§7.1

a blog by josef johann

Thursday, January 26, 2012

the long sleepwalk through politics

Newt Gingrich was caught in a lie. Kevin Drum steps back and observes:

There's an odd de facto standard for political lying: you can mislead people to almost any degree and it doesn't really count against you. It's he-said-she-said. But if there's a clear, smoking gun fact that you plainly misrepresent, no matter how trivial, then it's a scandal. By that standard, Newt ought to be in trouble. His dealings with ABC News may not be all that important in the cosmic scheme of things, but by DC standards this is a flat-out, premeditated fabrication and therefore a scandal. Gingrich told a bald-faced lied and he knew he was lying when he did it.

This all fits Newt's personality. He's always been more brazen than even your usual hardened politico because he knows that nobody really cares about fact checking. But he went over the line this time. I wonder if he'll pay a price? 

There's something almost pleading between the lines here. Kevin Drum knows, I know, you know, your dad knows that no scandal is coming. Why? After all, scandals still happen, right? Newt did lie, didn't he? The lie came in the context of marital infidelity, and that subject that reliably causes scandal, right? Right? Is this thing on? Is anybody listening?

You could carefully check off all the reasons why this ought to concern people, but as you do it you'll imagine some lethargic person shrugging. There are people supporting Newt. There are people on the fence Newt is trying to persuade. There are people reporting on Newt Gingrich for the benefit all these other people. But none of these groups appear to have capacity for outrage in response to the act of lying itself or at least the motivation to draw attention to it.

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