October Panic for Mid-August

As Wes Pruden writes, “Panic is never pretty, and it leads men to say foolish things – even presidents and their friends and flunkies. The wicked flee when none pursue, but sometimes they flee when facts are gaining on them:”


Mr. Soptic’s wife had health insurance all the time through her own employer until 2003, when she was injured and could no longer work. That’s when she lost her insurance.* Still a sad story, but nothing like the story the White House put out in May, and Priorities USA repeated in August.

This was only a little better than Harry Reid’s confection, which was made up entirely. The senator cited as his source “a man” at Bain Capital – a source no better than “a friend’s ex-wife’s yard man’s sister-in-law.” The White House denied any knowledge of the Reid fantasia, too, and chided reporters for asking about it.

Dirty tricks are old stuff, of course, but the explosion of whistleblowers and fact-checkers on the Internet have rendered it all but impossible to keep a campaign lie alive. Nevertheless, politicians are born with the urge to tell whoppers in the spirit of Lyndon B. Johnson. In a torrid Texas race years ago LBJ told an aide to put out the story that his opponent was once caught taking sexual liberties with a pig. “But that’s not true,” the offended aide (maybe it was the Rev. Billy Don Moyers) replied. “I know it’s not true,” LBJ said, “but let him deny it.”

A famous reckless lie was told by another senator in Wheeling, W. Va., in February 1950, when he pulled a sheet of paper from his pocket and told the ladies of the Republican Women’s Club of Wheeling: “I have here in my hand a list of 57 names that were made known to the secretary of state as members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.” With that Sen. Joe McCarthy was off and running in his hunt for Communists in the government. Unlike Harry Reid, Mr. McCarthy was eventually proved to be only 95 percent wrong.

Barack Obama is trying to stand above the action in the gutter, not necessarily because he wants to preserve the honor and dignity of office, but because it wouldn’t look good for everyone to see him sweat in August. That’s panic for late October.


* “Oops. Joe Soptic wife had health insurance after he lost his job (and after Romney had left Bain).”

Meanwhile, Obama blurts out, “Obama: Let’s Repeat The “Auto Industry Bailout Success” With Every Industry.”

Even those he’s vowed to bankrupt?


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