October 05, 2004

Wow! They Really Do Lie About Everything, Don't They?

Re: Cheney: "Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer.... The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight."

From Atrios:

From the Daily Kos:

Daily Kos :: Political Analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation.: Cheney claimed that he had never met Edwards before.

Addressing the National Prayer Breakast, Cheney said: "Thank you. Thank you very much. Congressman Watts, Senator Edwards, friends from across America and distinguished visitors to our country from all over the world, Lynne and I honored to be with you all this morning."  [FDCH Political Transcripts, Cheney Remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, 2/1/01]

And then there is this, which should offer up photos at some point soon (and we all know how people need pictures for reality to sink in):

Senator Edwards Escorted Elizabeth Dole When She Was Sworn In As North Carolina's Other Senator.  Elizabeth Dole was sworn in as North Carolina's other senator on January 8, 2003.  Gannet News Service wrote:  "As per Senate tradition, Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., escorted her."

Dole Took The Senate Oath Administered By Vice President Dick Cheney.  According to Gannet News Service: "[Dole] raised her right hand and took the oath administered by Vice President Dick Cheney, the Senate president."  [Gannet News Service, 1/8/03]

Why would Cheney make a lie so obviously easy to expose? It's almost pathological -- reality need not get in the way of a good zinger.

It's not almost pathological, it's totally pathological--and based on an enormous confidence in the incompetence of the press corps.

Posted by DeLong at October 5, 2004 08:48 PM | TrackBack
Comments

As I said earlier, I tolerate and understand a certain bullshit factor in politics, but this is absurd. Why would he lie about something that can be so easily checked?

As I said over at dailykos.com, I wonder if he ever really saw those elections and the trouble in South America? Will that be another one of Dick Cheney's tall tales?

Posted by: Brian at October 5, 2004 09:15 PM

Actually, the real story is, Cheney only meets with Republicans in the Senate, as Sen. Pat Leahy told us.

Posted by: Brian at October 5, 2004 09:20 PM

Kos now has a screen shot of Edwards and Cheney side-by-side at the prayer breakfast...

Posted by: Greg in WA at October 5, 2004 09:21 PM

In Al Franken's book "Lies and ...", he relates Cheney (in the 2000 VP debate, IIRC) telling about how he would go to work at the Pentagon as Sec. of Def. and go by Arlington National Cemetary and see the "crosses row on row" (which is a line from a poem). The problem is, the graves in Arlington are marked by round headstones, not crosses. (Franken has a picture in his book to show that.) As Franken remarks, had Gore mispoken about crosses rather than headstones, he would have been creamed by the media for lying about the experience and dissing our dead veterans. Cheney, however, was given a pass. Will the media do better this time?

Posted by: Civil-Rights Lawyer at October 5, 2004 09:31 PM

"and based on an enormous confidence in the incompetence of the press corps."

Goshers. Dunno why he'd feel THAT way.

Posted by: WarblogTHIS at October 5, 2004 09:35 PM

Civil-Rights Lawyer, I wouldn't bet on it. It'd be nice if the media batted him over the head with this and his other whoppers from now until November, if only to make up for what was done to Gore and what is being done to Kerry.

I ain't holding my breath.

Posted by: Corzine at October 5, 2004 09:38 PM

Well, the true believers would say that Edwards is such a lightweight that he made no impression on the dark lord. So it's not a lie at all! Nyah-nyah!

Posted by: LarryB at October 5, 2004 09:46 PM

Cheney also lies about factcheck.org. The story at factcheck.org is that Cheney does not currently have any finantial interest in Halliburton(contrary to a kerrey ad). This doesn't rebut any argument Edwards made tonight about Halliburton's dealings with Iran and Libeia and financial iregularities under Cheney's watch.

Humorously, factcheck.com now points to george soros's site. Go team.

Posted by: Joe O at October 5, 2004 09:51 PM

LarryB has the best instinct on how they'll play this gaffe. They'll say that was social and not substantive.

Posted by: cal at October 5, 2004 10:30 PM

So let's see . . . on the one hand is the possibility that Cheney, on national prime time tv in front of a few million people and in the line of fire of the coiled and ready democratic machine (to say nothing of the freelancers), simply, straightforwardly and baldly lied about a matter about which he knew there was a no-less-than-100% chance of incontrovertible refutation. On the other hand is the possibility that he wasn't being literal. Yeah -- I'd go with the former, too.

Please. No matter how certain you are that Cheney lies about everything else, those other statements are shrouded in sufficient ambiguity and complexity that there is room to aver interpretive dissonance. This is different. And if your argument is, "oh, really? You just alleged interpretive dissonance here," then your standard is no standard at all, and no matter how right you are that Cheney lies every time he speaks, no one but the faithful will listen to you. From my point of view -- that's just fine. But you really do make fools of yourselves.

Posted by: jeff at October 5, 2004 10:52 PM

the VP debate tonite showed Bush is not the president, Cheney is. In fact, of the 4s we saw so far, Bush does not have the intellegence, capacity, aptitude or anything you want to call.

Posted by: david at October 5, 2004 11:57 PM

Methinks the fallout from this debate won't stem from substance as much as character. Both Cheney and Edwards hadn't spent much time in the spotlight, so the debate served to re-introduce them to prime time. With Cheney averaging a lie a second (rather effective debate strategy) and Edwards struggling to keep up (and dropping a few of his own), the substance side will depend on post-debate fact checking. Past performance of the media indicates a close-to-zero chance of that happening, so the substance side will end up a wash.

Therefore, I believe the consensus that Edwards "won" the debate had more to do with his hopeful demeanor (vs. Cheney's cloud of doom) than any "zingers". As usual, people think of the election as a popularity contest.

Posted by: Dragonchild at October 6, 2004 03:50 AM

You would be less partisan and more enlightening if you addressed what you know best: economics. Why not comment on the "pathological lie" of Edwards comment about "this administration" having stated it believes in outsourcing? Doesn't economic ignorance matter? As an economist, don't you care about dissemination of ecnomic lies?

Posted by: Enronal at October 6, 2004 04:07 AM

How about Cheney's whopper on employment, then? 'That's old data'. Sounds like the 'Old Europe' meme to me.

Posted by: Knut Wicksell at October 6, 2004 05:33 AM

Elizabeth Edwards apparently confronted Cheney onstage about these points and he said 'oh yeah'. If his spin is 'I forgot', it creates a fresh vulnerability.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden at October 6, 2004 05:49 AM

Cheney also said, "Your hometown newspaper has taken to calling you Senator Gone." This morning The Raleigh News & Observer, Edwards' hometown paper, reported that, "An archive search finds no such reference in The News & Observer."

Posted by: tarheelian at October 6, 2004 05:59 AM

Thank you for this! Cheney lied about some substantive matters too, but this portion of the debate was Cheney acting like a juvenile brat. And Edwards rightfully shot back at the brat.

Posted by: pgl at October 6, 2004 06:02 AM

CNN is running the tape of this meeting right now. The RNC responds by even more spinning. Bill Schneider is doing some of this spinning.

Posted by: pgl at October 6, 2004 06:11 AM

Edwards didn't call Cheney on this -- for good reason: it would score a small technical point (That's not true, you met me once at a pancake breakfast.)but would only confirm Cheney's charge that Edwards wasn't seen much around the Senate.

Bush made exactly that kind of error when he caught Kerry forgetting Poland -- blurting out that fact only strengthened Kerry argument and made Bush look foolish.

Kos and Atrios are doing Kerry/Edwards no favors by putting this ball in play.

Posted by: Karlsfini at October 6, 2004 06:13 AM

Enronal,

It's note quite clear from you diatribe whether you think Edwards is condemnable because he is opposed to outsourcing (which would have to do with his economic views) or because of how he characterized the Bush administration position on outsourcing. In the first case, the official posiiton of the Kerry campaign is one of opposition to giving more favorable treatment to firms that send jobs overseas than to firms that do not. That, in itself, is not an economic crime. As to Edwards' accusation that the Bush administration "believes in" outsourcing, that is in apparent reference to comments from White House economic advisor Mankiw. Outsourcing is not like Santa and the toot fairy - not something one "believes in" or doesn't. However, the top economic thinker in the administration is on record saying favorable things about outsourcing.

Either way, calling what Edwards said a "pathological lie" misconstrues the meaning of both "lie" and "pathological." Which is not to way you were lying...

Posted by: kharris at October 6, 2004 06:28 AM

Make that "not quite"...

Posted by: kharris at October 6, 2004 06:31 AM

"On the other hand is the possibility that he wasn't being literal."

I was wondering what the excuse would be. The thumping going on right now is not on Cheney for making this rather insignificant, but foolishly uneccessary, exaggeration, it's directed at his apologists;

A) for dismissing a clear Bush/Cheney track record of monumental deceit, and;

B) for closing their eyes to this deceit so soon after the trashing of Gore and "it's not about the sex, it's about the lie."

Republicans have to reconcile with the rest of the country over this irresponsible 10 year record before we can drop it. Otherwise expect to hear about these lies and the rest every single time.

Posted by: dennisS at October 6, 2004 06:39 AM

Karlsfini is right that Edwards made the right move by not bringing this up -- it the sort of thing that is below th VP candidate. But he's wrong when he suggests that bloggers shouldn't mention it -- that's exactly what bloggers are good for: calling attention to lies that would be too petty for the candidates or the campaigns to address directly.

Eventually, all the little lies add up.

Posted by: Alex R at October 6, 2004 06:53 AM

nope Karlsfini -- Cheney didn't merely forget he ever met Edwards - he tried to imply Edwards was never in the Senate doing his job... the fact that there is video of Cheney standing next to Edwards , thanking him in a speech for attending the breakfast shows that Cheney is a liar about small things , about large things about everything.. this will resonate with public.

Posted by: smartone at October 6, 2004 06:55 AM

Cheney always did remind me of Montgomery Burns. I wonder if he says "Edwards, eh?" every time he is introduced to the senator.

Posted by: Paul Callahan at October 6, 2004 07:03 AM

kharris,

Outsourcing is a form of trade and opposing it is no better than opposing trade because it is "destructive" of jobs. That happens to be the oldest canard in economics and one that anyone who cares about economics should rebut. Edwards comment reveals that Kerry-Edwards subscribe to, and promote, a destructive falsehood, and I don't understand why Brad and his readers, who I'd assume care about economics, are so eager to let it slide.

Posted by: enronal at October 6, 2004 07:10 AM

Gore was also hammered repeatedly for the James Lee Witt "lie". At least Gore HAD gone to a number of disaster sites with Witt, he just misremembered which ones.

Cheney's claim is just bizarre. If you've met someone on several occasions, you might get confused as to when those times were. But to say you've never met...that seems like a deliberate lie for a good sound bite or a senior moment.

Posted by: Dennis Doubleday at October 6, 2004 07:21 AM

"Did too meet him."

Brilliant. He's such a lightweight he doesn't make any impression. Do you suppose if American Bandstand is revived Edwards can get Dick Clark's gig as oldest teenager in America?

The guy didn't even know that combat zone pay is exempt from federal income taxation. But his father studied math on television!

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan at October 6, 2004 07:27 AM

NEWS: the computer industry as well as communications industry had RECORD LAY OFFS this month!

Hi ho, everyone, as Bush and Cheney pretend they have nothing to do with this massive train wreck, the train is not only off the tracks, it has plunged into the ravine!

Pretending they have nothing to do with this is vain. If they are that useless then get rid of the do nothing duo.

I know several computer/techies who were laid off this month. They are in despair! Time is wasting. Bet they are voting for Bush and Cheney? Not in your lifetime.

Posted by: Elaine Supkis at October 6, 2004 07:38 AM

NEWS: the computer industry as well as communications industry had RECORD LAY OFFS this month!

Hi ho, everyone, as Bush and Cheney pretend they have nothing to do with this massive train wreck, the train is not only off the tracks, it has plunged into the ravine!

Pretending they have nothing to do with this is vain. If they are that useless then get rid of the do nothing duo.

I know several computer/techies who were laid off this month. They are in despair! Time is wasting. Bet they are voting for Bush and Cheney? Not in your lifetime.

Posted by: Elaine Supkis at October 6, 2004 07:42 AM

NEWS: the computer industry as well as communications industry had RECORD LAY OFFS this month!

Hi ho, everyone, as Bush and Cheney pretend they have nothing to do with this massive train wreck, the train is not only off the tracks, it has plunged into the ravine!

Pretending they have nothing to do with this is vain. If they are that useless then get rid of the do nothing duo.

I know several computer/techies who were laid off this month. They are in despair! Time is wasting. Bet they are voting for Bush and Cheney? Not in your lifetime.

Posted by: Elaine Supkis at October 6, 2004 07:43 AM

Ba da dum dum dum
Another one bites the dust
Ba da dum dum dum
Another one bites the dust

http://www.slate.com/id/2107808/

Cheney was laughable. An angry clown who thinks he desrves to tell Americans, what to do, how to live and where to die.
Edwards exposed the goof for what he is: A LIAR.
The blue haired set in Iowa, Ohio, Florida and Colorado are not going to like that "bad man"

We got the mo, people.

Posted by: Nemesis at October 6, 2004 07:44 AM

Go Fuck Yourselves!

Posted by: Dick Cheney at October 6, 2004 07:50 AM

In re Cheney's Arlington headstones gaffe, I must once again recommend Ambrose Beers' seminal takedown of Cheney in (the much-lamented) suck.com's "Chickenhawk Down":

http://www.suck.com/daily/2000/09/01/

This one little article managed to predict a terrifying amount of what we, the shrill, now take to be the inescapable nature of the Bush/Cheney administration:

"Cheney has the old glint in the eye, the arrogance with the lives of others, the wide-legged certainty of the ferocious old cold warrior that he is. The architect of the western excursion is exactly the kind of man who would never allow a mine shaft gap. And so the idea that the political parties have grown toward one another into a muddled center seems accurate in at least one sense: This time around, the roles of Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara have been cast for a Republican. And it's exactly the role the man was born to play."

Posted by: Doctor Memory at October 6, 2004 08:03 AM

It's not almost pathological, it's totally pathological--and based on an enormous confidence in the incompetence of the press corps.


There you go. It's not pathological at all. It's a completely rational decision. Given the fact of an incompetent non-fact checking media then why tell the truth when it's far easier to win with lies?

The reason it appears pathological is due to the Republicans very strict and effective message discipline. Of course among the Republicans lesser minds will become pathologized over time, the lesser the mind the shorter the time. Bush is obviously living in cloud-cuckoo land and has been for some time. The dittoheads now own their homesteads there too. Condi went maybe about a year ago. Rumsfeld has within the last few months shown increasing signs of succumbing. As for Cheney, I don't think he's in any danger of succumbing to the delusion based on lies. Because he's a zen master (or Jedi/Sith master if you ascribe to the Cheney = Darth Vader meme). If he were to believe in the lies he tells, then that would make the lies another "truth." But Cheney is far beyond that. There is no "truth," therefore there are no lies. "Nothing is true, everything is permitted." There are simply stories, soundbites that come and go depending upon the changing of the political tides. The question is never one of truth/falsehood, but a tactical one of expedience.

Really there's something awesome about that (awesome in the Otto Reichian sense of the mysterium tremendum).
But of course, I don't live in cloud cuckoo land myself, nor am I capable or desiring of passing into the great barren desert of the nihilism that is the festering corpse of the dead body of God which Cheney inhabits. So I waver. Reason tells me what I wrote above is so. But everything else screams shrilly "pathological! Totally, completely, absolutely pathological!"

Posted by: Barry Freed at October 6, 2004 08:13 AM

Dick Cheney: Thanks, but no thanks. BTW first thing I did this morning was to check out "factcheck.com", as directed by you in your debate appearance, only to find it is redirected to "georgesoros.com" which blasts your boss. But I'm going to check out his facts! (And I hope so will others who watched the debate.)

Perhaps you meant "factcheck.org"? That appears to be blown out of the net ("server too busy") right now. Well, it appears to be Microsoft server software.

Posted by: cm at October 6, 2004 08:16 AM

Patrick R. Sullivan sez:

"Did too meet him."


Brilliant. He's such a lightweight he doesn't make any impression. Do you suppose if American Bandstand is revived Edwards can get Dick Clark's gig as oldest teenager in America?

Did you think of that yourself Patrick? Or is that one of Rove's or Mehlman's talking points? Because if you wrote that yourself I say to you, Bravo! Way to spin an objectively true and damning fact. And not only did you completely disarm it, but you turned it back to devastating effect on the other side. Parry-Riposte! Keep it up boy, if you continue to show such promise you'll have no trouble finding work at the right hand of Rove.

Posted by: Barry Freed at October 6, 2004 08:26 AM

The factcheck.com redirect to GeorgeSoros.com was hilarious and just perfect. The only thing that would have been even better would have been a redirect to goatse.cx But alas! That site has been removed forever though it lives on in many tributes.

[Rudepundit via Atrios has already, in a manner of speaking, goatse'd Cheney.]

Posted by: Barry Freed at October 6, 2004 08:32 AM

Barry Freed: "Way to spin an objectively true and damning fact. And not only did you completely disarm it, but you turned it back to devastating effect on the other side. Parry-Riposte! Keep it up boy, if you continue to show such promise you'll have no trouble finding work at the right hand of Rove."

Well, it's not just that we have a non-fact-checking media. It's also that the press willing to ignore the most obvious ethical failures (except when Democrats are involved - then its a feeding frenzy.)

The press loves spin and hates facts. Enough people are strongly influenced by press memes, so the only way to win is to spin, spin, spin. And if your a Democrat, you'd better spin even harder, coz your guys are less liked by the people who cut Andrea Mitchell's paycheck, and by Ms. Mitchell herself.

Posted by: LarryB at October 6, 2004 08:38 AM

Many people may have forgotten that one of the reasons Cheney may have forgotten meeting Edwards is due to his "pumphead" condition resulting from his heart operation. Besides increasing his moral imbalance, it has dulled his memory. Maybe there were other instances not photographed.
Also, note Cheney's eyes were cast downward most of his talk...they say eyes down is a sign of a liar.

Posted by: Dave S. at October 6, 2004 08:40 AM

Karlsfini write:

Edwards didn't call Cheney on this -- for good reason: it would score a small technical point (That's not true, you met me once at a pancake breakfast.)but would only confirm Cheney's charge that Edwards wasn't seen much around the Senate.

Very good observation. I'll bet that was the trial lawyer's mind at work. It's not all in coming back with zingers. You've got to know when it's best to refrain so as not to play into the opposing sides hands.

Continuing Karlsfini's post:

Kos and Atrios are doing Kerry/Edwards no favors by putting this ball in play.

I disagree. Though I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise. It seems to me that it would have only given that impression if it had straight out of Edward's mouth at the debate. But surrogates can make the point safely. It just becomes one more of in a checklist of the many many lies Cheney told.


Posted by: Barry Freed at October 6, 2004 08:42 AM

Patrick's comment is right up there with bush's this morning about how he didn't pick his VP on the basis of his hairstyle.

In my estimation, detailing all of the many cheney pieces of bu(sh)it, from the sublime (his erasure of his long history of claiming links between saddam and AQ) to the ridiculous (weapon systems that he opposed) runs the risk of inducing MEGO. But the "i've never met you," nice, simple, easy to disprove, provides a "fuzzy math" equivalent that's very easy to latch onto for those who don't otherwise pay a lot of attention.

PS. Patrick, only days ago you told us that the election was settled already after the first debate, so why are you still even bothering?

Posted by: howard at October 6, 2004 08:45 AM

no, no, no, no ... you are all wrong.

Cheney met Edwards before 9/11/2001 and as you know,

9/11 changed everything

Posted by: Suresh Krishnamoorthy at October 6, 2004 08:50 AM

Enronal,

Edwards said what he said. Beyond that, it's your interpretation. So go back to what Edwards, and you, said. He said something along the lines that the White House backs outsourcing. The top White House economist is on record saying nice things about outsourcing. You called Edwards a pathological liar. Do you not see the problem? Do you not see how you wandered out of civilized, rational discussion and into crap? There is no lie, pathological or otherwise, in that statement.

Do you want Edwards to make kissy noises in the direction of outsourcing? Well, why not stand up and demand that Edwards make kissy noises in the direction of outsourcing from the start, instead of going all wierd and calling him a pathological liar?

Again, the official Kerry campaign position on outsourcing of jobs is that it should not be given a tax advantage over domestic employment. If you want to continue to claim to be on the side of positive economics and policies that promote broad welfare gains, your gonna have to saddle up with the Kerry position. Tax policy should not prefer employment in one location over employment in another.

If on the other hand, you want to play gotcha, your gonna have to continue to claim that Edwards said a bad thing that he actually didn't say, that his statement "proves" he is opposed to free trade in labor. But it doesn't. Opposition to free trade isn't the official position of the Kerry, make that Kerry/Edwards, campaign.

Posted by: kharris at October 6, 2004 08:54 AM

"Patrick's comment is right up there with bush's this morning about how he didn't pick his VP on the basis of his hairstyle."

Bush was dancing again. The truth is, he didn't pick his VP on the basis of anything. His VP picked himself.

How stupid the Bush is -- stupid enough to believe we're even stupider.

Posted by: Tim Russert at October 6, 2004 08:54 AM

Wasn't it Bush who was picked for his hair style?

It certainly wasn't for what is inside his head.

Posted by: sm at October 6, 2004 08:55 AM

I like david's post back there at 11:57pm.
Cheney aquits himself so well that he, not Bush, is presidential. He can tell Edwards that he has never met him, --perhaps that he is not in fact addressing him even now [then] in this debate.
Such is Cheney's confidence.
Only Presidents can do that. George showed none of this.
Karlsfini points out that Edwards (correctly) refused the gambit, but as far as attendance goes Bush has a remarkable absentee record that could have been highlighted here. Another pass or a miss?
So I disagree that this does Kerry/Edwards no favors by putting this ball in play. It shows that Cheney, (the presidential), can be certain, confident and persuasive.
And be wrong, like Kerry said.

Posted by: calmo at October 6, 2004 09:03 AM

I only watched a few minutes of it, but I have a favorite line:

Edwards: Your question was about jobs and poverty, right?

Posted by: goethean at October 6, 2004 09:04 AM

DeLong: "It's not almost pathological, it's totally pathological--and based on an enormous confidence in the incompetence of the press corps."

Yup, and the Hardball crew proved itself among the most incompetent. While the consensus of the media spinning right after the debate was that the debate was a tie, the Hardball whores were proclaiming a resounding victory for Cheney! Matthews and crew must be angling for political jobs in the White House if Bush is re-elected.

Posted by: Mushinronsha at October 6, 2004 09:08 AM

I was wondering if Cheney was going to drop the f-bomb last night. Guess he had to wait until today.

Posted by: InThane at October 6, 2004 09:10 AM

From pharma-lexicon.com:
The neurons that do survive a heart attack may undergo major structural changes that can affect learning, memory and other behaviors, said Courtney DeVries, the study's lead author and an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Ohio State University.
Maybe the brain damage affected his mind so much that he honestly (!!) doesn't remember him?

Posted by: GOPerpWalk at October 6, 2004 09:11 AM

About factcheck.com redirection to George Soros.

This is REALLY interesting. Last night right after reading Begala's comment on Cheney's error, I checked factcheck.com. At the time, it was linked to some kind of stand-in portal-like site supposedly about education of the sort you often see when you go to a similar but wrong URL.

Somebody did some very fast work here.

Posted by: Paul Callahan at October 6, 2004 09:17 AM

factcheck.com is registered to:

NameAdministration.com
Box 10518 A.P.O
Grand Cayman
Cayman Islands

Heh, maybe Soros owns them. I will vouch for the fact that the Soros redirection was not there last night when I tried it, although they have had the doman name for a while.

Posted by: Paul Callahan at October 6, 2004 09:22 AM

LarryB:

The press loves spin and hates facts.

OK, I disagree with the second half of that statement. Here's why. Remember when Reagan said, "Facts are stupid things."? He took a lot of guff for that. It's always quoted to ridicule him as a simpleton. Now you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who hated Reagan more than I did and still do. But I thought then and still do that this was a brilliant quote and very true quote. Though it's truth maybe somewhat occulted.

Facts don't do or say anthing. Facts are boring. They just lie there like old turds. Or in dusty volumes in in the darkened stacks of some forgotten wing of an ancient library. Who wants to go around picking up turds. Or spending your days in that library hunting for turds that will be forgotten almost as soon as they are read.

In order to be compelling facts need to be arrayed and displayed in a particular proper manner. They need to be interepreted. They need a story. That's what makes them compelling.* The press loves story. They crave story. It's there bread and butter. In the context of contemporary media-driven politics we call this story "spin."

But I think it mischaracterizes the problem to call this a hatred of facts. Do you hate turds? No, really? I mean you can hate Osama, an unfaithful ex-spouse, a rival, Bush all of these are more or less worthy objects of hate. But turds you simply want as little to do with them as possible.

If you can arrange the facts in a compelling manner the press will eat it up and ask for seconds. They'll never even notice the turds.

Our problem is that our Enlightenment values have condemned us to the task of polishing turds if we want to win the political game. The Republicans don't care about facts, they want to win. So they have the freedom to tailor make their stories out of anything the situation demands.

The reason the press ingnores the most obvious ethical failures has little to do with whether the perpetrator is a Democrat or a Republican (Faux News and WSJ excepted, natch) but with whether there is a compelling story behind it. Note well that it is far easier for a story to be considered compelling if it fits in and is consistent with the received conventional wisdom. It must be consistent with the other stories told, but not consistent in regard to fact but with regard to theme and moral. Once such a theme and moral has made it into the conventional wisdom it becomes an idee fixe. That's why it can be so damn frustrating to try to get the media onto, not just a single scandal, but a pattern of scandalous actions.

Now the thing about the Republicans is that they have all these different media outlets, think tanks, pollsters, internet gossip-mongers, who are constantly churning up such stories and little tidbits of stories and throwing them to the hungry hounds of the media. Not everything works though, in fact most of it doesn't, but if you've got enough feces-flinging typewriting monkeys in your employ, and they do, youl'll hit gold at a fairly reliable rate.

You saw this in effect with Whitewater. The entire Republican apparatus, politicos, spinmeisters, mediawhores were going on and on about Whitewater, Whitewater, Whitewater, sniffing for a good tidbit or two. They kept hitting deadends but that never deterred them and they finally hit paydirt in the form of semen-stained blue dress.

(Whenever I find myself in conversation, well, by then it's argument, with someone doing the anti-Clinton jig (from the right, I was anti-Clinton from the left) and reciting the latest from Drudge or whatever I'd always ask them to explain it to me in a reasonably succinct amount of time. No one can do it. I can't do it. I can explain Watergate or Iran-Contra or a whole bunch of other scandals in a succinct and coherent manner but not Whitewater)

*I submit as a proof of this psychological truth the Renaissance method of contstructing elaborate aides memoire as discussed by Frances Yates in the Art of Memory and also in Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition.

BTW, That Reagan quote has been on my Epigrams-I'm-dying-to-use list for many years.

Posted by: Barry Freed at October 6, 2004 09:23 AM

Here we go. factcheck.com was "The Leading Education Site on the Net" until yesterday. So were 79 other sites according to google. Do a google search on
"The Leading Education Site on the Net" and you'll see that factcheck.com comes up. These all junk pages, presumably registered by Name Administration in the Cayman Islands.

So somebody switched it from a generic placeholder to a redirection to georgesoros.com, and they did it very quickly after the debate.

I would be very curious to know who did this.

Posted by: Paul Callahan at October 6, 2004 09:42 AM

So somebody switched it from a generic placeholder to a redirection to georgesoros.com, and they did it very quickly after the debate.

pwnd?

Heh.

Hey check the html source for the page,

Maybe it sez: "Hacked by Chinese"

Posted by: Barry Freed at October 6, 2004 10:01 AM

Just did a whois and I thought this was interesting:

>>> Last update of whois database: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 06:55:42 EDT <<<

So someone did this, or finally succeeded in doing this early this morning. That's actually about 8 or 9 hours after Cheney mentioned it.

Posted by: Barry Freed at October 6, 2004 10:12 AM

(blogwhoring)
Pudentilla today analysis the ethical, rhetorical and political signficance of Cheney's "attendance record" lie.
(/blogwhoring)

Posted by: Pudentilla at October 6, 2004 10:14 AM

Here's yet ANOTHER CHENEY LIE:

"Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session."

--Dick Cheney

So how many times did he preside over the Senate in the last 3-4 years? 2

I said Two

The answer is: Twice.


I think when we're through fact-checking Cheny's ass we're going to find that every single last word he uttered that night was a lie. Including, "and," "if," and "but."

Posted by: Barry Freed at October 6, 2004 10:38 AM

kharris and like-minded:

My contention is this: those of you who care about sound economic policy, which in some contexts includes brad delong, should care when politicians express economic falsehoods. From the diatribes (and by the way, everything on this site is a diatribe) on this site, no one is concerned that Kerry-Edwards espouse one of the hoariest delusions in economics. This unconcern in a website by an economist reduces its credibility. The fact that Edwards is correct that a high official (Gregory Mankiw) of the Bush administration has said nice things about outsourcing is irrelevant to my point. The fact that Edwards is by implication attacking Mankiw and outsourcing reveals economic stupdity and is the expression of an economic falsehood.

Ask Brad Delong.

Posted by: enronal at October 6, 2004 10:57 AM

enronal, just for the record, we get it, although of course you're now saying something different than you originally said.

yes, i'd like to see kerry/edwards not trying to score cheap points about "outsourcing."

However, we don't get a choice between perfection and bush/cheney; we get a choice between kerry/edwards and bush/cheney and that's not a tough call.

even in matters economic, you can't begin to compare some anti-outsourcing rhetoric with the fiscal irresponsibility unprecedented in american history promulgated by bush/cheney.

Posted by: howard at October 6, 2004 11:10 AM

Why is no one discussing what Edwards' said about Cheney's voting record??? He voted against a King holiday! Against Meals on Wheels! He has also done interviews for some Confederist periodocals!!!!! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS! The man is an evil racist pig who probably still calls old black men 'boy'!

Posted by: Top at October 6, 2004 01:37 PM

Calm down Top. There's no reason for worry. We all know Cheney's a racist. But really, when's the last time you think that Cheney's even seen a black man much less talked with one? Except for Colin, of course, but he don't mind, not one bit.

Posted by: Barry Freed at October 6, 2004 02:32 PM

Thanks Barry...

It just chaps my hide. Also, I am from louisiana and DO NOT appreciate the fake Bush Texas accent and all that bullshit about 'we don't say that in Texas' !!! Peolple speak however they like wherever they're from! This current administration is so full of slogans and falsehoods...

Let us not forget that Georgie Sr. was a Segregationist- votes and all! Then he wants to apologize for it after Clinton kick his ass in '92.

The apple (and the other trees in the grove) don't fall to far from the tree.

Point is:

If you like liars, racists and people who don't even care to get the information about the AIDS epedemic in black or ANY community- then vote Bush/Cheney.

If you want to work with people who have spent a good part of their lives working for the rights of women, children, minorities and veterans AND who know that 15 billion dollars of aid to Africa's AIDS crisis but telling kids to keep it in their pants is BULLSHIT TO THE HIGHEST DENOMINATOR...then vote Kerry/Edwards.

Posted by: Top at October 6, 2004 03:26 PM

ooops...

...I meant the other apples in the grove, not the other trees.

See, I know how to admit when I made a MISTAKE (i.e. Bush and Iraq invasion).

Posted by: Top at October 6, 2004 03:28 PM