Sunday, September 12, 2004

 

Why do we only care when the opposition lies?

Paul Krugman is going on about how the Bush administration is dishonest. Wow! I'm not saying I disagree with him, but I think it is really interesting that someone as routinely dishonest as him would feel that they were on safe ground calling someone else out. The distortions that Krugman engages in have been well documented both by right wing zealots and independently minded people and economists alike. Here, Here, and Here are just a few of literally countless examples.
The folks over at spinsanity, who wrote a book called "All the President's Spin" about the Bush administration are on much firmer ground when criticizing the President and Kerry...oh wait though...I forgot that we aren't supposed to mention all of the lies coming out of the Kerry camp. Like for example, the lie that Bush banned stem cell research in the U.S. that has been so well documented over at spinsanity. Or the continued lies that have been documented related to his military service (and I am not talking about anything coming from the Swift Boat people). Or the distortions over the job loss numbers in this country. I'm not saying that all of Kerry's lies and his campaigns lies make the Bush lies okay...they don't, but why is it that when I talk to my liberal friends back in California they invariably seem to defend Kerry's lies as being necessary and somehow dignified while Bush's are just meant to screw everyone? Both of their lies are meant to screw everyone. Of course the folks over at spinsanity point out that Bush is more about spin than outright lying. "But the administration is in fact very good at not lying, saying things that have a kernel of truth but when taken as a whole are very misleading."

The other thing that I often find so hard to understand is Krugman's avarice toward Bush. He's an economist who should know better. He may be a Keynsian and hold fast to some extremely arguable economic beliefs which much to the chagrin of us all he attempts to pass off as economic fact in his articles, but he is not a lockstep liberal either. He titled a chapter in one of his books "In Praise of Cheap Labor: Bad jobs at bad wages are better than no jobs at all." He has remained an advocate of free trade regardless of the effect on jobs (though he still seems to blame this President for alot of the job loss). I don't really understand how people on the right and the left get so angry with the opposition that they only see their flaws and their lies. It seems clear to me that the Bush administration, while dishonest, is not abnormal in its dishonesty. The Clinton administration had a budget surplus and still felt the need to lie about the cost of its proposed programs. The Clinton administrations lies were by no means confined to "private" matters as I keep hearing. Yet many of the people who so vehemently hate the Bush administration, claiming the hatred is because they are liars, did not despise the Clinton administration. Nor do they despise Kerry who has had his share of lies.

Everyone only seems to care about the lies that their opposition is telling. Sadly, we have only ourselves to blame. As long as we don't feel compelled to punish the people we agree with for their lies, then they will continue to lie since they will not lose support and can only gain outsiders. Of course in politics it isn't really that easy. There are really only two viable candidates right now and both of them are liars. I'm not sure I have any solutions, but I wish people would at least be more honest with each other and stop claiming that they don't like Bush or Kerry because they are liars and just admit they don't like them because they...well I'm not sure why they dislike them. If we could identify why they really dislike them then maybe we could get somewhere in our political discourse though.



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