whose spouse is a managing partner at Goldman Sachs (on leave), actually believes in a (ruinous) return to the gold standard, is zero.

    On the gold standard, I'm more in tune with Milton Friedman than I am with Fallows: it's a good idea in theory, but in the modern world it's probably impractical. But I would wager that Cruz has probably thought about it more than Fallows has.

    The funny thing is that Fallows criticized Cruz for the above only to praise him for "twenty seconds of greatness". Unfortunately the YouTube video link Fallows provided has gone stale, but it must be this:

  • They warned us! Specifically, they warned us Hillary would be displaying more "humor and heart" on the campaign trail. The inevitable result? Vines like this:

    (Turn the sound on. Then—aieee!—immediately turn it off.)

  • And the tweet of the week is…


Last Modified 2015-11-02 5:26 AM EST