Who, or what, is Kari Lake?


An anthropology question: In this morning's New York Times, Jazmine Ulloa provides some (fairly standard) background on Kari Lake:

ULLOA (11/15/22): Former friends and colleagues of Ms. Lake described her as a liberal and a Buddhist who had a close circle of gay friends before she entered politics. But as she ran for office, she refashioned herself as a Christian conservative, among other things by assailing drag performers as bad influences on children.

Those flips have been widely reported. As we'll see below, it's a bit of an oddity on the part of the Times that the matter of the drag queens is the one item Ulloa cites.

That said, Ulloa also reports Lake's reaction to the fact that she has (narrowly) lost her bid to be governor of Arizona:

ULLOA: After the race was called on Monday night, Ms. Lake did not concede defeat, instead suggesting, without citing evidence, that the vote was marred. “Arizonans know BS when they see it,” she tweeted.

People like Lake don't bother with no stinkin' evidence. Meanwhile, do Arizonans know BS when they see it? Here is Vaughn Hillyard's instant description of Lake's campaign, as delivered on Morning Joe:  

HILLYARD (11/15/22): Look, I covered Kari Lake for a better part of the last year and a half here, and I think it was fitting to be here at Mar-a-Lago. I finally flew yesterday from Arizona, and essentially felt like I was covering Donald Trump's campaign of 2024, but in Arizona over the last year.

She predicated her campaign on trying to sell the "big lie" and trying to sell the conspiracy theories. When she wonders how she lost this race, look at it...

In the final week of her campaign, who did she campaign alongside? She campaigned alongside Steve Bannon. She campaigned alongside one of the chief promoters of Pizzagate. She campaigned alongside an individual who promoted the notion of the war on white people. She campaigned alongside state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who just earlier this year was here in Florida speaking at a white nationalist conference, somebody who frequently spews antisemitism.

This is an individual who just last week called her Democratic opponent "a pervert." This is an individual who suggested there should be perp walks for elections officials, criminal charges against individuals who oversaw Covid response in 2020 in Arizona.

This is an individual who's celebrating putting a dagger into the, quote, "McCain machine." She asserted that Cindy McCain wants to end America. She called Mike Lindell one of the great patriots of our time. She said Dinesh D'Souza is one of the great patriots in America. She suggested Paul Gosar was the kind of lawmaker our founding fathers envisioned. She called the media "the right hand of the devil, the scourge of the earth." 

Also, this is an individual who suggested, without citing evidence, that this election was phony too, just like the last election. Repeat:

Without citing evidence.

Thus campaigned the apparent former liberal, who tied her wagon to Trump. To see videotape of Hillyard's statement, you can just click here.

Who or what is Kari Lake? Do people really traffic in deliberate deception to this astounding extent? We will guess that many people, ourselves included, have never thought such questions all the way through.

We'd like to see medical specialists questioned about such topics. In our view, "these are the days of miracle and wonder" in the anthropological sense. 


  1. Whoa, it sounds like she's a great womyn. Thanks, dear Bob.

    ...as long as there are people like Kari Lake who choose to fight zombies, as long as at least some of us know BS when they see it, there's hope...

    1. yes, dear Bob, don't you know that imposters and liars that deceive gullible people for power and money are great people? dear Bob. and they're even greater when they baselessly undermine faith in elections. dear dear Bob Bob

    2. Oh dear. You sound like you might be suffering from a serious case of monkeypox, dear dembot.

      Get well soon; we're praying for you.

      ...fluids; take plenty of fluids...

    3. Mao, I see you are going pure Goebblesian here. But I am not always right. I wondering (though I'd be really shocked if you could) if you are able to provide any rational factual evidence that Laake's statements are those of a great womyn"; and evidence about the BS she purportedly perceived relating to her election loss.. I'd be further shocked if you could provide a straight response.

  2. "We'd like to see medical specialists questioned about such topics. In our view, "these are the days of miracle and wonder" in the anthropological sense. "

    It doesn't matter who Kari Lake really is. She lost.

    Most rational voters would want to see a coherent identity and track record from a candidate. But that went out the window with Trump, who himself was a Democrat before he developed political aspirations, running on the Reform Party against Pat Buchanan in 2005. Many other people with very different former political lives became Trump supporters. That's why there have been references to a MAGA cult and talk about people's conversion experiences. And Kari Lake is not the first attractive female candidate to think she can win by appealing to conservatives. Look at Kristi Noem, Tulsi Gabbard, Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who lost in Atlanta so she found herself a solid red rural district to run from instead.

    Does Somerby want someone to tell him that sociopaths will change their identities to be whoever you want them to be, as long as they get what they want in exchange? Is identity stability part of mental health? Yes. But mental health is not a prerequisite for office, and many voters cynically believe that politicians will tell them what they want to hear and are only there to achieve their own goals. Such voters believe that their personal interests align with the goals of such politicians. People thought their businesses would prosper under Trump. What did Lake promise her voters, and what can you give to retirees? Permission to be racist old farts. Did she do that?

    Somerby never supplies evidence either, of any of his accusations. Today he refers to "medical specialists" as if Kari Lake had a stroke like Fetterman. He doesn't even bother saying what sort of physicians are required. It is just his way of name-calling someone by implying they are sick. Lake isn't sick -- at least not based on opportunist behavior like hers. Then Somerby tosses in a reference to anthropologists. That field has nothing to do with anything Somerby has discussed and nothing to do with Lake or her campaign either. Somerby's casual use of the job title makes me think he has no idea what anthropologists do.

    And notice how Somerby never refers to Political Scientists or Psychologists or Statisticians or Publicists or any of the other people who help design and run political campaigns, or who assess and diagnose human behavior, or who conduct focus groups and analyze why people vote as they do. Studying that stuff would be hard and it might require him to talk rationally about outcomes and back up his predictions with facts, to use evidence against those he slanders.

    It is enough for him to say mean things about Kari Lake, who has done a lot wrong and lost her election. But one gets the impression that Somerby is mainly attacking her for being female, since he offers nothing against her except that she changed her identity in order to run to the right -- and that is her right to do in a free country like ours. She doesn't have to prove who she is to Somerby or anyone else. And Somerby cannot even vote against her for that, since he lives in Baltimore, not Arizona.

    1. "...one gets the impression that Somerby is mainly attacking her (Kari Lake) for being female,..."

      More likely, Somerby is attacking her for losing to a Democrat.

    2. And yet today's essay is not about Dr. Oz.

    3. anon 3:16, you comment is as stupid as Keri Lake's referenced statements.

  3. Paul Simon would most likely not endorse anything Somerby says. He also has nothing whatsoever to do with anthropology or Kari Lake. Why throw his name into the mix?

    What is miraculous or wonderful about Kari Lake or her campaign? Her loss was not a miracle -- Katie Hobbs earned her victory and she is what the people of Arizona want -- at least the majority of them.

  4. Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog explains what happens to Republican candidates who lose high profile campaigns. They go on to media careers with Fox and find themselves comfy jobs in the Republican establishment. That may be what Lake had in mind when she recreated herself to run as an attention-getting MAGA candidate:


  5. Is Somerby finally getting woke about politics?

    Finally realizing that right wingers have no ideology?

    Brother, please.

    Duh, Somerby, right wingers never have believed their own nonsense, their agenda is to own the libs, to dominate others. Crack a book, learn about the history of anti abortion politics in America - perfect case study of how right wingers will happily weaponize a position they formerly supported if it gives them even an inch of dominance over others.

    It has been years since Somerby and Drum had any influence in media or political analysis; they merely serve these days as a safe space for right wingers and a tool for non right wingers to sharpen their discourse.

  6. Bob often talks about how much money
    the political yackers make for doing their
    sometimes dubious work on MSNBC. If
    He has a similar problem with the Fox
    yackers, I don’t recall him saying so,
    but whatever.
    So is Lake nuts or did She experience
    some spiritual drift to the political Right?
    Who knows, but Bob ignores a perfectly
    sound explanation: She is a careerist
    who believes in maximizing her payday
    to the greatest extent. She likes money
    a lot and trusts herself to do good
    things with it. She knows spin and
    public relations don’t recall a lot of
    honesty and Trump taught her to go
    for it, there are no limits if you are
    going to chase what you want.
    Being a political reporter used
    to be a working man’s job. Office
    holders, we were once told, were
    guys taking a pay cut from what they
    could make in the private sector.
    No one seems to believe there
    things are true anymore.
    Having ambition and wanting to
    be rich from your work does not
    make you a bad person, but
    reporting on zeroes like Lake,
    who really only want to be very
    rich, is something our infotainment
    stars can’t report on too credibly.
    Bob will call them to account
    selectively, which is probably worse
    than not calling them to account
    at all.

  7. I agree with Kari Lake that the people of Arizona know bs when they see it. Which is why she lost.

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