To Err Is Human, To Lie Is Politics

It could be argued that Americans love to have liars as their presidents, after all, they’ve elected plenty who have displayed that disturbing trait.

Is this, perhaps, the reason America’s latest batch of presidential hopefuls are so keen to display their prowess in that noble art?

Republican nominee John McCain arrived in London recently boasting proudly of a lineage way back to Robert the Bruce, that ancient warrior-king of Scotland who overcame the English armies in the fourteenth century, to make Scotland once more independent.

Possibly, having a noble lineage in some way accounts for one’s ignorance of Middle Eastern culture, as McCain managed to demonstrate so splendidly this week by referring to Iranian Shias training al Qaeda Sunnis, before setting them loose on the US invaders of Iraq.

John McCain is placing all his faith in the American voter’s spirit, by emphasizing his warrior and war hero status at every opportunity. Not to be outdone, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton appears to manifest as a modern day American Jeanne d’Arc, if her rhetoric is to be taken seriously.

Only a few weeks ago she described how, single-handedly, she solved the problems of Northern Ireland and deftly carried the peace process through to its final, glorious, conclusion. This week, she recounted dashing through a hail of bullets to aid the poor people of Bosnia in their plight. Apparently, her own daughter, then barely in her teens, was dragged along with her, which may make Mom a hero, but hardly a responsible parent.

It all makes these people sound terribly exciting, interesting, and overflowing with the qualities necessary for a world leader.

At least, it might if the stories were true.

Here’s what the secretary of the Scottish Genealogy Society, Ken Nisbet has to say of McCain’s claims to regal Scottish ancestry, in the Guardian newspaper last week:[1]

“I wouldn’t say it’s a strong claim at all. This is speculation and it doesn’t prove anything……….it’s a load of baloney – it’s a bit like the mixing of history and it’s not accurate. A lot of Scots of Irish descent tend to say ‘we’re related to so and so’ – people say Robert the Bruce quite often. William Wallace is another one, as you can imagine……..”

And even if it were true, it’s nothing to be proud of. As Ken Nisbet pointed out, Robert the Bruce was….

“… absolute scoundrel……the first thing he did after taking power was destroy Stirling castle and he was a self-serving, vainglorious opportunist who was determined to be king at any cost.”

Hmmm! Perhaps, there’s some truth in McCain’s story, after all?

Sadly, poor old Hillary has found herself counted out, both in Ireland and Bosnia. The Irish have disowned her. According to Peter King, an Ulster Unionist Party negotiator at the Good Friday talks in 1998:[2]

“Hillary Clinton was totally invisible at the actual negotiations. As far as I am concerned, Mrs Clinton was as relevant to peace in Northern Ireland as Tony Blair’s wife or the ex-wife of Bertie Ahern.” [the Irish prime minister]

Nobel Peace Prize winner, Lord David Trimble, called her claims:

“…..a wee bit silly.”

All-in-all, not a lot of support from the Irish contingent, and presumably they should know the truth of the matter.

Not everyone agrees, however. Earlier this month, Terry McAuliffe told CNN:

“We would not have peace today had it not been for Hillary’s hard work in Northern Ireland.”

So that’s some support for Hillary’s claims, though perhaps slightly biased – it came from her, very non-Irish, campaign chairman.

Still, there’s always the Bosnia heroics, isn’t there?

According to a report by the BBC:[3]

“…..a video clip played by CBS on Monday showed Mrs Clinton and Chelsea walking across the tarmac smiling and waving before stopping to shake hands with Bosnia’s acting president and meet an eight-year-old girl….”

Oh, poor Hillary, still, “……it just shows I’m human, doesn’t it?”

Yes, Hillary, it shows you to be a rather desperate person who’s caved in to the vagaries of your out of control ego. In that sense, you’re very human. It’s just that America and the world have recently suffered eight years of someone with the exact same problem, so we aren’t in a hurry to repeat it.

The lies emanating from the mouth of Barack Obama, third member of this political trio, are a little harder to pin down. He appears to be less adept at the noble art of prevarication, but then that’s understandable given both the other parties are keen to stress his inexperience, at every opportunity.

Perhaps they are wrong and he is actually adept at concealing his deceits.

Or, maybe, just maybe, he is simply more honest?

Oh, go wash yer mouth out wi’ soap. If that were the case, he may as well step down now!

[1] Guardian UK, March 21st, 2008

[2] Telegraph UK, March 16th, 2008

[3] “Clinton admits Bosnia ‘mistake'”, BBC News, March 25th, 2008

Filed under:

2 Replies to “To Err Is Human, To Lie Is Politics”

  1. Oh, it brings out the cynics in all of us, RJA.
    I read an interesting bit about OB today. Apparently he’s been practising up on all the gestures of JFK to look more presidential..folded arms across the bod, head tilted slightly. Send him the ol’ rocking chair…
    But to get back to your post – lies and politicians are very easy bedfellows and it looks like they’re all practising up real good.

Comments are closed.