Tough Work for the Professional Liar

Nobody ever said Scott McClellan’s job was going to be easy.

“What, did we say the Medicare drug benefit was going to cost $400 billion? I don’t know where you heard that... Oh, in the State of the Union address...? Well, I wouldn’t call that so much a lie as a... well... a calculated miscalculation. But seriously, it’s gonna be $534 billion... you can take that to the bank... What do you mean, Medicare’s chief actuary was saying that all along...? Well, there’s no sense placing blame now, is there? $534 billion, and that’s it... Excuse me, what...? No, don’t be ridiculous! Talk about hyperbole, claiming it’ll cost twice that much... now you’re just exaggerating... What? It will cost more than twice that much? Or three times the amount we said when the law got passed...? $1.2 trillion dollars...? Well... um... no, I wouldn’t call our revised calculation a lie... Hey, did I tell you we’ve got a plan to revise Social Security...? Well, no, it won’t actually do anything to fix Social Security, now that you mention it...”

Then again, given how mind-bogglingly ridiculous this whopper is, I’d be willing to bet they did tell him it was going to be easy. I guess the regime’s just falling back on its standard axiom: The greater the lie, the more apt people are to believe it. I wonder if the Bush regime realizes just who it was that actually said that...


At 4:44 PM, Bill Coughlan said...

In the interests of accuracy, the actual quote, at least according to one translation, is:

“All this was inspired by the principle — which is quite true in itself — that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes.”

In context, it’s not advocating the process, but condemning it; of course, in context it’s also clear just how psychotically nuts the rant is — a factor which wipes out any consideration of taking the statement as a given truth. Strangely, almost every ’net attribution I could readily find not only got the quote completely wrong (and even more oddly, consistently wrong), but ignored the aforementioned context.


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