The Phony Campaign

2019-01-13 Update

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So what happened in the past week? Julian Castro and Hillary Clinton (again) have broken onto our Phony Campaign leader board. Julian has a 5% nomination probability according to Predictwise, well over our 3% criterion. In addition to Julian, Hillary Clinton edges back into our table this week. Gone for now are Tim Kaine and Paul Ryan.

A double Google glitch has leapfrogged Beto O'Rourke and Nikki Haley over Donald Trump in phony Google hits. This will not last.

Candidate NomProb Change
Beto O'Rourke 19% +2% 12,600,000 +11,680,000
Nikki Haley 8% +1% 2,520,000 +1,730,000
Donald Trump 65% +4% 2,090,000 +350,000
Sherrod Brown 4% unch 924,000 +132,000
Kamala Harris 19% +1% 835,000 +269,000
Hillary Clinton 3% --- 821,000 ---
Julian Castro 5% --- 355,000 ---
Mitt Romney 3% -1% 222,000 -12,000
Bernie Sanders 5% -1% 219,000 +11,000
Joe Biden 13% +2% 169,000 -7,000
Kirsten Gillibrand 4% -1% 160,000 -1,000
Mike Pence 7% unch 153,000 -10,000
Elizabeth Warren 6% -1% 146,000 -30,000
Amy Klobuchar 6% +1% 110,000 -10,000
Cory Booker 3% -1% 48,500 -6,800
John Kasich 5% unch 47,800 +1,800

Standard disclaimer: Google result counts are bogus.

  • Paul Mirengoff at Power Line notes: Two obscure Dems enter presidential race. One is the previously mention Julian Castro, dismissed as a "standard issue left-wing Democrat." (From what I saw on the news: leaning heavily on his ethnicity.)

    But Tulsi is a tad more interesting:

    Gabbard is a bit unorthodox for a Democrat. Her American Conservative Union ratings usually flirt with double digits, which is unusual for a congressional Dem. Her Hawaii colleagues Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz struggle to exceed zero. Conservative Review once gave Gabbard a rating of 20 percent, the same number it gave Lisa Murkowski.

    Unfortunately (as Paul further notes), she's also been a "stooge" in the recent past for Bashar al Assad. (Co-stooging with Dennis Kucinich.)

  • So what about Julian other than being a standard issue left-wing Democrat? Cameron Cawthorne of the Free Beacon noted some problems, even compared to other standard issue left-wing Democrats: Julian Castro Struggles to Provide Specifics on What Qualifies Him to Be President.

    Julian's previous elective offices: mayor of San Antonio (2009-2014); San Antonio City Councilman (2001-2005). And he was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (2014-2017). That's a pretty thin résumé. Anyway he was fed a softball query from George Stephanopoulos:

    Anchor George Stephanopoulos, noting Castro's lack foreign policy experience, asked him what he believes is the "greatest national threat" and what qualifies him to tackle the issue.

    "Well, I believe that today, the greatest threat to our national security is the fact that this president, as one of your previous guests has said, is damaging the relationships that we’ve had in place in the post-World War II era, whether it's NATO or other alliances with individual countries that have kept us safer," Castro said. "The first thing that I would do if I were president with regard to our relationships around the world is to strengthen them, because those alliances have helped keep us safe."

    Stephanopoulos pressed Castro on what makes him qualified to be the next commander in chief.

    "Well, I—as I said earlier, I think that being mayor of a large city and serving in the president's cabinet certainly qualifies one to be commander in chief, and I'm going to go out there and make the case," Castro said.

    Okay, Julian. If you say so. I have to admit, that might be a better answer than Trump had four years ago.

  • Jim Geraghty is back with 15 Things You Didn’t Know, this week's subject being Elizabeth Warren. All 15 are interesting (but I knew some of them), here's an interesting tidbit:

    4) In his autobiography Stress Test, President Obama’s first treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, portrays Warren as an empty suit, full of criticism but short on serious alternative proposals. Her “oversight hearings often felt more like made-for-YouTube inquisitions than serious inquiries,” he writes. “She was worried about the right things but she was better at impugning our choices — as well as our intentions and our competence — than identifying any feasible alternatives.”

    Geithner describes a meeting with Warren in which he said, “At some point, you should tell me what you propose we do,” and she admitted she hadn’t really thought about what specifically should change in the administration’s approach.

    Of course, other Obama-administration officials have contended that Geithner “hated her,” for both personal and ideological reasons.

    The link above goes to a very pro-Warren 2011 article at Vanity Fair.

  • But is she likeable? I'm not one to say. I have a sterling record of liking presidential candidates that everyone else thinks are unlikeable: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Fred Thompson,…

    But Matt Lewis at the Daily Beast bravely opines: I’ll Say It: Elizabeth Warren Isn’t Likeable.

    I’m a conservative, so I don’t really worry about whether I’ve offended liberal feminists. I don’t have a problem saying that Warren is unlikeable. She seems preachy and angry to me. Actually, she’s a combination of some of the horrible math teachers I endured in middle school, and a friend’s overly emotional mom.

    This might sound pretty specific, but we’ve all met people like Warren. She’s an archetype of a genre that I’m pretty sure would turn off a lot of voters. What is more, she increasingly looks like a phony—a problem she is reinforcing by trying to copy Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s Instagram game.

    This is not an indictment of powerful women, but of Elizabeth Warren. I’m a fan of Nikki Haley. And though I’m no more ideologically simpatico to Nancy Pelosi, Krysten Sinema, or AOC than I am to Warren, the aforementioned progressive women seem kind of charming to me.

    Pelosi? Ooooh Kaaaay, Matt.

  • At Reason, Christian Britschgi analyzes Kamala's latest legislative proposal: Kamala Harris' Proposed 'Tax Cut' for the Middle Class Manages to Cost Both Money and Jobs.

    The government may still be shut down, but Congress is finally back in session, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) has seized the opportunity to introduce her latest legislative reform, the awkwardly named Livable Incomes for Families Today (LIFT) the Middle Class Act.

    The bill, in brief, would offer all families earning less than $100,000 as much as $6,000 in refundable tax credits.

    The problems being: (1) it seriously impacts the deficit (a "10-year price tag of $2.7 trillion"); (2) although Kamala has said she wants to make it revenue-neutral (meaning huge tax increases on other people; (3) the details of the tax credit phase-out would subject people to a huge marginal tax rate, with accompanying work disincentive; (4) it is needlessly duplicative of the existing Earned Income Tax Credit; while (5) adding more complication to an already too-complex tax code.

    In other words: it seems more like campaign boob-bait than a serious policy proposal.

  • Ann Althouse is relentlessly analytical on WaPo's embarrassing indulgence in hyperbole describing the attendance at Democratic candidates rallies..

    For years we've seen gigantic crowds at Trump rallies downplayed in the mainstream press, and that's the baseline against which I judge "Iowa Democrats fill events to the rafters with 13 months left before the 2020 caucuses."

    Even before reading the article, I'm thinking: 1. So everybody got into the room (no overflow room, no people left outside in the parking lot), 2. What size was the room (unless it was a big arena, what's the big deal about filling a room)? 3. Filling "to the rafters" is a metaphor, visualizing people piled on top of each other, but of course that didn't happen, so how densely packed was the room? 4. Of course, there's a fire code, so they couldn't pack a room all that much, 5. WaPo sounds silly saying "fill events to the rafters," when I think all they mean is that some people are showing up for events.

    The WaPo employs Democrat shills as reporters, and has lazy editors who can't shear their copy of what Ann calls "old-time adman language".