The Phony Campaign

2016-09-12 Update

Pictured at right (no, your right): a basket of deplorables, according to my dog.

PredictWise has Hillary this morning with a mere 74% win-probability, down 2% from last week. Frankly, I thought she'd be lower, but the prediction markets might want to see a few post-weekend polls before they panic.

But what really matters is that's she's also recovered her rightful standing in the Phony Poll:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2016-09-04
"Hillary Clinton" phony 965,000 +169,000
"Donald Trump" phony 863,000 -147,000
"Jill Stein" phony 510,000 -1,050,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 126,000 +49,600

Before we take the usual cheap shots, the 9/11 anniversary has me recalling Hillary's post-WTC remarks, recounted at the time by Nicholas Lehman in The New Yorker. (Unfortunately the article is not online, but I'm pretty sure my quoting is accurate.) Lehman asked Hillary how she thought people would react to knowing that they are on the receiving end of a murderous anger. Her response:

Oh, I am well aware that it is out there... One of the most difficult experiences that I personally had in the White House was during the health-care debate, being the object of extraordinary rage. I remember being in Seattle. I was there to make a speech about health care. This was probably August of '94. Radio talk-show hosts had urged their listeners to come out and yell and scream and carry on and prevent people from hearing me speak. There were threats that were coming in, and certain people didn't want me to speak, and they started taking weapons off people, and arresting people. I've had firsthand looks at this unreasoning anger and hatred that is focussed on an individual you don't know, a cause that you despise--whatever motivates people.

I originally posted this to Usenet back in October 2001. At the time, I thought it demonstrated Hillary's "wacky narcissistic self-martyrdom". What's the first thing that leaps into her mind when asked about the mindset that caused the deaths of thousands of Americans? Why, yes, this is just exactly like her getting booed in Seattle seven years previous.

In addition to painting her poltical opponents with the same brush as mass murderers, she quite clearly needs to view herself as under constant physical threat. Coming from the person who claimed to have landed under sniper fire in Bosnia, it's not a particularly credible claim.

Just wanted to get that off my chest.

  • Does phony populism feed the family? Fortunately, E. J. Dionne has the answer: "Help Wanted: Phony Populism Doesn't Feed the Family". Now, E. J. is a doctrinaire liberal, so we don't expect much more than Hillary-good, Trump-bad. And we are not disappointed:

    The truth is that Clinton has offered many more serious policy proposals for raising workers' incomes than Trump has. Her website is full of ideas on expanding profit-sharing, a "Make it in America" initiative to promote manufacturing, plans on family leave, child care, cutting student debt and much more.

    Gosh, aren't "proposals" and "ideas" great? When will Democrats go for broke and start selling the whole package as a Five-Year Plan? Surely that will work!

  • Since I'm writing on Monday, who knows where this will go, but it's clear that Hillary's health is just one more issue on which she's decided to admit only as much as she is absolutely forced to. Rich Lowry sums up the obvious:

    If there were any doubt before, the episode shows a Clinton White House would be habitually secretive and deceptive.

    And (as with the her e-mail issue), the only near-certainty is that this week's statements will be revealed next week to have been lies, carefully-worded prevarications, or irrelevant fakery.

  • Hillary, of course, was caught saying what she really thought:

    Hillary Clinton, speaking Friday at a big-ticket fundraiser in New York City, said half of Donald Trump’s supporters could be categorized into a “basket of deplorables,” implying that his backers hold “irredeemable” views on issues of race, gender and religion.

    To just be grossly generalist, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call ‘the basket of deplorables,’” Clinton told donors gathered at a Manhattan restaurant. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that, and he has lifted them up.”

    Eh, so she doesn't like 'em. She later "apologized" by saying that she shouldn't have said "half", which is just quibbling over numbers.

    It's no secret that I despise Trump, but… gee, I kinda wish she'd go into more detail on who she puts in the "basket of deplorables". Would I make the cut?

    Almost needless to say: Hillary's deepest contempt, deep down, must be for her own supporters. The people who have bought every one of her lies for decades. The people who have nothing to look forward to except more of the same.

  • Recommended: An insightful article from William Voegeli, "Hillary’s Empty Moralism Is a Reflection of the Greater Progressive Movement". Voegeli observes that people wonder if "Clintonism" is a coherent body of thought, or is there a big difference between the Bill-version and the Hillary-version.

    So, is Clintonism one body of thought, or two? The Clintons’ rhetorical oeuvre makes clear that the best answer is zero. Again and again, for a quarter century, their every attempt to connect and rationalize individual policy proposals culminates in sour nothings, windy declarations as solemn as they are vacuous.

    There's a quote from a Hillary speech earlier this year that almost proves the point by itself: “I believe in an America always moving toward the future.”

    Gosh, me too. Heck, as a physics major, I believe the entire frickin' universe is always moving toward the future. I shudder when I consider the alternatives.

  • Let's not let Trump go unzinged this week. Peruse Kevin D. Williamson on "What the Perpetually Aggrieved Mean by ‘Winning’". He notes the uncanny parallel…

    Bill Clinton was, so far as I can tell, the first American president who was actively admired for his dishonesty. Democrats — and not only they — loved to bask in Slick Willie’s cleverness, to watch him get himself into jams and get himself out again, making his opponents look like fools. Of course he betrayed his family, his supporters, and the country that entrusted him with the highest office in the land — but he won! This is what is going on in the mind of Donald Trump when he praises Vladimir Putin: Sure, he’s a brute, but look at those poll numbers. That is why in the minds of his admirers, anything Trump does can be spun into gold. “Winning!”

    Mr. Williamson reveals an ugly truth that (in his case) hits very close to home. RTWT.

The Walk

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

A coincidence of Netflix queue dynamics provided this movie near the 15th anniversary of 9/11.

It is a fictionalized version of a movie we've actually seen before: Man on Wire, the 2008 documentary that described Philippe Petit's audacious and illegal tightrope walk between the WTC towers back in August 1974. That documentary won an Oscar; this movie won zero Oscars, and was kind of a box office dud, and we know how things turn out, but I still found it enjoyable.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Petit, which demands that he adopt a silly French accent. OK, that decision that was probably demanded by reality, but still. A Paris street performer, he takes it into his head to conquer the towers, and he gradually acquires a motley (but colorful) array of co-conspirators whose dedication to Petit's dream varies. But there's only so much dramatic tension you can muster when (again) we know how things are going to turn out. (The movie also sent me to a reality-vs-film site to see how well it followed reality. Pretty well.)

The filmmakers do a stunning CGI job of recreating the 1974-era WTC. It kind of made me wish that I'd seen it in theatre-3D when it came out in 2015; if I had managed to avoid vertigo-related barfing, it would have certainly been awesome.