Richard Nixon. Now there was an interesting liar. Nixon of course was spawned by Beelzebub but he lied not only with obvious relish and vigor, but constructed Byzantine architectures of dissimulation to divert a hapless public from the real truth. Ah, the golden days.
Now we’re stuck with plasma-challenged Mitt, who lies with the flamboyance of an official spokesperson for the utility company reading out a press release full of cooked numbers. I never realized the national pastime could feel so mundane. Romney’s primary opponents all had a whole lot more fun with their lying. But the problem with them was that they were also three-fourths of the way to cuckoo and nobody fretted about exactitude, but simply stared at them the way pedestrians stare at schizophrenics in the street. Romney’s lying is so straight-laced you wonder if he is wearing a girdle.
But back to The King. It’s true that at a certain point in his career no one believed a thing Nixon said because the record showed that he always lied. But this misses the point entirely, which is the lie is only so obvious later, and it can’t be exposed in the time frame in which it is being told. Nixon reinvented ways to lie about a plan to end the war in Vietnam for the entirely of the five years from when he assumed office and America’s combat role there finally came to an end. It was incidental to Nixon himself that thousands upon thousands of Vietnamese and Americans were killed during this needless stretch. What was important was that he successfully dragged the American people along with him, convincing them light was at the end of the tunnel, and the plan was somehow in the works.
When Romney says the stimulus didn’t create jobs, it takes about seventy-five seconds to google up news reports exposing it as a lie, what with charts and graphs and statistics from economists and the Congressional Budget Office available approximately pronto. You can’t even take the time and effort to conjure up an appetizing lie, and you want to be president of the United States? Give Romney credit for bland persistence though. He repeats the same dumb lies so often you get the feeling the Tampa Bay Times crew toiling on Politifact is starting to seriously question the meaning of life.
When Nixon said, “I am not a crook,” you knew you were in the presence of a master. “People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.” See folks, this is how you entertain an audience. When my man Clinton said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky,” it was so emotive you wanted to give Bubba a hug. Romney’s button-down lying frankly is insulting to the craft. I’m of Irish heritage, and hence always partial to the Tommy Flanagan (“Yeah, that’s the ticket”) model, expecting to be well-entertained when I’m being sold a pile of shit.
When Romney bluntly and mechanically claims Obama has engaged in a bazillion dollars of spending while in office, when at the very same time disproving facts are flooding every form of media, and accessible to billions, again with charts and graphs and finger painting demonstrating Obama has spent the least of any president since Eisenhower, this isn’t the art of lying, it’s just a corporation saying, “Fuck you.”