The Death of Shame
Vol: 140 Issue: 22 Wednesday, May 22, 2013
I probably spent more time trying to come up with the column title than I will in the course of writing it. There was a time in America when truth counted, and those who lied were held accountable. It’s true, honest! And it wasn’t that long ago, really. Oh, there’ve been celebrated exceptions to the rule — Teddy Kennedy in 1969 for example.
Kennedy drove his car off the Chappaquiddick Bridge with young Mary Jo Kopechne sitting beside it. Kennedy escaped, left Kopechne to drown, and then waited several hours before reporting the accident to police (presumably so he could sober up) and got away with it. But he was a Kennedy at a time when America was crazy with grief over the assassinations of John and Bobby and Kennedys could do no wrong.
In any case, the exception proves the rule. Richard Nixon lost the presidency over a lie. It wasn’t the Watergate burglary that toppled Nixon, it was the subsequent coverup.
Gary Hart’s presidential campaign was ruined when he was photographed on a pleasure boat with a woman who was not his wife. That was even too much for Democrats in the pre-Clinton era.
The Irangate investigation was about whether President Reagan knew the details of the arms-for-hostages scandal and lied about it. Although Reagan didn’t lie, several of his subordinates did. Reagan took responsibility, but it was his honesty that saved his presidency.
George Bush the Elder lost his bid for re-election because he made and then broke his famous promise; “Read my lips . . .no new taxes.” The Democrats campaigned on and won because of that famous lie.
Something snapped in America during the Clinton administration. Truth became secondary to partisanship. Suddenly, lies didn’t seem to matter as much. There were the endless series of scandals in which it was obvious to the public that Clinton lied, but no hard evidence to prove it. Clintonian tactics kept moving the bar on truth, a bit at a time, until “truth” hung on somebody’s interpretation of the meaning of the word ‘is’.
It seems that, from that time forward, the American people have come to expect the Democrats to lie, while holding Republicans to an exaggerated standard of truth.
A perfect example is ‘the president lied about Saddam’s WMD.’ By any standard, the word ‘lie’ cannot apply if Bush believed his intelligence reports and those of the rest of the world. The ONLY way ‘lie’ fits is if Bush had personal knowledge those reports weren’t true. How would he get that personal knowledge that nobody ELSE in the whole world had?
All the European states, including France and Germany, Russia, Canada as well as almost every Democrat in Congress, have said at one time or another that they believed Saddam had WMD. They were all quoted publicly saying so.
Clearly, the Bush administration is not being held to the same standard of truth as afforded Democrats. In fact, there is no standard of truth of any kind in evidence here.
At best, one can only argue logically that Bush made the same mistake as everybody else did, which isn’t a ‘lie’ unless EVERYBODY was lying, including those making the charges against Bush.
That isn’t a partisan defense of George Bush. It strains logic to assume Bush would have knowledge nobody else did, including his own intelligence services. That is what it would take before one could logically argue that ANYBODY lied except Saddam Hussein.
Al Gore’s insane performance in which he all but called Bush a traitor (in fact, he did — he said Bush ‘betrayed our country’) stands out as a another example of the death of shame in America. It was filled with shameless lies; Gore said Bush had planned the war with Iraq before 9/11, suggesting that Bush was deceitful.
Since regime change in Iraq was official US policy since 1998, you can bet that the Bush war plan for Iraq was modified from the Clinton war plan for Iraq that was in place before Bush even ran for office. And since Gore was Clinton’s VP, you can bet Gore knew it. Shameless. And Gore got a huge roar of approval.
John Kerry has built his campaign on opposing the war and belittling the Bush administration. Kerry’s statements before Congress when the Clinton administration was about to launch Operation Desert Fox indicate that if he was president, he’d have done exactly what he criticizes Bush for.
“(Saddam Hussein) cannot be permitted to go unobserved and unimpeded toward his horrific objective of amassing a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a matter about which there should be any debate whatsoever in the Security Council, or, certainly, in this Nation,” Kerry said, according to the November, 1997 Congressional Record.
He went on,
“While we should always seek to take significant international actions on a multilateral rather than a unilateral basis whenever that is possible, if in the final analysis we face what we truly believe to be a grave threat to the well-being of our Nation or the entire world and it cannot be removed peacefully, we must have the courage to do what we believe is right and wise.”
Hmmmm. According to Kerry in 1997, Saddam’s objective was to amass a stockpile of WMD. And there shouldn’t be “ANY DEBATE WHATSOEVER in the Security Council” or “this Nation.” over the issue? We must have the “courage to do what we believe is right and wise” even if countries like France disagree with us? Shameless.
Terry McAullife, head of the Democratic Party, called President Bush AWOL during his time in the National Guard. John Kerry now belittles service in the National Guard as somehow less patriotic.
I am not going to blindly defend Bush’s service or argue that his family connections didn’t play a role in his early discharge. I do remember when I was in the Marine Corps, there were lots of guys getting what we called ‘early outs’ as the war in Vietnam wound down. At about the same time, 1973, Bush got an ‘early out’ being discharged 8 months short of his six-year obligation.
In any case, Bush was a fighter pilot. It is only marginally safer to fly a fighter when nobody is shooting at you than it is when somebody is. Bush was rated by one of his commanders in his fitness report as being among the top 5% of fighter pilots he had ever commanded.
And since Bush’s unit wasn’t deployed to Vietnam, should Bush have just jumped in a fighter and deployed himself?
In 1992 Kerry defended Bill Clinton from accusations by then President George Bush Sr. of draft dodging, remarking that “We do not need to divide America over who served and how.”
That same year Kerry stated before Congress,
“Mr. President, you and I know that if support or opposition to the (Vietnam) war were to become a litmus test for leadership, America would never have leaders or recover from the divisions created by that war.”
But now, for John Kerry, service in Vietnam IS a litmus test. Kerry came home from the war and became one of its greatest critics. He participated in creating the ‘divisions’ cuddling up to the likes of Jane Fonda. Now he campaigns on Bush’s lack of service in Vietnam and he gets wild cheers from his adoring crowds. It is utterly shameless.
Something snapped in America — I can’t pinpoint exactly when, but it was somewhere towards the end of the Clinton administration. The 2000 Election was the earthquake that started several years before as tiny cracks when America decided to compromise on truth as long as it paid off.
Clinton won reelection on the campaign slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid!” Probably the only truth to come out of his administration.
In any case, Election 2000 was when shame breathed its last in American public life. Al Gore phoned to concede the election to Bush, then later rescinded his concession to try and win the White House by legal maneuvering.
“Every vote should count . . . except those military absentee ones that won’t break for me.” “Hey, is that chad dimpled?”
After eight years of defending the former president’s right to lie, (‘everybody lies about sex’) it seemed there were two truths about everything, and the only truth barometer was party affiliation.
The Democrats are inventing new ‘truths’ by the hour, dropping them like bait and waiting to see which get picked up. Nobody is calling them down on them. The mainstream media repeats them breathlessly, mindlessly . . .shamelessly.
No lie is too big to swallow, as long as it results in the defeat of George Bush. It’s because the majority of Democrats are more concerned with beating Bush than with choosing a presidential candidate who actually cares enough about the country to take a firm stand on the issues Americans care most about.
They just want to win at any cost, so it doesn’t matter to them if they end up electing someone who might well do a worse job of running the country than they perceive Bush is doing.
This is no defense of Bush — he has truly disappointed me on a number of occasions, but the fact is that what he says now is pretty much the same as what he said all along. (If he’s a liar, he’s at least consistent)
In many ways, its become a spiritual battle between Christianity and cultural Christianity. Between Christians like George Bush and Christians like John Kerry and Howard Dean. About abortion, same-sex marriages, the role of religion in public life, and moral responsibility before God.
“Now the Spirit SPEAKETH EXPRESSLY, that in the LATTER TIMES, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
The death of shame.
Note: When preparing this morning’s submission we noticed that Anthony Weiner was in the news again today. Jack wrote about Weiner’s shamelessness in 2011 when Weiner became a prime example of a politician having “no shame”. This brief gives us a historical break down of how the country’s mindset has spiraled downward through the media’s bias and political lies in the past decade.
Today’s Featured Commentary: Fire in My Bones