Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Art/Science Of Lying.

It must be election time. Massive amounts of money are flowing, attacks ads are everywhere, and politicians are working overtime to come up with lies to refute lies they have been caught in.

Take Harold Ford Jr., candidate for U.S. Senator from Tennessee, for instance. CNN has outed him for claiming he was a lawyer, when in fact, he never passed the bar exam.

But as you may expect, Ford claims he never called himself a lawyer.

Well, here is proof that he did here and here.

When politicians lie in this day and age, it's a pretty safe bet someone, somewhere, will have a tape of it and will call them on it, when they try to lie their way out of it.

Campaigns are job interviews. If an applicant were to get caught lying on an application or during an interview, they would not get hired. If they were hired and would get caught later, they would be terminated. (The private sector is funny about those kinds of things.)

But elected officials have always been exempt from that, because the very culture of politicians promotes misrepresentation. If a politician claims they were instrumental in getting some piece of legislation, it may only mean they voted for it. When an allegation initially appears, the spinmeisters work fast and hard to deny it.

Often, if it's a subtle accusation, it will get ignored and sometimes a bigger story will come to provide some relief. But there are many times when this does not happen and the media becomes relentless to pursue it until it must be addressed. That's when the science of lying comes in very handy.

We hear so much about the "culture of corruption" and allow partisans to use that phrase against each other, but we fail to see that this really has become a way of life for almost all politicians and their staffs. Once something is done, so much, without thought or regard for the integrity of the office they occupy, it becomes a pattern. It becomes second nature. Deflect, deny, and dissuade by any means necessary becomes the order of the day and becomes a habit so much, they don't have to even think about it. It becomes natural.

Something we all will not tolerate in our professional and personal lives, we tolerate from those we choose to represent us and lead us. How many pathological liars have you ever known personally? Did you enjoy conversing with them? Did it irritate you that they had the audacity to think you were so stupid that you would believe anything? Did they insult your intelligence?

That's what these damned people we elect are doing. And that's when you can see that this is an artform. They stroke us like we are a painting and we respond, sometimes grudgingly, but we do respond. We pick the lesser of the two evils as we see them, and many fail to realize that the choices are almost always the bottom of the barrel.


A.C. McCloud said...

They would probably claim that it's the constant light of the camera that makes them seem like liars, that many of us our here would be similarly challenged if everything we said was recorded. Which would be a lie, too.

LASunsett said...


If we as regular people made shady backroom deals, took bribes, peddled influence, and other such things on a daily basis, they would be right. Most of us show up to work and are expected to perform our jobs and to be honest.

Bottom line, if our works are based on honorable professions, we have no reason to lie with every breath. So roll that camera. I can do it without lying.

ms. miami said...

lasunsett- unfortunately, it seems to me that sharp, responsible people know better than to get into politics...

LASunsett said...

Ms. Miami,

Unfortunately, you are right. And it's a shame too.

ikki said...

Hello, LAsunsett

politics is about relinquishing part of our right to make decisions to somebody else. Normal people can't sustain that kind of pressure. I think only power-hungry or extremely virtuous individuals engage in politics. More of the former than the latter. Corruption is a way to make things (carreer) faster. For the power-hungry, but also the virtuous ones.

By the way, do you actually live in LA ?

LASunsett said...

Hi Ikki,

//politics is about relinquishing part of our right to make decisions to somebody else.//

And that's hard for control freaks, like me.

//By the way, do you actually live in LA ?//

I was born near LA, spent much of my childhood in California (South and North). But, I haven't lived there for years now.

LJG aka Pennsylvania Independent said...

Myself I am a moderate indepedent, socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I am unsure of your political beliefs, but I agree politicians will lie, cheat, steal, and sell their mother to be elected.
I can tell you I am not voting for any incumbents. We need a fresh start because if the next one screw it up you do not have to vote for them again. Elections will be again in 2008, which includes a presidential election.

LASunsett said...

Hi PI,

Welcome to PYY and thanks for visiting.

I am a complicated creature. My stances are mostly formed by the various issues. They are not driven by partisan politics, but by core principles.

I cannot get excited about the GOP retaining control over Congress, but yet at the same time I have even less confidence in Democrats right now. There are exceptions to the rule in both parties, but overall, they all pretty much stink.

All_I_Can_Stands said...


You best get this "fresh start" during the primary elections. That is the best time to "throw the bums out". If only people would realize that.

To throw the bums out in the general election is usually more akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Mark said...

Hey Magnum P.I. - socially liberal, fiscally this way.

I'd join and get my card but I don't have any bowties OR smelly open-toed sandals...

better than voting for people who believe a 'career' in politics is legitimate.

(link is a picture i took this week in northwest colorado)