Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Obama camp hits back…

…and the L word is in play.
"Jerome Corsi is a discredited liar who is peddling another piece of garbage in order to continue the Bush-Cheney politics he helped perpetuate four years ago," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor. "His is one of what will likely be many lie-filled books rushed to print this election cycle that are cobbled together from debunked internet sources to make money and advance a partisan agenda. We will forcefully respond to these smears with all means at our disposal."
There's a natural reluctance to use the L word in campaigns and journalism. Words matter, and calling a lie a lie and a liar a liar is powerful stuff. It's a sad fact that most folks expect a lot of negativity from political campaigns. The know that some (and they suspect that all) politicians will twist an opponent's record beyond recognition, base wholesale attacks on a fragmentary bit of a quotation, attack an opponent's character. It's part of the game, and there's no denying that attacks have been part of many successful election strategies.

Lying is something else again. Most attack strategies are specific to the campaign world, and most are employed in shades of gray. After all, that truncated quotation is part of an actual, if somewhat less damning, fuller quotation. Voting records? There are a lot of things that can be read into, or left out of, a voting record. Lying isn't like that. It's not part of their world, it’s part of ours.

We understand, of course, that not every lie is the same, and that lying isn't always wrong. Some truths are better not told, for instance (though sometimes those that hurt the most must be.) As every schoolboy knows, however, lying maliciously, just for the sake of causing inury is always wrong. That's not politics, it's playground morality. Don't hit. Don't steal. Don't lie.

It's time to drop the political euphemisms. No more talk of distortions and misquotes. Jerome Corsi is a liar. So is Mary Matalin. So is John McCain.

It's good to see the campaign begin to say so. It'll be better when the candidate picks up the beat.

And we can all join in the chorus.

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