Polishing a Turd? (Dis)honesty is the Best Policy

The media’s characterization of Clinton’s debate performance last night as polished is accurate so far as it goes.  But what is elided from the coverage is any reference to what should be understood as the actual noun which the adjective “polished” modifies.  That noun is “liar”. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Clinton’s handlers have managed to polish their turd of a candidate to such a high gloss metallic sheen, but modern PR continues to amaze, and it did so again and again last night.

E.g. Clinton’s looking directly into the camera as she earnestly described herself as an “enemy” of the pharmaceutical industry, an advocate of breaking up the big banks, and “enemy” of Wall Street. That the audience didn’t dissolve into hysterical laughter was a tribute both to  the magic wielded by “communications specialists” combined, of course, with the utter cynicism and incompetence of the mass media which has veiled the leading role of the Clintons in creating the conditions for the financial bubble which burst in 2008.

I suppose it’s progress of a kind that establishment Democrats have returned to their old game of lying about what they will do when they take office. Lies are now necessary since the bankruptcy of the neoliberalism embraced by generations of Democrats has been revealed in all its nakedness. That was not the case in 2008.  What made the Obama candidacy so revolutionary was that at that point the dominance of neoliberalism was so firmly established that a Democrat could be enthusiastically embraced while being entirely up front about his objectively reactionary politics: that he would “take on entitlements” such as social security, that he had no intention of significantly scaling back tax cuts imposed by Republican administrations, and that he would adopt an “all of the above” energy strategy.

Clinton II seems to indicate a return to the former approach in which dishonesty is a fundamental component. This was most successfully implemented by Clinton I whose campaign slogan famously advocated “putting people first.” Anyone with a minimum of sophistication knew very well that his administration would be all about “putting corporations first”, and that’s what happened.

The same will occur in the likely event of a Clinton II presidency. It should hardly need to be mentioned that she was routinely lying through her teeth and doing so with tremendous polish. But reminders of this sort seem to be required for my less skeptical friends, so I’ll issue them here.

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