Thursday, July 28, 2016

Phony Hysteria and Dumb Lyrics

Yesterday's Democratic Convention performances were overshadowed by news that Donald Trump had committed treason, or at least you might think that were you to listen to some of the media talking heads on television.

Trump had announced that if the Russians had in fact hacked the DNC, as the Democrats are alleging, he hoped they'd also be able to locate the 30,000 emails that Hillary Clinton deleted from her server. This sent the media into outrage overdrive. Trump was encouraging a foreign nation to meddle in our elections by hacking into Mrs. Clinton's server. This is nonsense, of course, since the FBI is in possession of Mrs. Clinton's server and it's no longer operable, but facts don't matter to the media when they catch a whiff of blood in the water.

Anyway, Mollie Hemmingway dispenses with this phony hysteria in an article at The Federalist in the course of which she makes this interesting observation:
If the media had been even a fraction as outraged by Hillary Clinton’s server, her shady lies, her foundation’s solicitation of funds from oligarchs and dictatorships while she served as secretary of State, the revelation that foreign governments had almost certainly hacked her information, this freakout by the media would come off very differently.

If the media had not spent 2012 mocking Mitt Romney for his “gaffe” of saying that Russia was our biggest geopolitical threat, if they had cared when Ted Kennedy asked the Soviets to intervene in the 1984 Democratic primary, if they briefly interrupted worship at Barack Obama’s feet when he made hot-mic promises to Russians, and so on and so forth, this would be a different story.

Some people just listen to the music of a song, some also listen to the lyrics. Sometimes the music is great but the lyrics are banal nonsense. Speeches are like that. If you just listen to the music of Barack Obama's speeches you could get carried away by it, but if you also listen to the lyrics you have to wonder what in the world he's talking about.

For example he made much of his grandparents' teaching him the importance of telling the truth. You would think he'd have been embarrassed to mention this since the signature achievement of his administration, Obamacare, was founded on claims that were patently untrue. He told us repeatedly that under the Affordable Care Act people would be able to keep their doctors and that their insurance would be cheaper. He had to have known at the time that neither of these promises was true.

He also told us that the Benghazi murderers were motivated by an insulting video made by some guy in California. He knew that that wasn't true as well.

One reason we should always tell the truth is that as soon as we're discovered to have lied the person who discovers it will find it very hard to ever trust or believe us again. Perhaps that's why it's so hard to trust either Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton. Indeed, the President also insisted in his speech that Hillary Clinton was the best qualified woman or man ever to be nominated for the presidency.

Maybe it depends on what his definition of "qualified" is, but his claim is, on the face of it, absurd. He was correct, it can be granted, to acknowledge that she's more qualified than he was, he being perhaps the least qualified presidential candidate of the last century in 2008, but it takes an astonishing ignorance of recent political history to declare that no one has been better qualified than Hillary Clinton.

Indeed, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were both better qualified. Reagan was a successful two-term governor of California, a state that's bigger than most countries, and George H.W. Bush had a resume that included combat pilot in WWII, as well as stints as Congressman, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Envoy to China, Ambassador to the U.N., C.I.A. Director, and Vice-President. Mrs. Clinton, by contrast, was a one-term senator with no real accomplishments, and an ineffective Secretary of State.

I understand why people don't listen to the lyrics of these speeches. In some cases, their silliness and obvious mendacity ruins the excitement and mood set by the music. Just turn off your mind and rock on.