Friday, October 05, 2012

Lies and consequences

I think there's a kind of hysteresis in politics.  You get a certain effect from telling a bold lie, but you don't lose nearly all that gain by retracting it, so it pays to lie.  You may gain 100,000 votes by saying your opponent is a cannibal, but if you only lose 30 or 40 thousand when you admit "I was wrong to say that" why not keep lying?  There's no limit to how many you can tell and a good part of the public, who really wanted to hear bad things about the other side will tell themselves you were forced to retract it by "the liberals" and it's really true - he's a cannibal from the dark jungles of Kenya. It pays to lie even when you get caught. It doesn't hurt to say one thing to one group and another thing to another. You may actually gain support from people who will think you're being a big man for correcting yourself and will forget that you deliberately lied, deliberately tried to cash in on the meanest and nastiest and most dishonest impulses of the public to get votes.

No matter how much the candidate lies, we can count on the fact that the public is as least as dishonest with themselves and often far more so.  If one tells one's family that taking a pay cut won't add to the family debt, one has a tough sell, but the candidate is talking to people who want to believe they would be much better off  if their personal tax load were lightened and so they will listen eagerly and listen dismissively when the truth is explained. Tell them their taxes are actually lower than ever and they won't listen. Show them that nearly everybody pays 25 to 30 percent of what they earn and they'll put their hands over their ears and chant liberaliberaliberal.  I think this is why the Romney ad I heard this morning on TV could get away with claiming that an independent study proved that Obama planned to tax the average Joe an extra $4000 next year ( and presumably by executive fiat. )  Not one of his likely supporters will bother to check any facts that support their beliefs.  First comes the distrust and anger and dislike, and then the reasons we tell ourselves and others. What we want to hear is what we hear and when we hear it, we stop listening further.

So Romney may substantially reduce any loses he suffered by his 47% gaffe by admitting he was "Completely wrong."  Takes a big man, after all and of course, we all know that there are still huge numbers of loafers and leeches and welfare queens driving Caddies -- enough to cause us to scrap any attempts at helping people become productive again, keeping children from falling hopelessly into inextricable cycles of crime and poverty and disease by using MY HARD EARNED MONEY that all belongs to ME and of course NOBODY EVER GAVE ME ANYTHING. And isn't it annoying that we have to be so "politically correct" and just like we can't say Merry Christmas any more we can't call 'these people' by our traditional words?  I mean traditional values mean something.

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