There’s still more discussion today on the “lipstick on a pig” kerfluffle and how the “controversy is ginned up, a fraud, a lie.” Michael Kinsley points out on the WaPo that continuing to discuss it is “falling into the trap that McCain’s people have set and perpetuating this ridiculous controversy,” but he says:
[...] the routine acceptance of obvious lies now corrodes our politics as much as the money that was the subject of McCain’s famous act of Republican apostasy: McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform. McCain has described his motive for McCain-Feingold as a giant mea culpa for his involvement in the Keating Five scandal. Maybe when this is over, one way or another, McCain will swear off corrupt lying the way he has sworn off corrupt money.
But it shouldn’t be necessary to wait for one of McCain’s conveniently delayed conversions to righteousness. In a democracy, obvious lies and obvious liars should be self-defeating. Why aren’t they?
Of course the big reason why is because as Kinsley points out, is the media has “trouble calling a lie a lie, or asserting that one side is lying more than the other — even when that is objectively the case.” In fact he says, “They lean over backwards to give liars the benefit of the doubt, even when there is no doubt.”
At least Kinsley and others in the media are finally owning that truth.
And then there is an even bigger reason why lying is the norm in politics:
[...] the bigger reason is that no one — not the media, not the campaign professionals, not the voters — cares enough about lying. To some extent, they even respect a well-told lie as evidence of professionalism. If a candidate complains too much about an opponent’s lies, he or she starts being regarded as a bad sport, a whiner. Stoic silence doesn’t work either. People start asking why you don’t “fight back.” Pretty soon, the victim of the lies starts getting blamed. C’mon: this isn’t paddycakes; politics ain’t beanball; and so on. This happened to Al Gore in 2000 and to John Kerry in 2004. And it’s already starting to happen to Barack Obama this year.
Sure, if he loses, it will be his fault. Sure, he and everybody ought to know that the Republicans play this game for keeps. But that shouldn’t let John McCain off the hook. He says he’d rather lose the election than lose the war. But it seems he’d rather lose that honor he’s always going on about than lose the election.
Haven’t we all had enough of the lies? Isn’t it time more in the media joined “The “Enough” Club” and the American public got on the bandwagon too?
Me, I am tired of the lies. I am tired of our political discourse not getting to the heart and soul of what is wrong with our country, but focusing on phony, trumped up charges that have nothing to do with the issues. Enough is enough. We all need to shout it from the roof tops.