Proportional response in the Obama era — “Let’s pretend it never happened”

Congressional Republicans have been working hard lately at something we all should care about — talking to the Benghazi survivors.  Sen. Lindsay Graham has been making it something of a personal crusade.  As far as he’s concerned, there’s a cover-up going on:

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, in an extensive interview with Fox News, alleged that the injured survivors of the Benghazi terror attack have been “told to be quiet” and feel they can’t come forward to tell their stories — as he urged the House to subpoena the administration for details if necessary.

The South Carolina senator said he’s “had contact” with some of the survivors, calling their story “chilling.” He told Fox News that “the bottom line is they feel that they can’t come forth, they’ve been told to be quiet.”

I have no doubt but that this is true.  I mean, this is the same administration that lied for weeks about what happened in Benghazi.  If they’d lied a a ruse to lure the attackers out from cover to kill them, that would be one thing.  But the administration, from Obama on down, seems to have lied solely to hide two facts:  (a) contrary to Obama boasts, al Qaeda is not dead, and (b) Hillary is incompetent.

Hillary is also hiding what went on.  When she appeared before the Senate to testify about Benghazi, and was asked about the fact that four men died on her watch, her response was the equivalent of “Come on!  Stop crying over spilled milk.”

The fact is we had four dead Americans! Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?

To answer Hillary’s question (not that she wanted an answer), it makes a big difference.  It makes a difference because we should weed out incompetents before it happens again; it makes a difference because the dead deserve justice; and it makes a difference because the living deserve justice.

If this seems like I’m rehashing an old issue . . . well, maybe I am.  But it’s back in the news because of Sen. Graham’s push for info.  It’s also back in my mind for a funny reason.

My kids love the TV show Psych, which they watch on Netflix. Every kid in the neighborhood loves Psych.  It’s a cute show about a flaky, extremely observant young man (James Roday) who pretends to be psychic to help solve crimes, and his knowledgeable eccentric sidekick (Dulé Hill). The kids especially love Hill’s character, and it’s no wonder that they do. He’s a charming comedic presence, and he and Roday work well together.

If Dulé Hill’s name seems familiar to you, you might remember him as the president’s personal assistant in the Aaron Sorkin TV Show The West Wing.  That show, of course, was about the perfect Democrat president.  As far as Sorkin was concerned, President Bartlet was Bill Clinton without the character flaws and with all of his past mistakes corrected.

My kids wanted to see a young Hill, so we managed to find (again on Netflix) the episode in which Hill first appeared.  He did a nice job, but what really captured my attention was a bit of dialogue that Sorkin put in the mouth of the “perfect Democrat president.”  The episode is entitled “A proportional response” and one of its plot points revolves around the fact that Bartlett is figuring out how to respond to a terrorist attack in the Middle East that brought down a plane on which his personal physician was flying:

President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) is furious about a plane carrying his personal physician being downed in the Middle East. After initially requesting a retaliatory attack that would kill a great many people, Bartlet’s military advisors try to convince him to take a more cautionary maneuver.

So, keep that in mind — one American dead in an attack against an American plane.  Here is what Sorkin would have the perfect Democrat president do under those circumstances (emphasis mine):

Bartlet: What’s the virtue of the proportional response?
Admiral Fitzwallace: I’m sorry?
Bartlet: What is the virtue of a proportional response? Why’s it good? They hit an airplane, so we hit a transmitter, right? That’s a proportional response.
Admiral Fitzwallace: Sir, in the case of Pericles 1 –
Bartlet: [talking over him] They hit a barracks, so we hit two transmitters.
Admiral Fitzwallace: That’s roughly it, yes, sir.
Bartlet: This is what we do. I mean, this is what we do.
Leo: Yes, sir, it’s what we do. It’s what we’ve always done.
Bartlet: Well, if it’s what we do, if it’s what we’ve always done, don’t they know we’re going to do it?
Leo: Sir, if you’d turn your attention to Pericles 1 –
Bartlet: I have turned my attention to Pericles 1. It’s two ammo dumps, an abandoned railroad bridge and a Syrian intelligence agency.
Admiral Fitzwallace: Those are four highly-rated targets, sir.
Bartlet: But they know we’re gonna do that. They know we’re gonna do that! Those areas have been abandoned for three days now. We know that from the satellite, right? We have the intelligence. [over Leo's attempt to speak up] They did that, so we did this. It’s the cost of doing business. It’s been factored in, right?
Leo: Mr. President –
Bartlet: Am I right, or am I missing something here?
Admiral Fitzwallace: No, sir. You’re right, sir.
Bartlet: Then I ask again, what is the virtue of a proportional response?
Admiral Fitzwallace: It isn’t virtuous, Mr. President. It’s all there is, sir.
Bartlet: It is not all there is.
Leo: Sir, Admiral Fitzwallace –
Admiral Fitzwallace: Excuse me, Leo…pardon me, Mr. President, just what else is there?
Bartlet: The disproportional response. Let the word ring forth, from this time and this place, gentlemen, you kill an American, any American, we don’t come back with a proportional response. We come back with total disaster! [He bangs the table]
General: Are you suggesting that we carpet-bomb Damascus?
Bartlet: I am suggesting, General, that you, and Admiral Fitzwallace, and Secretary Hutchinson, and the rest of the National Security Team take the next sixty minutes and put together an American response scenario that doesn’t make me think we’re just docking somebody’s damn allowance!

President Obama might want to start studying a few old episodes of The West Wing. Maybe if he familiarizes himself with it, he’ll figure out that it’s no response at all, let alone a “proportional one” to let the deaths of four Americans, including an Ambassador, get buried in order to hide the President’s (and his team’s) lies and mistakes.

By the way, if you have followed Sorkin’s career, you’ll know that he’s a drug-fueled genius with a true gift for words and a passion for using TV and movies to convince people of the Democrat Party’s virtues.  He also runs to the well a few too many times:

What difference does it make? As Bill Whittle explains, it makes a big difference

Every time I watch a Bill Whittle video, I think to myself “This is incredibly good.  It can’t get better than this.”  And every time I’m wrong, because Bill Whittle’s astounding gift for powerful, honest insight and analysis keeps growing.

Whittle reaches the top of his game — again! — in this video “What difference does it make?” in which he rips apart Hillary’s loathsome statement dismissing the deaths of four men who died, not just on her watch, but because of her watch.

Hillary’s in — probably

For reasons best known to herself, Hillary will probably say yes to State, even thought she’ll be the third, not the first, woman to fill that position, and even though no Secretary of State has ever used that post as a springboard to the White House.  Nutroots will be furious because of her support for the Iraq War.  Conservatives have already indicated a feeling that she’s the best of a the lot:  pragmatic and tough.  It will also be fun to watch those two prima donnas duke it out for control.

Hillary’s speech

We weren’t looking for it, but Mr. Bookworm accidentally stumbled across Hillary’s speech on TV.  I listened to a little and then, put off by her frenetic delivery, read the rest.  I have just a few of comments, since I don’t think it merits more than a few.

Hillary is not an inspired speaker, although she is a competent one.  My sense was that, in lieu of exciting ideas and genuine leadership, she substituted speed and volume.  I found it exhausting to listen to that hectoring list of all the miracles that will come unto earth if the Democrats can just retake the White House.  There was no passion there, just a laundry-listed frenzy.

On the subject of “inspiration,” this speech was anything but.  Instead, it was a generic political speech.  The references to Obama seemed to have been slotted in at strategic points, without actual regard for Obama.  Hillary could just as easily have said “Candidate X” without changing the content one iota.  There was a robotic quality to the fact that, each time Hillary had made a few points on the Democratic want list (universal healthcare, equal rights for everyone, an activist Supreme Court), she’d then throw in “and Obama can do this.”

The problem is that I never got from Hillary a sense of why Obama can do this (whatever “this” happens to be) — and given Obama’s record of failed initiatives, maybe silence was golden.  After all, Obama gets a quick start on everything but, once he’s achieved his goal (law review editor, law professor, State senator, United States senator) he does almost nothing or he fails in his initiatives.  His whole goal is getting there, not being there.  If he followed the first part of that pattern and did nothing in the White House, his tenure might be harmless.  On the other hand, if he followed the second part of that pattern and embarked on failed government handouts and boondoggles for his political friends, I can envision a very painful four years and a long national recovery.

Also, as is always the case with Democratic speeches, the maudlin hard luck tales creep me out.  I feel as if I’m listening to some presentation from a charity that is demanding my emotions and, most importantly, my money.  I don’t view government as a giant charity.  I view it as a infrastructure support service that should be minimally intrusive and minimally expensive.  I don’t need saccharine human interest stories — most of which I suspect are suspect — to define my government.  That’s the liberal fascism Jonah Goldberg wrote about, which envisions a smiley faced government that will take care of all human needs.  It’s not comforting, it’s frightening.

And that’s what I thought of Hillary’s speech.

Bumper sticker news

In Marin,  9 out of 10 bumperstickers one sees are liberal in context.  Make that 9.9 out of 10.

There’s the “Endless This War” sticker; and the still popular “Somewhere in Texas a village is missing its idiot” sticker; and the saccharine, unrealistic and facile “Coexist,” with the symbols of various religions used in lieu of letters.  More concretely, there are uncountable Gore and Kerry bumper stickers on older model cars.  And with increasing frequency, there are the “Barack ’08” and “Change ’08” bumper stickers.  Those last are popping out like fungus after a rainfall.

But today I saw a lovely first.  It was a “Hillary” sticker, partially overlaid by a “McCain” sticker.  I gather that someone is deeply offended that a woman who has paid her dues (and this is true whether or not one likes her), has been cast aside for a man who has paid nothing.

The problem with the -isms in this race

Christopher Hitchens has written a post-mortem on the alleged sexism characterizing Hillary Clinton’s abortive race to the top. Aside from scathingly examining both Hillary’s and the media’s myriad failings, he has this wonderful point to make about the double-edged sword her gender became in the race:

Going as far as it dared on the point, the same sternly disapproving New York Times report found the courage to say that the Washington Post, in mentioning Sen. Clinton, had also alluded to “her cleavage.” Living as we do in an age of the easily offended and the aggressively innocent, we were not regarded as sufficiently adult to be informed whether this cleavage was in the front or the back. (Something in me makes me hope very devoutly that it was not the latter.) But I think I see the emerging pattern. People who favor Sen. Clinton are allowed to stress her gender and sex at all times and to make a gigantic point of it for its own sake. They are even allowed to proclaim that she should be the president of the United States in time of war only because she would be the first vagina-possessing person to hold the job. But—and here’s the catch—people who do not favor her are not even allowed to allude to the fact that she is female and has feminine characteristics. In this way, we prepare our brave daughters and granddaughters and even disenfranchised grandmothers for a future that is sex-free and gender-neutral or, at any rate, something like that. How pathetic can you get? When will we learn that there is more to political and social emancipation than the simple addition of the “ism” suffix to any commonplace word?

Of course, as you, my discerning readers have already realized, the exact same paradigm applies to Obama’s race — his supporters are allowed to trumpet it as a (if not the) reason why he should become leader of the free world; his opponents are not allowed to mention it at all.

As you all know, I’m a loud, proud racist when it comes to Obama’s race.* Hitchens provides another reason why we should not allow ourselves to be muzzled. At the very least, we should be allowed to point out that, if they say race is reason to elect Obama, we are allowed to say that race is not.

Hat tip: Danny Lemieux

__________________________________________

*There’s a pun in there somewhere since, in Obama’s case, “race” applies both his genetic make-up and his race for the White House

Trophy wives

I’ve been hearing a lot about trophy wives lately, since I recently learned that, in one of the very affluent communities near me, the nouveau riche, desperate as always to assert their status on the social hierarchy, have begun wife swapping.  Apparently it just wasn’t good enough any more to boast about your car and pass the keys over to your neighbor to prove the point.  Now you have to boast about your wife and pass her over to your neighbor, so he can see just how right you are.  How very 70s.

Now Elizabeth Scalia (aka the Anchoress), has come up with a wonderful theory about the reason the Democratic party jettisoned that old workhorse, Hillary, in favor of the new pretty face, Obama:  Obama is the political equivalent of the trophy wife:

Upon taking control of Congress in 2007, the Democrats found themselves running simpatico with those terminally elite nations who sniffed with disdain at American individualism while being strangled by the tentacles of their own statism. Emboldened by these openly chummy alliances, and sensing a GOP in the mood to slit its own wrists and die, the Democrats looked across the breakfast table at Hillary Clinton in her sensible clothes and felt a little disappointed. There she sat — a hard worker, smart, always willing to do what it took to win. By and large, she’d been a good helper, delivering the pretty little votes, raising the pretty big dollars, entertaining, organizing, laughing, gazing, and lying when she had to, for the good of the family.

But in the dazzling company of the left-elites, she looked … old, and worn. She could be a little shrill, and a terror with a lamp or an ashtray. She was shrewish and nagging — forever reminding everyone that she had sacrificed. If some smiled to see her arrive at a party, the smile was perfunctory; they only listened to her tiresome policy talk until they could murmur an excuse and find a prettier, livelier corner with prettier, livelier companions.

Then they spotted — Obama! He was young, pretty, and had a pleasing voice. He looked good in jeans and had just a touch of edginess about him when he smoked. He seemed born to be looked at. Not much real experience in the hard political world — a few turns around the dance floor with glamorous-seeming men — but he appeared eager to learn, eager to get ahead, and because he stood for almost nothing, he would be easy to lead. He hadn’t accomplished much of note, but trophy wives don’t need thick resumes.

You should read the whole thing here.  It’s very funny and makes a good point about the insanity of this election year.

Throw Michelle from the train? *UPDATED*

Obama has a pattern when a person or institution proves problematic: First, loyally, he tries to defend the troublemaker. Second, when his poll numbers show that the defense is futile, he ruthlessly jettisons the troublemaker, whether it’s Samantha Power, Jeremiah Wright or Trinity Church. But what about this troublemaker (assuming, for the moment, that the story is true)?

An untold story lies behind Hillary Clinton’s determination to remain in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination — the possible revelation of a shocking recording of rival Barack Obama’s wife Michelle.

That’s the word from longtime political analyst Roger J. Stone Jr., who writes on his The StoneZONE Web site that the recording purportedly documents Michelle Obama making racist comments in a speech.

According to Stone, Hillary aides are in a race with Republicans to get their hands on the offensive recording.

“On the heels of Michelle Obama’s quote that she ‘has never been proud of her country’ until now, the new controversy could turn the contest upside down, but it more likely” to benefit “John McCain than to boost Hillary Clinton to the nomination — if the alleged recording exists,” Stone writes.

He also asserts that Mark Penn, Clinton’s former chief campaign strategist, has told sources that the bombshell “could come this week.”

In the old days (the really old days), Obama could have packed her off to a convent or an insane asylum, winning sympathy from all. Now, he doesn’t even have time for a quickie divorce.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin explains why my instinct — which was merely to assume the story’s truth to make a humorous point — was right on the money. In any event, given that Hillary is slinking away into the sunset, the time is long past for this video to emerge (unless, of course, it was in McCain’s, not Hillary’s, vault all along).

UPDATE II:  And more evidence that it’s a fake.  Frankly given Michelle Obama’s manifest disdain for America, even if it had been real, nothing in it would have been that exciting.  What would have been interesting, as I indicated at the top of this post, is Obama’s reaction:  “This is not the Michelle I thought I knew.”

A cautionary tale if Hillary becomes health tzar

There’s talk of Obama giving Hillary the green light to socialize American medicine if she’ll walk away from the primaries.  Melanie Phillips gives us a good example of why the renewed specter of socialized medicine should worry us:

To the Labour Party, the National Health Service is the talismanic proof of its own moral superiority.

Time and again, Labour brandishes its undying commitment to the NHS as the embodiment of its social conscience, and vilifies anyone who suggests that a different system of health care might be better as a heartless brute who would force the sick to choose between death and bankruptcy.

Well, now we can see quite what odious hypocrisy that is. For in the cause of supporting the NHS principle of equal treatment for all, the Government is actually ordering the withdrawal of treatment from desperately sick and dying people as an act of ideological spite.

A woman dying of cancer was denied NHS treatment in her final months  –  because she had paid privately for a drug which offered her the chance of living longer, but which the NHS had refused to provide.

When she decided to use her savings to pay for this drug, the NHS withdrew her treatment, including her chemotherapy.

This is by no means a one-off case. Six other cancer patients are taking legal action against the NHS after their own treatment was cut off or a threat was made to do so because they too paid for lifeprolonging drugs.

This is simply obscene. It is hard to imagine anything more vicious than stopping, or threatening to stop, the treatment of seriously ill people simply because they have the audacity to want to improve their chances of staying alive.

Read the rest here.

I know that our medical system isn’t perfect, and that it’s expensive.  However, medical care at some level or another is available to all — and it’s good care when you get it.  There are human errors, but the system tends to strive for the greatest good.  What’s fascinating about reading about England’s health care service (and Canada’s, for that matter), is the number of times the health care is bad, not because a person screwed up, but because of ideological choices driving the provision of health care in those countries.  Because the government is rationing care, it decides who is unworthy of receiving that care:  the old, the very sick, and the mavericks who dare to buck the system.

At my martial arts studio, there is a British woman whose mother is mired in and dying from the NHS.  She won’t give details.  She just gives the bottom line:  America should never, never, never go over to socialized medicine, a system that will willingly, and without debate, abandon those in greatest need of its services.

What Myanmar says about Iran *UPDATED*

There is a belief that the “mutually assured destruction” deterrence that worked during the Cold War will work in Iran. Hillary certainly believes it, which is why she promised that, if Iran hits Israel with a nuclear bomb during her presidency, she will hit Iran with a nuclear bomb. She believes that threat is sufficient to hold Iran back from acting. She thinks this because, if she were in Iran’s shoes, it would hold her back. The satisfaction of having destroyed Israel (if she were Iran), would be overwhelmingly offset by the death of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of her citizens, and the complete destruction of large swaths of her country.

In making this analysis, Hillary shows herself to be a rational actor under Western values. What she hasn’t figured out, though, is that Iran’s leaders don’t show those Western values. There are two reasons why the thought of having nuclear weapons rain down on the Iranian citizenry doesn’t phase faze these leaders. Indeed, the second reason for their insouciance actually has them wanting that nuclear rain.

Reason number one for the fact that Iranians are less impressed than we would be by the threat of a nuclear Holocaust is that they really don’t care about the well-being of their people. And this is where the example of Myanmar becomes interesting. In the aftermath of a devastating cyclone that may have caused the instant deaths of as many as 100,000 people, the military junta is resolute in rejecting aid. This is not because of some misguided sense of (metaphorically) standing on its own two feet. This is because it would rather see up to 500,000 of its citizens dead than risk any weakening of its power. Once you start letting aid workers in, exposing your beleaguered citizens to other ideas and free market products, you’re looking at the beginning of the end of your tyranny.

The bottom line, then, is that tyrants are completely comfortable with mass deaths within their own borders, provided that their political goals are untouched. Indeed, they’ll encourage those deaths if doing otherwise would affect the power structure.

There is no reason to think that the Iranian regime, which is an incredibly oppressive one, and one that managed to engage in a 9 year war with Iraq that saw almost a million die, will weep any tears if its citizens die in the hundreds of thousands or even the millions. In Iran, as in other dictatorships (Mao’s China, Myanmar, North Korea, etc.) the average “citizens” is not a human with rights as we understand it. Instead, he is an object the value of which is measured by whether his existence augments or damages the leadership’s power. If his non-existence does not affect that power or if his non-existence actually increases that power, his life isn’t worth a grain of sand on a big beach.

That is the first reason Iran doesn’t really care about Hillary’s threat to bomb it if it first bombs Israel. The benefits of bombing Israel (fulfilling Koranic requirements, gaining respect in the Muslim world, finding out of your bomb really works, showing the world that nothing will stop you) far outweigh the deaths of a few million of the pawns trapped within your own borders.

If that isn’t bad enough, we get to the second reason why Hillary’s threats are pointless and why (as Israel knows) only preemptive measures will stop Iran from dropping the bomb: The Shia version of Islam that Iran practices is an apocalyptic religion. Iran’s leaders believe that the End of Days will be triggered by the return of the 12 Imam, which will introduce an era of endless peace and harmony.

This apocalyptic vision isn’t actually such an unusual doctrine, and it appears in both Christianity and Judaism. What differs about the Iranian version is that Iran believes that its role is not simply to be a passive, albeit faithful, observer of the End of Days, which is how Christians and Jews approach the subject. Rather, as Ahmadinejad’s speeches and acts demonstrate, Iran believes it is its responsibility to bring about Armageddon — and what could be more Armageddon-like than the fact that Iran bravely destroys the Little Satan (that would be Israel), only to be destroyed in turn by the Great Satan (America). If that doesn’t bring about the return of the 12th Imam, nothing will.

In other words, the threat Hillary now makes as she works the campaign trail, a threat she believes is the type that will paralyze Iran and prevent action is, in fact, precisely the end Iran’s leaders are seeking. It’s not a threat at all. Instead, it’s the desired culmination of Allah’s plans.

Given the very un-Western thought process Iranian leaders go through when they contemplate the nuclear destruction of their country, McCain would definitely be the best candidate to deal with a pre-nuclear Iran. Regardless of his doctrinal strength regarding the finder points of Shia ideology, he understands the nature of dictators, having survived them for so many years in the Hanoi Hilton.

McCain (like Israel, which is staring down that nuclear muzzle) is not going to wait around until Iran has the upper hand and then try sweet words (Obama) or threats and even action (Hillary). I think that McCain would understand, as Israel does, that one needs to act before the crazy nation gets the power, not after.

And if you think I’m exaggerating about Iran’s response to a nuclear Holocaust simply so score points for McCain, just read today’s paper about Myanmar and think about a dictatorship that is not hampered by religious crazies will do to maintain power. You can extrapolate from there by imagining those same dictators working hard to pave the way for the coming Apocalypse.

UPDATE:  Speaking of Iran, this analysis about the situation Lebanon is very, very depressing.

All lies are not created equal *UPDATED* & *UPDATED AGAIN*

In response to an earlier post I did about Obama’s habit of lying about easily verifiable events, beliefs and associations in his past, echeccone made the statement, one we’ve often heard, that “every politician lies.” There’s a kind of sweeping truth to that statement, but its very broadness hides the fact that not all lies are created equal. I was just going to leave a responsive comment to echeccone, but it got so long that I decided to use my blogger privilege of elevating my response to its own post. So here is my little riff on why all lies are not created equal, and why Hillary’s and Obama’s lies fall into the worst category.

As any of us who have children or who remember our own childhoods know, lying is an integral part of the human condition. There is no toddler who hasn’t stood before Mom and Dad, staring at the paint on the living room wall, and then glancing down at the paint all over his hands, only to announce without shame, “I didn’t do it.” Said child is always punished, and the punishment comes along with a lengthy explanation about the value of truth and the danger of lies. As a society, we don’t tolerate it well when people deny wrongdoing.

However, at the same time we teach children not to tell these baldfaced, punishment-avoiding lies, we also encourage them to be nice — and to do so even when that involves a lie. “If Tommy asks why you won’t play with him, don’t say it’s because he smells bad. You can say it’s because Mommy wants you home Wednesday afternoons.” These social lies easily continue into adulthood. To the question “Does this dress make me look fat,” the answer is always “No,” regardless of truth.

We also learn as we get older to use lies to protect someone else’s secrets or security. Imagine, if you will, that you’re 10 and your best friend has just confided that she loves Billy. If another classmate asks, “Does your best friend love Billy,” the answer is an emphatic “No.” We don’t betray our friends’ secrets unless someone’s safety is at stake.

Many of these things hold true in political life as well. Of course politicians are going to say they love babies and are for truth justice and the American way (or, if they’re Lefties, for the un-American way). We don’t question them too hard on these things, since we understand that the answers will be generic, just as they are with the “fat dress” question. Likewise, we expect politicians to lie if they’re being pressed about matters that are state secrets. “Hey, Pres. Truman! Are you planning on dropping the Bomb on Japan tomorrow?” That’s another “No” answer.

We also are willing to give favored politician some latitude on broken promises. Thus, the question in the voters’ collective mind when a politician breaks an promise is, “Did s/he, at the time s/he made that promise, have any intention of keeping it?” If people believe the answer is “yes,” they’ll listen with some respect to the politician’s excuses for failing to keep that promise. If the answer is “no,” or if it is apparent that no person of reasonable intelligence should have made such a promise in the first place, then voters will be much less forgiving.

And then there are the lies that Hillary and Obama tell, likes that hark back to the toddler years: They get caught doing something bad, and they simply lie about. Hillary confines herself to denials and accusations. In the face of her intransigent denials, when the truth finally emerges, she tends to look awful. Obama is more clever. His first instinct is to deny, and then he starts leaking out the ugly truth. And by leaking it out slowly, he defuses the impact of the fact that, yes, he did engage in wrongdoing or, yes, he did associate (fairly closely) with terrorists or, yes, he did know all along that his preacher is an anti-American racist kind of guy.

The thing is that, no matter how Hillary and Obama spin it, whether through denial and accusation, or a slow, deflecting acknowledgment, they’ve engaged in the types of lies that most people find unforgivable — the kind of lies that have no social utility but that are just used by the liar in a craven attempt to deflect punishment or humiliation. That is, these aren’t lies to be kind, or lies to protect someone or something (other than the liar), or statements that time proved to be untrue. These are out and out squirrely lies aimed at deceiving people about negative aspects of the politician’s conduct, personality or associations.

And that’s why it’s simply not enough to excuse Hillary and Obama by saying that all politicians lie. All lies are not equal and some are definitely worse than others.

UPDATE: Wolf Howling has an excellent analysis of Obama’s little (and big) Wright lies.

UPDATE II: And here’s another example of Obama’s ever spiraling lies, this one about ex-adviser (or not?) Robert Malley. I mean, he’s definitely an ex something, but Obama has been spinning like crazy about whether he is now or ever was an adviser.