December 04, 2003

Why Can't the Bush Administration Ever Tell the Truth?

Here United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick lies through his teeth:

Reuters: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said on Thursday that the decision to end steel tariffs was based on studies showing the tariffs were no longer needed rather than out of fear of retaliation. Speaking to reporters at the White House after the Bush administration announced it was scrapping steel import tariffs 16 months earlier than scheduled, Zoellick said the decision stemmed from the administration's analysis that they were no longer needed rather than on a World Trade Organization ruling that they were illegal.

"What I'm saying is this process was independent," Zoellick said. "In other words, the decision that the president made was (based) on an independent analysis." Other nations had threatened to impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of U.S. imports to their countries unless the United States ended the steel tariffs. The European Union was set to slap duties on $2.2 billion of politically sensitive U.S. exports if the tariffs were not lifted. Japan had also threatened to hike duties on $458 million of U.S. goods.

I mean, why bother?

Posted by DeLong at December 4, 2003 11:34 AM | TrackBack

Comments

I agree completely. Even if you have no problem lying, why waste your time and energy doing it? What's especially weird about Zoellick's statement is that it's neither true nor politically useful. I mean, the steel industry doesn't agree that the tariffs are no longer needed. Surely blaming it on the WTO or the greedy Europeans would provide better political cover than saying it was an independent decision.

Posted by: James Surowiecki on December 4, 2003 11:47 AM

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Two theories, both of which are probably true:

(1) Why not lie? The press will print it.

(2) It's better to look strong-and-dumb
than to look weak-and-smart.

Posted by: Brad DeLong on December 4, 2003 11:52 AM

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Truly an astonishing statement!

Could it be that people who have no sense of honesty, who assume that everything everyone says or does grows out of pure self-interest, and who treat all public statements and explanations as purely cyncial manipulation...could it just be that such people don't recognize how their lies undermine everyone's trust in them, thus making their cynical convictions self-fulfilling?

If you try to fool all the people all of the time... or more perniciously, if you assume that fooling everyone, (or at least everyone possible) is the normal and natural posture of human beings in the public sphere...then you are the one who is fooled (and a fool).

Is there any sign that Zoellick might be ever so slightly embarrassed by making such statements?

Posted by: PQuincy on December 4, 2003 11:52 AM

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The way I think about it is:

Why declare defeat when you can declare victory instead?

Without reading Zoellick's comments, I predicted the spin to be "These tariffs were so effective in creating new jobs that they succeeded more than a year earlier than expected."

As Brad DeLong just noted, the press will print it. And on the whole it is so difficult for the average person to evaluate the truth of such a claim, that there is every advantage in making it, and no advantage in admitting something as irksome as having bowed to international pressure.

This particular lie doesn't surprise me at all. It's conventional political spin. Who *wouldn't* tell this lie (hmm... Jimmy Carter? and that's one reason people thought he was a bad president.) The mystifying lies are the ones that seem to have no purpose at all (like when Cheney pops up and claims Saddam really had nukes, or some of the whoppers Ari Fleischer used to deliver just for the heck of it).

Posted by: Paul Callahan on December 4, 2003 12:14 PM

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Do you think they even know the difference between truth and falsehood?

Posted by: richard on December 4, 2003 12:28 PM

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Perhaps the Bush Administration does not tell the truth simply because it is afraid or incapable of being truthful. The improving economy provides perfect cover for saying the steel tariffs have accomplished their goal. On the other hand, there is such a thing as habitual character failure.

Posted by: Bobby Corcoran on December 4, 2003 12:40 PM

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"...could it just be that such people don't recognize how their lies undermine everyone's trust in them..."

Could be worse, could be that undermining trust in each other *is* the goal.

When in doubt screw everybody.

Posted by: dennisS on December 4, 2003 12:40 PM

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Perhaps the Bush Administration does not tell the truth simply because it is afraid or incapable of being truthful. The improving economy provides perfect cover for saying the steel tariffs have accomplished their goal. On the other hand, there is such a thing as habitual character failure.

Posted by: Bobby Corcoran on December 4, 2003 12:42 PM

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Perhaps one reason the administration will roll some dice and lie stems from the title of Brad's previous post "Oh why can't we have a better press corp?" The administration doesn't really have to worry about the lie per se, it has to worry about how the lie will be presented by the major media outlets. If they can rely on getting an illinformed, irrelevant or memoryless treatment, why not go for broke? It worked last time, and the time before.....

Posted by: David on December 4, 2003 12:49 PM

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http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB107048942752099300,00.html

Where to Read The Tea Leaves
By David Wessel

An economic historian at the University of California at Berkeley who worked with noted economist (and now Harvard University president) Lawrence Summers both at Harvard and at the U.S. Treasury, Brad DeLong is at his best when putting recent developments in historical context. One particularly sharp posting asked how the U.S. could blow the prospects for a long economic boom and then noted that mid-19th century Britain lost its technological edge by failing to build schools for children of workers migrating to factory towns from the countryside. "By end of the 19th century the lack of a well-schooled work force meant that the post-steam-engine technologies of electricity, metallurgy and chemistry found themselves much more at home in late 19th century Germany -- where investments in schools had been made," he wrote.

Mr. DeLong, who sprinkles his site with trivia about his kids as well as links to whatever he has read recently, is a loyal Clintonite -- except when it comes to the former first lady. "Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life," he has written, citing his close encounter with her during development of the Clinton health plan. His writings on President Bush's economic policies are often shrill, usually entertaining. A running feature on his site is called "Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Fools?" He is up to part CCCXXVII.

Mr. DeLong, who says he tries to spend no more than an hour a day on his site, says he sees blogging as "a way to win the contest for intellectual influence." ...

Ta dah....

Posted by: anne on December 4, 2003 12:52 PM

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Please, this is an Administration that is still telling us they found WMDs in Iraq. Truth from these guys. Are you kidding?

Posted by: Ari on December 4, 2003 01:00 PM

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Clinton lost the right to line-item veto bills. He didn't have enough votes to renew.

Bush let 4 congressmen from steel states have tarriffs for 2 years (the time it took for the WTO to nix it), and in return, they gave him enough votes to renew the line-item veto power.

that's how it works.

JS

Posted by: Sunderland on December 4, 2003 01:22 PM

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I agree with "David" above, but -- as a former member of duh mediuh -- it begs a more fundamental question, one that (believe it or not) working journos grapple with: How to live with the self-imposed rules of reporting while knowing that a pol or bureaucrat is "lying" (hence, the word-of-art, 'spin'). What makes it tough for readers is that each publication has its own "wink-and-nudge" conventions--one, say, for Fox, another for NYTimes. People inside the game know the signals; most of us don't. Which is why readers don't so much mistrust media, as find it generally incomprehensible.

This is uniquely, I think, a US problem, because newspapers here are really more like public utilities than, say, papers in the UK, where you pretty well know a paper's admitted biases--take 'em or leave 'em.

Posted by: Richard Cheverton on December 4, 2003 01:25 PM

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"I mean, why bother?" - Brad DeLong


This is redundant, but - it works.


Posted by: Barry on December 4, 2003 01:38 PM

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As my grandfather used to say, "Don't pee on my leg, and tell me it's raining."


Posted by: Rick on December 4, 2003 01:47 PM

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As my grandfather used to say, "Don't pee on my leg, and tell me it's raining."


Posted by: Rick on December 4, 2003 01:52 PM

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Another thought. Maybe it's not a lie at all:

"What I'm saying is this process was independent," Zoellick. "In other words, the decision that the president made was (based) on an independent analysis."

Few would deny that this is what Mr. Zoellick is saying, albeit not very clearly or convincingly. So there's no lie at all, just some unnecessary vocalization.

(Well, technically he's saying he's saying it but in the interest of avoiding an infinite regression...)

I heard that the original explanation was "The British have learned that the tariffs were no longer needed." but for some reason this didn't make it into the final cut.

Oh, I miss Ari Fleischer. Since he left, the Bush lies just haven't been the same.

Posted by: Paul Callahan on December 4, 2003 02:00 PM

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It may be that people are going to tell this story the right way. While I was getting my hair cut, the radio broadcast an item about the lifting of the tariffs, which went roughly like this: "Bush has lifted the steel tariffs. And in return, the European Union has agreed to drop its threat of retaliatory tariffs." This was CBS radio or something, not NPR, but there was no confusion about why Bush had made his decision.

Posted by: James Surowiecki on December 4, 2003 02:01 PM

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The truth is messier than the lie. The truth cannot be controlled through consecutive news cycles, if need be. The truth, in short, cannot be managed, because the administration is not the sole purveyor of it. This is why this administration lies, why the last administration lied, and why all administrations lie.

It may also sometimes be the case that the lie is politically useful independently of its manageability. It may also sometimes be the case that the lie is necessary to cover up an abjectly venal or transparently unethical act. It may also sometimes be the case that the lie is simply the first thing the spokesperson happens to think of when the sodium lights go on and the temperature begins to rise.

But what is unalterable is that administrations lie because it is less hard work to manage the lies than it is to manage the truth.

Whether this continues to be so because the press corps finds it too much like work to actually track down facts in order to demonstrate that an administration official is lying or not is a matter best left to one's own judgment.

Posted by: Mark S. on December 4, 2003 02:05 PM

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Maybe Zoellick was being sarcastic?

Posted by: bakho on December 4, 2003 02:21 PM

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"But what is unalterable is that administrations lie because it is less hard work to manage the lies than it is to manage the truth."

My mother lied to me!? Lies *are* easier than the truth? Where does it end!!! Madness pervades.

Posted by: dennisS on December 4, 2003 02:24 PM

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Well, technically, because the tariffs were *never* really "needed", he was telling the truth when he said that they were "no longer needed." ;-)

Posted by: Hmmm.... on December 4, 2003 02:24 PM

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I wonder if the admin has considered letting W pilot a helicopter onto the roof of a steel plant, under a banner saying "mission accomplished."

Posted by: Buce on December 4, 2003 03:29 PM

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"Bushu" went into the Japanese language as a verb, meaning to vomit in the wrong time and place, thanks to the current President's father.

I wonder whether "Zoeller" will enter the Spanish and Portugese languages as a verb meaning lie all over the goddam place.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on December 4, 2003 04:17 PM

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>>Bush let 4 congressmen from steel states have tarriffs for 2 years (the time it took for the WTO to nix it), and in return, they gave him enough votes to renew the line-item veto power.>>

Quiz: what has he vetoed?

Posted by: richard on December 4, 2003 05:32 PM

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"They do not lie because it is in their interest to lie, they lie because it is in their nature to lie".

A. Greeley, of all people.

Posted by: Chuck Nolan on December 4, 2003 05:36 PM

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The Bush administration are not liars; it's simply that they are infallible. And this conviction of infallibility is for them identical with the legitimacy of their hold on power. To give up this conviction is to let slip their claim to legitimacy, not just in their own minds, but, they judge, probably correctly, in the minds of their devoted followers. So if their infallibility conflicts with obdurate reality, it is reality that must be constructively re-arranged. This is not lying. It is rather the proactive telling of a higher truth on the part of those who will inevitably hold on to power and make it so.

Posted by: john c. halasz on December 4, 2003 07:34 PM

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Of course, the Bushies know they're lying about the tarriffs, as well as many other things. It's gotten so bad by now though that the 'strong and dumb' defense conceals as much about such bald-faced lies as the emperor's new clothes of oh so fine silken thread. I think the press will see the opportunity here to expose the extent to which this administration now stoops to save face.

Posted by: David W. on December 4, 2003 07:40 PM

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See below.

As long as our press corps will present blatant lies as truth, there's a reason to lie.

Posted by: MDtoMN on December 4, 2003 08:49 PM

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while the threat of retaliation may have been a factor, anyone who is an "economic historian" at UC Berkley should know that under the rules of the WTO it is illegal to take retaliatory action until an independent arbitrator has reviewed the conflict. If Bush needed to he could keep these tariffs in place for a few more months, and buy votes in pennsylvania(the 5th largest state).

Posted by: Will on December 4, 2003 09:49 PM

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while the threat of retaliation may have been a factor, anyone who is an "economic historian" at UC Berkley should know that under the rules of the WTO it is illegal to take retaliatory action until an independent arbitrator has reviewed the conflict. If Bush needed to he could keep these tariffs in place for a few more months, and buy votes in pennsylvania(the 5th largest state).

Posted by: Will on December 4, 2003 09:50 PM

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while the threat of retaliation may have been a factor, anyone who is an "economic historian" at UC Berkley should know that under the rules of the WTO it is illegal to take retaliatory action until an independent arbitrator has reviewed the conflict. If Bush needed to he could keep these tariffs in place for a few more months, and buy votes in pennsylvania(the 5th largest state).

Posted by: Will on December 4, 2003 09:51 PM

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The particular Bush administration lie was clearly to avoid admitting that they were forced to pursue a policy they didn't want to (ie. were weak) especially in the face of foreign pressure.

The press analysis of this action has generally been correct. Everyone paying attention knows the real reason for this decsion, and the press accepts the lie (told by a Bush cabinet member, instead of Bush himself who had the opportunity to do so when addressing the press earlier this morning) as normal administration spin. So the Bush administration lies? Big news flash.

Posted by: Larry Biddle on December 4, 2003 11:00 PM

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The particular Bush administration lie was clearly to avoid admitting that they were forced to pursue a policy they didn't want to (ie. were weak) especially in the face of foreign pressure.

The press analysis of this action has generally been correct. Everyone paying attention knows the real reason for this decsion, and the press accepts the lie (told by a Bush cabinet member, instead of Bush himself who had the opportunity to do so when addressing the press earlier this morning) as normal administration spin.

Generally, the Bush people like to save the most blatant lying for the President's cabinet, and not GWB himself. What a staffers for anyway? So the Bush administration lies? Big news flash.

Posted by: Larry Biddle on December 4, 2003 11:03 PM

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The particular Bush administration lie was clearly to avoid admitting that they were forced to pursue a policy they didn't want to (ie. were weak) especially in the face of foreign pressure.

The press analysis of this action has generally been correct. Everyone paying attention knows the real reason for this decsion, and the press accepts the lie (told by a Bush cabinet member, instead of Bush himself who had the opportunity to do so when addressing the press earlier this morning) as normal administration spin.

Generally, the Bush people like to save the most blatant lying for the President's cabinet, and not GWB himself. What a staffers for anyway? So the Bush administration lies? Big news flash.

Posted by: Larry Biddle on December 4, 2003 11:04 PM

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The particular Bush administration lie was clearly to avoid admitting that they were forced to pursue a policy they didn't want to (ie. were weak) especially in the face of foreign pressure.

The press analysis of this action has generally been correct. Everyone paying attention knows the real reason for this decsion, and the press accepts the lie (told by a Bush cabinet member, instead of Bush himself who had the opportunity to do so when addressing the press earlier this morning) as normal administration spin.

Generally, the Bush people like to save the most blatant lying for the President's cabinet, and not GWB himself. What a staffers for anyway? So the Bush administration lies? Big news flash.

Posted by: Larry Biddle on December 4, 2003 11:05 PM

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Come on folks, he's just "improving the tone." Admitting a miscalculation would mean the terrorists have won.

Posted by: fouro on December 5, 2003 01:32 AM

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It's a Pee Wee Herman administration:

I meant to do that!

Posted by: bad Jim on December 5, 2003 02:21 AM

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Bob Zoellick in this weeks Economist praises the work of the Bush admin.

"If one excludes the EU-25, Japan, and Korea (all of which resist FTAs that liberalise trade in agriculture), plus a China that has just entered the WTO, our current and in-process FTA partners total 73% of America's exports and 69% of our trade..."

http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=2265765

How on earth can anyone talk about trade but exclude the EU, Japan, Korea and China. It like talking about the North American economy excluding the United states (and Canada)

Posted by: tadhgin on December 5, 2003 04:04 AM

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Maybe Mr. Bush refused to lift the tariffs if it was just because the WTO demanded it? Maybe the staff is lying to the president as well as the public about the reasons for ending the tariffs? Maybe lying was necessary for the approval by Mr. Bush? Maybe lying by the staff was the only way to convince Mr. Bush to lift the tariffs and they now have to play it out in public. We have indications that his staff have lied in order to get his approval in the past. After all, Mr. Bush prefers to tell other countries to shove it (ABM, Kyoto, Koran Sunshine, etc. etc.) than to negotiate. Mr. Bush is reported to be egotistical, arrogant vindictive and compromising- hardly the sort that would give in to the WTO.

Posted by: bakho on December 5, 2003 05:16 AM

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As I recall it,Bush didn't trade the steel tariffs
for the line item veto. He traded it for fast
track. One quick thought on trade and the
Democrats running for office. At the very least,
the Democrats like Gephardt don't pretend to
believe in Trade the way the Republicans claim they do.It is another case of the intellectual dishonesty that pervades this Administrations
policy pronouncements.

Posted by: malcolm on December 5, 2003 05:50 AM

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Just out of curiousity, did anyone ask Zoellick for evidence of his "indepent analysis"? Is that too much to ask?

Posted by: JM on December 5, 2003 06:42 AM

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I cannot claim to have folowed these tariffs matters carefully, still I'm under the impression that EU and Asian countries retaliations have been conditionnal on the WTO ruling, even if they may well have said what they would be before the resolution came public.

DSW

Posted by: Antoni Jaume on December 5, 2003 06:52 AM

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Arguments on why steel tariffs are no longer needed.

http://csmonitor.com/2003/1205/p01s01-uspo.html

Lifting the tariffs ensures that the dinosaurs don't back away from their commitment to restructuring.

Posted by: bakho on December 5, 2003 07:21 AM

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Bush couldn't have traded for the line-item veto because the Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that the line-item veto was unconstitutional. The trade was for fast-track authority.

Posted by: PaulB on December 5, 2003 08:12 AM

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From the "Great Philosopher," George Costanza, "It's not a lie if you believe it."

Posted by: Elliott on December 5, 2003 08:20 AM

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Zoellick and the Bush people said what they did because to lift the tariffs specifically in response to the WTO ruling would have required a long, drawn-out legal process; to do it because of "changed economic circumstances" allows Bush to do it quickly and unilaterally. This hasn't been widely discussed because trade law is boring.

Posted by: Chris Rugaber on December 5, 2003 09:51 AM

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Well, now we've bashed the Bushies at length both for cynically and dishonestly putting the tariffs on, and the cynical and dishonest way in which they took the tariffs off.

Is it worth mentioning that the leading Democratic candidates to replace Bush (Dean, Gephardt, Clark, ...) have all already trashed Bush *for* taking the tariffs off?

"The steel industry still needs more breathing room", says Dean. Bush's removing the tariffs "shows callous disregard for the workers and communities whose jobs and livelihoods have been decimated by unfair competition", says Gephardt.

Well, nah, it may not be worth mentioning here. ;-)

I'm just wondering though, what's this make these Democratic candidates? We know that because they are Democrats they can't possibly be cyncial or dishonest in supporting these bad, bad, tariff-and-protectionism policies for which we've so trashed the Bushies.

So how do we explain all these Democratic candidates taking such a stance? They are sincere Luddites? ... intellectually dim? ... honestly bought by those seeking protection?

Doesn't matter I guess. As long as they are honest and sincere we wouldn't want to criticize them at all for unrelentlingly continuing to push such bad policy in substance. Not when we can trash Repubs up and down for the cynical, dishonest, confused, staggering, inept way they got back to the right policy.

And as far as weaseling, disingenuous, butt-covering explanations from government spokespersons are concerned, isn't it always just shocking, shocking to find politics in politics?

Of course, someone whose only experience with such matters was watching the prior administration in action could never imagine such a thing!

Dick Morris will attest to that. ;-)

Posted by: Jim Glass on December 5, 2003 10:51 AM

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I was mulling over the whole question of political lies and lies by the Bush administration in particular. It seems that a way to start classifying lies is first to divide them into useful or not useful, then divide them into believable or not believable.

I think what confounds Bush's critics are the lies that are obviously lies and which seem to have no use whatsoever. Some (most?) of Ari Fleischer's press conferences went like this (see e.g. http://slate.msn.com/id/2083117/). It's as if he just enjoyed testing his ability to keep a straight face while making up crazy stories. One does get the sense of an administration that cannot tell the truth even when it's in its own interest to do so.

Now the latest lie is useful on the face of it. How can an administration dismiss "Old Europe" as irrelevant and then bow to pressure from the EU?

But is it believable? As I said, maybe too hastily, it's virtually impossible for the average person to evaluate whether the steel tariffs "succeeded" and whether this is precisely the right time to lift them. In saying that, I missed the obvious point: a lie is not believable when there is an alternative explanation that looks far more compelling. For weeks, a looming trade war has been in the news. Who's gullible enough to believe that this had nothing to do with the decision?

Actually, this is the situation where in the rare case that it *is* a coincidence, you might as well not bother trying to convince anyone. So what is going on?

I like the Chris Rugaber's explanation that this convenient fiction is necessary to lift the sanctions easily. I have no idea if that's the case (not knowing a thing about trade law) but that is one instance in which it is standard to come up with a lie that is useful but not believable (kind of like when a corporation settles a lawsuit without admitting guilt).

Posted by: Paul Callahan on December 5, 2003 11:10 AM

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Can we see some citations Jim? The Gephardt and Dean quotes don't appear to exist on Google. Which leads me to believe you're either leaving out parts of the story (ala...Krauthammer) or don't have the quotes.
Gideon

Posted by: Gideon S on December 5, 2003 12:22 PM

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In Zoeller's statement, he said that the steel industries have "had sufficient time to invest and modernize their production facilities, and are now able to compete"...or something like that.

This would be pretty easy to check in an afternoon - survey the leading steel producers and see if any substantial increases in capital investment were undertaken.

I doubt it. And so it joins a long line if ridiculous, bold-faced "assertions" of fact, easily disproved, but yet never challenged.

I know this happens in politics, but after the barrage of total f*cking lies (to any of us paying attention) that constituted the Iraqi advertizing campaign, I've had about all I can standz. The prevarications associated with the Iraqi war were of much greater consequence, of course, and put my outrage over the top. My willingness to tolerate "politics as usual" from these dirtbags is effectively a negative value.

Posted by: andrew on December 5, 2003 12:30 PM

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Gideon, you need to check Google News, not Google, for stuff this recent.

The Gephardt quote is here: http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2003/12/05/electorally_this_move_makes_sense/

The Dean quote is here:

http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20031204-034649-3384r.htm

Dean's statements are particularly disappointing, pandering of the worst sort.

Also see this nice piece by lerxst, who posts here and is an Economist for Dean, criticizing Dean's opposition to lifting the tariffs: http://econ4dean.typepad.com/econ4dean/2003/12/dean_is_wrong_o.html.

Posted by: James Surowiecki on December 5, 2003 01:55 PM

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Just astonishing. Leaves-you-slack-jawed level astonishing. This is the kind of lie that no one will believe (at least no one who cares in the least about steel tariffs one way or the other); and that the speakers knows will not be believed; and that in some sense isn't even meant to be believed. It's what we've come to expect of presidential press secretaries over the past decade; hearing it from people with substantive offices is more depressing still.

Posted by: Jacob T. Levy on December 5, 2003 02:07 PM

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This is one of those lies which everybody knows is a lie, so isn't really a lie. It's like when Clinton said 'I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky'; nobody with half a brain believed him, but it wasn't really necessary to do so. You knew the truth and didn't care or did.

Anybody who'se been following this issue knows that he put the steel tariffs in place for purely political motives (he is a politician, after all) and is removing them for the same (to avoid targeted sanctions and the ugliness of a trade war). Big surprise.

Posted by: Blew on December 5, 2003 04:46 PM

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Now people are degenerating into - "It's politics, everyone lies, there's no difference, etc" arguments. The Bush lies ARE different than Democratic lies for a number of reasons. The only one I'll touch on at the moment - Bush policy is purely a result of craven political calculation. I have never seen a Bush policy that could be defensible from a policy perspective, not really. Political expediency always comes first. Possibly moreso than with any president I've been alive to see. So, this is one more glaring example, and yes we pile on.

By the way, I was no big fan of Clinton, and I didn't like the first Bush, and I think Reagan was a horrible President. At the same time, I think this Bush is worse than any of them. That's saying a lot.

Posted by: MDtoMN on December 5, 2003 09:51 PM

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They lie because they are liars. It's a disease of the GOP.

Posted by: Tim B. on December 6, 2003 02:17 AM

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Steel tariff for Fast Track, eh? Sort of like having to kill trade to save it.

Thanks to the guy who fixed the misunderstanding on the line item veto. For a minute there I thought President Bush might have to take some responsibility for the explosion of federal spending. But, thankfully, he can still blame Congress and avoid responsibility for any actual result. He remains good because he is good.

Posted by: Gerard MacDonell on December 6, 2003 06:18 AM

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****Is it worth mentioning that the leading Democratic candidates to replace Bush (Dean, Gephardt, Clark, ...) have all already trashed Bush *for* taking the tariffs off?Well, nah, it may not be worth mentioning here. ;-)***

Dude, you are embarassing yourself here. A self-avowed 'free=trade' president puts tariffs on the big steel exporting boys and then cuts the tariffs and runs away claiming that the tariffs had done exactly what they were supposed to when the big steel exporting boys come to pay him a visit. Somehow that is equivalent to two candidates who never claimed to be free traders and have no power other than in a New Hampshire and Iowa primary arguing for steel tariffs?

*chuckle*

Yeah Prof. De Long you really should become less partisan like your right-wing commentors. I mean real economists like Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell would never ever criticize the economic policies of a hypocritical sitting president on the opponents side without scrupulously balancing it with criticism of the more extreme members of their own

Message from the wingnuts:
Your libruls are such partisan, dishonest, hypocrites. Why can't you be more like us

Burn baby burn, just like a giant strawman.


Posted by: strawman on December 6, 2003 08:35 AM

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