Hoping your President is a liar? Really?

Yesterday’s Best of the Web Today had a great section titled “Cynicism: The New Trust” that hammered away at a topic I have brought up here, several times before: The fact that some actually seem to want hypocrisy in their leadership, in particular at this time, the Presidency.  (Previous discussions: “So, Miss California agrees with President Obama…” and “An actual request for hypocrisy?”)

In the BOTW feature, the WSJ’s James Taranto points his readers to a piece on the Washington Post by James Kirchick titled “Obama said ‘I Don’t.’ He may just mean it.” Taranto notes that, essentially, the Kirchick piece is addressing those who hope the President secretly supports the concept of homosexual “marriage” (to whom Kirchick seems sympathetic) and is intended to warn them thusly: “Hey — I know that you guys & gals are hoping that President Obama is lying when he says that he is against homosexual ‘marriage,’ but watch out: we may not be able to trust him to lie about this.”  Really: He equates not being able to trust President Obama with not being able to trust him to be lying.  Incredible.

Actually, Taranto summarizes the piece better than I do (though with a sense of “political realism” I don’t share) : “When faced with a choice between two politicians with the same stated position on a matter, it is entirely reasonable for a voter who disagrees with that position to prefer the candidate he believes is less sincere, or less likely to stick to his position. But this is a cynical calculation; to characterize it as an act of ‘trust’ is bizarre.”

The Scriptures talk about a people not being able to distinguish between the clean and the unclean, or the holy and the unholy.  I would say that such sensibilities — when virtues are more related to cynical calculation than, well, virtue — fall into this category.

And according to the news today, it seems as though the President is facing the same issues with health care.  In the past (2003) he clearly stated that he supported a one payer health care system and that it would have to be achieved in stages (unedited clip here).  This is, of course, what many of his current detractors accuse him of secretly seeking in reform — something which he strenuously denies.  So many are banking on his insincerity, hoping that he was simply pandering (that is, lying) in 2003 to the extreme among his party to gain their support.  His current actions, on the other hand, are upsetting one payer activists who feel betrayed that he seems to be keeping a one payer option off the table.  So they, too, are banking on his insincerity, hoping that he is trying to temporarily appease more conservative elements in a crafty way (that is, by lying) so that his previously stated goal of a one payer system can come to fruition after all.

How is it that America feels so complacent about a system in which everyone hopes their leadership is insincere and that they cannot be trusted to believe what they say?  How insane is that?

Am I trying to slam President Obama, in particular?  Not at all.  For one, I should allow that his views on one payer health care may have changed since 2003 (believe it or not, people do change), and he should not be charged with guilt of lying simply because supporters of homosexual “marriage” believe — and happily hope — that he is doing so.  And even if he is practicing deceit, he is simply acting in a way that the current system in America sadly requires for political success.  Those who believe that one party has a monopoly on lying and habitual hypocrisy is fooling himself.   The vice of insincerity seems to fill the halls of government from wall to wall, ceiling to floor, and infects both parties.  While I am sure there are exceptions (please tell me there are exceptions…), Democrat and Republican, alike, seem to lie as if it is second nature to them, and it would be downright depressing if one didn’t know that this system will one day be replaced by one that is just, good, and right — lead by Him who is Just, Good, and Right.

Actually, my beef lies more with the American people than the politicians they appoint, and with the idea that continues to startle me: that so many of them seem to want leaders lacking in personal virtue and trustworthiness.

I am reminded of two passages of Scripture, applicable in sentiment if not in detail:

“An astonishing and horrible thing
Has been committed in the land:
The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule by their own power;
And My people love to have it so.
But what will you do in the end?”

– Jeremiah 5:30-31

“That this is a rebellious people,
Lying children,
Children who will not hear the law of the LORD;
Who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’
And to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us right things;
Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.'”

– Isaiah 30:9-10

May God soon deliver us from such a sorry state of affairs in which people pray their leaders are liars and in which insincerity and hypocrisy in leadership is considered a virtue.

13 thoughts on “Hoping your President is a liar? Really?

  1. Sad. Our political system has been so perverted that people have resorted to hoping that the leaders are lying on certain issues: something even I’ve found myself guilty of from time to time. And, most likely, you can take more confidence in believing that they are lying as opposed to telling the truth. I think lying is far more common. I never thought about this in this way, though, good post.

  2. Nicolas Martin

    This is naive bordering on loco. Let’s remember Henry Mencken’s quote from the last century:

    “If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.”

    Politicians are lying slime, and always have been. Their very jobs depend on violence and theft, and what does the Bible about that?

  3. ametanoia

    I’m new to your blog, I like your observations of the American people. One thing I especially appreciate is that you remind your readers as to how this is ultimately going to end–with Jesus winning. A lot of writers can only see the doom and gloom and forget that we actually win (and have already won).

  4. This, in my opinion, is one of the problems with the two party system. When there are only two options people are willing to compromise their values and politicians are, realistically allowed to hold two different sets of values. In this case Obama is using the fact that the Democratic party is traditionally viewed as being for gay marriage while broadcasting the personal position that he is not for gay marriage. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard any successful politician confess to being ‘against’ anything other than terrorism and taxes.

  5. James

    Thanks for this excellent post…I am still in awe that this post was at the top of the WordPress list, considering you’re a Christian and this is a post written from a Christian worldview, and also considering that you can actually construct coherent sentences with a subject, verb, and object. WordPress is moving up, I guess!
    I’m looking forward to browsing your site…

  6. Tubbo & Dubba Tubba

    Interesting take on this issue; I think it comes down to 1.) excitement. Some (simple) people think it would be a “thrill,” a topic to gossip about down at the hair saloons to their friends, almost an adventure. Of course, the thrill is not nearly worth having a liar in office & 2.) a scape goat. Everyone needs a scapegoat, and it seems like, more and more, Obama is replacing Bush as an easy target to blame things on. We’ve kinda got the whole big-bad-president mentality going, and this could lead us to some nasty places.

    I can’t say I personally disagree with those who feel betrayed by recent actions made by Obama, but to pounce on the smallest indication that Obama may be, MAY BE (maybe) a liar is despicable. Of course, the Media isn’t helping matters, so it’s not as if the people are completely to blame.

    Remember the 9/11 conspiracy? I’ve got a new conspiracy; it’s called the PEOPLE’S OBSESSION WITH CONSPIRACIES conspiracy. Hyped up [expletive deleted] hooked straight into listener’s veins. I may sound anti-Media at the moment, but I can’t help but feel that if magazines and TV would lesson up just the smallest amount on the “Is Obama who he says he is?” thing, we wouldn’t be were we are today. What it comes down to is greed. The Media knows what will sell — they aren’t stupid — and until people turn the [expletive deleted] show off, it’s gonna keep showing up. The next time you see an Joe The Plumber asking questions like those, turn it off! C’mon! Do your part, small though it may be.

    To answer your two pressing questions at once:
    No, Obama is not the Anti-Christ. Feel free to read up on Revelations if you think I’m lying.
    Yes, Obama was born in America. My personal opinion, however, I’ve never inspected his B.C.

    I’m not a blind Obama follower, I know [expletive deleted] well he isn’t the Messiah. I guess I just have trust in the man I voted in. His decisions thus far, worrying as they may be, is no need to start another conspiracy. I can’t help but feel that we have enough problems in the world without adding to it, much less adding to it with something that isn’t even real. Just my two cents (maybe three or four cents, I don’t really know).

    Dubba Tubba

  7. “… that so many of them seem to want leaders lacking in personal virtue and trustworthiness.”

    I don’t think it is that we want that sort of leader. The problem is, first, the virtuous and trustworthy rarely make it up into the rarified atmosphere of national politics, and second, the kind that does (the other kind), finds us easy to dupe with vague promises of pie in the sky (and not just bye and bye).

    Because our school system fails us on so many levels, we don’t have the tools of critical thinking that would let us separate the wheat from the chaff.

    And so we get (as Solon noted, so many years ago) not the best government, but the best we’re capable of. I’d amend that to say, the government we deserve.

    The ideal is still there – that we deserve better government. One of our early founders held that that government is best which governs least. Following that logic, we might conclude that the very best government is therefore no government at all. The trouble is, that while we should make things as simple as possible, there’s danger in making things too simple.

    Recent Presidents have done little to rein in the scope of government. Our current President has been appointing “czars” (as have his predecessors). In Russia, the Czar had absolute power, and answered to nobody. Obama’s czars have almost unlimited power (in their own fiefdoms), and answer only to Obama. The difference is trifling. The whole point of the Presidential czar is to expand the power of the President.

    Congratulations on making Blog of the Day.

  8. regionarrington

    I am a deacon in our local christian church. You are correct that a few Americans have a desire to find fault with our leaders. I do not agree with President Obama on some issues but I did go see him and met him in Asheville, NC. This was during a rally in October 2008 and I voted for him in November. The difference I saw in him was that I truly do believe that he is trying to be a good leader. Yes, I agree that some of his policies are not what I agree with but I am please to have a president for whom I feel has the best interest of our nation at heart. I know some are going to read this an disagree with me but that is also OK, because disagreeing is what make this nation great.

  9. Pingback: A Conundrum Indeed « BackLight

  10. I complained to an acquaintance about the machiavellian nature of politics. Say or do any dirty dog thing; just get the win. He not only agreed, but actually approved of it. He said “that’s what you have to do” and that it was a sign of “intelligence.”

    I don’t vote or participate in politics. I keep track of current events, however, and I know that President Obama has already ‘changed his mind’ on a number of campaign promises. His supporters either don’t care or seem oblivious to it. I don’t understand that.

  11. You are right that people can change their minds and perhaps President Obama has. I know I’ve changed my mind on various issues over the years.

    However more often than not we have seen with politicians is political expediency not a changing of the mind. It would seem to me that if he had changed his mind the honorable and logical thing to do is to say “My views have changed and this is why.” I doubt we will hear that though.

    We’ve seen the same thing on the other side of the political spectrum with republicans having a conversion on issues such as abortion just in time for an election.

    I guess this is why most just assume they are lying.

  12. Thanks for all the comments, everyone, and I agree, buckblog. The system rewards political expediency. You mention the “honorable and logical thing to do” and I would agree with you on both adjectives. Regrettably, most of the political class probably don’t concern themselves with honor and their logic is based on a different set of assumptions. (As in, “If I explain why I do not believe “X” anymore, I will lose the votes of those who backed me because they believe in “X” — logic dictates staying vague on this…”)

    Again, thanks to everyone for their comments (and to ZZMike for his congrats). And Tubbo & Dubba Tubba — I think you need to re-read the post before you provide another 2 cents…

  13. “Tubbo” and “Dubba Tubba”? Surely that is not a coincidence.

    Just to ask a rhetorical question in the light of some of the foregoing comments: What can we *expect* from a political system run on political checks and balances, if not corrupt political leadership? “Politicians” are *bred* by our sort of political system (oh so ironically, as it’s intended to keep human nature in check). If you want *statesmen*, then you have to *appoint* qualified and ethical people (from God’s point of view) to their proper tasks in a proper organizational structure.

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