Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Mendacious leaders the new norm

One of the most troubling aspects of the current highly charged political climate is the mendaciousness of its leaders in both Australia and the United States.

Everyone expects their politicians to tell them the odd lie here and there; it's part of normal political discourse.

Most people accuse the other side of lying for no other reason than political partisanship but it's when people who are not normally known as rock throwers start questioning the honesty and integrity of their leaders that one should be concerned.

Greg Sheridan is the foreign editor for The Australian newspaper. An experienced journalist, Sheridan has over 30 years of experience in his field and is known for the even-handedness of his opinions.

In an article on the cave-in of the Rudd government to asylum seekers on the Oceanic Viking he writes:

Rudd needs to stop a recent and baffling practice he has developed of telling the most outrageous lies about Australian foreign policy. Last week, in India, he claimed the decision not to sell India uranium was bipartisan. In fact, the Howard government had approved uranium sales to India and the Turnbull opposition continues to support it.

For some bizarre reason Rudd keeps saying the people on the Oceanic Viking have not got a special deal. This simply defies the ordinary meaning of language and common sense. The first principle of good foreign policy is generally to tell the truth. One reason governments don't tell the truth is when they are trying to avoid a hard decision...
As Andrew Bolt identified, Kevin Rudd has increasingly been telling lies on the asylum seeker issue. He can rely on the media to run cover for him for a while but there are now articles being written by committed leftists such as Michelle Grattan expressing disquiet about Rudd's playing fast and loose with the truth.

I'll tell you right now why Rudd lies - because he's completely incompetent to be Prime Minister; he makes policy on the run, which results in mistakes largely due to his arrogance and way too high opinion of himself and then has to cover things up with lies.

The media would never let a conservative prime minister get away with what Rudd is managing.

Over the big pond in the US of A, Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post is equally troubled by the gap between what President Obama is saying and what his administration is doing.

Samuelson is an old-style journalist whose reporting is balanced and informative. As a Washington Post and Newsweek columnist one would expect him to be on the left. However, he does not vote, as he says that voting would interfere with his ability to report objectively. Over the years of reading his articles it's hard to tell which side he's on - the sign of a good journo.

When someone like Samuelson is troubled then we all should be:
There is an air of absurdity to what is mistakenly called "health care reform." Everyone knows that the United States faces massive governmental budget deficits as far as calculators can project, driven heavily by an aging population and uncontrolled health costs. Recovering slowly from a devastating recession, it's widely agreed that, though deficits should not be cut abruptly (lest the economy resume its slump), a prudent society would embark on long-term policies to control health costs, reduce government spending, and curb massive future deficits. The administration estimates these at $9 trillion from 2010 to 2019. The president and all his top economic advisers proclaim the same cautionary message.

So, what do they do? Just the opposite. Their sweeping overhaul of the health care system -- which Congress is halfway toward enacting -- would almost certainly make matters worse. It would create new, open-ended medical entitlements that threaten higher deficits and would do little to suppress surging health costs.
The disconnect between what President Obama says and what he's doing is so glaring that most people could not abide it. The president, his advisers and allies have no trouble. But reconciling blatantly contradictory objectives requires them to engage in willful self-deception, public dishonesty, or both.
Rudd and Obama were both elected by similar margins and both campaigned as centrists with Mr Rudd promoting himself as an economic conservative while Mr Obama promised a bipartisan administration.

Anyone with half a brain knew that they were not telling the truth at the time (but that's how campaigns are run so c'est la vie) so it should come as no surprise that what the electorate got was not exactly what they thought they were buying.

In Australia, Rudd's arrogance and dishonesty has damaged our relationships with China, Japan, India and Indonesia, to name just a few. Quite an achievement for someone who ranked international diplomacy as one of his greatest strengths.

In the US, Obama has backflipped on a climate change deal, introduced a health 'care' bill nobody other than true leftists wants that will further harm the country's finances, committed trillions of dollars in further spending and generally taken the country in a direction about 180 degrees from what he tells people and what they expected when they voted for him.

Last year I wrote that the English Speaking World is the world's leader and that the change from Bush-Blair-Howard to Obama-Brown-Rudd would have very negative consequences.

Unfortunately, I was right.

(Nothing Follows)

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