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September 07, 2008

Comments

Okay, I think we just found the right "frame" for Sarah Palin:

How dumb does she think you are?

I want to see that on an Obama ad, with an explanation of this lie. It's true, it's simple enough to explain in 30 seconds, and it attacks her strong suit.

i hope the tapper framing is a sign of the coverage to come. if a politician lies, the press needs to report it, just as he did. the only way this works is if lying imposes some cost -- and it won't if the press does nothing

This is exactly why the end of the Biden clip was so awesome. One side is admitting that they are not interacting with the press because they might get knocked off talking points or have ignorance exposed and this is being cheered as good tactics? It's disgusting.

It's one thing to lose on policies, if people just didn't agree with Obama and he loses it'd be fine. But the Democrats have a 10-15% advantage when people are just told platforms without any attribution. It's even fine to argue that the majority is wrong and work to change minds...but if McCain wins when such a large percentage of the population objectively disagrees with his platform, I will have lost nearly all my faith in the process. It's not about issues, indeed.

At least Obama and Biden recognize that they are on the majority's side and are going to hammer that point home.

Bush has been getting away with stonewalling and lying for years. sure, the truth leaks out eventually, but long after it's relevant.

the McPOW team knows this. and they know they only have to keep the truth down for 59 more days. they think they can do it.

[S]he's telling lies . . . that have gotten a lot of attention . . . .

This is the problem right here, I do believe. It's a beautiful situation for the McCain campaign.

To wit -

Candidate: "I hereby declare X!"

Press Corp.: "This is objectively false."

C: "I reiterate X! X, I say! X!"

P.C.: "This continues to be false."

C: "The liberal elite cosmopolitan whiny uppity media attack me for saying X! But I believe in X, my friends!"

Crowd: "X! X! X! Down with the communist terrorist media!"

P.C.: "We loathe being disliked. We will now shut up about X."

McCain Supporter: "Didn't you know? X will save the country!"

Reasonable Person: "But X is, in fact, a complete lie spat into my face and may very well ead our nation to ruin."

M.S.: "You're just brainwashed by the lying liberals! X! X! X!"

R.P.: (kills self)

I like your script S.G.E.W. but I have a suggestion:

Obama has finally used the line I have longed to hear him use: "They must think you're stupid." In context, "they" is the GOP, and "you" is his Democratic audience.

Now suppose Obama finds (or makes) an opportunity to say on TV: "She must think they're stupid," where "she" is Palin and "they" is the press corps.

I don't know if that would work, to be honest. It depends on whether the press loathes being ridiculed less, or more, than being disliked.

--TP

cleek is, of course, correct that Bush has been getting away with this crap for eight years.

I think the key to using it against McCain and Palin is to suggest that they are acting exactly like Bush, thus reinforcing the Obama campaign's central, negative framing of McCain.

In 2000, Bush called himself a "reformer with results." He was lying. We all know what happened.

Now Sarah Palin and John McCain call themselves reformers. They're lying. Do you want four more years?

Obama has finally used the line I have longed to hear him use: "They must think you're stupid." In context, "they" is the GOP, and "you" is his Democratic audience.
I hope your last clause is wrong, because Obama shouldn't be addressing his Democratic audience, who don't need to be told that, but the American people, not all of whom realize that.

Of course, the GOP response will be: "Obama says you're stupid! Look at the contempt the liberal elite have for you, calling you stupid! They're saying you're stupid when you love America! They're saying you're stupid when you believe in God, and country, and X and Y and Z! Well, you're not stupid, are you?!"

Crowd roars.

Keep this in mind: Alaska is... ghetto. The only way she could have got as far as she did is because she lives in one backward-ass state. And it's full of flat-out crazy people. You can get away with a lot more, with a lot less accountability. The fact that the GOP and AK now mirror each other in maturity and competence is an incredibly damning reflection on the GOP. I lived in AK, and I know what I'm talking about. I know the rest of the country has its share of crazy morons [possibly 27%], but the percentage is much higher in AK, and that's where she became Gov. I'm not saying rest easy - go to a swing state and register voters - but know that AK is not the US.

Surprise, surprise. Another day, (or half-day) another left-wing talking point repeated.

Please people. Get some new material! Or at least put some thought into it. Something like this perhaps:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/07/uselections2008.republicans2008?gusrc=rss&feed=media

"...
Democrats had only to maintain their composure and the White House would be theirs. ... The same could have been said of the American Democrats last week. But instead of protecting their precious advantage, they succumbed to a spasm of hatred and threw the vase, the crockery, the cutlery and the kitchen sink at an obscure politician from Alaska.
...
Hatred is the most powerful emotion in politics. At present, American liberals are not fighting for an Obama presidency. I suspect that most have only the haziest idea of what it would mean for their country. The slogans that move their hearts and stir their souls are directed against their enemies: Bush, the neo-cons, the religious right.
..."

Question: Are you guys trying to argue principals and policies here, or is this whole blog just masturbation?

I know, we're so mean. It's horrible. Because she's so nice. And honest.

Over at Five thirty eight dot com... Sean Quinn has one of the better takes on the Palin pick... One that is more insightful than I am... http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/09/sarah-palin-is-not-hockey-mom.html

Mass turbation is of course what we leftist demagogue haters do for a living. It's a miracle that there are any GOPers left, given the number of lynch mobs we organize daily in our community.

"Please people."

"People" aren't going to respond. Pick an individual. You're not addressing "the left," here, or people who, in fact, coordinate their messages via sekrit decoder rings. Either try addressing a specific person, or you're just talking to yourself and the voices in your head.

Oh, and unless you're talking about the head of a school, the word you're looking for is "principles." HTH. HAND.

DPF: Are you guys trying to argue principals and policies here, or is this whole blog just masturbation?

Are you trying to argue principles and policies, or just ...being a jerk-off?

Oh, and I'll take this as a response to OCSteve's casual acceptance and slur: "And hilzoy – of course she lied (she’s a politician and her lips were moving)."

Jes, it's really unfair to claim equivalence between OCSteve and dfp21, especially with the obsession dfp21 seems to have with you know what. I mean, he isn't going to go blind, but invoking it every time he wants to make a comment seems a bit, well, heavy handed.

I love the contrast
from here
liberal japonicus – Regarding your “popularity contest” suggestion, I actually do believe that America's system of government is the best one on earth.

and above
they succumbed to a spasm of hatred and threw the vase, the crockery, the cutlery and the kitchen sink at an obscure politician from Alaska.

I'm trying to figure out how the best system of government links up with tapping obscure politicians. How exactly does that work dfp?

DPF: "I suspect that most have only the haziest idea of what it would mean for their country."

You're entirely correct, of course-- as the future is inherently unknowable. However, the last 8 years has been so close to a worst-case-scenario, involving a tanking economy (and a business cycle whose crest was below that of the previous crest), a ballooning of economic inequality and the national debt, the devaluation of the dollar, an unnecessary (and ill-managed) war, a massive terrorist attack on American soil (yeah, I went there), the inept response to Katrina, widespread (and illegal) politicization of the bureaucracy, and the desecration of our civil liberties. The only rational reaction is to vote the bums out.

John McCain has chosen not to break with George W. Bush. This was a prerequisite for winning the Republican nomination, but it did involve a going back on his stated principles-- and he chose to lose his honor than lose another campaign. Having voted with Bush 95% of the time, endorsed and enabled this disaster.

Such a man is unworthy of my vote, and I say this as someone whose entry into politics was to campaign for him.

For me, the breaking point came when the former torture victim voted to allow America to commit acts of torture. When I look at John McCain, I can no longer see a good man forced by unfortunate circumstances into difficult positions-- I see Faust.

You want to "argue principles and policies" here, fine. Give me a reason I should even consider such a man for office.

liberal japonicus: Jes, it's really unfair to claim equivalence between OCSteve and dfp21

You're right, it would be. In your view, how have I done this?

especially with the obsession dfp21 seems to have with you know what. I mean, he isn't going to go blind, but invoking it every time he wants to make a comment seems a bit, well, heavy handed.

In France, DFP would go deaf. Perhaps this has already happened...

I'll take this as a response to OCSteve's casual acceptance and slur:

My understanding of 'this' was that the opinions of dfp are the logical result of OC's belief that all politicans lie and I tend to think of someone like dpf as being ab ovo. I thought that the link was to where OCSteve had said it, but clicking on it, you have him responding to my challenge. Sorry for the confusion.

I'm puzzled by dfp21. Surely a properly-coded spambot would be able to incorporate a link into a comment?

My understanding of 'this' was that the opinions of dfp are the logical result of OC's belief that all politicans lie

Well, that'll teach me to use 'this' without a referent. No, by 'this' I meant Hilzoy's post.

Mass turbation is of course what we leftist demagogue haters do for a living. It's a miracle that there are any GOPers left, given the number of lynch mobs we organize daily in our community.

Hartmut, it's all clear to me now. Only leftist demagogues can mass turbate because they're elitists who know some Latin. The right-wing speak in plain English.

Correction: dfp21 is not computer-generated. (Apologies, dfp21.) Google leads me to a November 2005 dfp observation about somebody-or-other:

A U.S. Senator, who during his youth was the victim of torture as a POW in Vietnam, has started a debate by insisting that the U.S. should promise never to do to anyone what the communists did to him.

But who could the senator be? It can’t have been John McCain, because dfp clearly disapproves of the senator’s squeamishness:

In a real fight, where... the guy sitting in the garage where the car-bombs were won’t tell you where the other cars went…there are no rules. And the spectators, who have lots of self-esteem, but who don’t have blood on their faces and haven’t buried friends and children, have no wisdom.

A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, apparently. The senator didn’t understand that. But dfp obviously wouldn’t support anyone so unwise. Unless of course dfp has changed. Or maybe John McCain has.

dfp has also written book reviews, including this damning verdict on Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie:

I read this book a few years ago and the only significant thing I can remember clearly is the way John Paul Vann dies. That's because the author's bitterness toward the military colors everything he says. Endless criticism of military officers. But little criticism of the Presidents who ordered those officers to do what they were doing and say what they were saying. In fact, in the author's mind it was the Generals running the show and poor Kennedy and McNamaara and Johnson were their puppets. Isn't it nice to have a scapegoat to yell about when your political heroes have dragged the country into a 10-year nightmare?

So dfp is not a spambot but a torture-apologist who published a review of a book he didn’t actually remember all that clearly. All in all, an interesting exhibit.

Reposting my (slightly edited) comment from Political Animal blog:

I think there needs to be Obama supporters at every McCain and/or Palin event to point out the assorted lies AS THEY ARE TOLD.

The boldness that is on display requires a bold response.

Time to tell them TO THEIR FACES to STOP LYING! Each and every venue, each and every day. Same for the media - time to picket, boycott advertisers, and name names.

You can't shame the shameless. We are going to have to RIP the mikes out of their lying hands. We are going to have to make SO MUCH NOISE, that even the lowest of low information voters get the message - ENOUGH!

P.S. This includes bombarding the lie filled radio programs with calls and in person protests as well. We cannot afford to give these fools 15 FREE HOURS A WEEK to tell these LIES.

The only question is how am I going to get out of work for 2 months to coordinate this?

Hmmmmm . . .

Maybe we can do shifts or something.

I'm serious.

No worries, Jes, I should have clicked on the link instead of just mousing over it.

Hilzoy and commenter S.G.E.W capture the sense of despair I feel, as somebody trying hard to be a reasonable person, at what a farce our political process has become. Most news coverage seems to be drama criticism of the candidates as performers. Little or no attention is given to the substance of their policies or classifications. For example:

-- SELLING PLANE ON EBAY. I don't really care whether Palin sold the plane on eBay or via a broker, or whether there was a nominal "profit" on the sale. I'd like to know whether the sale actually made economic sense.

Alaska is a VERY big, sparsely populated state with a harsh climate, and a lot of transportation MUST be done by air. The plane wasn't just the Governor's private jet, but was used for other purposes (e.g. transporting prisoners around the state).

Did getting rid of the plane actually save money in the long run? Selling it may have grabbed headlines (easy-to-understand story with great visuals), but it might have saved more money if Palin had just stopped using it for the Governor's personal travel, making more time available for more mundane purposes. Reduced expenses for charter flights for NECESSARY transportation might well have more than offset the operating costs for the plane. Since truth doesn't matter any more, we'll never know.

-- BRIDGE TO NOWHERE. Apparently, many people in the Ketchikan area are angry at Palin not just because she is flat-out lying about her support for the project. They resent her joining the national media in bashing the project as an overpriced boondoggle, when many believe that in the harsh Alaskan climate, there might be some merit in making the local airport accessible by bridge rather than ferry.

Perhaps Palin could persuasively explain why she thought it was a good project when running for Governor in 2006, but now thinks it's a waste of money. But as long as she's allowed to lie with impunity, we'll never know. (During the primaries, Obama won over quite a few voters when he clearly explained why he had once supported a gas-tax holiday as an Illinois State Senator, but thought it was a bad idea in 2008, because evidence showed that it DIDN'T WORK.)

I agree with Joe Biden that McCain and Palin remind me very much of the kids in high school whose main talent was ridiculing other people. Both of them have a really mean streak in their humor. (Examples: McCain mocking a teenage Chelsea Clinton as an ugly duckling. Palin merrily laughing when a talk-show host characterized a political rival who was a cancer-survivor as a "bitch" and a "cancer".

Why are so many self-professed "Christians" eager to treat other human beings with careless cruelty and lack of respect? Not only is it okay to mock and lie about your political opponents with words, but physical torture is okay as long as it "keeps us safe".

We live in a time when, as Yeats put it, "The best lack all conviction. The worst are full of a passionate intensity."

Bill Clinton paid a terrible price for his lies, but the Democrats, who have held Congress for two years, never punished the Bush administration for lying or for breaking the law. The Democrats hung a "Kick Me" sign around the party's neck. The republicans complied.

Jes: Oh, and I'll take this as a response to OCSteve's casual acceptance and slur

I’m not following you here. I noted the other day that politicians lie. Now you say that this post (about a politician lying) is a response to me noting that politicians lie. Huh?

How about a campaign ad showing Palin repeating this again and again, with the song "Oops, I did it again" as the background music? It would get a lot of publicity. Also, Ms. Spears would probably be happy to help a fellow celebrity out and give permission...

OCSteve: I’m not following you here.

I know that. I don't think you ever will.

I noted the other day that politicians lie. Now you say that this post (about a politician lying) is a response to me noting that politicians lie. Huh?

You were dismissive and casual and accepting of being lied to "of course she lied" and asserted that all politicians lie whenever they speak "(she’s a politician and her lips were moving)".

That kind of casual acceptance, defending Palin's lies by slurring all other politicians and saying that they are all as bad as she is. That made me very angry.

Whether or not Hilzoy intended this post as a response to your acceptance of Palin as a liar and your insulting every other politician as the same kind of liar, Hilzoy does her usual clear and explicit work outlining why I was angry.

But no: I don't suppose you'll follow me there.

Jes: It’s an ancient joke. Google “How do you know when a politician is lying?” It was probably coined by Athenians.

I find the premise to be more true than not. Each side typically excuses their candidate’s questionable statements as exaggerations, or honest changes of opinion, or misquoting - while anywhere the opposition candidate strays from the absolute truth is an out and out lie. It’s politics. Its how the game is played, and AFAICT it always has been.

I can see you being not willing to give up this bone if I had defended Palin in any way, but I said from my very first comment on this topic that she was lying.

For the record: I did not intend this as a response to any comment. I just read the ABC story and got mad. Politicians often spin, shade the truth, etc. And they often lie about things whose falsehood is not easy to find out (e.g., their sexual histories.) We could keep it to that somewhat more manageable level if we routinely got angry when they went further: e.g., by lying about obviously checkable things, let alone lying about things where the truth is already widely known. That would be non-ideal, but still much better than their just making up whatever they feel like saying.

And I'm deadly serious about the 'contempt for democracy' stuff. How are we supposed to find out what a politician stands for if her words mean literally nothing? You don't have to hold out hope for total and complete honesty to think: having what politicians say be somewhere in the vicinity of the truth would be better than wholesale fabrication.

The only way this stops is if we stop it.

another helpful post on the lies, hilzoy. we need a chronology. Gary?

hilzoy, I trust you know that they're going to try to exhaust you. they need to define her in the minds of people who only peek at the news.

but I know the important point of this post is for us to make to the best decision in November, we need honest, accurate representations.

back in the infamous lead-up to the Iraq invasion, and in responding to a reporter, Bush said that he wanted the UN to vote up or down on whether to authorize the military action.

in his tough guy mode, he said he wanted to know where people stood.

at that stage, I thought, Well he's the President. if he wants a second vote, we're going to get it.

It made me believe that Iraq must have the WMD's because for us to invade another member nation without a legitimate threat and violating a clear vote would be patently illegal.

a second vote never happened.

OCSteve: It’s an ancient joke. Google “How do you know when a politician is lying?” It was probably coined by Athenians.

The face-saver "Hey! I was only joking!" when you realize you said something offensive is probably even older. FWIW, it works - when it works - when you try it immediately, not when you try it on two days later.

Hilzoy: For the record: I did not intend this as a response to any comment.

Fair enough. You did crystalize for me exactly why OCSteve's casual acceptance of dishonesty and slurring of other politicians was so enraging.

And I'm deadly serious about the 'contempt for democracy' stuff. How are we supposed to find out what a politician stands for if her words mean literally nothing? You don't have to hold out hope for total and complete honesty to think: having what politicians say be somewhere in the vicinity of the truth would be better than wholesale fabrication.

Yes. A politician may be in the position of someone being interviewed for a job - they may talk up their accomplishments to make them sound better, they may shine a light on what they did and shade other people's part in their accomplishments: but outright lies ...are considered unwise, not just immoral.

I assume that Palin was speaking before a friendly audience, and therefore what she says doesn't matter. They're already on board for her and have no doubt dismissed media reports about her jet plane and the bridge to nowhere as the usual liberal media smear campaign -- if indeed they've even heard about them at all.

"It’s politics."

It's moral equivalence, rather than moral clarity.

dfp: since you seem to have moved over here, I'll repeat what I said on another thread:

The posting rules prohibit incivility, like calling people morons. The fact that you retracted it (plus the fact that I somehow missed your comment last night) is the reason you haven't been banned. Asking people whether they are only interested in masturbation, without providing any sort of justification -- just a driveby insult -- is pretty close to the line, as far as I'm concerned.

They also prohibit repeatedly disrupting discussion for its own sake, and profanity.

Having been warned once, if you cross them again, you will be banned.

The ironic part of all of this lying by Sarah Palin is that it looks like no one will ever hear why she lies. Or rather, why she keeps insisting that she was against the Bridge to Nowhere. It's been 7 days and all we hear from her is scripted speeches and made up bios. She's tucked away in Alaska sending her son off to war and being deposed in an ethics investigation (which we can't ask about either). That's what makes me mad! I have a list of questions for her and via the press, I was hoping to have answers to those questions. But she's not available to the press, and to the public, to answer. It's easy to lie when you never have to explain what you're saying.

SMN, Palin is not on the ticket to say anything. She's on the ticket because she's a tribal totem. As George Will(!) said on Stephanopoulos this morning, she symbolizes "babies, guns, and Jesus" to the GOP base. That's all ye know in this election, and all ye need to know, is the GOP's attitude.

Frankly, I believe McCain himself considers Palin nothing but a totem. He will pay her not a lick of attention, if they ever get into office. McCain is, at this point, a repulsive little man, but he has more self-respect than to seek advice on anything from a hockey mom.

In fact, if I had the chance to ask McCain one question in a town hall full of Republicans, it would be this:

"Senator, in what policy areas would you ask Vice President Palin's advice? What does she know that you don't?"

Let's see him thread that needle with "the base".

--TP

OCSteve,

What bothered me about your comment regarding politicians' lips moving was the implicit suggestion that Palin's and Obama's actions are somehow ultimately equivalent. They are not.

All politicians shade the truth -- including Obama. He has occasionally made statements that I consider factually incorrect (whether intentionally or not, I can't say). But he has not (to my knowledge) boldly and repeatedly made a claim that has been completely and objectively debunked.

To take a recent example of Obama shading the truth: he said that the Republican speeches contained "not one word" about the economy. In my mind, this is going too far. They didn't say much, it's true, and there was very little substance there, but it's simply not true that they said nothing about it. I would prefer that Obama avoid this kind of exaggeration, but at least his statement was "in the vicinity of the truth," to use hilzoy's phrase.

Governor Palin's behavior seems categorically different to me. Her statements are the polar opposite of the truth, and they are repeated boldly with complete disregard for contradictory evidence. This kind of behavior devalues language and devalues democracy, as hilzoy has said. It is a cancer on our republic. It shouldn't be conflated with the usual political shading of the truth.

In OCSteve's defense, the politicians lie when they're lips move is a very old joke and speaking for myself, I take it for granted. If I had to believe a mainstream politician was completely honest before voting for him/her, I'd never cast another vote.

I don't know if he's right or not, but Somerby at "The Daily Howler" evidently thinks that Obama was "less than accurate" in some of the things he said about McCain. I haven't bothered to look for what McCain actually did say regarding the 5 million dollar income level and being middle class--

Link

I just googled it and it looks as if McCain was just joking about the 5 million remark.

link

I just tried linking to my google search about the five million remark, but the spam filter wouldn't let it through. Anyway, it looked to me like McCain was just joking.

Okay, now I can't seem to post anything here. As I said a minute ago (maybe twice now), I googled and it appears that McCain's remark about five million a year was a joke, not something Obama should have used in his speech.

Jes: The face-saver "Hey! I was only joking!" when you realize you said something offensive is probably even older. FWIW, it works - when it works - when you try it immediately, not when you try it on two days later.

Not saving face. In fact, the idea of me saving face here is kind of funny. It’s how I see it. What – do you want examples of what I consider to be true lies from Obama? I gave some examples of Biden the other day; you ignored the comment like I never made it and kept repeating stuff like this… it hardly seems productive but I’ll note some examples if it helps us get past this.

OCSteve: Not saving face. In fact, the idea of me saving face here is kind of funny. It’s how I see it. What – do you want examples of what I consider to be true lies from Obama?

Nope. Your double standards for Republican politicians and Democratic politicians and your apparent unawareness of your double standard make that a waste of time.

Donald Johnson: Okay, now I can't seem to post anything here. As I said a minute ago (maybe twice now), I googled and it appears that McCain's remark about five million a year was a joke, not something Obama should have used in his speech.

Was it a joke, or did he simply play it off as a joke after the audience laughed at his answer?

Whatever the case, either he meant the answer in earnest, or he meant it as an evasion. Even if he thinks picking a number is arbitrary and silly, he didn't bother to make an honest case for why "middle class" is a meaningless category. Instead he obfuscated about small business and implicitly conflated working long hours with having to work long hours just to get by. I don't see why Obama should cut him any slack.

To take a recent example of Obama shading the truth: he said that the Republican speeches contained "not one word" about the economy. In my mind, this is going too far. They didn't say much, it's true, and there was very little substance there, but it's simply not true that they said nothing about it. I would prefer that Obama avoid this kind of exaggeration, but at least his statement was "in the vicinity of the truth," to use hilzoy's phrase.

Here's the quote:

"If you watched the Republican National Convention over the last three days, you wouldn't know that we have the highest unemployment in five years because they didn't say a thing about what is going on with the middle class.

They spent a lot of time talking about John McCain's biography, which we all honor. They talked about me a lot, in less-than-respectful terms.

What they didn't talk about is you and what you're seeing in your lives and what you're going through, or what your friends or your neighbors are going through."

video (@ 4:27)

Your larger point stands but if he'd said what you said he did it would be a lot worse. Actually the DNC's constant invocation of "middle class" kind of bugged me but the RNC didn't have the same emphasis. I'm sure you could find some quotes that would show this to be an exaggeration but it's not "'not one word' about the economy".

vaux-rien,

Please see this link.

Here's the relevant passage:

"You haven't heard a word about how we're going to deal with any aspect of the economy that is affecting you and your pocketbook day-to-day. Haven't heard a word about it. I'm not exaggerating. Literally, two nights, they have not said a word about it."

Now, I think Obama's larger point is correct. Sarah Palin's speech didn't have anything substantive to say about the economy. But in my view, it's an exaggeration to say that she didn't say a single word about it. Obama then compounds this misrepresentation by saying that he isn't exaggerating.

I'm a staunch Obama supporter, and compared to the norm in politicians, I think he does a good job of telling the truth. Occasionally I think he lets his rhetoric go too far, and this is one small example. I certainly don't think it compares to Sarah Palin's baldfaced lies, and this is the main point I was trying to make above. We shouldn't pretend that all political "lies" are the same. There's a difference that makes a difference here.

Jes: Nope. Your double standards for Republican politicians and Democratic politicians and your apparent unawareness of your double standard make that a waste of time.

Wow. I’ll step back a moment and try not to snicker, and then say again, WOW. Come on Jes. The last time you challenged me, oh, 3-4 times to compare and contrast. I did. For the rest of that thread (I assume, it’s old and I have had no wish to revisit) you just kept repeating your same point against me and totally ignored the fact that I had answered you. I gave a detailed response and you chose to pretend you never saw it and just kept repeating your original charge. No matter what I said, your response assumed I never responded to your original challenge. That ain’t cool. At all.

Ahhh, I’m an idiot… Oh well...

As I’ve said several times, there are degrees, and the two sides will forever argue about that – my side deserves the benefit of the doubt but your side is out and out lying…

I’ll start with the one most equivalent IMO: A few years ago, you did or said A, today, you claim you did or said B. That’s what we have here with Palin right?

Obama, today:

…I hate to say that people are lying, but here’s a situation where folks are lying. I have said repeatedly that I would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported — which was to say — that you should provide assistance to any infant that was born - even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was presented at the state level. What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade.

He has repeated this claim, just as Palin has repeated the bridge crap.

This may have been true of the original state bill in 2001. In 2003, Obama chaired the Illinois Senate Health & Human Services Committee when SB1082 was considered. He was chairman of the committee that amended the state bill to include the federal language protecting Roe. This is the amendment that Obama supported that added the federal language to the state bill:

LRB093 10540 MKM 13059 a

1 AMENDMENT TO SENATE BILL 1082

2 AMENDMENT NO. . Amend Senate Bill 1082 on page 1, by
3 replacing lines 24 through 26 with the following:
4 "(c) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to
5 affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal
6 right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at
7 any point prior to being born alive as defined in this
8 Section.".

Obama, as chairman, supported the amendment that added the federal language to the bill and voted to approve that amendment. He then voted against the bill and it was defeated.

This is a lie – period.


Obama now:

What I said was even at the time of the debate of the surge, was if you put 30,000 troops in, of course it's going to have an impact. There's no doubt about that.


Obama, 2007:

"I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there, in fact I think it will do the reverse. I think it takes pressure off the Iraqis to arrive at the sort of political accommodation that every observer believes is the ultimate solution to the problems we face there. So I am going to actively oppose the president's proposal... I think he is wrong."


Lie.


I don’t consider this one a lie, but it’s as bad as any flip-flop you want to accuse McCain of:

Obama: "I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office in four years, and my entire focus is making sure that I’m the best possible senator on behalf of the people of Illinois."

Tim Russert: "So you will not run for president or vice president in 2008?"

Obama: "I will not."

I think that he meant that when he said it. Then he woke up one day and said Whoa – I could do this. At worst I will call it a broken promise. I’ll give him that benefit of the doubt. Others won’t. They will call it a lie. Technically it is.

And there is more – there are people keeping lists out there. I scanned a few and I think many examples are exaggeration or broken promises more than lies. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Just like hilzoy, there are folks on the right parsing and researching every statement. They see these lies and say, “Why isn’t the media covering these obvious lies?!?!”

Shocker!

The flip-flop on the surge thing bothers me, mainly because Obama is surrendering on a point where he shouldn't surrender. I suppose he's doing it because he feels that as a candidate he can't seem to be casting doubt on the glorious accomplishments of our military. But not everyone thinks the surge deserves all the credit it's given--

Link

Another link. I'd put these all in one post, but things often go wrong when I do more than one link at a time, and I even seem to mess up sometimes if I don't put the link at the very end. Anyway, the next link is to an article by Lt. Col Gentile, who commanded a battalion in Iraq.

Link

Jes: Here is my challenge: I say (slur) that all politicians lie. You obviously disagree with that. I am only familiar with American politicians. So I challenge you to give me one single example of an American politician who never lied or exaggerated at all.

Just one…

I’m used to eating crow. I have a few decent recipes at this point…

it appears that McCain's remark about five million a year was a joke

Funny how every time McCain gets caught out, it was a "joke", but any time he's called on an issue, he runs away and hides (from Larry King, for fnork's sake!) He's a whiny little baby.

@OCSteve:

What's bugging some here (and me) is that, starting from the hard-to-dispute contention that all politicians lie, you move to treating all politicians' lies as equivalent.

They're not.

Sarah Palin's account of her relationship to the 'Bridge to Nowhere' earmark is:

1) a large percentage of all the things she's said about herself in her very recent introduction to the national audience,

2) an important illustration of what she's supposed to bring to the ticket -- reformer, taking on 'politics as usual', small-govt thrift, etc.

3) one that she's repeated on three very public instances, most notably to a television audience of 30-something-million people,

and

4) flatly, verifiably untrue (as opposed to an exaggeration or a half-truth).


So it's not just a routine little bit of politician-speak, and it's pretty important that she get called on it.

Well, no, Jeff, I think it's clear if you watch the tape that McCain was joking when he made the five million comment. There are plenty of legitimate things to attack McCain on--this dumb joke isn't one of them.


Link

it appears that McCain's remark about five million a year was a joke

Funny how every time McCain gets caught out, it was a "joke",

In this case the signs definitely point to "joke", since he followed it up with "but seriously..." (and also predicted that that comment would be distorted).

Video here.

OCSteve, would you agree with the statement "All humans lie"? Why single out politicians, if we're not going to be making distinctions about quantity or quality of lie?

By replying to criticism about a politician's lie with "All politicians lie", you are clearly implying that lies aren't worth discussing and no lie is any more troubling that any other. If that's not what you intended to imply, then what did you mean by it?

Hmm. In the broader scheme of things, I think OCSteve was half-kidding, and piling on a throwaway remark made by a person of good faith is wrong. So I am not trying to do that.

But on this one point:

"Obama now:

What I said was even at the time of the debate of the surge, was if you put 30,000 troops in, of course it's going to have an impact. There's no doubt about that.


Obama, 2007:

"I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there, in fact I think it will do the reverse. I think it takes pressure off the Iraqis to arrive at the sort of political accommodation that every observer believes is the ultimate solution to the problems we face there. So I am going to actively oppose the president's proposal... I think he is wrong."


Lie."

-- I can imagine having said both of those things, and meant them, without changing my mind. I did think, at the time, that the troops would have an impact. I mean: they're good at what they do. I did not think they would "solve the sectarian violence there", which is a different matter. I think the jury is still very much out on whether they have solved it in more than a short term way -- reports of the government turning on some of the Anbar Awakening people do not fill me with optimism.

I think it's absolutely true that the surge "takes pressure off the Iraqis to arrive at the sort of political accommodation that every observer believes is the ultimate solution to the problems we face there." It provided a space for them to do that, but they do not seem to have taken advantage of it, and that might be because they are not under as much pressure. Interestingly enough, I think anti-Americanism in Iraq, if it does in fact lead to us signing a deal for withdrawal, will put some of that pressure on. Whether it works or not, I don't know.

It's the 'making things worse' part that's the sticking point. But there I wonder: worse than what? And over what time frame? The troops certainly decreased the violence compared to what it was before. What Obama seems to me to have meant -- taking "I think it takes pressure off the Iraqis to arrive at the sort of political accommodation that every observer believes is the ultimate solution to the problems we face there." as a gloss on 'making things worse' -- is that it postpones the real solution to the problems in Iraq.

As I said, I think the jury is still out on that one. But I don't really see his earlier statement as contradicting the idea that he thought the surge would "have an impact". (I mean, it's easy to have an impact without solving the basic problem, or even to have an impact even though the very thing that has an impact also makes things worse in the long run.)

OCSteve,

On the subject of Illinois SB 1082, you're right: Obama is lying. I think this is unfortunate, but I don't find it equivalent in significance to Sarah Palin's lie. The lie about the "Bridge to Nowhere" is one of the centerpieces of the McCain-Palin campaign; it's designed to portray her as an anti-pork reformer. Obama's lie looks to me like an effort to escape being tarred in a certain way (as someone who supports "infanticide") without having to explain all the nuances of why he voted against that bill. Nuance doesn't play well in politics, especially around a highly charged subject like abortion. I don't condone the lie, but it's certainly not a centerpiece of his campaign.

There's an interesting analysis of Obama and SB 1082 here.

"Jes: Here is my challenge: I say (slur) that all politicians lie."

Hold on: it's one thing to say that there are no politicians who at no time in their political life who has never exaggerated, and an entirely different thing to say "of course she lied (she’s a politician and her lips were moving)," meaning that more or less everything that comes out of their mouth is a lie.

No fair to substitute a challenge to disprove the first as support for asserting the second. Sorry, won't do, they're not remotely equivalent claims.

It's on you, instead, if you want to be serious, to support a claim that most everything most every politician says is a lie.

Better to fall back on "I made a cliche bad joke that's unfair to many pretty honorable politicians," or something along those lines.

OCSteve:

[...] Obama now:

What I said was even at the time of the debate of the surge, was if you put 30,000 troops in, of course it's going to have an impact. There's no doubt about that.


Obama, 2007:

"I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there, in fact I think it will do the reverse. I think it takes pressure off the Iraqis to arrive at the sort of political accommodation that every observer believes is the ultimate solution to the problems we face there. So I am going to actively oppose the president's proposal... I think he is wrong."


Lie.

Sorry, but your claim seems indefensible to me. You are asserting that "it's going to have an impact," as in "it will lower violence temporarily," which is exactly what everyone on the Democratic/left side said is identical to, or even close to, "is going to solve the sectarian violence there," which is exactly what everyone on the Democratic/left side said then, and largely still say now.

You're taking a claim that two entirely different things, the exact distinction made then, and the exact distinction made now are, in fact, not completely opposite views -- one being McCain's, that the Surge Solved The Problem, and the other that, no, it wouldn't and didn't, all it would and has done is temporarily lower the violence (whether that will prove correct in the longer run remains to be seen, of course) -- but are identical view.

I don't know what to say to that that wouldn't be insulting other than that it's wrong.

And the corresponding fall-back position for certain others:

"I'm being an insufferable pedant and trying to score debating points with exaggerated dudgeon."

Just sayin'.

I see that others already made essentially the same points I just made above; sorry, OCSteve; I didn't mean to pile on; I should be more patient about reading on to see if I'm just making the same point others have already made.

Here's a post at NRO that has more Obama quotes on the subject. While I think the interpretation that some have offered above is plausible, there are other Obama quotes that sound much closer to an assertion that the surge would not have any positive effect *at all*.

Not that I'd accuse him of lying in this case, but I don't think it's self-evident that his position on the surge has been entirely consistent.

"Not that I'd accuse him of lying in this case, but I don't think it's self-evident that his position on the surge has been entirely consistent."

The point isn't to be "entirely consistent"; the point is to not significantly misrepresent what your position was at any point in the past. I don't have a problem with John McCain evolving his views on anything.

How can it be that you all have a monopoly on the truth, but yet the McCain/Palin ticket has a huge bump in the polls?

By your words you have indicated that you are smarter than the average American.

If you are all so smart, why can't you convince the rest of us ignorant folk?

Gee, bril/toml just doesn't go away, does it?

Nell: What's bugging some here (and me) is that, starting from the hard-to-dispute contention that all politicians lie, you move to treating all politicians' lies as equivalent.

You’ll have to point that out to me. I don’t recall moving beyond the assertion that they all lie. But now we have to discern a good “lie” from a bad “lie”? Lies are equivalent to me. I admit to not understanding here…

flatly, verifiably untrue (as opposed to an exaggeration or a half-truth).

Any comments on my first Obama example?


KCinDC: would you agree with the statement "All humans lie"? Why single out politicians, if we're not going to be making distinctions about quantity or quality of lie?

By replying to criticism about a politician's lie with "All politicians lie", you are clearly implying that lies aren't worth discussing and no lie is any more troubling that any other. If that's not what you intended to imply, then what did you mean by it?

I didn’t really bring this up. It came up as “shocker – politician lies!” Stop the damned presses. But then it came across as “your side lies more than mine”. Well, yes – we do. And we’ve perfected it. You guys are just now catching on. (Only half kidding…)


Hilzoy: I am half kidding, but the other half is serious. It is half throw-away. But, I’m left scratching my head at how I end up going off in search of support of what I thought was obvious to all.

But on this one point...

But on my first point – do you agree or disagree that Obama is lying?

I think I have been clear throughout that both sides stretch things or accommodate them. But there is a line that should be visible to both sides I would hope. I agreed with you from the start that Palin lied on the bridge deal. Do you agree with me that Obama lied anywhere in my examples?


Marshall: Thank you.


Gary: It's on you, instead, if you want to be serious, to support a claim that most everything most every politician says is a lie.

Where on earth did I say that? The old joke, OK. But my point was more that politicians lie – not all the time, with every word…


All: I had no intention of coming into this thread – but jeeze – you get up in the morning and find your name mentioned half a dozen times in a thread you never saw before…

the point is to not significantly misrepresent what your position was at any point in the past.

Well, the most recent Obama quote suggested (to me) a consistency of viewpoint that didn't seem entirely justified by his past statements.

Not to change the subject--no, wait, I'm lying,but this is vaguely related to the Surge question--but what do people think of this magical new operational capability Bob Woodward claims the US government has? It's supposedly part of the reason violence has decreased in Iraq--the government can find out just what the insurgent leaders, militia leaders, and Al Qaeda types are doing in some wonderful way that Woodward just can't tell us about, though he can tell us it exists.

Assuming Woodward isn't just funneling some propaganda that's meant to scare the insurgents, I'm not sure I'd be happy if it turns out the government does have these magic powers he attributes to them.

Link

OCSteve:

Nell: What's bugging some here (and me) is that, starting from the hard-to-dispute contention that all politicians lie, you move to treating all politicians' lies as equivalent.

You’ll have to point that out to me. I don’t recall moving beyond the assertion that they all lie. But now we have to discern a good “lie” from a bad “lie”? Lies are equivalent to me.

That was easy.

"I'm not sure I'd be happy if it turns out the government does have these magic powers he attributes to them."

I read it as more or less the same old social network-tracing analysis via combined teams and data analysis, COMINT tech, etc., that I've been reading articles about since at least 2004 or so. There was a particular cluster of that sort of thing around the time Saddam Hussein was captured.

So I challenge you to give me one single example of an American politician who never lied or exaggerated at all.

Samuel M. Beasley (1843-1910) of the North Carolina State Legislature famously never told a lie.

OCSteve: I've been meaning to slog through the whole legislative history of that one. My understanding, which I know is incomplete, suggests the following: the bill came up, backed by a whole host of anti-choice people, and opposed by pro-choice people. It was -- I forget, stripped of its offensive position? or was something added to make it better? in any case, improved, and then Obama voted against it.

As I understand it, there was an existing law on the books that basically said everything you'd want said about the need to care for newborn infants, including newborns who had survived an abortion, and imposing penalties on people who didn't comply, and (iirc) stipulating that another doctor had to be available for such care, so it wasn't all the word of the abortion provider.

As I also understand it -- though here my memory is murkier -- on some previous occasion, the bad version of the bill had in fact come up for a vote, and Obama voted against it.

I haven't gone over the bills to make sure they're the same, etc. But I suspect Obama is lying on this one. On the other hand, until someone explains to me why the existing statute didn't do everything one would want done for newborns (and here I need to go slogging through the history of IL statutes, ugh), I reject the idea that this was a pro-infanticide vote, or anything like that. Much more likely -- if my basic understanding is correct -- that it was either a trojan horse of some kind, or else did nothing at all, and (if the latter) that Obama's vote on legislation of no real consequence was determined not by what the law would do (e.g. nothing to help newborns), but by either a dislike of superfluous laws or who he wanted not to anger.

(N.b.: this last holds only on the assumption that the law would really do nothing. When a law does nothing, you have no real basis for choice other than the thought: why clutter the world up with excess laws? or a choice of allies. If it was a trojan horse of some kind, of course, that would be the reason not to vote for it.)

I don't like it. At all.

On the other hand, I should say that this is about the only such case I can think of. And since there are so many lies, it does seem to me that questions of degree matter here -- otherwise we'd just wash our hands of the lot of them and never vote again. I do think that Obama has been quite honest, as politicians go. Certainly more so than McCain.

And now that I've looked at the fact-check piece: this is why I've been thinking that I need to go slogging through the statutes:

"Obama’s campaign now has a different explanation for his vote against the 2003 Illinois bill. Even with the same wording as the federal law, the Obama camp says, the state bill would have a different effect than the BAIPA would have at the federal level. It's state law, not federal law, that actually regulates the practice of abortion. So a bill defining a pre-viable fetus born as the result of abortion as a human could directly affect the practice of abortion at the state level, but not at the federal level, the campaign argues.

And in fact, the 2005 version of the Illinois bill, which passed the Senate 52 to 0 (with four voting "present") after Obama had gone on to Washington, included an additional protective clause not included in the federal legislation: "Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affect existing federal or State law regarding abortion." Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor says that Obama would have voted for that bill if he had been in state office at the time.

But whether or not one accepts those arguments, it is not the reason Obama had been giving for his 2003 opposition. He told Brody that the federal bill "was not the bill that was presented at the state level." That's technically true; though the "neutrality clause" was identical in the federal and state bills, there were other minor wording differences elsewhere. But the Obama campaign statement says that "Illinois And Federal Born Alive Infant Protection Acts Did Not Include Exactly The Same Language." That's true for the earlier versions that Obama voted against. In the case of SB 1082, as it was amended just before being killed, it’s false."

If one were a lawyer, like Obama, but alas unlike me, one would take the state/federal distinction pretty seriously, and one would have all sorts of views, which I alas lack, about the difference between a federal and a state statute on this issue. I know enough to know that it could make a very big difference, but not enough to know whether it does, and if so what that difference is, in IL in 2003.

I can absolutely see not wanting to get into this argument at all. I don't think that excuses the lie.

Just FYI to anybody who may still care about She Who This Thread Was Originally About:

A couple of times today, C-Span has run the KTOO-TV (Juneau) Alaska gubernatorial debate from 2006. Next replay at 12:30AM eastern time, I think.

I confess to watching the whole thing while cooking and eating dinner earlier tonight. It was a 3-way debate between Palin, the former Dem governor of AK, and a former AK legislator (R, but running independently). It was an interesting thing to watch. If anyone else saw it, or does see it, I'd be curious what you thought.

--TP

OCSteve: All: I had no intention of coming into this thread – but jeeze – you get up in the morning and find your name mentioned half a dozen times in a thread you never saw before…

The price of fame. ;-)

(Thank you for responding: I think others have already reacted in such detail that for me to say anything more would be a pile-on.)

Please see this link.

Here's the relevant passage:

...

Thanks for that, it did occur to me after posting that I had no good reason to be so sure you were thinking of that passage. I was sure for long enough to find the quote but alas sometimes clarity comes a second too late.

Tony, here is the audio of the last of the debates (MP3 format).

To: Troll
From: Me
Topic: believing to be smarter than the average American
Message: I believe that I actually am smarter than the average American (or citizen of my own country). But that's about as meaningful as saying that I am above average height (which I am by about 8 cm).
---
"having an impact" is value neutral. Dropping nukes on Baghdad would also have an impact (and also reduce violence there for some time) but would likely not bring us nearer to a desirable solution.

OCSteve: I just want to note that Obama has NEVER said that he's more honest than any other politician, or that he's never told a lie. That kind of BS comes from the "Straight Talk" express. When McCain presents himself (and Palin) as more honest than anyone else, they have to take the heat for out-and-out lies.

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