The Phony Campaign

2023-04-23 Update

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

In our own phony standings:

  • Gavin Newsom has dropped below our 2% inclusion criterion; the election punters apparently sobered up and dropped him down to a mere 1.8% probability of occupying the Oval Office come 2025. Bye, Gavin, at least for now.
  • A new and welcome appearance to the EBO table is Vivek Ramaswamy; he's showing up with a 1.4% of taking the big prize. Which isn't great, but it's slightly better than (sob!) my girl, Nikki Haley.
  • And it's way better than Governor Chris Sununu, who continues to not appear at EBO at all.
  • And Governor Ron continues to wipe the phony floor against other contenders. More hits than the other candidates combined! Over a 6-to-1 advantage over his nearest competitor Donald Trump!

In detail:

Candidate EBO Win
Hit Count
Ron DeSantis 13.6% -3.5% 9,210,000 -1,290,000
Donald Trump 26.9% +0.3% 1,530,000 +210,000
Joe Biden 36.4% +2.3% 449,000 -95,000
Kamala Harris 2.4% -0.5% 143,000 +39,000
Other 20.7% +4.4% --- ---

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

  • It's my blog, and I'll write about Nikki even though she seems to be fading. She still draws slings and arrows from social media assholes and journalists, for some reason, think that's news: Nikki Haley ripped for off-white dress at daughter's wedding.

    Most comments offered congratulations to Haley and her growing family.

    Still, other posters were sharply critical of the off-white dress worn by the former South Carolina governor and US ambassador to the UN in the Trump administration.

    “Did the mother of the bride wear WHITE,” gasped one Twitter user.

    “Ummmm why the hell are you wearing an almost white dress that easily could have been a wedding dress???” another user scolded. “That was very selfish of you to try to steal her spotlight but given how much you want all the attention on you, it doesn’t surprise me..”

    Who's worse: (a) twitter trolls; (b) Patrick Reilly, who wrote the New York Post article; (c) the editors who thought it would be something their readers needed to know?

  • Noah Rothman notes the latest Trumpian video salvo against Governor Ron: Slinging Pudding and Evading Responsibility.

    The advertisement vaults off the mid-March revelation that DeSantis was once compelled for want of utensils on a private flight between Washington, D.C., and Tallahassee to tuck into a cup of chocolate pudding using three fingers — a detail that became late-night comedy fodder for the better part of a week. The anti-DeSantis spot produced by Make America Great Again Inc. features a faceless actor shoveling pudding into his face, with varying degrees of success, in such a way as to make even those with the most robust constitutions feel a little woozy.

    At the risk of overanalyzing the ad’s aesthetics, one could say that if Republican voters subconsciously internalize an association between DeSantis and nausea, this might one day be regarded as an effective campaign ad.

    That assumes, however, that these voters do not critically listen to the substance of the ad. The MAGA Inc. spot does not dwell on DeSantis’s allegedly unrefined table manners but rather on the fact that the longtime Republican lawmaker once evinced support for longtime Republican positions: specifically, the urgent and undeniable national imperative for reforming America’s unfunded entitlement programs before they collapse.

    I can't quite believe that Trump's position is "Let's continue to ignore this obvious, well-documented, imminent fiscal disaster." But apparently it is.

  • [Amazon Link]
    (paid link)
    Philip Greenspun, brave soul, is actually reading Governor Ron's campaign book (link at your right). Here he concentrates on Ron DeSantis and Coronapanic. There are long excerpts from the book and a review of 2020 history (2020 hindsight?). Here's DeSantis:

    Florida stood out because other large states like California and New York dutifully bowed to the biomedical security state. I was not going to allow our state to descend into a Faucian dystopia in which people’s freedoms were curtailed and their livelihoods destroyed. Florida protected individual freedom, economic opportunity, and access to education—and our state is much better for it.

    As the iron curtain of Faucism descended across our continent, the State of Florida stood resolutely in the way.


    Inspiring words, perhaps, but inspiring for whom? Maybe for the folks who chose to relocate to Florida so that their kids could go to school. Maybe for Anders Tegnell. But if we assume that state governors do what state voters want, the vast majority of Americans wanted to be locked down and wanted to be ordered to wear masks and get injected with an experimental medicine. I don’t see how this chapter helps Ron DeSantis win a general election in a country whose residents would have cowered in place for 5 years if Fauci had told them to keep cowering.

    Phil's kind of a pessimistic grump. Doesn't make him wrong, though.

  • Jim Geraghty wrote last Tuesday on The White House Retirement Home.

    Yesterday I noticed that the White House called a lid — that is, announced there would be no public events with the president — shortly after 9 a.m. Eastern.

    Today the president received his daily intelligence briefing at 11 a.m., and he will deliver remarks on actions to help families access care, support care workers and family caregivers, and strengthen the economy at 2 p.m.

    No doubt that leisurely start to the week is a consequence of President Biden’s trip to Ireland. Biden left the White House for his Ireland trip at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and remained in Ireland until Friday evening. Upon returning to the U.S. early Saturday morning, Biden spent the weekend at his Rehoboth Beach house, and returned to the White House Sunday evening.


    This is just part of life with an 80-year-old president; after an overseas trip, he’ll need two or three days to recover from jet lag. It is hard to imagine Biden will be in better shape, or more energetic, a year from now when he’s running for reelection as an 81-year-old, or, if victorious, taking the oath of office again at age 82. And yet, the Democratic Party’s plan is for Biden to remain in office until he is age 86.

    I'm relatively sure that if the current president were a Republican of the same age, given to the same schedule and speech flubs, it would be a common story on the network news and the late night talk shows. But… we can only imagine.

  • Andrew C. McCarthy is unsurprised to find The Obama-Era Hatchet Man at the Center of Biden’s 2020 Campaign Deception.

    So how shocked, shocked should we be that, when the Biden campaign needed to call in a pro in the dark art of politicizing intelligence, it turned to none other than former CIA muckety-muck Michael Morell? You may remember him as the man behind the infamous Benghazi talking points . . . about which he has been just as honest as he is now in Deep State–splaining to us that his effort to help Joe Biden slough off Hunter’s scandalous laptop as Russian disinformation was not — really not, cross-his-heart — a scam to frame the laptop as Russian disinformation.

    As our Ari Blaff reports, Morell has fessed up to the House Judiciary Committee that, in the weeks just before the 2020 presidential election, he and his pal Antony Blinken (then a top Biden campaign adviser, now the secretary of state) cooked up the shameful letter signed by 51 partisan Democrats — I mean, er, scrupulously nonpartisan former intelligence and national-security officials. That letter, which branded the Hunter Biden laptop as Russian disinformation, is itself an exquisite piece of disinformation, based on exactly zero, zip, nada evidence, and trading exclusively on the credentials of the former officials.

    Took us about two and a half years to find out, thanks to our utterly incurious democracy-dies-in-darkness watchdog journalists. (I slagged the New York Post above, but they were about the only ones making noise about this at the time.)

Last Modified 2024-01-17 12:26 PM EDT

The Vanishing Point

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

A couple months back, I opened a book report with "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be ballet dancers." This time, I'm going with "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be photographers, either."

This book made the WSJ's Best Mysteries of 2021, and it finishes up my reading project for that list. (That list was a mixed bag. My previous reports: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

The book revolves around central characters Rye, Julian, and Magda; years back, they encountered each other at the prestigious Brodsky Workshop, a springboard for future famous shutterbugs. But as the book opens, two decades post-Brodsky, Julian is attending the memorial service for Rye, who's missing, presumed dead. So that's kind of a mystery, but not really, because nobody seems that interested in finding out what happened. We proceed to jump back in time to discover what brought us to that unhappy pass…

Each chapter is told via third-person limited point-of-view (I think it's called) describing some segment of some character's shambolic life. This is pretty good when the same scene is described from different POVs.

Pretty much everyone's miserable, smokes too much, drinks too much. (Or, in one case, much worse.) The prose is a little arty for my taste, the author eschews quotation marks, but some people, e.g. the WSJ reviewer, find it OK. And I thought things got a little too soap-operatic at the end. But that's me.

Last Modified 2024-01-13 12:59 PM EDT