The Phony Campaign

2015-09-20 Update

Our 2% PredictWise criterion causes us to welcome Carly Fiorina to our phony poll, and bid adeu adeiu adous farewell to John Kasich. And Carly makes a fine showing:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Jeb Bush" phony 8,840,000 +7,830,000
"Carly Fiorina" phony 4,500,000 ---
"Hillary Clinton" phony 438,000 +3,000
"Donald Trump" phony 410,000 +18,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 162,000 +34,000
"Joe Biden" phony 155,000 -28,000
"Scott Walker" phony 140,000 +31,000
"Marco Rubio" phony 112,000 +9,000
"Ben Carson" phony 104,000 -8,000

  • One of the big current "phony" drivers for Carly is her claim in last week's debate about what the Planned Parenthood videos released by the Center for Medical Progress show: "Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain."

    Nay, shouted many "fact checkers". Federalist has a decent rundown of Carly vs. the "fact checkers". Key:

    The media have consistently failed to cover the Planned Parenthood footage, and now they are covering up the truth. The reality is that babies of the same gestational age are having their organs harvested every day. These videos feature graphic footage of abortionists mangling babies to harvest organs to sell. They feature abortionists admitting that babies often survive those abortions. They show high-level Planned Parenthood officials encouraging this organ-harvesting scheme, acknowledged that it is happening, and attempting to skirt scrutiny from it.

    We try to keep things light here. And (disclaimer) I haven't watched the Planned Parenthood videos, don't plan to. I know they are horrifying, not only due to the explicit gore, but also the window into the depraved and ghoulish mindset hiding behind the fundamentally dishonest "Planned Parenthood" moniker.

  • Jeb still has a comfortable lead on the field, though. In an effort to put the game away, his Super PAC recently released an ad that contrasted Jeb's upbeat optimism with Trump's dour darkness.

    The video, called "Bright," then pivots to the sun rising in a field along with the text “choose a brighter path” as Bush says his message will be an optimistic one.

    "If we get a few big things right, we can make lives better for millions of people in this nation where every life matters and everyone has the right to rise,” he says.

    The only problem: The sun is rising over a field in Cornwall, England — a clip available for between $19 and $79 on Shutterstock.

    The Politico story also claims the ad uses the "silhouette of a construction worker"—taken in Southeast Asia and "kids heading off to school"—probably from the United Kingdom.

  • A Salon lefty, one Shane Ryan, pontificates on phoniness:

    Any presidential election has a superficial quality to it, but as Rachel Maddow pointed out recently on MSNBC, merely looking presidential, in the patrician sense that John Kerry and Mitt Romney embodied, means little. Instead, a modern candidate has to pass the “phony test.” The history of recent electoral losers tells the story—Romney got caught dismissing half of America, McCain lost his maverick credentials when he added a fringe lunatic from Alaska to his ticket, Kerry was a flip-flopper, and Gore was a snob. There are a thousand reasons why one candidate loses and another wins, but personality defects are no small part of the formula.

    … and then loses it in the very next paragraph:

    When you hear progressives laud [Bernie] Sanders’ “authenticity,” it goes deeper than his political record. The judgment takes aesthetics into account—with his guileless manner, and the way his face defaults into a dogged, curmudgeonly glare, you get the sense that it would never occur to him to tell anything but the truth. Just like it would never occur to him to change his positions on wealth inequality over three decades, or to accept money from super PACs, or to shy away from the word “socialist.”

    Swooning over a "curmudgeonly glare" — that's what American Progressivism has come to. Shane, please play the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" over and over on your iPod until you snap out of it.

    Somewhat more honest leftism is to be found from Stephen Lendman at Counterpunch, in which Bernie Sanders is compared with current head of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn:

    Differences between them are stark. Sanders is more opportunist than populist, nearly always supporting Democrat pro-war, pro-Israel, pro-business, anti-human/civil rights policies – voting with party members 98% of the time, more than most Democrats, polar opposite his high-minded rhetoric, hiding his real agenda.

    Ooooh, tell me more about Bernie's "real agenda".

    He’s no populist/anti-war savior. His voting record belies his stump speeches. He represents business as usual dressed up in phony high-minded rhetorical mumbo jumbo.

    OK, so beyond the vague "business as usual" claim, Stephen never actually gets around to telling us what Bernie's "real agenda" is. I bet it's nasty, though. Maybe next week?

  • Bernie was down the road last week, at St. Anselm's College, telling students what he meant by the term "democratic socialism". Not to fret, he declaimed, you'll still get your important liberties:

    "So what does [democratic socialism] mean?” Sanders asked the students. “Does anyone here think I’m a strong adherent of the North Korean form of government? That I want all of you to be wearing similar colored pajamas?”

    A sigh of relief went through the throng, as they realized their sleepwear choices were not under imminent threat.

    When the laughter died down, […]

    Wait a minute: there was actually enough laughter at the pajama remark for it to "die down"? It seems St. Anselm's students are very easily amused. Or maybe you had to be there.

    […] the longest-serving independent in Congress asked how many of the students were familiar with the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland and Norway.

    Hm. Check the Heritage Foundation's 2015 Index of Economic Freedom. Denmark, Finland, and Norway are all ranked in the "mostly free" category, along with the U.S. And Denmark is actually ranked slightly above the U.S.

    What does it mean when a self-proclaimed socialist, scrambling for examples of ideal economic systems, points to ones that are more or less like the one we already have?

    I'll tell you what it means to me: it means we need to do a lot better, economic freedom-wise. What do we have to do to get to the "Free" category?

  • Ben Carson trails badly in our phony poll. At the Daily Beast, P. J. O'Rourke claims "It’s Time to Pull the Plug on Dr. Ben Carson’s Campaign." But why, Peej?

    Ben Carson is brilliant and kind. Therefore, he has no business running for president.

    Ah. But read the whole thing.

Last Modified 2015-09-21 5:19 AM EDT