The Phony Campaign

NH Primary Day Update

Well, it's primary day, finally. If Google is any guide, the candidates have become slightly less phony over the past week:

Query StringHit CountChange Since
"Ron Paul" phony214,000-18,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony210,000-19,000
"John Edwards" phony176,000-16,000
"Barack Obama" phony170,000-14,000
"Fred Thompson" phony147,000-20,000
"Mitt Romney" phony143,000-17,000
"John McCain" phony141,000-12,000
"Mike Huckabee" phony129,000-4,000
"Rudy Giuliani" phony123,000-22,000
"Dennis Kucinich" phony82,800-7,000

  • The New York Times' most boring columnist writes from Derry, NH on our meme:
    If there is a theme running through the nominating process of both parties, it's the idea that voters are fed up with the con, with the phony, plastic, programmed politicians who are obsessed with power and contemptuous of the real concerns of ordinary men and women.
    To which we say: oh, yeah? We can think of at least three candidates who'd be a lot further down in the polls if that were true.

    But we also think: if you're going to accuse someone of being "contemptuous of the real concerns of ordinary men and women," we'd like names named, and evidence provided. Otherwise, it's just another empty column-filling nebulous accusation, and it's boring, Bob.

  • But we're also put in mind of Jonah Goldberg's quip about what Mitt Romney seems to be saying if you hit the mute button while watching him on TV: What do I have to do to put you in this BMW today?

  • But what about Hillary? We can reliably report that even people who don't usually follow politics were discussing her tear-up yesterday. Ann Althouse has the video if you haven't caught the continuous feeds of it on CNN or Fox. But the good professor suspects…
    Is it a phony effort to get your sympathy? (Seems like a bad move.) Is she just really tired? Or was it really something about about the questioner's expression of sympathy — how do you do it? — that brought out a truly vulnerable side? I don't know. But it seems a little like the feminine gesture she made at the debate when she said the her feelings were hurt. I think someone — an excellent actress? — is coaching her in how to display womanly emotion.
    We've quoted Jean Giraudoux on this topic before: "The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made."

  • The Times also reports this morning on what the young people are up to in the campaign. 19-year-old James Nance is a student at George Mason, but is a recent "political tourist" in New Hampshire.
    "Kids are the best at telling who's a liar, who's phony," Mr. Nance said. "[Obama] really inspires me to stand up and fight. There's something different about him, you know."
    Hey, I remember seeing that sort of quote before! … When was it? … Oh, I remember: it was forty years ago and my generation was saying it about ourselves.

    Callow: it's in the dictionary for a reason, James.

  • We've never followed asterisk-polling Mike Gravel in our phony rankings. And in fact, his name has never once graced this blog in its entire lifetime. But he talked to a Yale Daily News reporter in Exeter on Sunday, and he sounds a bit bitter:
    "A lot of young people, they're sophomoric, and they haven't really thought very much," he said in an exclusive interview with the News. "And so they're into celebrity. These are the people that follow Paris Hilton and Britney Spears — and they follow Obama."
    Damn pesky kids! He's none too impressed with the "change" rhetoric:
    "It's as phony as a nine-dollar bill," says Gravel, a former Democratic senator from Alaska. "They took focus groups, and the focus groups said that people want change. Are they talking change, other than articulating the world?"
    Probably that last word should be "word". But lest you think Senator Gravel is unusually honest and straightforward:
    The former senator — who was not allowed to participate in ABC's Democratic debate on Saturday night — vowed that he will stay in the race regardless of his performance today. But he said he hopes to get five to ten percent of the vote.
    ... "demonstrating that Senator Gravel's either totally delusional or pretty phony himself."

Last Modified 2014-12-01 10:17 AM EDT