The Phony Campaign

2020-01-12 Update

[Amazon Link]

Amazon is your go-to store for t-shirts featuring presidential candidates on unicorns. The Product du Jour features Senator Liz so seated, and such is the nature of politics these days that I can't tell whether it's offered by a fervent Warren fan or a bitter opponent.

Improving their win-probabilities over the week: Bernie, President Bone Spurs, and Mayor Mike. Losers: Wheezy Joe, Liz, and Mayor Pete. Bernie has leapfrogged over Biden as the most likely Democrat to win.

Still nowhere on the betting-odds radar: Tom Steyer, despite non-stop TV ads. It's almost as if people are watching the ads and thinking: "No. Uh uh. No way."

Or maybe I'm projecting.

Anyway, our phony table shows DJT with a firm grasp on the phony title, widening his lead on Mayor Pete:

Candidate WinProb Change
Since
1/5
Phony
Results
Change
Since
1/5
Donald Trump 52.0% +1.2% 1,610,000 +160,000
Pete Buttigieg 2.6% -1.2% 855,000 -137,000
Bernie Sanders 14.2% +2.9% 494,000 -15,000
Joe Biden 13.3% -3.7% 453,000 +26,000
Elizabeth Warren 4.2% -0.4% 244,000 -35,000
Michael Bloomberg 6.1% +2.2% 83,000 +2,800

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

On the diversity scale, our likely candidates are 100% persons of pallor; 5/6 male; 5/6 heterosexual; 5/6 septuagenarian; 100% thinking of different ways to push you around.

  • Michael P. Ramirez comments on presidential style:

    [Impulsive, Me?]

    This week's crazy idea: Trump is actually a believer in the Many-Worlds version of quantum mechanics, so he uses the Universe Splitter app to make decisions. Guaranteeing that there will be at least one universe where he made the right call.


  • At Inside Sources, Michael Graham wonders What Happened to Liz Warren?. The answer is unsurprising:

    […] every day the evidence builds that the Liz Warren campaign’s biggest problem, is Liz Warren.

    “She got [sic] an authenticity problem,” one DC political operative told NHJournal. “It’s the one thing about her that’s real.”

    The authenticity issue appeared again this week when Warren amended her views on the U.S. military strike that killed Iranian Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani, after blowback from progressives. Her first reaction was to declare Soleimani a “murderer responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans.”

    Within 24 hours she was calling him a “senior government official,” who had been “assassinated,” and she repeatedly refused to concede that Soleimani is a terrorist. (He was declared the leader of a terrorist organization by both the Bush and Obama administrations.) Rather than celebrating his demise, Warren was suggesting that Soleimani only died because Trump is facing impeachment.

    “Wow. We went from ‘murderer’ to ‘wag the dog’ in the space of a few days,” quipped CNN’s liberal commentator Chris Cillizza.

    Not only phony, but gratingly so.


  • At National Review, Kevin D. Williamson points out something that is probably, unfortunately, not contributing to Liz's popularity decline: Elizabeth Warren Bankruptcy Policy Relies on Moralistic Fairytales. (An "NRPLUS" article, don't know what that means for visibility.)

    Senator Elizabeth Warren, foundering in the Democratic primary, is returning to the theme that made her famous: her moralizing account of personal bankruptcy.

    As an academic, Warren did research on personal bankruptcy in the United States. “Our research ended up showing that most of these families weren’t reckless or irresponsible,” she writes, “they were just getting squeezed by an economy that forced them to take on more debt and more risk to cling to their place in America’s middle class.” That is a peculiar claim. Borrowing money that you cannot repay in order to finance personal consumption that you cannot afford is precisely the sort of thing one might wish to indicate with the words “reckless and irresponsible.” To claim that this is the result of “getting squeezed by the economy” is a way of giving your morality play a villain without making any specific person feel bad.

    Nothing wrong with that (as KDW goes on to point out); various versions of such tales of victimization are quite populist-popular, and a goodly fraction of voters love 'em.


  • Vermont Republican (yes, there's still one) James Barnett explicitly compares and contrasts: Why Trump should fear Sanders much more than Warren in 2020.

    [In the 2012 election] Warren rode the coattails of President Obama to the Senate. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and party standard bearer, lost Boston proper without cracking 20 percent. Warren won big there as well but trailed the showing of Obama by five points.

    Why? Because in places like gritty South Boston, many working class voters rejected her. Like in Essex County in Vermont, these are Trump voters and could also be Sanders voters. But they are not buying what Warren is selling. As Warren marched in the South Boston Saint Patrick Day parade thar year, one man on the curb mimicked her often repeated refrain about the “hammered” state of the middle class with a disdainful twist as only a Bostonian could and said, “Hey Warren, this is the middle class getting hammered,” as he downed the final swig of his Bud Light.

    So these street smart voters can sense a phony when they see one, and Warren is a fraud of the first order. Whether it is the uproar over her wine cave hypocrisy, her false claim of being Native American to gain a leg up in her teaching career, or her faux outrage at big corporations she used to collect huge paychecks from, she will say or do anything to get ahead.

    Like him or not, Sanders is anything but fake. He has been singing off the same song sheet for a half century. You will not find any big corporations on his resume. His disdain for millionaires and billionaires is as fervent as ever, even as he has become one. He does not shrink from his ideas out of political expediency. He believes what he says, as wild as it may sound.

    Well, that's a dilemma. Vote for an unrepentant bullshitter, or an authentic loon?

    Friends, our choice is clear.


  • Of course, Joe Biden still has a shot. And he's taken a page from the presidential songbook: when asked an inconvenient question about your past positions, dodge incoherently.

    During a question and answer session, a young man asked Biden about his support for Obamacare:

    I just need this question. So we’re going to take a trip back 2008 real quick. During the run-up to the passage of Obamacare, President Obama promised my father that if he likes his plan, he can keep his plan, and that his insurance will be cheaper. After passage, his plan was no longer allowed and his insurance costs doubled. Since you supported the plan, were you lying to my dad? Or did you not understand the bill you supported?

    Biden began his answer with a what appears to have been a joke, the offered an incoherent ramble:

    No, look, the fact is that what I’m talking about now is that when – because I get asked the question – since, what I do is I’d add a public option to the existence of Obamacare, meaning that a Medicare-like option is available if in fact you – but there’s 160 million people out there who’ve negotiated a health care plan with their employer that they like and they don’t want to have to give up like Medicare for All requires. It says you have to give it up. You cannot have any private insurance.

    … and then he started lying.


  • The WaPo notes that Joe claims expertise on foreign policy: Biden touts foreign policy credentials but faces questions.

    He has told audiences that Barack Obama chose him to be his vice president for his foreign policy expertise. “Joe will handle that,” Biden quoted Obama as telling other officials in his administration. “He knows more about it than anybody. Work with Joe.”

    Well, that explains a lot about 2009-2016. In more recent news, Joe displayed his current grasp of foreign affairs: Confused Joe Biden claims there's a border between Venezuela and Bolivia, which are 700 miles apart.

    In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Joe Biden lamented the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. The 77 year-old former vice president described President Donald Trump's foreign policy toward the region as "irresponsible" to the newspaper's editorial board.

    "Look what's going on in Venezuela right now...millions of people are crossing the border destabilizing Bolivia," he said.

    Yeah, not that close. Instead of debates, could we get the candidates to have a Jeopardy!-style contest? I'd like to see how far some of these guys could go in the hole. ("I'm sorry, Joe won't be around for Final Jeopardy, since he's at a negative $110,300.")


  • A website calling itself "Marijuana Moment" found hilarity on the campaign trail: Mayor Pete Declines To Hit Imaginary Marijuana Joint. And here 'tis:

    No, man, I'm already there.


  • And in our final bit of phony news this week, ABC reports the unsurprising news that journalists are gullible: A parody account dupes journalists into spreading viral 'campaign moment' on Twitter.

    In the wee hours of Friday morning, comedian Nick Cirarelli changed his Twitter profile photo, posing as a political campaign staffer for presidential candidate and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg.

    Oh, fine. Here it is:


Last Modified 2020-01-13 7:26 AM EDT