Context

A few nights ago my wife and I were at a small dinner party held by a friend. One of the other guests was a retired sales executive, who’d spent most of his working life with a reputable and well-known company. Somehow, the talk drifted from small town politics to the national scene, and I made the mistake – and it is a mistake in the state in which I live – of disparaging the probity of the present occupant of the White House, and noting that he’d set an all-time record for falsehoods. My second mistake was to assume that someone who had spent his entire professional life counting numbers and basing his decisions on them would show equal rationality with political numbers.

His immediate response was. “He’s no different from the others. What about ‘I never had sex with an intern?’ or “You can keep your own doctor?’ They’re all liars.”

No… they’re not. As I’ve said here before, based on my personal experience of eighteen years in various staff capacities in national politics – all as a card-carrying Republican – while there are a significant number of politicians who waffle, who bend the truth, or who employ accurate facts in an inaccurate context, the number who deal in bald-faced and blatant falsehoods is comparatively few, and almost none of those come close to Trump in the extent and blatant untruthfulness of prevarication.

Both Clinton and Obama – who are so often cited as lying Democrats by rationalizing Republicans, have essentially each been attacked for one “lie.” Clinton’s lie was about a semi-consensual sex act, which, while it revealed his sexual amorality, was essentially irrelevant to his performance in office… and, frankly, was little different from a whole line of previous Presidents, a number of who have been called “great.” And, as for Obama’s ‘keeping your own doctor” remark, that statement was what Obama thought the act would do, and, in fact, the majority of people did get to keep their own doctor. Obama’s biggest problem was his inability to understand that almost no executives in big medicine, big medical insurance, or big pharma have anything even faintly resembling integrity… or care for anything except bigger profits.

Just like that former executive, who rejected what I pointed out, Trump’s base and most remaining Republicans have little or no interest in evaluating events in context. One or two “lies” by a Democrat that they don’t like is the same as thousands by Trump. Trump’s falsehoods are indeed in the thousands, and they also involve dubious, if not illegal, acts affecting government, the integrity of our elections, and trying to keep his “people” from being held accountable.

While there may be lies, damned lies, and statistics… there are great differences in lies, and calling them all equal is the coward’s way.

7 thoughts on “Context”

  1. Lourain says:

    One of the most remarkable things about Trump is that he cannot (or will not) keep track of his own lies. Most twelve-year-old kids who kept better track of their lies.
    Along with this inability, when shown evidence of his lies, he double-downs on the lies. Most seven-year-old kids have learned not to keep lying when they are ‘caught on camera’.

    1. Lourain says:

      Oops..”Most twelve-year-old kids keep better track of their lies.”
      My train of thought was derailed.

  2. R. Hamilton says:

    As long as he doesn’t lie about not taking my liberty or property (and then take it anyway), while I’d prefer a closer approximation of accuracy, I’m not sure there’s a practical difference between one lie and thousands. (In some doctrines, merely indulging the contemplation of a single misdeed is as guilty as committing thousands, even if the immediate consequence may be far less; so although I’ve tended to stick much closer to the truth as much for simplicity of keeping track as for principle, I don’t presume myself to be particularly deplorable, nor him particularly depraved, if graded on a curve; and NOBODY would pass graded on an absolute standard. )

    In one respect, I think his honesty exceeds many politicians: he’s actually trying to do what he said he’d do when he ran for office (rather than ignoring most of it due to the realpolitik once in office), including put at risk all the politicians and bureaucrats that have come to regard their power and privileges as an entitlement – which some of us argue is the real reason for the fervor of his opposition since day one, rather than his veracity or unstatesmanlike demeanor or any particular close to (or over) the line conduct.

    1. Wine Guy says:

      Continuing with a stated plan even once the plan has been reduced to irrelevancy, obsolescence, or farce is not admirable. As an example, the much touted wall is a waste of time, money, and effort.

  3. Frank says:

    My thought:

    It’s not about Trump’s lies, (allegedly) dirty business deals, misogyny, misuse and/or lack of Statesmanship, and generally boorish behavior…true or not…it’s about “am I better off personally now than before Trump?” or “am I better off than I think I would be if the Democrats got in?”

    The press (and this blog, to a large extent) are trying to debate political theory and “right vs. wrong.” The electorate is counting their 401K’s, bank accounts and the cost of a variety of consumables and entertainments.

    I’m not condoning the “me only” version of analysis…but I do think that is the reason why we are where we are.

    1. Tom says:

      I’m not condoning the “me only” version of analysis…but I do think that is the reason why we are where we are.

      … and the reason we have no practical answer except the democratic option of voting (And this may be only for a little while longer. A real loss of liberty and property).

      When the brain cannot find a practical solution the mind finds comfort in philosophy ( which is also not practical).

  4. John Prigent says:

    I vote by the records of the parties and their leaders. We Brits heve three main national parties, one more-or-less centre-right, one currently rudderless far-left and tending toward Marxism, and one centre-left. The centre-left party showed its true colous bt enering a coalition with the centre-right party but then refusing to vote with it on vital matters, and had also ruled my town for years by spending money on vanity projects. So I rule that one out. The far-left one has a few sane would-be leaders, but the current actual leader is a known supporter of terrorists and its last leader to actually put his ideas into effect managed to release terrorists but leave our armed forces open to bogus legal claims of murder. So I rule that out as well, partly for its record when in power and partly because nobody knows what it’s new leader’s policies might be, making it an unsafe bet. The centre-right party has a new leader who has sensible policies on some matters but I’m uncertain about others. Is it hard to guess that I voted centre-right? I was also influenced by 70 years’ experience of the two main parties when they have held power, which comes out as a clear win for the centre-right even though it has had some total idiots as leaders, at least one of whom is now known to have deliberately lied to voters, while the far-left part has delighted in strikes causing immens problems for orinary voters and the centre-left one is simply untrustworthy by either main party.

Leave a Reply to John Prigent Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.