The Phony Campaign

2016-04-03 Update

For yet another week, PredictWise dictates no changes to our leader board, and there are no changes in our rankings:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Donald Trump" phony 268,000 -33,000
"John Kasich" phony 214,000 +25,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 98,600 -6,400
"Ted Cruz" phony 70,000 -11,300
"Bernie Sanders" phony 60,000 -800

True fact: divide Trump's hit count by Hillary's and you get nearly exactly the value of e, base of the natural logarithms. I'm sure that indicates something.

The phony news this week:

  • You can't read much about Ted Cruz without reading about the people who dislike him. Nearly everyone, it seems. You owe it to yourself to get the other side. Readers, Jay Nordlinger knows Cruz and likes him. Jay has a three part series at NRO: here, here, and here. It is personal, and a welcome antidote to the Ross Douthats of the world. Sample:

    You may have heard that he is not well liked by the people around him. Well, I liked him — loved him. But it’s true: Some people found him too cocky, too brash, and too ambitious for their taste.

    I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more patient I am with ambition — certainly if that ambition is directed to positive ends. I think of William Herndon on his onetime law partner, Lincoln: “His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest.”

    I've been reading Jay for a number of years, and he's struck me as the straightest of straight shooters. If he likes Cruz, that's good enough for me.

  • In the "who knew you could make a decent living doing that" category, we have Mr. Kevin Long whose gig is to search out and destroy fake social media accounts posing as his celebrity clients. For example:

    While Kevin Long and his haven’t yet been hired by the part-time Palm Beacher, Long says a little bit of work on his part uncovered more than 230 fake Trump pages. And more than 200 for Hillary Clinton.

    The obvious question: what algorithm can possibly detect the phoniness of a fake page, when the actual candidates are so phony themselves? I might have been able to figure this out if I had taken that AI course back in college.

  • We've been trying to ignore John Kasich, but he just won't go away. Also impatiently waiting is Steven "Louder With" Crowder, who posted an open letter to Governor Kasich this week.

    You are one giant, dishonest, poorly coiffed, insufferably smug phony. You unabashedly fancy yourself as the “friendly guy.” The “reasonable guy.” The likeable bloke. Or perhaps you prefer being called  “The Prince of Light and Hope” as you so humbly referred to yourself. Several times. On record. May I remind you that you did so unironically, while also naming your competition “Disciples of Darkness.” Sure, you give out free hugs. But behind that self-satisfied, tight-lipped smile of yours…? You’re a pompous ass who cares more about your own faulty ideals than the will of the people. Also, fire your barber. The “baby bird hatchling” look is flattering to precisely zero percent of population earth. Yourself included.

    Not just a phony, but a poorly coiffed phony. That's gotta sting.

  • Betsy McCaughey brings a reality check to "Hillary Clinton’s Phony Health Care Fixes. (Her words, not mine.) (OK, mine too.)

    The Clinton campaign is finally owning up to what most Americans learned the hard way. The Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable. In fact, its costs are crushing people who have to buy health insurance. Hillary Clinton vows to fix the problem, but don’t count on it. Clinton’s remedies are bad medicine. Some are so preposterous she can’t possibly believe they’d work. She could use a dose of truth serum.

    Although the reliability of so-called truth serums is nebulous at best, that doesn't stop Pun Salad from advocating that there be a number of debates where all participants would be dosed. Including the moderators. That would be a hoot. I would watch that.

  • It seems to be conventional wisdom that Bernie's the least phony of the current candidates. And in recent weeks he's been consistently at the bottom of our poll.

    Folks who want to support him on that basis should check out Matt Welch's "Bernie's Bad Ideas" from the current issue of Reason. Some of Bernie's positions fit well within a libertarian perspective, but (bad news) there's nothing to like in his economic worldview and (worse news) his supporters tend to like his economics best of all.

    A decade ago, left-of-center commentators prided themselves for being members of the "reality-based community," in reference to an old Karl Rove quote that dismissed adherents of such to be naive. Now, after seven years of economic realities smacking Democratic promises in the face, Bernie Sanders has arrived to say that the problem with all the spending, the centralizing, and the stimulusing, is that it did not go nearly far enough.

    I cheer for Sanders because I like to see Hillary lose. But President Sanders would be pretty bad news.