I hear you talking, but I am not buying it

When a philandering husband tries to explain why he reeks of someone else’s perfume as he saunters in after working late, most wives are not buying it. They hear him talking, but they certainly are not buying it. The failure to communicate begins with a man who thinks the perfume smell will just go away when he leaves his working late partner.

President Bill Clinton actually has numbers to prove he was an effective president, but he still was a skirt chaser, always has been. When he famously said very slowly as he pounded the dais, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” we heard the words, but very few of us was buying his story. Sure, Bill.

President Richard Nixon liked to often say after the Watergate story became bigger than he could handle, “I am not a crook.” Running a burglary ring from the White House and trying to cover it up does not sound very lawful. Nixon was forced to resign by his own party leadership before he was impeached and convicted. Yes, he was a crook.

President Ronald Reagan said on national television that he was not involved in any effort to illegally sell arms to Iran to fund the Contra rebels in Central America. Known as the “Iran-Contra Affair,” Reagan had to go on TV later and say he lied. Per his own son, what his father did was an impeachable offense, but Oliver North fell on the sword and took the rap.

President George HW Bush got in trouble for a campaign promise when he emphatically said “Read my lips, no new taxes.” When the deficit got larger, he ended up raising taxes and was not reelected. I think the emphasis on “read my lips” made it a bigger fall.

President Barack Obama did something similar promising with the Affordable Care Act, “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” He did not know enough about healthcare management to make such as claim. That would come back to haunt him and taint the roll out of the program.

President George Bush, the son, over saw the invasion of Iraq under false pretenses, that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction. The WMDs story was a narrative that Hussein wanted his enemies to believe, but we used faulty intelligence to create a need to invade. An independent UK Commission several years later condemned both Bush and PM Tony Blair for misleading the British people. People died because of this.

President Donald Trump could fill a book with his assertions that turned out not to be true. All politicians are untruthful, but his numbers as president are tens of thousands of untruthful statements. The “election was stolen from me” will likely rank as one of the more devastating lies in our country’s history (the “Big Lie” as it is known). “COVID is a Democrat hoax,” said often and early during the start of the pandemic still echoes today even though it is terribly untrue. “China will pay for the tariffs” said quite often even though economists would add each time he said it that consumers pay for the tariffs as the cost is passed down to them.

What bothers me greatly is when sycophants perpetuate these lies even when they know they could be harmful to people. Pandemic studies of COVID-19 note that an additional couple of hundreds of thousands of people died due to our poor response in the US. There are people who have been sentenced and others standing trial for participating in an insurrection caused by the Big Lie. The truth matters. People get hurt.

The Pentagon Papers are likely the most famous example, which is why Nixon went to great lengths to keep them out of the newspapers. Yet, he wasn’t just covering for himself – he was covering for a fairy tale that hid the fact the US could not win the war in Vietnam, a fairy tale perpetuated by Eisenhower, JFK and LBJ as well. Too many more American soldiers died and huge numbers of Vietnamese citizens were killed as well.

Yet, Nixon’s biggest lie did not come out until years later, when recordings were found from a week before the 1968 presidential election. Nixon the candidate was heard in a recording before the 1968 election asking the South Vietnamese leader to stall the current peace negotiations and he would garner a better deal. The ultimate peace deal took four more years and more American and Vietnamese people died. What Nixon did was a seditious act, but LBJ chose not to publicize it, although he did speak with the Senate Majority Leader about his concerns.

We need politicians to tell us the truth. They owe it to us. I know they all embellish taking credit for good things they have little to do with and blaming others for things they have little to do with, such as the economy. But, today lying seems to be done with impunity. We need to make folks more accountable. We need to demand their sycophants stop covering for the lies or rationalizing them away. Followers will believe their BS not realizing they are being lied to. And, some will get hurt, even killed. We especially owe it to our troops to tell the truth as too many pay for the machinations with their lives.

18 thoughts on “I hear you talking, but I am not buying it

  1. Note to Readers: While I reserved this piece to lies of presidents, one of the biggest and harmful lies in US history is on the shoulders of Senator Joe McCarthy with his communist witch hunt. An attorney who worked closely with McCarthy said the Senator would make things up on the fly and say them as if they were steeped in fact. No he did not have a sense of decency as he was famously asked.

  2. A side note on Blair. He was granted a knighthood in the recent New Year honours list. The petition against this, for the reasons you describe, currently stands at more than 1m signatures.

    • Clive, that is interesting. Like many elected leaders, there are usually good and bad things they did. The assessment is the volume and impact of the bad vs. the good. How do historians rank Blair? For example, the last former US president has been ranked in the bottom five of presidencies in the US by a vote of historians – his poor legacy on the pandemic handling and his Big Lie leading to assault on US democracy overshadow any of the good things he may get credit for. Keith

      • I think the general view of Blair that he did some good things but these were overshadowed by his sycophancy towards Bush and dragging us into an unjustifiable war. He is also considered by many to be a slimy character whose business dealings have been a bit dodgy.

        I’m surprised the former guy is only in the bottom five – you must have had some truly awful presidents if he isn’t last by miles!

      • Clive, I clearly see the sycophancy, but was less in tune with his malfeasance. Thanks for sharing this background. Keith

        PS – We must have some pretty decrepit presidents to rank lower than Trump

  3. The film ‘Sweet Smell of Success’
    I recall the electric exchange between Hunsecker and Steve Dallas, when the later throws Hunsecker this line in response to one of his assertions: “That’s fish four days old. I won’t buy it!”
    How many times could that have been the response?

    • Roger, so many times to answer your questions. The Washington Post has clocked him with over 30,500 lies. This is not “rough around edges” as his advocates say. This is a lot of four day old fish. Keith

      • Roger, in our honor of this post, Senator Ron Johnson, someone known for “old fish tales” announced he is running again and Rep. Jim Jordan has said he will not cooperate with the January 6 committee. It should be noted Jordan was recommended for the committee by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi nixed that as Jordan turns out to be a person of interest to the committee. Keith

  4. Many politicos do, indeed, lie, though some tell untruths simply because they do not have complete information. But no politician, past or present, has ever topped the former guy for blatant and intentional lies told … lies that cost people their lives. Like Clive, I’m astounded that he is only ‘in the bottom five’ and not simply the worst ever! I must take a look at that list!

    • Agreed on all counts. I used to think politicians were more aware of facts than those outside the chamber, but that opinion long ago changed. Now, they govern off 24×7 campaign rhetoric, which is embellished at best. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: Letter I sent to the editor this afternoon. Please feel free to adapt and use.

    “Political courage is rare these days, which is why I applaud Rep. Liz Cheney for speaking the truth when she knows she will be vilified by people in her own party. She correctly assesses the choice for the GOP between the truth and Donald Trump. Americans are divided because of the former president’s baseless claims of election fraud which he has been horribly unsuccessful at proving. At his instigation, some of his more zealous fans stormed the Capitol which we can never let happen again. This is not civil discourse, it is anarchy. Disagreement is fine, but attacking elected officials trying to do their job is not the solution.”

  6. Note to Readers: I am watching less news and was reminded of why last night. I flipped on to see in the course of about five minutes, Senator Marco Rubio look into the camera directly and lie about the state Republican efforts to suppress votes. Then, I saw Senator Rand Paul, whose smugness was on full tilt act insulted when Dr. Anthony Fauci said rhetoric like his is causing death threats to Fauci and his family. On the good side, I saw Senator Mitt Romney show concern about the temperament of criticism. I am not surprised by Rubio or Paul’s words, but it frustrates me that they feel they can act like that with impunity. Democrats also fudge the truth, but with the Trump name still having so much currency in the GOP, the need to lie and bully critics is more modus operandi.

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