Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We're All Mad Here

Not all lies are obvious howlers. The usual kind of politician's lie involves taking things out of context or telling half-truths, to make statements that may or may not be defensible of themselves while lead a listener to make certain conclusions that are false.

The Obama campaign practices this kind of conventional political lying. For a good analysis of one of their recent ads, and how they play around with the truth, click here. Despite a promise to change our politics fundamentally, this is a classical style of dissembling on the part of Obama. It undercuts his brand with people like me, but the fact is it will be overlooked by most of his supporters. Not forgiven, but overlooked. They will not even acknowledge that he lies like - well, like a politician.

Yet Obama's mendacity passes below radar next to the larger-than-life, "up is down," stupendous bullshitting of the Republican campaign. Talk about a party that has been hijacked by its worst element. It goes beyond audacity into the realm of the psychotic with the McCain campaign.

Time was, a politican might get caught in a lie and then backpedal, or at least stop repeating it. Yet McCain and his running mate repeat lies that have been proven, documented, and emblazoned on the heavens as deliberate and purposeful falsehoods. During the last week, Governor Palin impressed me particularly by telling a lie in her speeches at the RNC and in Ohio, backing off from it in a network news interview, and then going back out on the stump and returning to the same lie after she had already backpedaled!

The manager of the McCain-Palin campaign, Rick Davis, has become famous for 15 minutes by saying to the Washington Post: "This election is not about issues." That ain't the half of it, folks. This nation has become a mad tea party in which truth has no relevance, and it seems impossible to say anything sensible.

Indeed, I despair of returning to current affairs at all in this blog, and yet given the stakes, ignoring them also seems absurd (not to mention the risk of moral failure). Vonnegut wrote towards the end of his life that the flaw in our nation is that only nut cases run for President. Much as I would cherish his companionship these days, the statement was already out of date by then. As the cheshire cat said, "We're all mad here."

Might as well enjoy a song about it...

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