i said nothing when they came for the axelrod

Wall Street Journal: To Use The Word ‘Liar Is To Kill Six Million Jews

best hitler gets a gold star!

Mitt Romney stated things during the debate last week that were often in direct contravention of both reality and things he had previously stated. If you’re wondering why I don’t use the L-word (“liar,” not “lesbian”), it’s because, as Daniel Henninger states at the Wall Street Journal today, “liar” is the linguistic harbinger of fascism.

“Liar” is a potent and ugly word with a sleazy political pedigree. But “liar” is not being deployed only by party attack dogs or the Daily Kos comment queue. Mitt Romney is being called a “liar” by officials at the top of the Obama re-election campaign.

That’s shameful! What are they doing?

Politics isn’t beanbag, but politicians past had all sorts of devices to say or suggest an opponent was playing fast and loose with the truth. This week’s Obama TV ad, “How Can We Trust Mitt Romney?” would have been perfectly legit absent the Plouffe “liar” prepping.

So, the problem isn’t saying that someone is an untruthful, anti-American piece of festering shit, just don’t call them a liar. But why?

The Obama campaign’s resurrection of “liar” as a political tool is odious because it has such a repellent pedigree. It dates to the sleazy world of fascist and totalitarian propaganda in the 1930s. It was part of the milieu of stooges, show trials and dupes. These were people willing to say anything to defeat their opposition. Denouncing people as liars was at the center of it. The idea was never to elevate political debate but to debauch it.

The purpose of calling someone a liar then was not merely to refute their ideas or arguments. It was to nullify them, to eliminate them from participation in politics.

Oh. I always thought that the milieu of fascist and totalitarian propaganda was the serial scapegoating of disfavored “others” by lying about the role they played in economic, social and cultural misfortune, then using those lies to promote violent oppression and murder. Or wait, no, that was the Obama GOTV I did last weekend. The Nazis just wandered around Poland calling Jews liars and then putting up YouTube ads.

For something so terrible, so verboten, surely nobody at the Wall Street Journal has ever called anyone a liar? Surely not James Taranto, a month ago?

OK, Clinton lied (or “misled people”) about Monica Lewinsky. Let’s even stipulate for the sake of argument that he’s a liar.

THIS IS KRISTALLNACHT ALL OVER AGAIN.

Okay, well, maybe that was a one-time thing that slipped by the WSJ’s many, many fascism watchers? Let’s see:

And his lying was entirely in character. Many politicians lie, but few match Bill Clinton (though Al Gore seems to be giving it the old college try) in the frequency or audacity of his lies. He is truly a master of prevarication — an “unusually good” liar, as Democratic Sen. Bob Kerry famously put it.

Even as a young man, Mr. Clinton was able to lie his way out of military service and then lie his way out of paying a political price for this in the conservative state of Arkansas. But even “good” liars sometimes get caught.

Serious question: is the Wall Street Journal the Fourth Reich? It’s a question that must be asked, for the sake of the republic.

Okay, well, at least Mitt Romney never-

New Romney TV Ad Accuses Obama of Lying

I hope you have an attic to hide in. The jackboots are clip-clopping outside your door. Honestly.

[Wall Street Journal]

What Others Are Reading

Hola wonkerados.

To improve site performance, we did a thing. It could be up to three minutes before your comment appears. DON'T KEEP RETRYING, OKAY?

Also, if you are a new commenter, your comment may never appear. This is probably because we hate you.

183 comments

  1. BaldarTFlagass

    I wonder if someone will use that Three Dog Night "Liar" song without permission. Which campaign would do that?

  2. BaldarTFlagass

    Lies, dripping off your mouth like dirt
    Lies, lies in every step you walk
    Lies, whispered sweetly in my ear
    Lies, how do I get out of here?
    Why, why you have to be so cruel?
    Lies, lies, lies I ain't such a fool!

    Lies, lies in my papa's looks
    Lies, lies in my history books
    Lies, lies like they teach in class
    Lies, lies, lies I catch on way too fast
    Fire, fire upon your wicked tongue
    Lies, lies, lies you're trying to spoil my fun

    Lies, lies you dirty jezebel
    Why, why, why, why don't you go to hell?
    Why, why you think me such a fool?
    Lies, lies, lies honey that's ya rules!

    Thanks, Glimmer Twins!

  3. no_gravity

    How about any of these:
    cheat, con artist, deceiver, deluder, dissimulator, equivocator, fabler, fabricator, fabulist, false witness, falsifier, fibber, maligner, misleader, perjurer, phony, prevaricator, promoter, republican, romney, storyteller, trickster.

    1. Chow Yun Flat

      Or to cut through the underbrush:

      romney, romney romney romney romney romney romney romney romney romney romney romney romney romney romney romney romney romney romney romney
      romney, romney romney

      etc.

    2. hagajim

      You know, I told my mistress that I loved her and would be leaving my wife just last week, and she had the balls to call me a Romney right to my face.

  4. SorosBot

    That's funny, I thought the purpose of calling someone a liar was to point out that things that they had said were, you know, not true; or in other words, lies.

    1. sullivanst

      Well, not just saying things that are untrue, but knowingly saying things that are untrue.

      Like for example, saying you'd slash all discretionary non-defense spending by 5% across the board on day one, and then denying you'd reduce education funding. Or promising to drive through legislation defunding Planned Parenthood specifically because they provide abortion services that are not funded in any way by government monies, and then denying that your policy agenda includes anything abortion-related. Or repeatedly claiming that five or six studies support your tax plan even though three of the initial five weren't even studies (two were WSJ op-eds by campaign advisors) and none of them lend support to his tax plan as we now know it to be.

        1. sullivanst

          I think we'll get 'em all with my definition, but we might need a bigger boat.

          ETA: although, you might have a point in that most of them seem not in the slightest to know what they're saying most of the time.

    2. MaxUdargo

      Yeah, I think he might be factually mistaken in his assertion that calling somebody a liar "dates to the sleazy world of fascist and totalitarian propaganda in the 1930s." I'm thinking it dates back a little further than that.

  5. memzilla

    [It was part of the milieu of] stooges, show trials and dupes.

    Best description of GW Shrub Administration EVAH !!!1!!!

    1. BadKitty904

      Truly. Team Chimpy and the GOP – the same folks who brought us rigged elections, warrantless searches, torture, detention without trial, and smearing of critics as traitors.

      1. Lot_49

        Let's look at Hopey's record in this regard. Pretty sure the warrantless searches are still going on, and Gitmo's still open for business (although Barry tried to close it, even if not very hard). Torture's "officially" over, and the Dems don't call their opponents traitors. So far so good. The death-from-above drone kills won't garner him another trip to Stockholm, though.

  6. SorosBot

    Really, Nazis again? Even the most basic statements, like pointing out that Romney is a lying liar who lies, is somehow being just like Hitler. With the Wall Street Journal, I guess you always go full Godwin.

    1. AbandonHope_

      At the same time, this jibes really well with the observation that whatever Republicans accuse you of doing/being is what they are themselves. It's the most uncanny case of mass projection I've ever seen.

    1. GregComlish

      In all sincerity, this would probably go over much better with the pundit class. Not only would Obama avoid the touchy word "liar" but he would probably get credit for being "folksy".

    1. BadKitty904

      Amen. Hearing Wall Street whine about the use of the word "liar" is unusually surreal, even for *this* campaign…

  7. FakaktaSouth

    Good god could another terrible thing please hurry up and happen? I am bored of everything being a 9-11-slash-holocaust. We need a new tragedy metaphor for these trite assholes.

      1. FakaktaSouth

        Hmmm. "Ow, my hangnail makes it hard to suck things like an ice-cream coan." Yes, that works for me better'n this.

      2. SorosBot

        I keep having to sleep on a thin strip on the side of the bed because someone keeps moving to the middle and taking up 2/3 of the bed. That's a real tragedy.

    1. SorosBot

      And everyone who negotiates (or just advocates negotiating) with a foreign leader the right doesn't like is Neville Chamberlain at Munich.

      1. Toomush_Infer

        This is because of the unerring American disposition for war talk ( I got that from Rachel Maddow's Drift)…(snark back on)…

  8. TavariousChinaSmith

    Lies (and the lying liars who tell them) by Senator Al Franken is like the Mein Kampf of liberalism.

    1. WhatTheHolyHeck

      His scrawled "What a dick!" over a GOP-skewed GDP graph is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

  9. Goonemeritus

    Not calling Mitt a liar takes way to many linguistic acrobatics. I’m sure F. Scott Fitzgerald could characterize his performance in less directed words but for me I’m sticking with Liar.

    1. sullivanst

      Mendacious, disseminator, untruthful, distortion artist; after that I'd have to go in search of thesaurus.com

      ETA: "not leader, a misleader" would be a nice line to use.

  10. BlueStateLibel

    Bill Clinton didn't "lie his way out of military service," he was an objector against the war. Willard on the other hand, thought it was just fine that others fight in Vietnam for him while he took off for the perils of France.

      1. Not_Mother

        With all of that foie gras and Roquefort, and without the ameliorating effects of red wine, he did risk high cholesterol and gout.

    1. Lot_49

      Wait a minute…guys who went to jail or Canada or got truly religious-based conscientious objector status (like Quakers) "objected" to the war. But when he came to the confidence course of military service, Bill took the pussy path around it. I love him as much as anybody, but he weaseled out of conscription when others opposed it honorably.

      1. BlueStateLibel

        It was my understanding he objected to the war. Chickenhawks like Dubya, Cheney and Willard on the other hand were all for it, as long as it was other people fighting it, so that's the difference I see.

          1. Gleem McShineys

            Lot_49's resurrection of “stickle” as a political tool is odious because it has such a repellent pedigree. It dates to the sleazy world of fascist and totalitarian propaganda in the post just above.

  11. weejee

    At their next debate, right after Mittenz completes his closing statement, Bamz needs to dash over and hose-down Willard's flaming britches with a soda-acid fire extinguisher.

    1. tessiee

      I suppose we could start calling him "factually challenged", but that might be a bit too PC for that side, don't'cha think?

  12. Schmannnity

    There might be something to this. Just replace "Jew" in any anti-semitic rant with "Liar" and it seems to be happening all over. Liars control world finance. Liars control the media. Etc.

  13. mrpuma2u

    Let me see if I have this straight. Calling Willard Romney (who lied) a liar, is like sucking Hitler's dick? Got it. Good to know.

  14. Oblios_Cap

    I'm always amazed how some people appear to believe that all previous American political campaigns have always involved the highest sportsmanship and civil discourse. In reality, that would be the exception, rather than the rule, all the way back to the founding of the Republic.

    1. Chet Kincaid_

      The same is true of our Vaunted Impartial, Ethical Journalistic Golden Age, which did not seem to exist until people started handing out journalism degrees.

      Damn it, even with that jerkface on it, I burn for buttery, golden toast!!

  15. BaldarTFlagass

    The zoo has mountain lion, the Republican Party has a Lyin' Moron.

    Dang, I wished that flowed a little better.

  16. freakishlywrong

    How about we have a Simpson's style shocker/buzzer every time one of these fuckers lie. Dr. Marvin Monroe can design it.

  17. MistaEko

    The Obama campaign’s resurrection of “liar” as a political tool is odious because it has such a repellent pedigree.

    i.e., we don't like it because it's working.

    1. BoroPrimorac

      We don't like it because all the shit Mitt lied about during the debate is coming home to roost.

  18. Roy Hobbson

    Quit calling people liars, FAUXBAMA! That is gutter politics, and besides, you weren't even born here.

  19. prommie

    My head is fucking spinning and I cannot think straight at all. And then, because this is a pre-existing condition, I have to read this shit which ups the head-spinning ante. I am snarkless here, on this right hear. Is this a reverse Godwin's Law callout fake spin move? Mau-mauing the flack-catchers? Pre-emptive Godwinning? I am not going to sit here and listen to someone badmouth the United States of America! That alien kenyan socialist anti-colonialist who lacks the background to understand the special anglo-saxon-ness of Amurrica has the gall to call me an "other?" That black Kenyan socialist Nazi! Aaarrrggghhhhhh! I can't wwait till tomorrow, this shit won't be able to get at me then.

  20. coolhandnuke

    The check's in the mail.
    I'll pull it out.
    Just two beers officer.
    I read the Wall Street Journal.
    Romney is human.

  21. oenspiek

    'Liar' is a vile, obscene, four-letter word! Of course, that only applies if someone uses the term on an 'R'.

  22. upthruster

    Okay, instead of calling someone a 'liar', how 'bout we call them a 'buyer'. That's someone who pays someone else to tell everyone something over and over until people believe it, even if it's false.

    Willard M. Romney-BUYER
    George W. Bush- BUYER
    Richard Cheney – BUYER
    William J. Clinton-BUYER
    Rupert Murdock- BUYER
    Jerry Falwell-BOUGHT IT
    Pat Robertson- BUYER
    Michele Bachmann-BUYER
    Richard Nixon- BOUGHT IT

      1. no_gravity

        Trix tweeted that tech support fixed the twitter button yesterday and proceeded to totally fubar it up.

  23. deanbooth

    To be a liar is to know the truth and speak the opposite. A bullshitter, on the other hand, doesn't give a damn what the truth is and just says what's expedient. The Republicans are not liars; they're bullshitters.

      1. Chet Kincaid_

        "Shitweasel" is a fine way of thanking him for his service!! Bad as things are, would you really want to live in the alternate universe where Obama didn't get elected?!

        1. AbandonHope_

          Oh God. A world where we've all been conscripted to fight in McCain's Wars Against Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Terror, Islam, Gays, And Countries And Concepts To Be Named Later.

          1. tessiee

            "McCain"?
            Grandpa McCain would have, er-uh… "died in his sleep"… a month after taking office, and we'd right now all be looking at…
            I can't bring myself to type the words, even in jest.

  24. zumpie

    So I has confused: Mittens called the Prez a liar to his face several times in the debate. And has Label currently talking about the Prez is a liar on the camapign trail. This is totes cool. But fact checking Romney (and calling him on it or even asking him about it) is teh evil.

    Also too, BONUS!!! Which is the moar terrible: Calling someone who has clearly lied a liar, suppressing someone's "free speech" by laughing at them when they say stupid shit or living in Paris in the 1960's so others can fight the war you claimto support by are dodging?

  25. Blueb4sinrise

    Hennnnnnnngggggggggghhhhhhhinger sez :

    "To my knowledge, Mr. Krugman is the only columnist writing for a major publication in U.S. journalism who has so routinely and repetitively accused people of being liars. "

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We know!!!!

  26. Crank_Tango

    OK, what the fuck is beanbag? It's one of those things said by assholes who also refer to "having some skin in the game."

    It's a gay sex thing, isn't it?

        1. BadKitty904

          Who knew? And my membership in the International Gay Conspiracy is all paid up and everything!

    1. actor212

      Think horseshoes, only instead of heavy metal objects flinging through the air, little pouches of PVC pellets or dried beans and instead of a manly rigid pole to ring them around, a piece of plywood with holes drilled into it.

      1. Crank_Tango

        Ah yeah, like Toss Across, but not so complicated. Politics IS more butch than that, this guy is right.

  27. StillGoinGreen

    I loved this piece by Daniel Henninger. I found it unbiased and insightful, not to mention tastefully provocative…

    Oops, sorry – I LIED!!!

  28. mbobier

    Hmmmmm….. Obama is leading in the real polls, and he's gaining ground by calling out Mittens' lies, so the wingnuts are trying to declare the word "liar" off-limits — just as, now that we have a black President, it's off-limits to point out the racist things that people say and do and call them racist, because it isn't the actual racist stuff that's racist — it's CALLING it racist that's racist. Obviously. Got it!

    I'm thinking the President should walk out on the stage at the next debate, punch Mittens in his smirking face (with votes!!!), and say, "That's for all the lies you told at the first debate, you lying liar from Lieville. Now — wanna lie to me some more?"

  29. fuflans

    i believe it is actually the bible that talks about power in naming things (well, and jk rowling).

    so fuck you WSJ. mitt romney's entire campaign has been one big lie and that is not way to choose a president.

  30. tessiee

    Shorter Mitt: "As you all know, I lied my ass off during the first debate and got away with it, so now I think lying my ass off and getting away with it is my rightful due. So please stop calling me on my shit, mmmmkay?"

  31. TheGyrus

    Its not "The Wall Street Journal", its "Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal". To call it the other thing is like referring to "Believe It or Not" without the preceding "Ripley's."

  32. DahBoner

    WSJ: Mitt Romney is a Good Liar.

    We ain't caught him. Yet. Maybe.

    LOOK OVER THERE!!! BILL CLINTON!! MONICA!! AL GORE INTERNET!!

  33. tessiee

    Because it's not like the Republicans have repeatedly referred to President Obama as a "Lyin' African", or anything.
    Oh, wait…

  34. tessiee

    [folksy]
    Now I'm just a simple Jersey girl, and I ain't no expert on the politics…
    [adjusts suspenders]
    But it does seem to me that if you don't want people labeling you a "goat fucker", you probably shouldn't fuck goats in public, get *caught* fucking goats in public, and have fact checkers on both sides *prove* that you make a constant habit of fucking goats in public.
    [spits]
    Leastaways, that's what we used to say 'round the pizzeria.

  35. Limeylizzie

    It's not often that I read a Wonkette piece and say to myself "Wow, that is a pretty terrific piece of writing ", but I did just now. Hmmm. Well done Wonkette, I guess?

  36. hagajim

    I think Barry Bammz oughtta just stone cold ask Mitt why his majik undies aren't on fire in the next debate, because you know – liar, liar pants on fire.

  37. thefrontpage

    Mitt Romney is a liar.

    Paul Ryan is a liar.

    George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Harriet Miers, Andrew Card, Dana Perino, Alberto Gonzales, John Bolton, Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer–they are all liars.

    Limbaugh, Drudge, Hannity, O'Reilly, Tucker, Malkin, Coulter, Shaughnessy, Briethbart, Jackson, Norris, Nugent, Heaton, Kid Rock, the guys on WMAL, the entire Fox News staff–they are all liars.

  38. Troglodeity

    Democrats calling Republicans on their lies: Holocaust.

    Republicans shouting "You Lie!" at the President during his State of the Union speech, or claiming that global warming scientists are spreading "lies from the pit of Hell": Freedom!

    Thanks for making that clear, WSJ. Sometimes we forget.

Comments are closed.