October 12, 2012
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES: James Taranto in his Best of the Web column on the Left and the L-Word:
What one probably cannot do, however, is be sure that such techniques damage one’s opponents and only them. It’s not as if Obama, for example, never bends the truth, distorts the facts, fudges the numbers, deceives, deludes, hoodwinks, equivocates or misrepresents. Why do lefties imagine that he has the credibility to throw the L-word at Romney?
Further, why do they imagine that it is in the long-term interest of liberalism to engage in such demagogy? As we’ve seen, and as Henninger notes, it’s illiberal in the classic sense:
It dates to the sleazy world of fascist and totalitarian propaganda in the 1930s. It was part of the milieu of stooges, show trials and dupes. These were people willing to say anything to defeat their opposition. Denouncing people as liars was at the center of it. The idea was never to elevate political debate but to debauch it.
Reader Michael Segal traces a thread from a later decade’s America:
My wife remembers an interview with William F. Buckley back in the 1970s, when he predicted that our whole generation that left college after Watergate would shun politics as dirty, and the nation would suffer as a result. Instead, my classmates who were interested in public affairs went into journalism and made it dirty.
Indeed, to coin a phrase. You can see video of James Taranto on the podium at the First Annual Duranty Awards, goofing on Reuters’ coverage of Yoko Ono and Lady Gaga’s “peace” efforts, at the PJ Tatler.