Friday, March 23, 2007

Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them

There's a chapter in Al Franken's great book about the Wellstone Memorial in which he discusses the contrast between what happened and the Wellstone Memorial and what Conservative Pundits said happened. I wish you would all go get that book and reread that, because we are going to see that little drama reenacted again and again.

I'd like to believe for example that Mike Gallagher's very decent article about Edward's wife's cancer will be the norm, but I know it won't be. Rather Edwards will go through the wringer as a bad husband for continuing his job even when his wife has cancer. Rush Limbaugh and his ilk will see to that.
I'm going to paraphrase this e-mail I got. "Dear Rush: I'm apoplectic about the Edwards press conference. These political people are people I don't understand. These are a different breed of people. If my wife told me yesterday that she had cancer that had returned and it was incurable, the last thing I would be thinking about would be going to a fund-raiser, calling a press conference. The last thing in the world I would be thinking about would be that. What is it about political people? What is it that makes them think they have to share virtually everything like this?" I wonder, how many of you have that same attitude, that there's something you just don't understand. I've tried to mention over the course of many, many years of service here behind the Golden EIB Microphone that politics and the people that are in it are an entirely different breed.

You run around and your whole life is asking other people for money? You know, people have said to me over the years, "Why don't you run for office?" I couldn't do that. You know, aside from the pay cut, to run around and asking people for money. Don't give me the "I wouldn't need to." The idea is to always spend somebody else's money on these things. I wouldn't. It's something I couldn't do. In a situation like this, you learn that the cancer's come back and it's treatable but incurable, go out and call a press conference and say the campaign is going forward. I just wonder how many other people like this e-mail I got have the same reaction to this in terms of not being able to relate to it in terms of what they would do in similar circumstances.
Because Rush Limbaugh would have done anything for the three women he's been married too (and has since divorced).

There's a hint of something here; an attitude about politics and politicians that is somewhat corrosive I think. It's basically the idea that being a politician or being an elected official is a bit like being a member of a community theater. It's a responsibility sure, but at the end of the day it's not that important and it's best reserved for those who have plenty of time to do so, i.e. the idle rich. Since it just a hobby for the idle rich, Edwards should do the decent thing and drop it while his wife recovers. This also lets Republicans pretend to be sympathetic towards Elizabeth Edwards while stabbing her husband in the back repeatedly.

Of course politics is a bit more important in the grand scheme of thing than community theater.

Beyond that, the rule is very simple. If you are a Democrat everything you do must be suspicious and evil. If you are a Republican nothing you do is immoral in the slightest.

Salon's report on the press conference is perhaps worth reprinting at this point.
John Edwards has just announced that Elizabeth Edwards' breast cancer has returned but that, contrary to press reports, he is not suspending his presidential campaign.

"We've been confronted with these kind of struggles and traumas already in our lives," Edwards said with his wife at his side. "You have a choice: You can go cower in the corner and hide, or you can be tough and go stand up for what you believe in."

Edwards said medical tests this week showed that his wife's breast cancer has spread into her bone but apparently not into other soft tissue. He said the cancer is "not curable," but Elizabeth Edwards said that she is feeling well and does not expect her treatment to cause any real difference in her schedule, at least not immediately. "I expect to do next week all the same things I did last week," she said. She said she could not "deprive" the American people of the opportunity of voting for her husband just so that he could sit at home with her while she's feeling well.
Seems open and shut to me, but then again I'm a Democrat.

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