WE PROMISE, YOU FORGET | 2004-03-13
I just pointed out that, at the climax of his political career, a presidential candidate will lie when he promises somebody the vice presidential nomination.
At this point the dumbest animal on the planet, a person who thinks he is being Shrewd and Realistic, will say, "Sure, politicians always lie."
Let me give you an example of why politicians in the big leagues don't lie. This is an experience I have had many times.
In the US House of Representatives, a bill your congressman has a huge interest in is up for a vote. He and a senior staffer like me start calling fifty or so congressmen whose votes are uncertain. On each call, you have a very few minutes to persuade and to trade.
The congressman you call will not be as interested as you are in this particular bill. That is one reason you don't know which way he'll vote. He will normally ask you what you are going to do about another bill he himself is more concerned about. When you tell him what you plan to do about his bill, your word had better be pure, 24 karat gold.
If you get a reputation for welching on political deals with other politicos, you are dead.
The reason your word in big-league politics has to be good is because major league politicians remember what you promised.
The Shrewd person who thinks he is wise because he says, "politicians lie" misses the truth. The Shrewd guy is so busy trying to show how Rough and Tough and Realistic he is that he misses the whole point completely.
The real question is, why do the people you elect lie to voters when they have to keep their promises to each other?
In the article above, I explained that the media reported that private conversation between Kerry and Edwards, but after Edwards suddenly withdrew, every commentator had a memory lapse.
Millions of voters heard the news about that private talk and then listened to the commentary that evening where both conservative and liberal analysts forgot the earlier Kerry-Edwards conversation.
I would be willing to bet that not twenty people in the whole country noticed this lapse. If conservative pundits and liberal pundits forget it, so does the public.
The public has the attention span of a five-year-old. How does a grownup treat a five-year-old? The adult tells the child whatever the child wants to hear right now, be it Santa Claus, tax cuts, or anything else.
Political pros treat each other as adults. They treat the public like children.