The Phony Campaign

2023-02-19 Update

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Last Sunday's phony results included Mike Pence and Michelle Obama, because they met our arbitrary 2% win-probability threshold at the Lott/Stossel Election Betting Odds site.

This week, however, the bettors have sobered up, wondering what they had been thinking. Michelle's now at 1.9%, Mike cratering all the way down to 0.7%,

You know who doesn't show up at all in EBO's list? New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu.

But "Other" is showing up (as I type) with an 11.6% share of the probability pie. If "Other" were an actual candidate, it would be in a solid fourth place.

Anyway, enough of these idle musings, let us proceed to this week's standings:

Candidate EBO Win
Hit Count
Ron DeSantis 21.8% +1.1% 4,790,000 -160,000
Pete Buttigieg 2.4% +0.3% 1,430,000 +130,000
Donald Trump 20.7% +0.4% 1,100,000 +126,000
Joe Biden 26.5% +0.6% 339,000 -38,000
Nikki Haley 3.7% +0.3% 113,000 +15,000
Kamala Harris 3.7% -0.1% 96,200 +2,500
Gavin Newsom 3.3% -0.2% 41,700 -2,500

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

The Google has spoken, people. If you want true phoniness next November, you should be pulling for a DeSantis/Buttigieg race.

But this week, we will concentrate on this week's Actual Announced Candidate, and Pun Salad Sweetie, Nikki Haley.

  • While musing on Nikki, Peggy Noonan claims to detect America’s Longing for Authenticity.

    On Wednesday Nikki Haley announced her presidential campaign in Charleston, S.C. I found myself thinking not about her candidacy but about the launch itself, which was creepily stuck in the past. A horrible, blaring song from a Sylvester Stallone sequel pumped her in as she strode out in the white suit and there were adoring fans on the rafters behind her, with whom she briefly interacted before turning toward the audience and doing the point—standing there and pointing to individual members of the cheering audience as if she knew them and was being natural. An introducer said she will “lead us into the future”; she added, “America is falling behind.” It was all so tired, clichéd, and phony. It was national politics as it has been done circa 1990-2023.

    Why did she do it this way? It’s not good enough to say everyone does it this way. Someone needs to make it new, to drill down into deeper meaning. As the first Republican to enter the race and challenge Donald Trump, she was in a position to do something at least nonidiotic. This seemed a decision not to.

    When you've lost Peggy Noonan… well, you've pretty much only lost Peggy Noonan. You could probably deal with that. But…

  • Eric Boehm, master of the four-letter acronyms, reacts to the announcement at Reason: Nikki Haley's Presidential Bid Is an Unappealing Mix of MAGA and RINO.

    Haley, 51, is more than a quarter century younger than Trump and President Joe Biden, so it makes sense to stress her relative youthfulness in a campaign that's likely to represent a long-overdue conversation about whether the country would benefit from having some younger people in charge. And she's piled up an impressive list of accomplishments during a political career that began by dethroning a 30-year incumbent member of the South Carolina state House in 2004. Haley was the first woman and the first Indian American elected as governor of South Carolina, an important and early primary state. She was America's ambassador to the United Nations for two years during the Trump administration. As such, she can arguably lay claim to having more experience across both domestic and foreign policy than possibly any other prospective candidate in the 2024 GOP field.

    And yet, despite all the positives in terms of identity, politics, and career experience that would seem to make Haley a serious contender for the White House, her announcement on Tuesday was met by something like a collective shrug.

    It could be that Haley's prefab efforts to avoid irking anyone… have managed to bore everyone.

  • But not Ed Mosca at Granite Grok! He despises her: "Sun-Princess Nikki Haley ... Billions For Ukraine, Pennies For America's Young Peasants" .

    So Sun-King Sununu in a dress … that would be the Sun-Princess, Nikki Haley … is running for President to keep funding that corrupt kleptocracy called Ukraine AND cut Social Security … but ONLY for younger voters.

    This must be some kind of record … it took Sun-Princess just a few hours to show that she is totally out of touch with real Republican voters and a throwback … albeit a throwback in a dress and, as she apparently intends to keep telling us, in brown skin (her words, not mine) … to the globalist/corporatist GOP of Presidents John McCain and Mitt Romney. Oh, wait … those two warmongering globalists weren’t elected President.

    Pennies for America's young peasants? Here's her sin:

    Ed's firmly in favor of digging his head in the sand. A posture in which he's joined, true enough, by many Republicans.

  • And Kurt Schilcter makes a very unkind mashup, just saying: No to Nikki Harris. What??

    Wait, did I say Nikki Harris? I meant Nikki Haley, but it's an understandable mistake. After all, as a good friend deep in politics recently pointed out to me, Nikki Haley is the Kamala Harris of the Republican Party. And now Nikki says she wants to be president, announcing her doomed candidacy with hilariously hackneyed and overwrought fanfare ("Now is the time for a strong and proud America!"), though everyone with half a cerebral cortex can see that she's really just trying to position herself as the vice-presidential nominee when either Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis gets the nomination. It's exactly the kind of cynical, shameless move this cynical, shameless striver would make – and that her Democrat doppelganger did make.

    Like Kamala, Nikki is everything wrong with her party. Kamala is Hillary Lite, slightly less bitter, a lot dumber, but just as insincere. Nikki is Jeb! in a skirt, temperamentally establishment and soft, but much more ambitious and cunning than the human puffball who begged us to "Please clap" as he awaited what he expected would be a coronation.

    Well, ouch.

  • Here's a big "tsk, tsk" from David Harsanyi: It's A Shame Nikki Haley Has To Rely On 'Stale' Gimmicks. One stale idea: term limits. And:

    Haley’s other big idea is to institute mental competency tests for candidates over 75. This isn’t exactly a new thought, either. Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, a doctor, called for senility tests a couple of years ago. Theoretically, it too makes sense. The thought of a mentally brittle Joe Biden running the world’s most powerful military is indeed terrifying.

    There are eight people in Congress right now who were born in the 1930s. There are 15 people in Congress older than the 80-year-old Biden — and they include powerful names like Mitch McConnell, Bernie Sanders, Jim Clyburn, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Dianne Feinstein, and Chuck Grassley. Donald Trump turns 77 in June. There is no arguing we have something of a gerontocracy.

    Numerous states have age-based mental competency requirements for drivers’ licenses, so why not politicians? Well, for one thing, the DMV rarely hijacks tests for partisan gain. My confidence in a state that is unable to differentiate between a Chicom spy balloon and a hobbyist’s $12 pico balloon dictating the terms of mental acuity in our elected officials is in the vicinity of zero. Will Democrats and Republicans agree on what level of mental competency is needed for public office or which test should be administered? Of course not. They’re going to politicize tests that exist to warn real people about mental decline.

    I don't see any reason for the 75-year threshold. Mental incompetency can strike at any age! Just ask Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez!

    Here's something I advocated last year: a Jeopardy!-style quiz show for the candidates for high public office. Concentrating on "history, law, philosophy, economics, and about a dozen other things." No pop culture, rap music, or "potent potables" categories! Somehow eliminating the advantage of quick buzzer thumbs. I haven't watched a debate since… whatever year it was that Rudy Giuliani was running. But I'd watch this in a heartbeat.

  • Michael Cuenco is not a Nikki fan either: Nikki Haley's neocon pantomime.

    Clues about the true significance of the Haley campaign may first be found in retracing the relationship between the 45th president and his one-time ambassador. Nimrata Nikki Randhawa was born and grew up in Bamberg, South Carolina, the daughter of Sikh immigrants who came to the US by way of Canada from India. After graduating from Clemson University, she rose through the ranks in local politics and married national guardsman Michael Haley, converting to Christianity and later getting elected as a Republican to the state legislature in 2004. Haley became a national figure upon winning the governorship of South Carolina in 2010 as part of a Tea Party wave. Combining traditional conservative positions on taxes and social issues with an energetic populist style, Haley and the Tea Party represented a revival of GOP fortunes in the Obama years. She is also remembered for her call to take down the Confederate flag in 2015 after the Charleston massacre, and was touted as a serious presidential contender in 2016 though she opted to stay out of a crowded field.

    Of course, that was the year both mainstream conservatism and liberalism were shattered by the insurgent force of Trumpian populism. Going well beyond the Tea Party, the real-estate mogul openly repudiated Bush-era conservative shibboleths, such as the Iraq War and free trade, while vociferously rejecting the establishment’s relatively moderate stances on immigration. As one of the party’s leading figures, Haley faced a choice between calling out Trump on principle or falling in line. Like many establishment conservatives at that juncture, she chose wisely: she did both.

    "Nimrata Nikki Randhawa"? Well, sure. Let's go out of our way to bring that up. For another example…

  • Rich Lowry wonders about our Nikki: WWhy Isn't She Indian-American Enough?.

    Only in 21st-century America can you call yourself the “proud daughter of Indian immigrants” and get accused of whitewashing your immigrant background.

    For the Left, the verdict is in, and has been for a long time — Nikki Haley is not Indian-American enough.

    Her offenses are myriad, from using a more easily pronounceable name to converting to Christianity to once checking “white” on a voter-registration card to touting the value of hard work in getting ahead to defending America against charges of racism.

    This has subjected her to ignorant, highly personal, racially charged attacks.

    Lowry's example… well, same as above:

    Used to be that it was just white Southerners who'd get irate at uppity colored folks trying to "pass". Some additional asymmetric commentary from Jane Galt about that:

  • For a palate cleanser, see Jim Geraghty's long and heartfelt plea to Give Haley a Chance.

    Much like the man she appointed to the U.S. Senate, Tim Scott, Haley tends to bring out the worst, ugliest, and most hateful sides of her critics. Figures from Ann Coulter to South Carolina Democratic chairman Dick Harpootlian have “joked” that Haley is not really an American and “should go back to where she comes from.” Apparently it doesn’t matter if you’re born in Bamberg, go to Clemson, live in South Carolina almost your entire life, build a business, sit on the board of your church, donate $130,000 to charity in one year, and have a husband in the Army National Guard who serves in Afghanistan for a year . . . you will still face “You’re not one of us” crap.

    That ugly, hard-fought 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary included some questioning of whether Haley was truly a Christian. (Some people may forget, David Brody, but I don’t.)

    Haley has her flaws and her missteps and unresolved problems from her days as governor. She will face tough questions about her past statements about President Trump, and whether, when push comes to shove, she ultimately should be seen as more of an ally or more of a critic of Trump. Back in April 2021, she said that if Trump was running, she would not run for president, and Republicans will ask fair questions about what changed and why.

    But a good and serious Republican Party would give Haley real consideration as a potential nominee, noting that her depth and breadth of experience and combination of indisputable toughness and charisma on the stump represent a rare combination of strengths in a potential president who is only 51 years old.

    So there you have it. Back next week, when we'll try to be less Nikki-obsessed.

Last Modified 2024-01-14 4:40 AM EDT