Sanders and Trump

When Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted the news that she had been asked to leave a restaurant, I suspect she just thought she was defending herself and the administration for which she speaks from the restaurateur’s calumny. The insult!

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But the response from the left was all high moral dudgeon against her:

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I note that Paul Jacob reacts with the precisely right challenge: “Wait — I thought that is what all Press Secretaries do: present the official lie.” For yes, politicians are liars not merely by nature but also by necessity. So once again we find ourselves in another tedious partisan hypocrisy:

[O]bjecting to one Administration and not another implicitly endorses the policies and lies of the Administration not censured. And the grounds given in this Red Hen cluckery — that the Trump Administration is racist, etc. — might possess a tad more plausibility had the Obama Administration not engaged in policies startlingly similar to the ones Trump and Sanders are blamed for.

But partisans must do as partisans always do, part with sanity:

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A falsehood is a lie when you know it to be untrue and when you expect others to take it as truth. Trump and Sanders are often wrong not because they are lying but because they see the world differently and expect different things to be true. Which is the same as happens regularly on the left.

Of course, Trump and Sanders are often wrong for other reasons, too: because they are engaging in hyperbole, for instance, or are “bargaining,” as Trump defenders ably (if not completely convincingly) defend the weird linguistic strategizing of the current president. Sometimes, as Scott Adams relentlessly aims to persuade us, Trump and Sanders are often technically wrong but not even attempting to be technically right: they are trying to persuade us into a position that is halfway to the mis-statement. When you overstate for effect, what you say is untrue, but the half-truth within it is sometimes all you are aiming to get across.

Smart people should be able to understand this.

And then Trump and Sanders also often do lie. Just as previous presidents and their press secretaries lie.

That folks get so upset about this, enough to cry that the sky is falling — like poor Little Red Hen of ancient fable — is just part of the hysteria of our time. That other folks pretend that there is nothing much to see here — that no lying goes on, that the hyperbole might often be unwarranted and even unhinged, the values expressed in the constant flirting with falsity — is almost as annoying.

But it is not quite as annoying coming from the pro-Trumpers. Why? Because they realize that a “sky” could fall, and are over-reacting to prevent that. That they get most of the nature of our sky’s fragility wrong is what is really disheartening.

Then again, I never expect normal Americans to get much anything right.

Much of what people do in politics proceeds along the lines of hunch and bluster. The Age of Truthiness and Trump has brought this out in rather obvious ways.

Still, many people seem to be resisting this truth.