Money to Buy Mediocre Lies

Not even the best money can buy, but kinda middling ones.

The extent to which lying is an operative political strategy in your lifetime, of your government, by your representatives, cannot be overstated or stated often enough. Even if you think you know this, You don’t. And if you don’t know Frank Lutz is, John Chait reminds you:

Luntz’s latest memo advising Republicans on how to fight financial reform,obtained by Sam Stein, is a classic of the genre. The unstated argument of the memo is that, being determined to oppose legislation that most Americans support, Republicans should simply pretend they are arguing against something completely different. Luntz makes it clear that the public demands reform. “You must be on the side on change,” he writes. “Always.” (There is no pretense anywhere in Luntz’s paper that Republicans do, or even should, have a reform plan of their own.)

He likewise insists Republicans never call the reform bill “reform”: “It’s not ‘reform.’ This is not a reform bill. It is the ‘Stop the Big Bank Bailout bill.” Of course, Luntz does not try to explain why the reform bill is not reform. Indeed, his paper is entitled, “The Language of Financial Reform.” It calls to mind the French absurdist Rene Magritte’s painting of a pipe, labeled, “This is not a pipe.”

And we’ve been there before, of course. But then again, we thought we remembered about lying.