The Phony Campaign

2016-02-21 Update

South Carolina Republicans have spoken, and the prediction marketeers at PredictWise are ruthless this morning, judging only four people with a 2%-or-greater chance at the US Presidency. Gone: not only Jeb!, but Cruz and Bloomberg, too. That makes our phony lineup look like this:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Donald Trump" phony 258,000 +147,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 108,000 -57,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 101,000 -2,000
"Marco Rubio" phony 49,400 -5,200

  • Our new phony front-runner is one Donald J. Trump. Unfortunately, our Google method can not distinguish between hit counts caused by "X is a phony" and those caused by "X calls Y a phony."

    For example, here's Trump's reaction to an NBC/WSJ poll of nationwide Republicans showing Cruz with a slim lead over Trump:

    "That phony Wall Street Journal poll that came out yesterday was, in my opinion, it was a fix....It was a Rupert Murdoch hit. It was just a Rupert Murdoch hit," Trump told SiriusXM's Breitbart News Daily on Thursday.

    Uh, fine. Except I see a problem: the roughly contemporaneous Fox News poll of the race showing Trump up by 17% over Cruz. Quiz: Fox News is owned by…?

    I will assume that you know, or have looked up, the answer.

    Murdoch is pretty inept at orchestrating "fixes" and "hits", if he manages to rig a poll half-commissioned by one of his companies, and forgets to rig another.

    Simpler explanation: Trump is a paranoid blowhard, quick to sling made-up baseless accusations at the slightest hint of bad news. Just what we need in a President!

  • You might think Scott Johnson of Power Line belabors the obvious:

    Hillary Clinton is false in everything, a gold-plated phony seemingly incapable of uttering a true word. She lies with abandon. She lies with the ease of a pathological liar. Everyone knows it. Everyone sees it.

    This is spurred by CBS News anchor Scott Pelley's interview with Hillary, where he asks "Have you always told the truth?" You'll be shocked by her answer!

    No, wait, kidding. You won't be shocked by her answer.

  • On Bernie's website, his speech to the UAW in Detroit is described:

    Bernie Sanders came to a United Auto Workers union hall in Detroit on Monday night to talk about disastrous trade policies. “You don’t need a PhD in economics to know these trade agreements were phony from Day One,” Sanders told 1,250 workers.

    Bernie might have continued: "In fact, when you're opposing free trade agreements, it really helps to know nothing about economics at all." (Recommended NYT reading: Greg Mankiw "Economists Actually Agree on This: The Wisdom of Free Trade".)

    Bernie's website article does manage to catch out some real phoniness:

    [Hillary Clinton] has praised past trade agreements and once called the Pacific trade deal “the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field.” Last Oct. 8, however, she said that “as of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it.

    Hm. A dimwitted demagogic socialist versus a slippery demagogic prevaricator. Democrats face a tough choice there.

  • The Rubio campaign was livid over a photo that appeared on the Cruz campaign's website "The REAL Rubio Record". It purports to show Rubio enthusiastically shaking hands with Obama, and is allegedly a Photoshopped fake.

    On Thursday, Buzz Jacobs, a senior adviser to the Rubio campaign in South Carolina, said the photo was phony during a conference call with reporters. “I think it continues a pattern of dishonest tactics and dirty tricks that the Cruz campaign has become known for,” Jacobs said.

    As near as I can tell, the photo has now been replaced with an actual photo of Rubio enthusiastically shaking hands with Obama.

    So now what, Marco?