The Phony Campaign

2020-06-14 Update

Man, I miss Calvin and Hobbes, don't you?

[Cubist Calvin]

Any relation to our nation's current debates is probably due to Bill Watterson's time machine.

The betting markets continue to look favorably (or, since Betfair is in the UK, "favourably") upon Wheezy Joe and bet against Four More Orange Years. But Trump still maintains his solid lead in the only poll that really counts:

Candidate WinProb Change
Donald Trump 43.2% -1.9% 1,990,000 +170,000
Joe Biden 51.6% +2.0% 506,000 +24,000

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

  • Daniel J. Mitchell sounds a warning about Joe: he's An Incrementalist Version of Bernie Sanders. (A significant portion of American voters don't see that as a warning, however.)

    His post is a useful collection of sources from left and right saying that leftists will probably be pretty happy in a Biden administration.

    Fun fact: as a legislator, Biden's lifetime score on economic matters from the Club for Growth is a goose egg: zero, nil, nada. That's less than Obama (who got 4, on a 0-100 scale), Teddy Kennedy (4), Hillary Clinton (3), and even Bernie Sanders (who wangled a 9!).

    Dan's bottom line:

    That being said, my two cents on this topic is that Biden is a statist, but not overly ideological.

    His support for bigger government is largely a strategy of catering to the various interest groups that dominate the Democratic Party.

    The good news is that he’s an incrementalist and won’t aggressively push for a horrifying FDR-style agenda if he gets to the White House.

    The bad news is that he will probably allow Nancy Pelosi and other statist ideologues to dictate that kind of agenda if he wins the presidency.

    I view that last bit as really bad news, as Biden's fading mental faculties may make him essentially a figurehead; the people really running the show will be no "incrementalists".

  • Ah, but President Bone Spurs goosed his phony lead this week by reacting poorly to signs that his popularity (the only thing he really cares about) is fading. As reported by Firstpost (an Indian news site, I think): Donald Trump demands CNN retract 'phony' poll that shows him trailing Joe Biden by 14 percentage points

    On Wednesday, the president’s team added a new wrinkle to its media intimidation tactics: Demanding that a TV network retract a poll it did not like.

    In an unusual cease-and-desist letter, the Trump campaign called on CNN to retract and apologise for a national poll this week that showed the president trailing his Democratic opponent, former vice-president Joe Biden, by 14 percentage points among registered voters.

    Trump’s aides called the poll “phony” and “a stunt,” accusing CNN without evidence of trying to “stifle momentum and enthusiasm for the president and present a false view generally of the actual support across America for the president.”

    And of course there was a p-word tweet:

    Here's a tweet with the text of the "cease and desist" letter:

    I have no idea whether this meets the legal standard for "cease and desist", but it's certainly arrogant, demanding, and shows no decent respect for CNN's First Amendment right to publish/broadcast any poll it damn well pleases.

    For the record, as I type, RealClearPolitics does show the CNN poll as an outlier, its 14-point Biden lead significantly more than the "RCP average" of an 8.1 point Biden lead.

  • How far in the tank is the New York Times for Biden? Just toe-dipping, or full plunge? Wesley J. Smith provides a data point indicating the latter, looking at a recent op-ed, allowed by the paper's Red Guard: Ezekiel Emanuel Warns Trump Could Rush Vaccine as ‘October Surprise’

    In a co-authored New York Times opinion piece, Ezekiel Emanuel warns that the president may announce the successful development of a COVID vaccine as an “October surprise” to win the election in November. From, “Could Trump Turn a Vaccine into a Campaign Stunt:”

    An emergency authorization would allow Mr. Trump to hold his news conference and declare victory. But like President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” proclamation, it has the potential to be a travesty. Millions of vaccines could be distributed without proof that the vaccine can prevent disease or transmission.

    What is the saying these days, a charge “based on no direct evidence”? Good grief.

    Wesley goes on to note that the NYT did not disclose Emanuel's position in the Biden campaign. At least as I type, he and his co-author are mere "professors at the University of Pennsylvania." Specifically, Emanuel is said to be "professor of medical ethics". Apparently "ethics" allows him to make baseless vile smears.

  • As a second example, cast your eyes at the worshipful tongue-bath the NYT provides Joe Biden, Emissary of Grief. And, to echo Wesley J. Smith above: Good Grief. The opening of the news article (pretty clearly spoonfed to the reporters by Biden and his flacks) gives the flavor:

    An overstuffed binder sat in Joe Biden’s Senate office, holding the raw materials of his grief.

    It was a master collection, aides recalled, with remarks, notes and drafts of eulogies Mr. Biden had given through 2008 — for childhood friends, prominent senators, his own father. The table of contents was long enough to use every letter of the alphabet. It included a section of favored passages, often deployed in his remembrances, labeled “Quotable Quotes: Death.”

    “Death is part of this life,” one such axiom read, “and not of the next.”

    Biden's a known plagiarist, so I guessed that this quote (unattributed in the article, and I assume also unattributed by Biden) might be pretty easy to track down.

    Yup. It's Elizabeth Bibesco (1897-1945).

    No doubt Biden's eulogical skills propelled him to the vice-presidency. The Times article quotes his "allies" saying—and I am not making this up—"that makes him uniquely capable of leading a nation grappling with death."

    That's how phony things are these days.