Monday, November 14, 2005

Gratuitous Snark Of The Day

I don't normally do this, but I just read something particularly stupid, and I'm feeling a little surly today, so here goes. Tom Maguire of JustOneMinute has this to say about Ted Kennedy's attitude back in 2002 around the time Congress authorized Bush to use force against Iraq (emph. mine):

I haven't found Ted Kennedy's floor speech prior to the October 2002 vote on the war resolution, but here he is at SAIS on Sept 27, 2002. Early laugh lines include these:

But there is a difference between honest public dialogue and partisan appeals. There is a difference between questioning policy and questioning motives.


Let me say it plainly: I not only concede, but I am convinced that President Bush believes genuinely in the course he urges upon us.

Only later did Kennedy realize what a liar Bush was, and how important it was to question his motives.
As the relevant psychological literature (and American public opinion surveys since 2002) tell us, people are notoriously bad at detecting lies. If I told you I got my master's at Stanford, you probably wouldn't realize right away that I was lying unless you happened to work in the registrar's office (I got my bachelor's there). Moreover, it's pretty likely that Ted would have been raked over the coals by everyone to the right of Michael Moore if he'd tried to call Bush out in 2002. And that's not even mentioning the fact that the White House had exclusive access to lots of intel, much of it countervailing, that Congress never saw.

But maybe I shouldn't be surprised at Tom's reaction. After all, many on the right seem to fear the process of adapting one's behavior to changing circumstances ("learning"), preferring their leaders to allow the real world to influence their behavior as little as possible. But don't take this post as an indictment of cheap shots in general--longtime readers of this blog know I have no right to point the finger at anyone--all I'm saying is if you're gonna take one, don't make yourself sound silly in the process.