Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Is Truth?

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air notes that Obama told at least three whoppers during last night's debate. He denied having launched his political career with Bill Ayers' help, he denied having given $800,000 to ACORN, and he misrepresented the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act which he voted against.

Morrissey has details at the link if you'd like to check them out.

For my part, I'm a little reluctant to call Obama a liar, as Morrissey does, but I'm beginning to think that his problem (and thus ours) runs even deeper than lying. I'm beginning to think that Obama has a very pragmatic, Rortian view of truth. In this view, if a particular fact is unpleasant or inconvenient or impedes achieving the goals one has set for oneself then it's simply not a fact. It's not true for him. Truth is what works and obviously the sorts of claims that McCain was making about Obama's association with terrorist Bill Ayers, his support for ACORN, an organization which is being investigated all across the country for voter registration fraud, and his vote on the BAIP act, which is essentially a vote to permit infanticide, are not helpful to his candidacy. Thus he's able to persuade himself, and say with a straight face, that such claims are not "true", they're not "facts".

Truth, according to the late philosopher Richard Rorty, is whatever your peer group will let you get away with saying. Obviously, Obama's peer group of radical leftists, socialists and media liberals have no problem with what he says and thus tacitly validate his claims. The truth for him as well as for many of those who want to see him attain the presidency is simply not the same as what is true for his critics. Therefore, his denial of the facts McCain cites is probably not technically a lie since he believes he's telling the "truth", or at least what's true for him.

I don't know, then, that it's quite accurate to call Obama a liar, a charge I deem to be very serious in any event, but he certainly does appear to be epistemically challenged.


Hiding in the Tall Grass

Senator Obama and his allies are fond of laying the blame for the subprime lending fiasco at the feet of Republican fondness for deregulation, but although a supine MSM has largely let him get away with this misrepresentation of the historical truth, Peter Wallison at The Wall Street Journal does not.

In a column that deserves to be read in its entirety because it sets the record straight on several mythical elements of the Democrats' campaign narrative, Wallison says this:

In the summer of 2005, a bill (co-sponsored by Senator McCain) emerged from the Senate Banking Committee that considerably tightened regulations on Fannie and Freddie, including controls over their capital and their ability to hold portfolios of mortgages or mortgage-backed securities. All the Republicans voted for the bill in committee; all the Democrats voted against it. To get the bill to a vote in the Senate, a few Democratic votes were necessary to limit debate. This was a time for the leadership Sen. Obama says he can offer, but neither he nor any other Democrat stepped forward.

Instead, by his own account, Mr. Obama wrote a letter to the Treasury Secretary, allegedly putting himself on record that subprime loans were dangerous and had to be dealt with. This is revealing; if true, it indicates Sen. Obama knew there was a problem with subprime lending -- but was unwilling to confront his own party by pressing for legislation to control it. As a demonstration of character and leadership capacity, it bears a strong resemblance to something else in Sen. Obama's past: voting present.

Not willing to buck his party's leadership the senator refused to do the right thing. Instead he laid low, hiding in the political tall grass. His behavior in this episode displayed neither leadership nor political courage. Indeed, Senator Obama has never done anything to evince either of these virtues yet somehow he has managed to persuade a majority of American voters that he has both of them in abundance.

Is it that we are gullible, naive, or stupid? Or are we all three?


Voting for Change

A friend passed along this thought:

George Bush has been in office for just under eight years. For the first of them the economy was pretty good. For example, a little over one year ago:

  • Consumer confidence stood at a 2 1/2 year high
  • Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon
  • The unemployment rate was 4.5%
  • The DOW hit a record 14,000+
  • Americans were buying new cars, taking cruises, overseas vacations overseas, etc.

But we wanted change. So, in 2006 we voted in a Democratic Congress. Since then:

  • Consumer confidence has plummeted
  • Gasoline rose to over $4 a gallon
  • Unemployment rose to 6.1% (a 10% increase)
  • Americans have seen their home equity drop by $12 trillion dollars and prices are still dropping
  • 1% of American homes are in foreclosure
  • The DOW is below 8500. $2.5 trillion dollasrs has evaporated from stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investment portfolios

The president has no control over any of this. Only Congress could have done anything to prevent it but Congress has been preoccupied with trying to find Bush administration officials that they can put in jail.

In 2006 America voted for change and we got it.

Now Barack Obama promises that he is going to deliver real change.

Just how much more change can we stand?