First rule of GOP politics: Never, never, EVER tell the truth

Incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy just committed a “gaffe” in Michael Kinsley’s sense of the term: in an unguarded moment, he allowed himself to tell the truth. The truth is, as most of has have always known, that Benghazi!, like its predecessor Whitewater!, was an entirely bad-faith exercise in partisan character assassination from the get-go. But don’t listen to me, listen to what the Speaker-to-Be told Sean Hannity:

Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would’ve known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.

Naturally, the rest of the House Republicans are outraged: not, of course, at Trey Gowdy for ghoulishly making a political meal out of the bodies of four dead Americans, but at McCarthy for blabbing.

The political press corps is caught in the middle. Lots of those reporters and editors, especially at the New York Times, have been more than willing to peddle Gowdy’s “partial-transcript” leaks as if they had news value, and to let Gowdy and his staff hide behind anonymity to defame a political rival. In other words, they’ve been playing according to the Clinton Rules, which hold that anything a Clinton does is guilty even after it’s been proven innocent.

So far, most of that crowd has reacted to McCarthy’s stunning admission, which makes them look like fools or scoundrels or both, by ignoring it. But I’m hoping that the second round of stories, with other Republicans commenting on McCarthy’s blunder, will start to crack that Wall of Silence. And I’m starting to look forward to Clinton’s appearance before Trey Gowdy’s inquisition. He might well come out of that experience as no more than a Deuce.




Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

7 thoughts on “First rule of GOP politics: Never, never, EVER tell the truth”

  1. Look, Mark, I know you've got the world's worst case of RDS, (Republican Derangement Syndrome), but this post is rather over the top even for you. The man's words are right down there in black and white, you quoted them yourself, and they are not consistent with your characterization.

    Him: "Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would’ve known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen."

    You: "The truth is, as most of has have always known, that Benghazi!, like its predecessor Whitewater!, was an entirely bad-faith exercise in partisan character assassination from the get-go. "

    He's saying they GOT THE TRUTH OUT about her. That's what the words mean. That's the actual denotation of them. Try to ignore the connotations you're seeing, that's just your RDS talking.

    Nothing in there about the hearings being a bad faith exercise. It's not character "assassination" if somebody's reputation suffers because you got the truth out about them. We WANT the public to have the truth about candidates for President.

    Seriously, maybe you want her to end up in the Oval office, and only then everybody finds out she had State department policy for sale to the highest bidder when Secretary of state, and compromised national security secrets in her efforts to evade leaving a paper trail of what she was doing. But it really is best for the nation that all that gets out before the election, not after.

    1. Welcome back, Brett! The site hasn't been the same without your strong logic and enormous courtesy. (It's very polite to respond to an argument with a diagnosis rather than with facts or evidence.)

      Now, as to the substance: Follow the second link. If McCarthy merely said what you say he said, why are all his colleagues - the actual character assassins - so angry at him?

      1. I'm glad to respond to arguments when I can identify one, which I couldn't here. You quoted the guy saying that her repuation was suffering because they were getting the truth out, and you declared that he'd confessed to being a character assasin working in bad faith.

        His colleages are mad at him, because they think he gave the media an excuse to dismiss the hearings as character assasination, the way you did. This is hilarious, because the media didn't need an excuse to treat them that way, that's how they've been covering the hearings from the beginning. But there are a fair number of Republicans in office who suffer from the delusion that they can get a fair break from the media if they just are careful enough about their language.

        The point here is, denoation you can get from grammar and dictionaries. Connoation? That requires a certain degree of sympathy with the speaker and his viewpoint. I'm not going to accurately catch the connoations in a Bernie Sanders speech, and you shouldn't think that you're picking up on the connotations in things Republicans say.

        Stick to denoation. And the denoation here contradicted your take.

      2. Oh, Mark, you're such a silly cynic! The reason all McCarthy's colleagues are mad at him is that he's been so mean to poor Hillary Clinton. He confessed to things that they would never, ever do themselves. People of high moral integrity and unimpeachable kindness, they are.

    2. I agree that’s what McCarthy was trying to say and would like us all to believe. However, what “truths” have actually been uncovered? My take is much of what’s been disseminated has been half truths, innuendo later proven false, and outright fabrications.

      Investigations whose primary purpose is to dog up dirt rather than find the truth are witch hunts. McCarthy’s comment, which stresses how much the endless investigations have hurt Clinton telegraph the GOP’s true intent.

  2. Mark, forgive me if this offends you, but replying to Brett[1], or allowing his comments to appear here, is like allowing your dog to sleep on your bed, even after you know that he's eaten something bad for him. You will have to buy a new mattress. The difference being, of course, that the dog doesn't do this with evil intent.

    Same Facts has not had that much of a troll problem; Brett likely accounted for well over 50% of the trolling here, maybe 75%. His absence has been a pleasure, and has improved things here.

    [1] I replied to him, and then deleted it, so as to both be prudent, and to follow my own advice.

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