The Phony Campaign

2019-10-13 Update

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With respect to our Amazon Product du Jour: I don't think Trump is a traitor or a racist. I'd go with 'terrible' and 'repugnant' there instead.

Another new candidate makes our cut this week: Mike Pence! I can see that scenario: Trump either (a) resigns in disgrace, (b) like LBJ, pulls out of the race, (c) is impeached and convicted, or (d) God forbid, assassinated by some wacko. Pence waltzes to the nomination, beating the unpleasant Elizabeth Warren in the general election.

Okay, that's unlikely. But the people betting their own money at Betfair see it as an increasingly likely outcome.

Another non-candidate, Hillary, is getting some wagering love, with bettors giving her a 3.1% probability of being Our Next President. This must really grate on actual candidates. Just think: Hillary's considered to have a better shot at the presidency than Mayor Pete, Bernie, Andrew, Kamala, Cory, Julian, Amy, Tulsi, Beto,…

Another thing about Hillary: right now, she has the best shot at overtaking Donald Trump in phony Google hits. Not this week, though:

Candidate WinProb Change
Donald Trump 41.2% unch 1,870,000 -70,000
Hillary Clinton 3.1% +1.0% 708,000 -89,000
Pete Buttigieg 3.0% -0.6% 625,000 -49,000
Bernie Sanders 2.8% -0.4% 491,000 -67,000
Joe Biden 9.8% -0.1% 397,000 -6,000
Elizabeth Warren 27.6% +1.6% 239,000 +24,000
Andrew Yang 2.6% -0.9% 166,000 +133,000
Mike Pence 2.1% --- 112,000 ---

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

  • Jeff Jacoby writes on The autobiographical fictions of Elizabeth Warren. It's about her "evolving" story of how she left her New Jersey teaching job in the early 1970's. Speaking to an interviewer in 2007, she said that she decided pursuing that career path wasn't "going to work out" for her.

    But recently, she's taken to claiming that she was canned due to her pregnancy.

    [Her 2007 version is] a perfectly respectable, even admirable, account of how she ended up in the world of law. But it has none of the aura of victimhood that contemporary candidates crave as a substitute for moral authority. Assuming Warren was telling the truth in 2007, and there is no reason to assume otherwise, the whole business about being given the boot because she got pregnant was concocted for political purposes. That probably doesn't matter to the besotted crowds at Warren rallies. But the senator's opponents may not be as willing to overlook her invention.

    Jacoby also discusses her version of the 2012 race that put her in the Senate, also finding it reality-challenged.

  • At National Review, Jim Geraghty (no stranger to debunking candidate auto biographical fictions) notes some wagon-circling: Elizabeth Warren Pregnancy Discrimination Story Defended by Mainstream Media.

    No one, of course, is arguing that it’s impossible a Riverdale teacher could’ve been dismissed for being pregnant in 1971; they’re merely questioning, with good reason, whether that’s what happened in Warren’s case — whether she is inaccurately describing a moment she claims, over and over again, was a turning point in her life. The version of the story Warren told at Berkeley — that she decided that pursuing a career in childhood education just wasn’t for her — isn’t all that dramatic or likely to win voters’ sympathy. The version she’s taken to telling on the campaign trail — that she was a good teacher helping needy children before a sexist school board broke its promise and fired her because she was pregnant — is quite the opposite.

    At best, we’ve got the candidate who’s arguably the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination changing her story about her first job; at worst, she’s rewriting her personal history to paint herself as a victim of sinister patriarchal forces because it makes for a better and more politically useful narrative.

    If you'd like to read a defense of Warren's claims, there's Michelle Ruiz in Vogue: Think Elizabeth Warren Lied About Being Let Go While Pregnant? You've Never Been a Woman in the Workplace.

    Correct: I have never been a Woman in the Workplace. However, Ms. Ruiz bends over backwards to come up with narratives that explain Warren's, um, inconsistencies: Hey, you know the #MeToo movement happened, "creating space for women to come forward with credible allegations of sexual abuse and workplace harassment". Maybe Liz was just a big chicken in 2007, so was lying back then.

    Don't believe that? Well, Ms. Ruiz has Justification B: "perhaps the senator just had the benefit of time and perspective to see her story more clearly in hindsight. When women get older, wiser, and more confident, they may also be less prone to downplaying the ways they’ve been wronged and more willing to call out injustice."

    Maybe! And who knows what stories another few months of "time and perspective" will allow Liz to come up with? (I assume by now she's learned not to make them easily debunked, like with a DNA test.)

  • A couple big phony stories for Trump showed up this past week. As reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Trump campaign threatens to sue Minneapolis over "phony" security bill for rally.

    Tensions between Minneapolis city leaders and President Donald Trump’s campaign escalated Monday when the campaign threatened to sue the city for trying to force it to pay $530,000 for security during this week’s rally.

    Trump’s campaign team said in a news release late Monday night that Mayor Jacob Frey is “abusing the power of his office” by “conjuring a phony and outlandish bill for security” to cover those costs for Thursday’s campaign rally.

    Cooler heads prevailed, at least on this particular matter, and the outlandish bill was not passed on to the campaign. But things were not good, according to John Hinderaker at Power Line: Last Night, We Saw Fascism In the Streets.

  • President Bone Spurs is a rich source of phony news. Newsweek reports: 'Where's Hunter?': Trump Slams Bidens, 'Sinister Faker' Democrats in First Rally Since Impeachment Inquiry.

    Trump also spent a great deal of time slamming the press, which he referred to as "the fake news media" who are "so bad for our country." The president suggested that the press was complicit in the "partisan witch hunt sabotage" of impeachment. He reserved particular disdain for the Washington Post, which he called "a terrible newspaper."

    Public opinion appears to be turning in favor of Trump's impeachment. A recent Fox News poll suggests that a majority of Americans would like to see the president "impeached and removed." Trump complained about the "phony polls" at Thursday's rally, claiming "polls are no different than crooked writers."

    That's a lot of inauthenticity.

  • And finally, Rick Berman of the Washington Times has A tip for Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

    South Bend’s “Mayor PeteButtigieg spent the summer bolstering his progressive bona fides, releasing a set of labor law “reforms” he claims would boost paychecks and double union membership. But the mayor’s highest-profile policy proposal — a severe change in the payment system for tipped employees — has drawn opposition from the very people he claims to help.

    Mayor Pete’s website describes his plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, effectively doubling current law (which also prevails in Indiana). He also supports elimination of the separate lower base wage for tipped employees, which would effectively raise this wage floor more than 600 percent. Could you handle a rent or mortgage increase of 600 percent? Can you think of any labor-intensive industry that could absorb that hit to their balance sheet?   

    One of our local brewpub/restaurants decided to ban tipping in September 2017. And then proceeded to shut down in July 2018. They claimed no cause and effect, but…