The Phony Campaign

2020-06-28 Update

Our Eye Candy du Jour: phony voters!

[Harvesting]

Nobody seems to be making the connection between stories like this:

The Internal Revenue Service paid nearly $1.4 billion in stimulus checks to dead people, according to a Government Accountability Office report that provides the first tally of such payments.

… and the likelihood that nobody's gonna be very careful about sending out absentee ballots to equally incapacitated voters.

Wheezy Joe continues to run up his probability on the betting markets, but Bone Spurs Don maintains his firm phony grip on Google hits:

Candidate WinProb Change
Since
6/21
Phony
Results
Change
Since
6/21
Donald Trump 38.1% -2.8% 1,700,000 -270,000
Joe Biden 56.8% +2.1% 504,000 -135,000

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

  • At PJMedia, which seems to have sold its soul to the Donald, Rick Moran alleges: Democratic 'Dirty Tricks' Sabotage Trump Tulsa Rally

    Tik-Tok and K-Pop users are claiming they reserved hundreds of tickets for Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally, never having any intention of showing up. The result was a half-empty arena in Tulsa for the president’s post-coronavirus restart of his campaign.

    Trending on Twitter this morning is #EveryoneLaughingAtYouDonald and #TrumpRallyFail.

    True? The NYT story seems ambiguous, but largely celebratory. "Dirty tricks" are admirable when played on Republicans.


  • At the NR Corner, Dmitri Solzhenitsyn wonders: What Can We Expect from Biden in the Debates?

    On Monday, Jen O’Malley Dillon, the campaign manager for Joe Biden’s presidential bid, confirmed in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) that Biden intends to participate this fall in three CPD-commissioned debates. Within the letter, Dillon labels Donald Trump’s outlandish proposal for an additional, fourth debate an effort to avoid facing off against Biden on even ground: “The Trump campaign proposal for elaborate negotiations is merely an effort to dodge fair, even-handed debates.”

    Despite Dillon’s assertion, it is likely Biden who would benefit least from debates held by neutral moderators. If anyone is less equipped to speak articulately and inspiringly in front of the nation than the buffoonish Trump, it is the muddled Scranton native (more on this below). To be sure, a candidate’s debate performances have not much altered his chance to win the presidency in the past, as political scientists Robert S. Erikson and Christopher Wlezien find in The Timeline of Presidential Elections. Still, Joe Biden’s potential to astonish the nation with his diminishing mental capacity throws all convention out the window. Skeptical? Consider these slip-ups:

    … and it goes from there. Dmitri believes the debates "are sure to be entertaining nights." But I can see myself muttering over and over: One of these idiots is going to win.

    I can't for sure tell whether Dmitri's any relation to Alexandr, but he seems to be from Vermont, so I'd guess yes.


  • Jonah Goldberg's G-File talks on a number of things, but here's a relevant bit:

    […] there’s one argument from Trump spinners and pro-Trump pundits that I think is just wishful thinking. I constantly hear that what Trump needs to do is make the election a choice between him and Biden rather than a referendum on Trump. Once Biden comes out of the basement, Trump will be able to define him, and define him in a way that makes voting for Trump more attractive than voting for Biden.  

    There are many problems with this theory. First, as I write today, Trump seems clueless about how to define Biden. Second, it assumes that once he figures it out, he’ll succeed. Third, Biden isn’t Hillary Clinton. Trump benefited from decades of pent-up dislike for Clinton and a vast armory of anti-Clinton ammo he and his surrogates could take off the shelf. Biden is much more likeable than Clinton and while some of the ammo against Biden has merit, it only has real purchase among people who are going to vote for Trump already. 

    But these are all secondary. The primary problem for Trump is that he wants the election to be a referendum on him. “Want” may be the wrong word here. Maybe “he needs to make it about him” works better. Or maybe it’s simply that he’s incapable of not making it about him.

    Jonah goes on to relate Sean Hannity's slo-mo softball query to Trump about his proposed second-term agenda. Trump's answer was … well, "pathetic" seems inadequate, but it's the best I can do right now.


  • At the WaPo, Megan McArdle

    The quality of our leadership might not matter much in the initial “headless chicken” phase of a crisis when no one knows what they are doing, and many of the efforts will turn out to be useless or counterproductive. But, over time, luck matters less and management matters more. We expect leadership to get better, to learn what works and what does not, to understand the risks and progressively fine-tune their response. That is what European nations have done, and it is precisely what Trump has not. Months in, the president is still playing down the threat, still encouraging people to go out and gather in large groups, still hostile toward the wearing of masks.

    Our government officials, including Trump, have botched things in multiple ways. Not that their replacements will be better.

A Kiss Before Dying

[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

The IMDB puts it in the "film noir" category, which seem contestable to me. But it's OK anyway. This is the 1956 version, and it's star-studded: Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, Joanne Woodward, and, whoa, Mary Astor. You'd think she'd make it noir by her mere presence, but unfortunately, her role is pretty minor.

Adding to Mrs. Salad's travails: I couldn't help but blurting out "It's Captain Pike!" every time Jeffrey Hunter popped up onscreen.

Anyway, the plot: Robert Wagner is romancing heiress Joanne Woodward, and (in the opening scene) she announces her pregnancy. The fact that Wagner is a devious lying weasel is obvious to all except her. Unfortunately, he's also demanded that she keep their relationship super-secret. Which will make it easier to… well, you know pretty much what the deal is.

The movie is decently twisty and suspenseful, but you kind of have to put up with 1950's-style over-acting. Jeffrey Hunter's character keeps an unlit pipe clenched between his teeth pretty much 24x7.

According to IMDB trivia, Joanne Woodward once stated that she not only considers this the worst of her movies, but the worst Hollywood movie ever made. Come on, Ms. Woodward, it's not that bad.

Also, Mrs. Salad now believes that Robert Wagner killed Natalie Wood. No argument here.