The Phony Campaign

2023-02-12 Update

[Newsom the Dummy]

Background on our Eye Candy du Jour from Fox News: California Gov. Gavin Newsom dubs head of College Board ‘puppet' of DeSantis: 'I call bullshit'.

Yes, I de-bowdlerized their headline. Because Newsom actually tweeted…

Ilya Shapiro has further information, if you're interested: Revised AP African American Studies is the course students deserve.

Newsom's complaint seems to be that the College Board, in de-indoctrinizing its curriculum, has moved away from being the puppet of the Critical Race Theorists. Interesting, but let's move on to this week's phony standings. You'll notice that we have two new contenders; Mike Pence and Michelle Obama have cracked our 2% inclusion threshold. But phony-wise, it's still Governor DeSantis in a runaway:

Candidate EBO Win
Hit Count
Ron DeSantis 20.7% -2.6% 4,950,000 +260,000
Pete Buttigieg 2.1% +0.1% 1,300,000 -30,000
Donald Trump 20.3% +2.6% 974,000 -36,000
Michelle Obama 2.0% --- 704,000 ---
Joe Biden 25.9% +2.3% 377,000 +19,000
Mike Pence 2.0% --- 269,000 ---
Nikki Haley 3.4% -0.5% 98,000 -4,000
Kamala Harris 3.8% unch 93,700 +4,000
Gavin Newsom 3.5% unch 44,200 +7,400

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

  • Steven Hayward claims that the prognosticators claiming GOP electoral doom are in error: 2024—The Early Line Is Wrong.

    I think there is a strong likelihood that everyone has sized up the scene backwards, and that the real surprise of the 2024 election cycle is a disaster in the Democratic Party. There could well be a rerun of 1968 in some ways, when the year began with the certain Democratic incumbent nominee, Lyndon Johnson, appearing to head to the election in a strong position. “Johnson Popularity on Upswing, Year-End Gallup Polls Discloses,” the New York Times declared on page one on New Year’s Day of 1968. LBJ’s public approval numbers had bounced back from a low of 38 percent in October 1967 to a respectable 46 percent at the end of December.  While the polls showed that LBJ would face a close race in a head-to-head contest against a Republican, he would win handily in the anticipated three-way race that included Alabama Governor George Wallace running as an independent.  A Fortune magazine poll of 400 top corporate executives found 65 percent expected Johnson to win, though they preferred Nixon.

    Hayward doesn't discuss the importance of the 1968 New Hampshire Primary in getting LBJ to bow out of the race that year. Given that Biden has advocated yanking NH's first-primary status, and that he came in fifth in 2020, it's pretty easy to imagine how his campaign could start to unravel.

  • DeSantis has over a 5-to-1 advantage over Trump in phony hits. I would not have thought that possible. Especially when, as Joe Lancaster says, Despite His Record, Trump Plans 2024 Run As an Anti-War Republican.

    Politico reports that to distinguish himself from potential candidates like Haley or former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump will run as "an anti-war dove amongst the hawks." But while a forceful nudge in an anti-war direction would be a welcome development for the party, Trump's record casts doubt on his seriousness.

    Trump's reflexive opposition to foreign entanglements was part of his appeal during his 2016 candidacy. At a Republican debate ahead of that year's South Carolina primary, Trump called the Iraq War "a big, fat mistake" and said of its boosters, "They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none, and they knew there were none."


    But Trump's record once elected did not reflect the promise of a more constrained foreign policy. Just days into his administration, Trump greenlit a military operation in Yemen that yielded no valuable intelligence but led to the death of Navy Seal Ryan Owens. When pressed on the failure, he blamed his military advisers, shrugging that "they lost Ryan." Weeks later, he launched 59 missiles into Syria after that country's government targeted its civilians with chemical weapons.

    Wouldn't be the first time that campaign rhetoric clashed with hard reality.

  • Kevin D. Williamson has some harsh words (unfortunately paywalled) for GOPers who went along to get along: Put Trump Veterans in Political Timeout. Including Pun Salad heartthrob Nikki Haley:

    With Nikki Haley getting set to announce her 2024 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, a vexing question is raised—a question that we are going to have to think about a great deal: What do we do with these products of the Trump administration?

    My own belief is that the senior figures in the Trump administration—Donald Trump himself, Mike Pence, the various Cabinet secretaries and agency chiefs, etc.—should never again hold any position of public trust—or, if not never again, at least not in the foreseeable future. By “position of public trust” I mean not only elected office but appointed positions in government, on the boards of universities and publicly traded corporations, etc. The same is true for those in Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 election results and those who were otherwise involved with the attempted coup d’etat of 2020-2021. Trumpworld lawyers such as John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, and Cleta Mitchell should be disbarred. (I wasn’t talking about you, Sarah!) This would, of course, much more than decimate an entire generation of Republican leaders—whether you think of that as a cost or a benefit will depend very strongly upon your point of view. If you have a 150-pound healthy person and a 600-pound tumor, there may be some question about who is removing whom.

    Specifically, for our girl:

    Nikki Haley presents a particularly irritating—and disappointing—case because she so clearly knew better. Haley was a trenchant critic of Trump’s and worked openly against him in 2016: Hailing from what then might have fairly been described as the Jeb Bush wing of the GOP (a wing that has since been amputated), Haley considered supporting Ted Cruz but ultimately settled on Marco Rubio as the candidate most likely to keep Trump away from the GOP nomination. Her sensitivities may have been heightened by the fact that she is a woman, that she is not white, and that she is the daughter of immigrants, but none of that was necessary to see Trump for what he was and is. 

    Haley did see him for what he was and said so. And then she didn’t. And then she did again. And then she kinda-sorta did and didn’t at the same time. And that’s where she is now. 

    Nikki's weathervaning on Trump was probably the phoniest thing about her.

  • In a post written before the SOTU speech, Charles C. W. Cooke had a dire prediction: Joe Biden May Win Again in 2024.

    Tonight’s State of the Union address is set to be a disgrace. In his now-trademark broken English, President Biden intends to spin a preposterous tale of heroism in which he, good ol’ folksy Joe from Scranton, Pa., left the political sidelines one last time and restored the United States to the normalcy that its put-upon citizenry had long craved. Among the achievements that Biden will claim are that he has created more jobs than any other president in history; that he has brought inflation down from a high that predated him; that he has ended the Covid emergency that his predecessor engendered; and that he has faithfully saved democratic norms from the arrayed forces of evil with which, sadly, he is forced to contend every day.

    And, if the Republicans don’t get their act together, he’s going to get away with it.

    Looked at objectively, Joe Biden’s presidency has been a disaster. The guy’s a fraud, a liar, and a crank. He disrespects his oath of office, ignores evidence that is unhelpful to his cause, and refuses to engage with the public at anything approaching a normal rate. His mind is slow, his speech is meandering, his grasp of the topic at hand ranges from tenuous to nonexistent, and most of the time, he looks half-dead. If voters were free to choose a president from an unrestricted pool of candidates, there is nobody in America who would choose Joe Biden.

    It's very tempting to quote more of Charles's rant, but I'm skirting fair-use as it is. You'll have to click over to read about the "confused, semi-mummified demagogue."

  • David Boaz describes President Biden's Anti-Growth Agenda.

    E. J. Dionne writes in the Washington Post that President Biden will focus his State of the Union speech on “how to make the economy grow for everyone.” That’s a good topic. Unfortunately, Dionne’s column illustrates that Biden’s policies will not do that.

    Dionne mentions “policies that see robust government investments, worker rights and a green tech economy as the path to a new American century.” And he recommends further initiatives such as “paid leave, universal pre‑K and child care, health coverage expansions, a beefed‐up child tax credit, and steps to make housing more affordable.”

    All those things sound nice, but they will not make the economy grow. They all involve the federal government extracting money from individuals and businesses, taking a cut for a larger bureaucracy, and directing the rest of the money to areas that consumers, families, firms, and investors have not chosen. Or new regulations that increase the cost of hiring workers. You learn in Econ 101 that if the price of something goes up, the amount demanded will go down. It doesn’t make sense to add extra costs on employment.

    Boaz advocates that President Wheezy "propose policies that would increase jobs, wages, and growth." I assume he realizes that the probability of that is zero point zero.

  • The Google claims that Kamala Harris is underperforming, phony-wise. Nate Hochman may provide an explanation: Why Democrats Can’t See Kamala Harris for Who She Is.

    In the run-up to the 2020 election, legacy-media outlets went to Herculean lengths to block and tackle for Kamala Harris. Almost any criticism of Harris was swiftly flagged and scolded for its internalized racism, sexism, and or both — the “double bind” of “racism and sexism” that shows “not only the bias that women and people of color face, but the fact that for women of color, that bias is more than the sum of its parts,” as an October 2020 New York Times analysis put it. Even the allegation that Harris was “phony” was off-limits — “when used against a person, and especially a woman of color, experts say” charges of phoniness have “a harmful subtext,” the Times counseled.

    Those “experts” are noticeably absent from the more recent coverage of the first half-black, half–South Asian woman to serve as vice president. There are signs that at least some journalists are beginning to suspect that Harris isn’t living up to the world-historic god-queen caricature that their profession spent the last few years constructing for her. In the past week, the nation’s two papers of record — the New York Times and the Washington Post — have each published pieces gingerly raising questions about Harris’s conspicuous mediocrity. On that front, the Times and the Post are well behind the decisive majority of Americans, who have been telling pollsters they disapprove more than they approve of Harris for the better part of a year and a half.

    He goes on to note that "the evidence has become so overwhelming that it is impossible to ignore." Even for the NYT.

    But not for Pun Salad. We were onto her back in 2017.

Last Modified 2024-01-30 6:42 AM EDT