November 29, 2019

For Kamala Harris, it wasn't "The Truths We Hold." It was The Truths We Polled.

From the NYT article — discussed at greater length in the previous post — about how Kamala Harris's campaign "unraveled." I've got to break this out for a closer look:
Then there was Ms. Harris’s campaign message. Extensive polling led her to believe that there was great value in the word “truth,” so she titled her 2019 memoir “The Truths We Hold” and made a similar phrase the centerpiece of her early stump speech: “Let’s speak truth.” But she dropped the saying out of a belief that voters wanted something less gauzy. 
Gauzy! Is truth gauzy? No, but just using the word "truth" doesn't convey a serious grounding in truth.

And apparently, that "truth" bullshit was never serious. It was just something that polled well.

For Kamala Harris, it wasn't "The Truths We Hold." It was The Truths We Polled.

ADDED: If "truth" didn't work, how about lies? How do lies poll? Well, the truth is, lies poll really well, if you have the right lie. You wouldn't use the word "lie." The word "lie" is just as abstract as the word "truth," but only "truth" comes across as "gauzy," because only truth is presented to the people in abstract form. To base your campaign on lies, you have to be specific! And the truth is, the claim that you're basing your campaign on truth is itself a lie.

ALSO: The NYT deployed the word "gauzy" against John Kerry in 2004:
Mr. Kerry has for the most part avoided harsh political attacks on the president, instead emphasizing his expansive plans and offering gauzy-sounding talk of sunrises and grabbing onto dreams.
Blogging that — in the first year of this blog — I said: "You know how gauze sounds, don't you? In fact, some folks would rather listen to "a thin, loosely woven surgical dressing" than the Senator's drone."


gspencer said...

Never seen in the same room at the same time = the truth and a Democrat politician

Shouting Thomas said...

She's a classic racism and sexism huckster, another rich girl from a Brahmin background trying to glom onto some sort of oppression claim.

So, in fact, she's the usual wild liar, whose ass we are all supposed to kiss.

The quota system has been a godsend for the connected with generational wealth and access to education.

Fernandinande said...

If you like your gauzy truth you can keep your gauzy truth.

Kevin said...

The truth for Harris is she’s running fourth in her home state.

That’s also a result of extensive polling.

John henry said...

I have a good campaign slogan for her:

"We be JamIn"

Funky to capture the inner city vote

Accentuates her diversity Jam[aican]-In[dian}

Already lots of t shirts available

Already a well-know phrase

Associated with Bob Marley who lots of white people like.

John Henry

Francisco D said...

Gauzy! Is truth gauzy? No, but just using the word "truth" doesn't convey a serious grounding in truth.

According to Cory Booker, there is her truth, referring to Christine Blasey Ford.

There is the Democrat/Media truth when it comes to impeachment.

There is Leftist truth when it comes to Trump being an authoritarian White Supremacist Nazi.

So I am guessing that Kamala hitched her wagon to what any semi-intelligent person would call "lies". Why not call it what it is?

iowan2 said...

Harris is proof that meritocracy is still a thing. Harris fails to be notable in any of her life experiences. Being President of the United States is not a position to be filled by person with an acceptable, but bland, Linkedin profile. Substance does matter. A track record of accomplishments, not jobs, is a bare minimum, Harris fails to achieve bare minimum

whitney said...

"Gauzy! Is truth gauzy? No, but just using the word "truth" doesn't convey a serious grounding in truth."

This is an excellent observation. It's much like the when a murder defendant tries to claim insanity. The fakers will list their symptoms to prove their point but it's how it becomes obvious but they're not, in fact, insane

stevew said...

All this is said in the past tense, has she terminated her campaign?

Kamala Harris is an example of the worst sort of political candidate: she has no real, personal sense of why the voters should care and vote for her so she is reduced to having to run polls to determine what the why of her campaign is or should be. But if you don't have a sense of what matters then trying to figure it out by polling is just random or trial and error.

She is decidedly unnatural and lacking in the skills necessary to be even a competitive candidate. It's all over for her but the crying.

John henry said...

Reading is educational as well as fun! I l;earned a new phrase yesterday reading Kurt Schlichter's latest book "Collapse"

"Person of color by choice"

It means that a pasty face white boy can claim all the suffering of all other people of color. Just before Colonel Wang shoots him in the face because he won't stop whining.

John Henry

Leland said...

the claim that you're basing your campaign on truth is itself a lie.

Kamala was just using tactics developed by the Clintons, and those tactics worked for a majority of Americans. Alas, Hillary never got the chance to imprison people with faulty evidence. I think that hurt Kamala in what might have been her base demographic. Without that base, Kamala could never advance. Hillary, however, locked in her base demographic of rich white females.

gadfly said...

Trump apparently understands well that out-in-out lies poll well but the last thing he would understand is "gauzy," since he is a hammer-nail personality (as in, "If your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail").

donald said...

And she WILL cry when she suspends .

Then some idiot will write about if ONLY she had shown this emotion earlier.

But voters recognize the ugliness in her snotty tone and that perpetual resting bitch face in the photo below.

AllenS said...

"If you don't like that truth, I have others." -- KH

John henry said...

Why did she marry a white man (a wealthy white man) just before announcing her run? First marriage for her at 50+

Was it because of the optics of a single Caribbean-Indian woman in the white house? Was it for his money for her campaign?

Is Kamala a lesbian? Just because she used to suck Willie's willy doesn't make her straight.

Would people trust a childless president as not having any "skin in the game"? Her marriage brings some children to he resume, even if they are adult step-children.

J M Keynes famously said "In the long run we are all dead". He is, having been childless. Is Kamala a Keynesian?

John Henry

Drago said...

The Poor Man's LLR Chuck, gadfly: ".......(words)........."

Failed blogger gadfly, in fact, the "Kamala Harris of bloggers" gadfly, read something yesterday for the first time that sounded cool and he/she/xe figured he/she/xe would try to incorporate this incoherent thought into a potential threadjack attack against Trump.

Of course it failed because, you know....gadfly.


Quayle said...

This is what happens when the truths we hold (or are supposed to hold) are not self evident.

Fernandinande said...

"We hold these truths ..." run thru the thesaurus:

Ourselves assume the particular axioms to be ego-indisputable, that all fellows are constructed to match, that they are equipped by their Originator with definite built-in integrities, that among these are animation, convenience and the hunt of euphoria.

Quayle said...

Even the truths she polled were not self evident.

“I really believe I could lead this country. Let’s start with a poll and find out which direction the majority of people want to go and I’ll set out and get in front of them.”

Implement this kind of “leadership” for long enough and you eventually start worrying and complaining that the other countries don’t like America and are laughing at us. Because in the global elite west, one’s national foreign policy should be driven by popularity among the other nations.

DavidD said...


The expression is “out and out lies.”

If you’re going to insult someone, at least get the grammar right.

Bob Boyd said...

"The truths we hold" sounds like a book about "the things we don't tell you".

It refers, presumably, to the Declaration, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Progressives don't believe these things. That's one of the truths they hold.

MikeR said...

I don't know if actual truth would poll well. Actual truth would involve admitting that both sides make good points sometimes, that even if you don't like Donald Trump he did a good job on __ and __. And that the point of political parties is to provide a set of frameworks for comparison, not that they should have cheerleaders who check the party talking points to find out what they should think.
When is the last time a major politician admitted that their opponents were making a good point?
Truth would be great in politics, but probably a disastrous failure. No one is coming anywhere near it.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Obviously America doesn't like strong black women!

Drago said...

DavidD: "Gadfly,
The expression is “out and out lies.”
If you’re going to insult someone, at least get the grammar right."

That's our gadfly!!

Mark said...

Hard to base a campaign on truth when your audience at best does not have an understanding of what truth is or, at worst, rejects the existence of truth and considers it to be a manufactured construct.

Iman said...

I've read that Harris was "poled well" over the course of her adult life...

Michael K said...

"Truth" is the title of the movie Hollywood made to try to convince America (or at least Democrats) that Dan Rather told the truth about Bush's ANG record.

Nobody believes it but college students who learn no history might be convinced.

rhhardin said...

It's not exceptional lies, just standard campaign stuff.

All women are doubted by now. It's not an IQ problem, like race, but a brain short circuit problem, that's begun to turn up too often.

Francisco D said...

Trump apparently understands well that out-in-out lies poll well but the last thing he would understand is "gauzy," since he is a hammer-nail personality (as in, "If your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail").

You refer to "The Law of the Instrument" which I learned in grad school many years ago. It is a useful way of describing people who inflexible and single-minded. However, I find it impossible to logically connect the two sentences. What point are you trying to make, Gadfly?

rhhardin said...

It's made a little worse by the need to compaign to women, as well as being a woman. You get lowest common denominator speaking.

Best to go Scott Adams and talk about persuasion, for analysis of campaign success and failure.

Trump isn't campaigning to women, which makes him interesting.

Imagine what Harris could do if she campaigned to men rather than women.

jaydub said...

Her fall to earth was inevitable. After all, it was a pole that launched her political career, not a poll, and Brown's Willie could only be ridden so far. You could certainly say she blew it, but it more likely that she just proved once again that in sexual politics what goes up must come down. Some say her biggest mistake was counting on a octogenarian to always give her the hard truth. She doubtless believed she was getting firm advice, but she probably should not have swallowed the stuff Brown was spurting.

I am not Laslo.

madAsHell said...

Ummmm.....what shout said!

Mike Sylwester said...

out-in-out lies vs. out and out lies

I think this is a question of semantics, not of grammar.

hombre said...

For secular progressives like Harris truth is transitory. It cannot be held.

Browndog said...

No one really knows what Kamala's core values and beliefs are. She has them. Everyone does. When you go to great lengths to mask them, opting for lies and empty rhetoric instead, it's a major problem.

Hillary was the same way. The difference, Hillary had a long track record and moments of accidental truth telling to glean what she really thought about issues, and how she would govern.

Mean, nasty, and vindictive are traits they both share.

I'm comfortable stating that she thinks "her DOJ" will be the supreme law of the land, as she's said as much on several occasions. Other than that, I got nothing, but it can't be good.

buwaya said...

K. Harris is yet another woman sidetracked by the fools gold of a "career".

She was made an offer, many years ago, very much like that Satan made in the desert.

She would be advanced by a - group, her way cleared. And so they did, moving her from position to position, a cursus honorum, as the previous lot, in its time, made way for her. She herself never seems to have done anything in these offices; one gets the impression that she was not interested in the work and was happy enough, on the whole, to be managed.

She does not have a dominating personality, the lust to win and control. Nor has she got the charisma for it, beyond her physical advantages. She was always just a willing puppet, chosen, not choosing.

I think that in her presidential campaign she was also managed, in this case by a "professional" team selected by her handlers. Professionals in the sense that they could go through the motions of campaigning according to the customary practices in their circles. Its like a team that has spent many years in practice but has never played competitive games. This describes K. Harris also.

And her reward, I think, in the end, will be regret. She gave up on being a wife and mother for nothing, really.

TheThinMan said...

Kerry’s tagline was “Help is on the way.” What was so gauzy about that? Fake news, 2004 edition.

Tom T. said...

I think that what appeals to voters is not truth, exactly, but sincerity. That's Trump's appeal -- whatever he says, you come away with the impression that he firmly believes it at that moment. :-)

AMDG said...

Ambition with no purpose.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"Harris' Campaign Goes Tits Up"

chickelit said...

AMDG said...Ambition with no purpose.

Her message was based more on vengeance and retribution. That's how she looked to me. No message of hope and potential. Just all "let's get even."

WhoKnew said...

"Harris' Campaign Goes Tits Up" Now that's a headline I'd really like to see; thanks exhelodrvr1

daskol said...

I see a few positive things developing from from Harris' failure as a national candidate. The idea that a no-charisma, empty suit can be foisted upon us because she has support from rich people and influential media deserves to be shaken. It's still probably true even if it didn't work with Harris, at least at the state level, but it's good for this notion to take hard hits. Personally, I'd like to see every single person who's had a background in senior law enforcement get thoroughly challenged, across both parties. The corruption of our legal system is very thorough. The conviction rates at the state and especially federal levels are indicative of a totalitarian state. The practice of laying on incredibly heavy charges atop charges to force people to plead is a thorough corruption of our rights to due process. Any player in that game ought to be held accountable for his part. I don't hold high hopes for that, although if we're going to get criminal justice reform that meaningfully changes things, it will come from outsiders. Nobody who's been in the game is going to do real damage to the qualified immunity that is the fundamental support for this malpractice. I'd like to be supportive of law enforcement for all the dedicated front-line people helping to keep us safe, from cops to assistant prosecutors. But they're participating in a system so corrupt it's impossible that they won't be corrupted by it themselves, unless they burn out and leave it. I don't think that will be one of the broadly held lessons of Kamal's failure, but perhaps it should be: a life spent in senior law enforcement ought to disqualify one for politics at this point, unless one can point to a radical reformist agenda.

daskol said...

I would love to see Lori Loughlin and Martha Stewart and Conrad Black on the front lines, alongside all the minority victims of aggressive law enforcement. There's a populist angle to be exploited here, uniting the rich and the poor. I think Kim Kardashian can do it. Kim/Kanye 2024.

Will Cate said...

New tag suggestion: Truth Bullshit

TJM said...

Pretty rich coming from Fake News Central aka the New York Times. Anyone who reads that rag anymore is really, really, stupid

rcocean said...

Politicians want to tell people what they want to hear. Polls help them do that. What's funny is, I can't tell you how Harris differs on the issues from Biden, Warren or Buttigig. They all support the same thing. So, her lies are the other Candidates Lies.

Bill Peschel said...

"Harris is proof that meritocracy is still a thing."

And then I think of Obama ...

I guess merit can be outweighed by a really, really sharp crease in the pants.

Sort of like all those rich men who think they can buy their election, like Huffington and Bloomberg.

Merit can take you only so far. You need a message that polls well to take you the rest of the way.

rcocean said...

The most privileged people in Government are black women. They're affirmative action super-stars since they check two boxes. If they're smart and competent, they will sky-rocket to the top of any organization. And powerful people will always be looking to promote them. That's what happened to Harris. Willie Brown liked her, and was given the State AG job and then the Senate job.

rcocean said...

As for her "core values", she has the same ones as Warren, Biden, Buttigig, and Booker. Its all the same Easter Egg, just dyed different colors.

robother said...

"The truth, the truth, the truthitty-truth truth."

Martin said...

I may be the first to say it, but here goes: Kamala Harris in 2019 is like Jeb Bush in 2015-16. All the money and elite backing in the world wasted on someone with nothing to say, and who thought polls and expensive consultants could fill the gap.

Her campaign didn't unravel, it was never "ravelled" in the first place. She was the darling of NYT and some others, which was the sole basis of her early support. That support started dropping as soon as her public campaign began.

The idea of "truth" as validated by polls and consultants, reminds me of the old joke about entertainers: "Sincerity is everything in this business; if you can fake that, you've got it made."

Browndog said...

. I think Kim Kardashian can do it. Kim/Kanye 2024.

Kim destroyed her credibility a few weeks ago when she proclaimed a serial pedophile rapist and murderer to be innocent despite DNA evidence.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...


You too can can relate these poll-tested buzz words to your deplorable family members. MoveOn!

Ice AGENTS are the KKK!
Russians under every bed!

Big Mike said...

To me nothing so completely indicates the contempt that the Democrats have for their black constituents as the Buttigieg and Harris campaigns. The former waves the "intersectionality" flag and the latter tries to play the race card, but in neither case has the candidate earned the respect from black people for their activities in prior offices. Blacks are apparently just supposed to sign onto whatever person the party puts up, even if the blacks in the city you ran hate your guts or you developed a reputation for laughing as you put young black men in prison for simple marijuana crimes while yourself imbibing cannabis.

Do they think black people are mindless? Do think black people don't talk to each other?

daskol said...

That guy was apparently guilty of all sorts of stuff, just not everything he’d been convicted of.

Charlie said...

The one good thing about these ridiculous 20 person "debates" is that they exposed the awful candidates right away. Yes I know, that's pretty much all of them but Harris and Beto stood out as particularly awful.

Paco Wové said...

"Her message was based more on vengeance and retribution."

Doesn't that describe all the Democratic candidates?

hstad said...

WOW! "Truth" and a Politico? Oxymoron?

Greg the class traitor said...

Extensive polling led her to believe that there was great value in the word “truth,”

This sounds like something you'd hear from the marketing guy in the movie "Rock of Ages"

Everything you need to know about Kamala Harris comes down to this:

She saw some research, and decided NOT that "the voters water to hear the truth", but that "the voter want to hear the worth 'truth'".

Terminally stupid, or just terminally dishonest?

I think I have to "embrace the healing power of 'and' here"

wildswan said...

"If "truth" didn't work, how about lies? How do lies poll? Well, the truth is, lies poll really well, if you have the right lie."

Love it. Especially "if you have the right lie." But what is the right lie in 2020? The Dems are having trouble finding it. May I suggest "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you?"

wildswan said...

"If "truth" didn't work, how about lies? How do lies poll? Well, the truth is, lies poll really well, if you have the right lie."

Love it. Especially "if you have the right lie." But what is the right lie in 2020? The Dems are having trouble finding it. May I suggest "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you?"

Christy said...

Aren't polls only as good as the pollster? We've all seen the way polls can be manipulated. Did Harris choose a pollster who told her what she, Harris, wanted to hear? What the pollster wanted Harris to support? Do most polls search for TRUTH?

gilbar said...

As Jo Biden so often said... We Choose TRUTH over Facts
and the Truth is: We will say or do, ANYTHING that Might get us elected