The Phony Campaign

2023-04-30 Update

Before I send it to the shredder:

[get ron's book]

Gee, Ron, sending the Republican Party of Florida $75 for a book I can buy at Amazon for $21.00 (hardcover) or $16.99 (Kindle): why would I want to do that? Or, for that matter, for a book I could just borrow from the Portsmouth Public Library for no charge? (As I type, it's "available for loan", meaning it's not exactly in heavy demand.)

From the accompanying letter:

Personal Correspondence
RSVP in the next 7 days!
Return Envelope Enclosed

Dear Fellow Patriot,

    I couldn't do this for everyone.

    But because you are one of the Republican Party's top 1% of supporters, I've…

Holy cats, Ron. Stop. Just stop.

You could do this for everyone. And I bet you would do it to anyone who you thought had the slightest inclination to drop some cash on you.

And, for the record, I'm not one of the Republican Party's top 1% of supporters. I'm pretty sure I'm not even in the top 100%. (Yes, I'm registered that way with the state; that makes me literally a Republican In Name Only.)

Well, so much for my personal brush with phoniness this week. What do Google and Election Betting Odds have to say?

Oooh, Nikki Haley's back with us:

Candidate EBO Win
Hit Count
Ron DeSantis 13.5% -0.1% 16,500,000 +7,290,000
Donald Trump 26.3% -0.6% 1,060,000 -470,000
Joe Biden 34.7% -1.7% 400,000 -49,000
Kamala Harris 2.7% +0.3% 106,000 -37,000
Nikki Haley 2.0% --- 39,700 ---
Other 20.8% +0.1% --- ---

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

And I can't help but notice that 20.8% probability for "other" is the highest it's been since I started keeping track back in March. Surely, someone else will save us from this crop of phonies!

  • At least this means he can still read a cheat sheet. Noah Rothman details Biden’s Journalist Cheat Sheet: The New Collusion Scandal.

    If you’re like the 70 percent of Americans who don’t want to see Joe Biden run for president again, 79 percent of whom cite to some degree his advanced age as the reason for their trepidation, the president is eager to allay your concerns.

    “What do you say to them?” one reporter asked. “What do you say to those Americans who are watching and aren’t convinced?” To this, Biden replied mechanically. He redirected reporters’ attention away from the polling on voters’ discomfort with the president’s empirical decrepitude to his job-approval numbers, which Biden defended as middling and, therefore, unremarkable compared with past presidents. “Number two,” Biden replied, glancing down at the lectern, “when the same polling asked whether they think what kind of job I’ve done, it gets overwhelmingly positive results.”

    “With regard to age, I can’t even say I guess how old I am,” Biden added extemporaneously. “It doesn’t — it doesn’t register with me.” He concluded: “I feel good.”

    It was a practiced response, which makes sense considering the White House press shop probably had plenty of time to practice a response to this reporter’s inquiry.

    Enterprising reporters armed with telescopic lenses attending that press conference captured the stack of cards the president was holding at the time, one of which featured the name and image of the reporter slated to ask “question #1.” Moreover, that card included the contents of the question that was to be posed to the senescent president.

    Gee, how did the "Democracy Dies in Darkness" Washington Post cover this?

    Mainly with "everybody does it" handwaving, referring to "dirty little secrets of presidential news conferences: They’re less spontaneous and freewheeling than they appear to be, with a fair amount of stage managing behind them."

    But, yeah, the reporter told the White House what she was going to ask about ahead of time.

  • Make sure he knows what he's running for, so he'll give the right answer when asked. President Wheezy also announced his candidacy last week. Rich Lowry sees what's coming: Joe Biden Prepares His Next Basement Campaign.

    Joe Biden is going to run for reelection.

    One question this raises: How is anyone going to tell?

    The basement presidency is about to embark on another basement campaign.

    Biden’s political genius turns out to be not provoking strong negative emotions because no one particularly thinks of him as being in charge or as having anything interesting to say.

    President Biden and the people around him are, in effect, conducting a large-scale, ongoing political-science experiment: Is it possible to run a left-wing government — with tactics often frankly at odds with our constitutional system — and avoid a massive backlash by having a president at the top who appears ineffectual and out of touch?

    Well, when a complaisant press is already furnishing Biden with clues about the softball questions he's going to pretend to answer spontaneously, I'd say: yeah, it's possible.

  • I detect a possible play on words… in Charles C. W. Cooke's headline: Biden Is Not Immune to RFK Jr..

    In accordance with its primary purpose, which is to ensure that the Democratic politicians whom it favors are successfully elected to public office, the American press corps has thus far underplayed the threat that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. poses to President Biden’s bid for a second term.

    Coverage of RFK Jr.’s bid has been focused predominantly on the question of whether a challenger is likely to succeed per se — that is, on the question of whether RFK Jr. will achieve his goal of unseating President Biden as the Democratic nominee. As most observers have noted, the answer to this question is an emphatic no. Not since 1856 has a sitting president sought and lost his party’s nomination for reelection. Absent an unthinkable cataclysm, this cycle is not going to break that trend.

    As a historical matter, however, this is the wrong question to ask. A better question to ask — a question that Joe Biden ought to be asking himself daily — is whether RFK Jr. will end up doing so much damage to Biden that he will help to deny Biden a second term. It remains the case that at no point in the last 50 years has being seriously challenged for the nomination worked out well for an incumbent president. And, at the moment, RFK Jr.’s challenge is, indeed, serious. The first poll taken since he announced showed him taking 14 percent of the Democratic primary vote — an astonishingly high number for a newly declared candidate. Should this level of support persist, it might well prove lethal. No president in the past half-century has won reelection after surviving a primary challenger who got into the double digits. Is there anything about the 80-year-old Joe Biden that makes one think he’d buck that trend?

    No predictions here. I learned my lesson back in 2016.

  • Unfortunately, he's got a lot of allies. Dan McLaughlin surveys the battlefront of Donald Trump’s War on Reason & Reality.

    On Friday, Donald Trump’s campaign launched a rhetorical fusillade against Republican governance of Florida, arguing that under Ron DeSantis, “Florida continues to tumble into complete and total delinquency and destruction,” that “the real DeSantis record is one of misery and despair,” and that DeSantis “has left a wake of destruction all across Florida” What followed was a series of tendentious bullet-point contentions:

    On DeSantis’ watch, Florida has become one of the least affordable states to live in the country. Under Ron DeSantis, Florida has become among the worst states. . . . To Live. . . .To Find Economic Opportunity. . . . To Work. . . . To Retire. . . . To Raise a Family. . . . To Pay Taxes. . . . To Be Safe. . . . To Rent a Home. . . . To Have A Baby. . . . To Afford Energy. . . . To Die. . . . To Be a Teacher. . . . To Be a Doctor. . . . To Be a Police Officer. . . . For Millennials. . . . For Working Dads. . . . For Working Moms. . . .

    Among the sources cited by Trump: ESPN, Oxfam, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the left-wing Florida Policy Institute, the Hill, and NBC News. He followed up by touting a quote from Joy Reid. Yet again, as he has done so often in attacking DeSantis, Trump is amplifying the arguments of Democrats and the Left and demanding that his supporters agree with those arguments.

    I am, however, assured that Disney World is the happiest place on earth. Even though Science continues to say it's Finland instead.

  • Kamala still is hanging in our phony standings, I assume kept there by bettors who are eyeing the mortality tables. Meanwhile, according to the official transcript of a recent appearance, she may be onto something:

    So I think it’s very important — as you have heard from so many incredible leaders — for us, at every moment in time, and certainly this one, to see the moment in time in which we exist and are present, and to be able to contextualize it, to understand where we exist in the history and in the moment as it relates not only to the past, but the future.

    Did I say she might be onto something? Sorry, I meant to say she might be on something.

  • Now if she'd only get real on her electoral chances… The WSJ editorialists congratulate Nikki: Nikki Haley Gets Real on Abortion.

    Republicans urgently need to sort out their political argument on abortion, and the best effort we’ve heard so far is Nikki Haley’s speech on Tuesday combining the moral case against abortion with a politics of persuasion and humility.

    Ms. Haley called abortion “a deeply personal topic for both women and men,” and she treated the issue with the compassion and seriousness it demands. “I know how hard pregnancy can be” and “many women have it much harder.” A friend was raped and feared an unwanted pregnancy, “an anguish I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

    Ms. Haley described herself as “pro-life,” both “unapologetic and unhesitant about it,” and cited measures she signed as South Carolina Governor. Judges in Roe v. Wade imposed a national abortion standard that “much of the country found deeply offensive.” Roe’s downfall last year was right on the legal merits and an enormous victory for the pro-life movement.

    But she tempered that conviction with political realism. “The pro-life laws that have passed in strongly Republican states”—bills that ban the procedure after a heartbeat is detected at six weeks, for instance—“will not be approved at the federal level,” she said.

    I have fairly pro-life views myself, but (as Nikki notes) they aren't likely to totally fly in a country where a lot of womenfolk think it's perfectly OK to snuff out an innocent, but inconvenient, life.

Last Modified 2024-01-30 6:11 AM EDT