The Lie Comes of Age
The lie is pure. It has but one motive: self-interest. This is why we say, “Follow the money,” or “Cherchez la femme.” It is why the prosecutor protests, “Statement against interest, your Honor!” So, traditionally, the lie has had to be hidden in order to be effective, in a cloud of prevarication for instance, or in an entertaining story, perhaps compelling the mark’s own self-interest in the form of greed, making the whopper easier to swallow in hopes of making a killing.
President Clinton was a master triangulator and manipulator, skills that were memorably deconstructed in Christopher Hitchens’ “No One Left To Lie To“. The media have, of course, completely forgotten Slick Willie’s outrages and have taken to referring to him as an “elder statesman” in an aura glowing with warm and nostalgic fuzziness. But Clinton was always careful to disguise his lies. He, at least, had the decency, for a while, to feel some shame; later, as both he and popular consensus agreed on the Clinton version, he came to see himself as a hero against the backdrop of the pathetic George W. Bush.
George was a lousy liar. He openly, brazenly asked the world to trust him because he was a good guy, a friend to Jesus, had a pure soul, whatever, “See?” was like a punctuation mark in his speeches, asking us to see it his way.
But Mitt, he’s like the Marvel Comics superhero of lies. Lies are his superpower. The letter on his tights keeps changing with the lies he’s telling, “E” for “EconomicsLiarMan” “J” for “JobCreatorLiarMan” and so forth. He’s truly the guy who’s got no one left to lie to. He started out lying to Republicans in the primaries and became “SurvivorLiarMan”. No one could stand the sight of him, but he kept on lying; the polls stomped on him again and again, each new challenger, no matter how improbable, rose to insurmountable heights of popularity as Mitt labored on, perfecting his superpower, twisting in the wind, collecting endorsements from GOP greats while his popularity stagnated near single digits. What did he tell Chris Christie to get his endorsement? What did the governor see in Mitt? Was it the “fire in the belly” that he himself lacked? What new heights did Mitt’s superpower achieve in these meetings? It must have been awesome. Still, Republicans hated him, even as they held their noses and handed him the nomination. Now, Mitt was lying to Democrats. Would it work? No, apparently – until the first debate. Barack Obama, completely undone by “Gotcha!LiarMan”, had nothing. His prepared material was useless, designed to counter yesterday’s lies. Too bad! Republicans were ecstatic. Mitt was a winner, after all! He had transcended Natural Law and become “The Lie Incarnate”. Constantly surprising to the downside, he seems destined to become the creepiest man in the world.
Still, he’s no mere phantasm. He’s left footprints in the sand, and we can see where he’s coming from. He’s a moderate, just like Clinton and Obama, two centrist weasels who gave up the gains of nearly a century of social struggle for no reason I can see other than a desire to be liked. But Mitt is no centrist. He’s a Republican and will instinctively veer to the right, away from the opposition, which seems more natural to me than the perverse Democratic reflex to steer toward the apparent middle; Republicans rightly find this a contemptible trait, as do I. A Democrat’s first instinct is betrayal, it seems.
Since I first wrote that a vote for Mitt is a vote for revolution, signs of a true recovery have taken hold in the economy. If Mitt wins, his cronies will get tax cuts, as will corporations. Environmental and business regulations will be eliminated or gutted, and this will stimulate the economy slightly, but the big boost will come from deficit spending. “What?” you may gasp. “Republicans hate deficits!” Yes, indeed, but this spending will be on the military, and on balance, they will go for defense now, then and always, deficits be damned, just like George W. Bush, our “spend like a drunken sailor and pray like a whore in church” President. One metric they will use to defend this madness is, the rebounding economy will change the graph on the deficit; just like the recession, when extrapolated, made the deficits explode, the recovery will make them deflate, and Mitt will preside over the resulting boom and leave the bust for Democrats to clean up, just like the Bush boom that ended too soon. The revolution will have to wait.
If Obama wins, it will take longer to pull out of the recession, but the recovery will be more solid. The Predatory Class will tighten its control on government and the massive overhang of unproductive money at the top will grow as fraud and inequality funnel money upstairs. This instability will eventually cause a boom and collapse. The lies and betrayals will continue; people will suffer, the revolution will have to wait. Vote for Gary Johnson, he’s the only honest man running.