July 1, 2008

Drawing distinctions

A reader writes:

I was talking to a friend about [George W.] Bush vs. [Bill] Clinton, and we hit a bit of an impasse as to what would constitute the more impressive liar; would it be the skillful evasion and wielding of reality or Bush's total contempt for it? The artist of deceit or the man who constantly bludgeons obvious facts and says whatever the Hell he wants regardless of how ludicrously impossible or absurd?

Perhaps it is the case that Clinton is better at fooling all the people some of the time and Bush is better at fooling some of the people all the time. (He seems to have been put on this earth to prove that portion of the old adage to be undeniably true.)

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some ideologically motivated people WANT to be lied to, and attempt to exclude any information that upsets their predetermined prejudices no matter how solid that new info is.

If you tell a creationist that a 10,000 year old coniferious tree was found in rural Sweeden a couple of months ago, so that it could not have lived through a flood 5,000 years ago--they simply will just exclude that piece of evidence from their memory and still attempt to advance the same arguments as they always do. They will dismiss it without even researching it. The earth has slightly cooled since 1998, but global warming fanatics stilll aggressively assert that they know all their is about CO2's relationship with temprature despite this massive monkey wrench in their theory. They want to be lied to. They dont want it to get cooler and would deny it being cooler (and looking for rogue icebergs melting for supportive arguments) even if it kept getting cooler for another 20 years.

Liberals don't want to believe locking up criminals lowers crime, and report higher incarceration rates "despite" falling crime as if the two have nothing to do with each other. They dont want to believe their lying eyes. Dishonesty is the biggest problem the human race faces, and it always will be. It enables so much else.

Anonymous said...

This seems a good breakdown of how recent party leaders lie lie along party lines:

Dems:
=====
a) Artful liars: B.Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Huckabee(R), MSM
b) Obtuse pseudo-intellectual liars: Kerry, Gore, MSM

Reps:
=====
a) Contemptuous liars: Bush, Chaney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Neocons & their media organs
b) Mean Little-Man Liars: Nixon, McCain, Giulliani, Neocons & their media organs
c) Too Dumb-Lazy-Uninformed-Unconcerned-to-be-called-lying: Bush, McCain, Thompson, Richardson (D)

Bipartisan:
============
Traditional you-can't-handle -the-truth Lying: Regan, BushI, Romney, H.Clinton

The execeptions Huckabee and Richardson cross party lines. Charisma, real and/or media created, usually determines how effective a particular lying style is.

Concerned said...

Yeah, well, of course, Bush's main advantage was that the country was in total shock after 9/11, hence malleable. Clinton OTOH, presided over a seemingly safe and stable country.

In any case, Clinton's lies now seem benign and harmless compared to Bush's. Maybe most of the people who chant, "Bush lied people died" are unbearable. But they are right.

testing99 said...

"Lie" what the heck is that?

That Muslims around the world want to destroy America, and figure enough mass casualty attacks in the "right" places will do it? [Osama figured after 9/11 the US would split into separate states.]

That nuclear proliferation allows even AQ to nuke America, without any real consequences? [Or Europe, for that matter.]

That's reality. Neither Clinton (who presided over ever-increasing terror attacks and preferred to either ignore them or issue impotent missile attacks) nor GWB (who repeats the tired Liberal mantra of "Religion of Peace") properly prepared Americans for reality:

*Technology and globalization spread nuclear weapons all over the place.
*Jihad as a solution to what ails Muslims has been brewing since the 1920's.
*Muslims think they destroyed one superpower (the USSR) and figure why not the US?
*Muslims aim to rule the world under Sharia, just ask them.

It doesn't mean panic, rounding up Muslims in camps, endless wars, or defeat. But it DOES require a big military, and convincingly whacking examples as deterrence (since Muslims don't believe we will do anything given 1979-present weakness by Carter to GWB).

This is reality. The "lie" is that we can live in the "end of history" where human nature just changed and everything is unicorns and rainbows, no sacrifices, struggles, bloodshed, or violence required. On that account, Bush, Clinton, and Obama are all excellent liars.

Anonymous said...

That's a cheap shot on Bush, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Testing99/EvilNeocon,

You don't know what a lie is? That explains a lot.

Anonymous said...

"[Osama figured after 9/11 the US would split into separate states.]"

Could you expand on this?

Eric said...

What's even less understandable is the capacity of some people to assume, without evidence, someone is lying. And then castigate him for telling a lie as if it were fact.

Clinton was by far the more profligate liar.

Dmytro Kornilov said...

Testing99,

Muslims are .5% of the US population. Sorry if you've already explained this, but if we stopped immigration, how are they in any way a threat to America?

Roger Chaillet said...

North Korea has the means to hit the US with nuke tipped missiles.

Muslims do not.

So, where is the real problem?

As for Bush, he is an alcoholic. Alcoholics lie non-stop. I know this as family members are alcoholics.

But the lies of most alcoholics don't cross over to criminal mendacity.

Bush lied us into a phony war without end. He's lied non-stop about Islam, Hispanics and their vile family values, the US as a nation of immigrants, and a host of others.

And his cabinet members and consigliere are no different. Former Secretary of Education Rod Paige lied about the standardized test scores of students in the Houston ISD. Harriet Miers lied about Bush's National Guard "service." http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46671

I could go on.

And on.

And on.

Tens of thousands have died in this country alone due to his Hispanic fetish.

And folks are worried about Islam and nukes?

Eric said...

That's exactly what I'm talking about, Robert. So if Bush doesn't agree with you about Hispanics he's lying? Does that really make sense to you?

And I see that "Bush lied us into a war" thing a lot. But I've never seen any evidence that suggests he didn't actually believe Saddam had WMD.

paul k. said...

I don’t agree with Bob Kerrey that Clinton was an exceptionally good liar, as I found his lies so painfully obvious. There was a brief period when Maureen Dowd didn’t like Clinton (battery must have died in her shock collar), and she said that when he lies he’s like a little boy with a paper bag over his head telling everyone he’s invisible.

Bush is something else. He keeps saying things that obviously aren’t true, but I can’t figure out whether or not he believes them. He seems to, which leads to the question everyone has asked themselves about him: is he crazy or stupid? There’s no answer to that either. He’s neither crazy nor stupid enough for it to explain his beliefs.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt on the invasion, figuring he was under a willing suspension of disbelief when it came to Saddam, the 9/11 connection, and WMDs. However, on comprehensive immigration reform, I feel he had to know that what he was saying was not true, and that he was intentionally lying.

Dmytro Kornilov said...

"And I see that "Bush lied us into a war" thing a lot. But I've never seen any evidence that suggests he didn't actually believe Saddam had WMD."

The way Bush lied about the Iraq war without actually lying was brilliant. He would say "We must remember what happened on September 11th. Saddam Hussein is a bad man." Notice, he never said "Saddam carried out 9/11"; if he did people could've called him on in.

The administration knew that the American people knew that Arabs carried out 9/11. They knew Saddam was an Arab. They heard the president talk about Saddam in the context of lessons learned about 9/11. Thus before the war, polls show that a majority of Americans thought Saddam planned the event and were itching for war.

Anonymous said...

[Osama figured after 9/11 the US would split into separate states.]

If only.

That Muslims around the world want to destroy America, and figure enough mass casualty attacks in the "right" places will do it? ... But it DOES require a big military, and convincingly whacking examples as deterrence (since Muslims don't believe we will do anything given 1979-present weakness by Carter to GWB).


9/11 was carried out by 25 Arabs, 19 of whom died on the planes they commandeered. A few handguns and 9/11 would never have happened. A simple regulation--no Arab Muslims get visas--and 9/11 would never have happened. But those are the sort of things that patriarchal and Christian nations do. That's what Croats and Serbs do, when they're not being bombed by the US. And what's this "weakness" crap? We deposed the regimes of two countries with small expeditionary forces. After that we could have come home leaving the Arabs quaking in their bombed-out hovels. The only "weakness" was a social democracy thinking it can successfully manage imperial occupations.

The US does not require a big military. The US only requires that its citizens have the will to defend their cultural and territorial integrity. US citizens lack that will. The working class whites who currently sign up for combat MOS's are fooling themselves into fighting for a national ideal that no longer exists. Eventually, they are going to ask why they should bother to defend a regime that despises white men and Christianity.

-Senor Doug

Anonymous said...

eric,

So if Bush doesn't agree with you about Hispanics he's lying? Does that really make sense to you?

Of course Bush is lying. He's not stupid--he's got an MBA and flew supersonic aircraft--and he lives on a remote ranch away from all the urban rabble, so he obviously knows about the high rate of social pathology among Hispanics.

Unless he really is stupid.

And I see that "Bush lied us into a war" thing a lot. But I've never seen any evidence that suggests he didn't actually believe Saddam had WMD.

No one who thought about this issue critically believed Saddam had NBC capabilities. And paying the INC $400,000 a month to tell you that Saddam was hell on wheels doesn't qualify as critical inquiry.

So again, lies or stupidity.

-Senor Doug

Anonymous said...

Clinton was by far the more profligate liar.

I don't care which one told the most lies. I care what the lies were. Clinton can lie all he wants about his sex life as long as it doesn't cost the lives and limbs of my family, or indeed of anybody.
Bush lied us into a horrible war whose casualties he (code for him and his handlers) set up for us. But we would be naive to think it began in 2001. It had been set up for a long time. Cheney for one has wanted us involved in this war for years. I thought there was something fishy about his enthusiastic sponsorship of equality for women in the military back in 1993. The more warm bodies to fight his wars, the better

Eric said...

I don't recall ever hearing something from Bush that could be construed that way.

And I don't believe that poll. I've never, ever, met someone who believed Saddam was responsible for 9/11. I've never read anything on the net or in the newspaper from someone professing that belief. And I know you can make a poll say anything you want if you choose the questions and the population carefully.

Dmytro Kornilov said...

"And I don't believe that poll. I've never, ever, met someone who believed Saddam was responsible for 9/11. I've never read anything on the net or in the newspaper from someone professing that belief. And I know you can make a poll say anything you want if you choose the questions and the population carefully."

Well I've met 3 or 4 people who told me that Saddam was responsible for 9/11, so there. You don't trust polls but want to go by personal anecdotes?

And it doesn't matter that nobody made the claim in the Wall Street Journal or National Review because Joe Sixpack never reads those. He would watch the news in the year following the attack and hear the president saying "9-11, Saddam, 9-11, Saddam, etc" He never talked about this Saddam fellow before Sept. 11 and why would this guy become the focus of the administration after the attacks unless he was involved?

svrdlvsk said...

Well I've met 3 or 4 people who told me that Saddam was responsible for 9/11, so there.

Count another one here. I believe Saddam was responsible for 9/11, at least in part. And that's the true beauty of Bush's lies -- they're designed to fall apart. This protects the truth of Saddam's involvement. Anybody who takes the time to critically examine the build-up to the Iraq invasion knows that the Bush administration, but only a few obsessives such as myself see something else underneath all of that.

The guide to 9/11 begin in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. There are several significant points along the path, but that is the logical starting point: Ramzi Yousef, his relatives, and his mentor, Dr. Ihsan Barbouti.

Bush took the biological warfare threat quite seriously.

Anonymous said...

Eventually, they are going to ask why they should bother to defend a regime that despises white men and Christianity.


So maybe they'll bring about a different American regime.

Mitchell said...

Hey sverdlovsk, drop me a line (see profile for email). I know your pal at Stanford, though I haven't heard from him in ages either. Let's recalibrate our hypotheses in the light of recent data.