Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Lie by any other name is just as Untruthful, Deceptive, False or Misleading

I like Charles Krauthammer’s work. Even more than that I respect him as a thinker and political analyst,. but I was a little put off by his attempt to finagle the word “Lie” in his article, “Does Obama Lie? No, but Obama implies, misdirects, and misleads.”(see article)

According to Webster Dictionary a lie is: 1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive
2 : to create a false or misleading impression

It seemed to me Mr. Krauthammer go lost in a concept as writers sometimes do and instead of proving his point, after reading his article I said out loud, “My God Mr. Krauthammer just lost an argument with himself!

His original premise was flawed. He was arguing against the very definition of the very word that he was attempting to nuance. It was like arguing that water, in its natural form, is not wet.

What does the word “lie” mean if it doesn’t mean to misdirect and mislead? Therefore if Barry Soetoro Obama misdirects and misleads then by definition he lies! It’s just that simple.

Mr. Krauthammer gave examples of just how the president implies, misdirects and misleads which I thought where classic. But what I can’t figure out why Krauthammer didn’t see himself undermining his own argument, for example Soetoro’s statement broken down;
(1) “I will not sign (a plan),” he solemnly pledged, “if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future. Period.”

Wonderful. The president seems serious, veto-ready, determined to hold the line. Until, notes Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, you get to Obama’s very next sentence: “And to prove that I’m serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don’t materialize.”

Krauthammer remarks that Mankiw states, (t)his apparent strengthening of the pledge brilliantly and deceptively undermines it. What Obama suggests is that his plan will require mandatory spending cuts if the current rosy projections prove false.
Umm… if a statement is deceptively undermined by a second statement wouldn’t that mean that even if the original statement was true the second statement would create a false impression?

But this is what I consider the funny part, Krauthammer calls Obama’s use of language a “bait and switch.” Bait and Switch is a term synonymous with fraud for most people. And fraud is the intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right. Like attempting to bamboozle the American people into allow government to take over their health care! But the coup de grĂ¢ce is the Mankiw translation of what Obama’s “I will not sign (a plan), pledge” really meant. I thought this was classic!

“Translation: I promise to fix the problem. And if I do not fix the problem now, I will fix it later, or some future president will, after I am long gone. I promise he will. Absolutely, positively, I am committed to that future president fixing the problem. You can count on it. Would I lie to you?”

It’s all enough to make a person jump to one’s feet and shout-out “You Lie!” Oh yeah it did make someone jump to their feet and do exactly that.

Sorry Mr. Krauthammer everyone is off of their game every once in a while. You usually bring your "A" game and I must admit that attempting to nuance or parse what Obama and Democrats do with language is a Herculean task that most of us are not up to.

If to lie means to misdirect and mislead, among other things, then the answer to your question is Yes! He does lie. As proven by your own article “Does Obama lie?”