Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's The Lies, Stupid

The Los Angeles Times web site is a tough one to navigate, unnecessarily so, although I'd be the first to admit that I am not the savviest of internet users. Still, I don't imagine I'm the only reader who was unaware of the bloggers posting in the Opinion section. Those blogs get very little mention in the summaries posted for each of the various areas of the site. Today was one of the rare days when a blog was mentioned in a way that enticed a click out of me.

Written by Dan Turner, the post takes an incisive look at Michelle Bachman's most recent display of ignorance wherein she not only got US history wrong, she also got US geography wrong.

Mr. Turner suggests that Bachman's ignorance is appalling, but she has another character flaw which is far more dangerous: her propensity to lie.

Bloggers are having a field day over Bachmann's latest blunder, and Politico points out that all this could hurt her with a few East Coast history buffs if she's serious about throwing her hat in the presidential ring. But I'd be happier if pundits made more of a fuss about Bachmann's outright falsehoods, which are plentiful, than a few mistakes, which are common for just about anybody who does much public speaking. Bachmann's whoppers during the heathcare debate are well documented (she helped lead the "death panels" charge and even went so far as to claim that the Democratic healthcare bill would end all private insurance coverage within five years), and she can be relied on to repeat whatever nonsensical claim is currently in vogue on conservative talk shows, such as the absurd notion that President Obama's trip to India last year cost taxpayers $200 million a day.

Bachmann can read a history book if people are concerned about her grasp of 18th century details. But I'm not sure she can conquer her addiction to lying.
[Emphasis added]

While I disagree with Mr. Turner that we should cut frequent speakers some slack when it comes to boneheaded mistakes, especially when those speakers purport to be national leaders, I do agree with his assessment that the intentional distortion of the truth and the flat-out lying is far more damaging to the fabric of our democracy, especially when the lies are told to further a personal agenda.

Ms. Bachman, like many of the Tea Party cohort, are capable of both sins, venial and mortal.



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