The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Victor Davis Hanson Attempts to
Mike Rappaport

explain the Liar-in-Chief.  After discussing the "three noble lies" that Obama tells, here is Hanson's bottom line:

So why does President Obama so often get history wrong, so often call for utopian schemes he would hardly adopt for himself, and so often distort by misinformation and incomplete disclosure?

Partly the culprit is administrative inexperience, partly historical ignorance. But mostly the disconnect comes because Barack Obama believes he is a philosopher-king, whose exalted ends more than justify his mendacious means.

In other words, Obama is our first truly postmodern president. And the Guardians who form his elite circle — in the very manner that they once falsely accused neo-cons of doing — deliberately, but “nobly,” distort the truth on behalf of us all.

Well, maybe.  I see our truth-challenged President as much a product of the Chicago political culture as a postmodernist who is seeking to pursue the good for us all.  He wants national health care, even though people don't want it given the costs.  And so he claims it won't cost money, it will save it.  One hardly needs to be a postmodernist to engage in deceit in the pursuit of statism.  Just ask Julius Caesar.  

What was it Bob Kerry said about Bill Clinton?  "Clinton's an unusually good liar. Unusually good."  Well, I don't know how good Obama is, but, with a teleprompter, he is a very smooth liar.  Very smooth.  

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Comments

Clinton was a terrible liar. He'd try to say something that was literally true but misleading, so as to avoid lying in a technical sense ("there is no relationship"). When forced into an actual lie, he'd fumble and look away. The guy seems to have had enough of a conscience to make him visibly uncomfortable with lying. There's none of that with Obama, who lies smoothly while looking directly into the camera. And when breaking promises, he doesn't even try to explain away what he's done. Clinton's tax hikes after promising not to "raise taxes to pay for my programs" came with the absurd "explanation" that the new taxes would be used to pay for existing programs, with money from old taxes used for the new programs. Absurd, but at least he felt the need to say something. Obama's repeated promises to cut federal spending have just been ignored.

Posted by: Alan Gunn | Jun 30, 2009 5:05:16 AM

likewise,I cannot concur with Bob Kerry in calling BJ "an unusually good liar. On the contrary, Clinton was an outstandly bad liar. He could have been videotaped and shown to a trial practice class to demonstrate the mannerisms of a lying witness. The eyebrows, the forced smirk, and then, for the really big, shameless lies, the wagging finger, Who can ever forget that look,and the historic payoff line,"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." We saw BJ use that same look, right down to that wagging finger, a few weeks ago when Mike Walace nailed him on another whopper on Fox News Sunday, so he might not even know how bad a liar he turns out to be.

Posted by: Lou Gots | Jun 30, 2009 9:08:30 AM

I find it to be a somewhat false choice presented here - I think he is both types of wrong. He is both a craven Chicago machine politician and a delusional academic utopian, in a totally schizophrenic and synergystic mix that makes him scarier than either would be alone.

Posted by: krome | Jun 30, 2009 9:45:51 AM

As to Obama's lies, we should keep in mind that the Effendi's entire existence is a lie. We commonly liken his changes of face to "flip-flopping," but they are much more than that He changes his very identity to suit the circumstances. White/Black,Chrstian/Mohammadan, American/transnationalist--the cynicism of it all is breathtaking. It calls to mind the image of a skilled prostitute, "I can be anything you like."

Turning to the Hanson esay, we may observe that the writer misses the distinction between outright lies on questions of material fact, uttered to deceive the people, and diplomatic characterizations, especially of motive, in the realm of foreign policy.

We got into the Spanish-American War to rescue the poor Cubans from Beast Wyler, right? Sure, but we picked up Spain's advanced naval bases all over the world in actualization of Mahanian geoplitics at the same time. Don't forget the "truth" of our stated reasons for the World Wars, containment of Communism and of our recognition and maintenance of Israel, just to name a few. Who could leave out the paragon on our lords of statecraft--James Knox Polk lied; people died.

But bravo to Victor David Hanson for dropping the English definite article before the expression, "hoi polloi." Any churl can be pedantic in Latin; it takes a dedicaed professional to flaunt Greek this way.

Posted by: Lou Gots | Jun 30, 2009 10:15:18 AM