Are Politicians Ever Liars?

George Allen says that he created the word “macaca” out of whole cloth. What do you imagine the odds are against his “divining” a name for a person of color that is, among some, a derogative characterization of a person of color? When those odds are known, George Allen will have been proved to have made a false statement. I cannot say that he will have been proved to be a liar, because, it seems, that a politician cannot be a liar. Why is this?

Have you ever known anyone who admitted to being a liar?

The Hungarian PM:

I am, in fact everything I’ve written here is a lie.

I don’t know; you’re the one suggesting that “it seems that a politician cannot be a liar” - what makes you say this?

That’s bullshit.

Since “macaca” isn’t exactly a widespread racial slur, and it sounds like somehat of a nonsense word, I have no problem believing that he made it up.


And therefore, true, so I am a liar. See?

Also, the above statement is a lie - and this one too.

Stop lyin’, would ya?

Does the Pope take a dump in the woods?

I already did.

Apart from the above, which is a lie.

Only when there’s no bears nearby. Unless they’re Catholic bears.

Knock me over with a feather.

It’s a fine point of journalisitic ethics; you can report the facts of what happened but speculating on motives is editorializing.

So a reporter can say “George Allen called a spectator a macaca” - that’s a provable fact. And the reporter can go on to explain that macaca is a racially derogatory term used by people with Allen’s cultural background - also a fact. And the reporter can quote whatever Allen says in defense of his actions. From this evidence, most reasonable people would deduce that Allen lied. But the reporter lets the reader make their conclusion; he doesn’t tell them because none of us, including the reporter, can know as a fact what Allen was thinking when he made his remark.

Yes, but it is a common ethnic slur among fracophone colonials in Africa, refering to Africans as Macaque monkeys. Allen’s mother is a French colonial, born in Tunisia, who emigrated to the United States following World War II. He didn’t pull that “nonsense word” out of thin air.

Or maybe he just remembered hearing it somewhere (maybe his mom was a racist) and it popped into his head. I doubt he inte4nded to make a racist remark, however, it does shed some light into the environment he was raised in.

I remember riding the subway once when a mother told her daughter to sit down and the little girl refused and pointed at the black man that would be sitting next to her and and said “but he’s black”… they got off at the next stop. That little girl is going to be racist the rest of her life and she will have to make a conscious effort to suppress that racism and she won’t always be successful.

George Allen may have been raised in a racist household and he may make conscious efforts to counter that racism. I don’t know how many people his age didn’t grow up in at least moderately racist households (noone wants to admit their parents were racist because its such a dirty word) and we should bear this in mind when we start shouting that racism doesn’t * really * exist in America anymore.

Of course you dont. Programming is complete.He is lying and for many pols especially our pres ist a habit.

I certainly don’t claim that his use of the word proves that he’s a closet racist. But he certainly didn’t make up the word, and he certainly didn’t apply it to a dark-skinned supporter of his opponent by accident.

It’s possible he heard the word before but didn’t quite understand that it meant calling an african a monkey. Possible. Not likely.

So the choices, given his reaction to this story are: He’s not a racist, he’s a dolt! He’s not a dolt, he’s a racist! Or the ever popular: Wait, you’re both right!

Bingo. At best, he used a word that he heard around his relatives but didn’t understand. At worst, he damn well knew exaclty what it meant and just fired away.

But this isn’t the clearest or even the most egregeous case of a pol lying. There are plenty of examples out there. A better question might be, do any politicians **not **lie?